Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Wood contact

  1. #1
    Jim Gecz's Avatar
    Jim Gecz Guest

    Default Wood contact

    I would be interested in my fellow inspector's report verbiage for wood in direct contact with a fireplace chimney structure (as seen in the attic.). Besides calling for a level II, how would you report this?

    For any inspectors (Bob and any other FIRE certified guys) who conduct Level IIs how would you report this, especially if you discovered the terra cotta liner shown in the second photo?

    The reason I ask is a number of NJ chimney sweeps do not consider either condition a problem.

    Similar Threads:
    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images
    F.I.R.E. Services

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Near Philly, Pa.
    Posts
    1,633

    Cool Re: Wood contact

    Jim, I think your only answer as a Home Inspector would be to either perform a full level II or recommend one by a qualified inspector. You may point to the conditions you observed as grounds for the recommendation but I would not get into a partial inspection. Since a Level II is indicated for the sale or transfer of property, you do not need findings to support that recommendation. Report what is within the scope of your inspection as a home inspector but do not go beyond that unless you go all the way.

    As for these conditions being acceptable, that is an indefensible position. An ethical inspector does not proclaim anything as "safe" or "acceptable". He simply states observable facts and puts them into context of published standards. Proclamations of suitability are engineering decisions. If you are not a licensed professional engineer, stick to the facts and let them speak for themselves.

    As for dating, clearances and liners required date back to the 1927 Uniform Building Code so if the home was built before then, there stands a good chance it did not meet the code when built. Just because the defects you've shown here are also present in most homes in the US does not minimize their importance.

    You can state whether or not a defect fails to meet a current code or standard without having to conduct research on the code history in that jurisdiction. You are not in court proving a negligence on a construction defect but simply using current knowledge to ascertain what is acceptable practice or not. Wether or not they knew it at the time of construction, we now know lack of clearance, insulation encroaching into stated clearances, breaches in mortar joints are all defects as identified by current codes and standards. Those codes and standards are responsible for making the point as to what the hazard is and why it is in the code.

    -Just back from HPBA EXPO. Dale made two great presentations and was a major presence at the HPBA Technical Cmte. meeting on Wed.

    HTH,
    Bob

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  3. #3
    Jim Gecz's Avatar
    Jim Gecz Guest

    Default Re: Wood contact

    Thanks for the great feedback, Bob. You are always the pro.

    Jim


  4. #4
    Kevin Stewart's Avatar
    Kevin Stewart Guest

    Default Re: Wood contact

    Jim

    To answer your question, "Bob did not extrapolate the question from the original so he never got round to answering it. (some Bob speak)"
    When I see wood against a chimney like this my verbiage goes something like this. 'wood framing around the chimney structure does not meet clearance to combustibles standards', code requires clearance to combustibles around chimneys as this is a potential fire hazard, I am unclear of the first mention of this in a code book but I am fairly sure these clearance issues go back to the 1920's.

    Kevin


  5. #5
    Jon Randolph's Avatar
    Jon Randolph Guest

    Default Re: Wood contact

    What would be the clearance for a masonry lined chimney chase? The way I look at it, there is at least 8" between that flue and the wood in that picture (if it is unlined), since it is lined, that adds another inch or so to the distance. Unless there are issues with the mortar joints, I have not been calling that out.

    Is there a clearance for that installation?




    It does appear that the terra cotta lining is spalling, (indicative of excessive moisture) so I would call it out to be re-lined possibly in need of a crown and/or rain cap.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Near Philly, Pa.
    Posts
    1,633

    Cool Re: Wood contact

    Jon, the clearance is to the outside of the chimney proper--not the flue lining. A "chase" is essentially a housing for something else such as a factory chimney, cables, pipes, etc. If over 4 stories, it is considered a "shaft", which must be fire rated construction.

    Spalling of a flue can be caused by many things. I suggest you take Dale Feb's course so you can distinguish btw them and how to report them. If you comment on the flue condition then you should be doing a full Level II inspection or at least recommending one.

    The clearances to combustibles are clearly stated in the building codes so I would direct you there for starters.

    HTH,
    Bob

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    25,317

    Default Re: Wood contact

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Harper View Post
    Jon, the clearance is to the outside of the chimney proper--Bob

    Bob,

    Please define "outside of the chimney proper".

    I've seen some with huge masonry walls, long, tall, and wide, in which a fireplace and chimney were only one small part of that large and massive masonry structure.

    Wood furring strips on the CMU.

    On something like that, what is considered "the chimney proper" and what is "outside of" that?

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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Healdsburg, CA
    Posts
    1,741

    Default Re: Wood contact

    Chimney fire-stopping details.
    PS: I would automatically recommend a NFPA Level II inspection of all fireplace chimneys before the close of escrow and transfer of title.
    Also, FWIW - if I where king Id outlaw the building of all masonry fireplace chimneys in California or any seismically impaired area in the US as theyre both dirty and dangerous.

    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images
    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Near Philly, Pa.
    Posts
    1,633

    Cool Re: Wood contact

    JP, in the case where the exterior wall of the house is flush with the chimney, the point where the chimney's sides meet would be the limit of the clearance applying--not the length of the whole wall.

    I see wood furring strips on chimneys all the time and I see ungrouted CMUs all the time. Still wrong.

    I tend to agree with Jerry M. esp. with regards to seismic country. After seeing Dale's photos and the Rampart General precast fireplace he has in his shop, I don't see how you could leave a full masonry Fp in a home after a seismic event. Those factory chimney conversions are very wishy-washy with regards to how to anchor them and, to my knowledge, no one has tested any anchoring system such as Tapcon screws to seismic requirements. The current building codes call for the bond beam to be tied into the building. This is to delay the collapse of the chimney sufficiently so the occupants can escape without being crushed. Something to think about. The problem with Calif. is, you can have Dale himself inspect a chimney and have a seismic event or mud slide damage the chimney before he gets to the office and writes up his report. Inspections are a snapshot in time.

    Not only have I never seen a single code compliant chimney, I don't know anyone who has ever seen one that meets 100% of the code unless Dale is holding out on me.

    Bob

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •