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  1. #1
    Lou Ch's Avatar
    Lou Ch Guest

    Default Un-bonded CSST Lawsuit, house burned down

    Hi folks,

    I have a question about CSST issues such as bonding regulations and protocols.

    I'm working with a guy whose house burned down in Wisconsin because lightning struck his un-bonded CSST. (installed in the late 90s or early 2000s)

    He & his insurance company are suing the manufacturer (Omegaflex) and certified CSST installer. The manufacturer has had "bonding" requirements in their installation manual for years now, and iirc, the bonding requirements were in place since 1999.

    The certified CSST installer said they weren't unaware of the bonding requirements because they got their license in 1997 - before bonding requirements were mandated. Apparently, they didn't read the updated manuals, didn't know of any code mandating bonding, and simply followed their training/installation requirements from 1997.

    They're claiming its the manufacturer's fault for not contacting them and telling them that the installation manuals have changed and that bonding was required for CSST.


    Has anyone heard of somebody arguing this or is it totally ridiculous? Back in 1997, did CSST installers have to follow some sort of law or code to bond CSST?

    Inspection Referral SOC

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Un-bonded CSST Lawsuit, house burned down

    Any person who holds a license or certification is responsible for keeping their license or certification up - it is not the responsibility of the issuer of the license or certification to make sure that even license holder/certificate holder maintains their license ... what if the license or certification holder was no longer interested in being licensed or certified - is the issuer of the license or certification required to force the holder to keep current anyway? (No, of course not.)

    They are blowing smoke to try to get their named dropped from the defendants list.

    That said, however, there were old bonding requirements and new bonding requirements, so the installer may have a defense ... depends on if the installer actually bonded the system in accordance with the requirements in the manufacturer's instructions and in compliance with the code applicable at the time of installation - and bonded it properly ... which may be another issue entirely.

    If the installer did what was required, and did it properly, then the installer may be able to mitigate some of their liability to the manufacturer.

    However, if the manufacturer had a notice or revised instructions out for the revised new bonding requirements ... and the installer was not aware of them (or, worse yet, ignored them) ... then the installer is left hanging from the same branch of the tree the manufacturer is hanging from - and their neck is going to hurt quite a bit from that rope they will be hanging in.

    Too little information is known, too much is unknown, to go any further than just suppositions based on potential liability for their actions/lack of actions.

    Additionally, did the installer want to install iron pipe and the customer insist on CSST? That would make a HUGE difference in who has the most liability - and now the customer would be heaping a lot onto their own plate ... and it's not mashed potatoes and gravy they would be heaping onto their plate.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
    Lou Ch's Avatar
    Lou Ch Guest

    Default Re: Un-bonded CSST Lawsuit, house burned down

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    That said, however, there were old bonding requirements and new bonding requirements, so the installer may have a defense ... depends on if the installer actually bonded the system in accordance with the requirements in the manufacturer's instructions and in compliance with the code applicable at the time of installation - and bonded it properly ... which may be another issue entirely.
    ...
    However, if the manufacturer had a notice or revised instructions out for the revised new bonding requirements ... and the installer was not aware of them (or, worse yet, ignored them) ... then the installer is left hanging from the same branch of the tree the manufacturer is hanging from - and their neck is going to hurt quite a bit from that rope they will be hanging in.
    ...
    Additionally, did the installer want to install iron pipe and the customer insist on CSST? That would make a HUGE difference in who has the most liability - and now the customer would be heaping a lot onto their own plate ... and it's not mashed potatoes and gravy they would be heaping onto their plate.
    Thanks for the info. I think the CSST was totally unbonded - the installer did zero bonding to it. His claim is that his original training & manufacturer's 1990s installation manual for CSST didn't mention bonding, so it's the manufacturer's fault.

    I don't believe the customer insisted on CSST - it was likely the decision of the installer.

    Were the old bonding requirements coded in a national electrical code or plumbing code? Where can I find it?

    Thanks!


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Un-bonded CSST Lawsuit, house burned down

    Quote Originally Posted by Lou Ch View Post
    Thanks for the info. I think the CSST was totally unbonded - the installer did zero bonding to it. His claim is that his original training & manufacturer's 1990s installation manual for CSST didn't mention bonding, so it's the manufacturer's fault.

    I don't believe the customer insisted on CSST - it was likely the decision of the installer.

    Were the old bonding requirements coded in a national electrical code or plumbing code? Where can I find it?

    Thanks!
    The old bonding requirements were in the NEC and the CSST installation instructions, which, as I recall, permitted the bonding of the CSST to be connection of the CSST to the appliance, which in turn, was grounded.

    I'd have to check back to verify it, but that appliance equipment grounding conductor used to be allowed to serve as the bonding of the gas piping (including CSST) to ground.

    One way to check is to get the installation instructions for the CSST which were in effect at the time of the CSST installation.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Un-bonded CSST Lawsuit, house burned down

    The oldest Tracpipe (Omegaflex) installation instructions I have are from 2004, here is page 59 which covers grounding (not to be used as part of grounding system) and bonding (to be bonded to grounding system).

    Attached Files Attached Files
    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  6. #6
    Lou Ch's Avatar
    Lou Ch Guest

    Default Re: Un-bonded CSST Lawsuit, house burned down

    Yep, I have a 2003 Trac-Pipe Omegaflex manual that mentions bonding as well.
    I'll go look for the earlier manuals to see if anything is mentioned.

    Thanks for your help.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Un-bonded CSST Lawsuit, house burned down

    - 1999 NEC
    - - 250-104(b) Metal Gas Piping. Each above ground portion of a gas piping system upstream from the equipment shutoff valve shall be electrically continuous and bonded to the grounding electrode system.

    The appliance equipment grounding conductor is bonded to the grounding electrode system back at the service equipment.

    - 2002 NEC
    - - 250.104(B) Other Metal Piping. Where installed in or attached to a building or structure, metal piping system(s), including gas piping, that may become energized shall be bonded to the service equipment enclosure, the grounded conductor at the service, the grounding electrode conductor where of sufficient size, or to the one or more grounding electrodes used. The bonding jumper(s) shall be sized in accordance with 250.122 using the rating of the circuit that may energize the gas piping system(s). The equipment grounding conductor of the circuit that may energize the piping shall be permitted to serve as the bonding means. The points of attachment of the bonding jumper(s) shall be accessible.

    Here, the NEC is specifically recognizing the equipment grounding conductor of the circuit which may energize the gas piping, and that circuit is typically considered to the the circuit for/to the appliance because that circuit is run to the appliance and a ground-fault at the appliance would energize the gas piping.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Lou Ch View Post
    Yep, I have a 2003 Trac-Pipe Omegaflex manual that mentions bonding as well.
    I'll go look for the earlier manuals to see if anything is mentioned.

    Thanks for your help.
    You have a 2003 installation manual? Would you be so kind as to email a copy to me? My oldest one if July 2004.

    Thanks.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  8. #8
    Lou Ch's Avatar
    Lou Ch Guest

    Default Re: Un-bonded CSST Lawsuit, house burned down

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    - 1999 NEC
    - - Updated - - -

    You have a 2003 installation manual? Would you be so kind as to email a copy to me? My oldest one if July 2004.

    Thanks.
    Sure, no problem. What is your email? I can't upload it here b/c it exceeds the size limit (~8mb).

    UPDATE:

    I just sent the pdf attachment to your Construction Litigation Consultant email address.

    Last edited by Lou Ch; 12-24-2014 at 10:57 AM.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Un-bonded CSST Lawsuit, house burned down

    Quote Originally Posted by Lou Ch View Post
    I just sent the pdf attachment to your Construction Litigation Consultant email address.
    Received, thank you.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  10. #10

    Default Re: Un-bonded CSST Lawsuit, house burned down

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Received, thank you.
    I don't know if this would help in any defense.

    Omega Flex, Inc. Wins Third Consecutive CSST Court Case Nasdaq:OFLX

    Also it may be worth noting from the liability of the Gas installers perspective, I believe that it was and still is the case that the National Fuel Gas Code (NFGC) or NFPA 54 is the primary code document in the United States that covers the design, installation and inspection of natural gas and LP gas systems for all types of applications.

    In 1988 the coverage for bonding and grounding stated:

    (a) Each above ground portion of a gas piping system upstream from the equipment shutoff valve shall be electrically continuous and bonded to any grounding electrode as defined in the National Electrical Code, ANSI/NFPA 70.

    (b) Gas piping shall not be used as a grounding electrode.

    This language remained in effect for the 1992, 1996, and 1999 editions. In the 2002 edition the word were changed to read:

    (a) Each above ground portion of a gas piping system that is likely to become energized shall be electrically continuous and bonded to an effective ground-fault current path. Gas piping shall be considered to be bonded when it is connected to gas utilization equipment that is connected to the equipment grounding conductor for the circuit supplying that equipment.

    (b) Gas piping shall not be used as a grounding conductor or electrode.

    Last edited by Len Inkster; 03-16-2015 at 04:18 PM.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Un-bonded CSST Lawsuit, house burned down

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    - 1999 NEC
    - - 250-104(b) Metal Gas Piping. Each above ground portion of a gas piping system upstream from the equipment shutoff valve shall be electrically continuous and bonded to the grounding electrode system.

    The appliance equipment grounding conductor is bonded to the grounding electrode system back at the service equipment.

    - 2002 NEC
    - - 250.104(B) Other Metal Piping. Where installed in or attached to a building or structure, metal piping system(s), including gas piping, that may become energized shall be bonded to the service equipment enclosure, the grounded conductor at the service, the grounding electrode conductor where of sufficient size, or to the one or more grounding electrodes used. The bonding jumper(s) shall be sized in accordance with 250.122 using the rating of the circuit that may energize the gas piping system(s). The equipment grounding conductor of the circuit that may energize the piping shall be permitted to serve as the bonding means. The points of attachment of the bonding jumper(s) shall be accessible.

    Here, the NEC is specifically recognizing the equipment grounding conductor of the circuit which may energize the gas piping, and that circuit is typically considered to the the circuit for/to the appliance because that circuit is run to the appliance and a ground-fault at the appliance would energize the gas piping.

    - - - Updated - - -



    You have a 2003 installation manual? Would you be so kind as to email a copy to me? My oldest one if July 2004.

    Thanks.
    Hello,

    I see this is an old thread but I'm hoping you still have copies of the older TracPipe installation guides. We are working on a CSST related fire investigation from that era and would greatly appreciate copies of the 2003 and 2003 TracPipe manuals.

    Thanks. Chuck


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