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  1. #1
    mark tyson's Avatar
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    Default Back flow device required?

    group,
    Had an inspection today on a building that has been converted from a duplex into a four family unit. Potable water is delivered thru the original(2) 5/8" water meters that serviced the original (2) living spaces. The new add on units have multiple water fixtures and now share the potable water supply with each of the original water services I was able to find in the code that full open valves will be required for the water supply piping where it enters the habitable space of the add ons but can not seem to be able to cut through the verbiage about a requirement for a back flow device. Logic would tell me that they would be required.
    what say ye?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Back flow device required?

    Quote Originally Posted by mark tyson View Post
    group,
    Had an inspection today on a building that has been converted from a duplex into a four family unit. Potable water is delivered thru the original(2) 5/8" water meters that serviced the original (2) living spaces. The new add on units have multiple water fixtures and now share the potable water supply with each of the original water services I was able to find in the code that full open valves will be required for the water supply piping where it enters the habitable space of the add ons but can not seem to be able to cut through the verbiage about a requirement for a back flow device. Logic would tell me that they would be required.
    what say ye?
    There is no backflow preventer device required,. Unless one of the units is going to hook up some sort of chemical distribution system to the plumbing. The requirements of air gaps and such with in a residence and the lack of a high hazard situation in a home does not require a backflow preventer device.

    One thing I would check is if all the units have the water turned on at once in all the fixtures, that there is enough pressure in the system. Here in Illinois its a minimum of 8psi at each fixture during peak demand.

    One thing you can do is call the city plumbing inspector and ask him/her. They will know the local codes better than anyone.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Back flow device required?

    Two dwellings on a 5/8" meter seems problematic. Additional valves would not be required as long as there are original valves to shut off the water supply to the building.
    Contacting the building dept. may backfire.
    The first thing the building dept. will do is check the records to see if there are permits for the additional units. You should ask to see the BD file and find out for yourself before you start asking questions.


  4. #4
    Bruce Adams's Avatar
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    Default Re: Back flow device required?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Bertrams View Post
    Two dwellings on a 5/8" meter seems problematic. Additional valves would not be required as long as there are original valves to shut off the water supply to the building.
    Contacting the building dept. may backfire.
    The first thing the building dept. will do is check the records to see if there are permits for the additional units. You should ask to see the BD file and find out for yourself before you start asking questions.
    I do not see what is wrong with contacting the Building Department on this. If there was no building permit when the addition was done. Why should the new buyer have to deal with it.
    Seen to much work done that has not had a building permit issued and find to many problems. In my area on a rental units, each unit should have its own meter to each service. Does each unit have it's own Electrical. The building Department is there to make sure that the dwellings meet the minimum safety standards.
    Bruce


  5. #5
    Larry Hood's Avatar
    Larry Hood Guest

    Default Re: Back flow device required?

    Backflow devices including RP type are required in numerous location now in central Florida for both County and priviate utility companies.It has been in most water districts code/standards for years for annual test/inspections but has not been enforced.As always an important requirements gives way toCost!! For a reference look up TOHO water distict for their requirements which is boiler plate for a lot of districts.


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    Default Re: Back flow device required?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Adams View Post
    I do not see what is wrong with contacting the Building Department on this. If there was no building permit when the addition was done. Why should the new buyer have to deal with it.
    Seen to much work done that has not had a building permit issued and find to many problems. In my area on a rental units, each unit should have its own meter to each service. Does each unit have it's own Electrical. The building Department is there to make sure that the dwellings meet the minimum safety standards.
    Bruce
    The last time I bought a house, as part of my offer, I was required to sign a form that stated that I would not bring any government employee to the property . The Realtor is supposed to research the building dept. file but they have the buyer sign a statement that says that the buyer has researched the building dept. file. The last thing any of the stakeholders in a real estate transaction want is for the government to get involved. Right or wrong, that's the way it is.

    There are usually plenty of signs when something has been built or installed without a permit. I am not so sure that the role of a HI includes quoting codes unless the HI is certified in that code. As an example, lets say there is a wall furnace in a bedroom and you know that is a code violation. Now let's say that there is another wall furnace in a hallway, did you know that is a code violation? Now lets say that there is carpet under both wall furnaces, did you know that that is a violation? How about clearances to combustibles? How about those 90 degree bends in the vent or the fact that 85% of the vent is horizontal? And on and on it goes. When you quote one code you give the impression that you know all of the code. If you don't know all of the code you shouldn't quote any of it.

    If you ask the building dept. if a back flow device is needed they will ask if the overflow rim is below the next upstream manhole cover. If you ask them if a check valve is required they will say no.


  7. #7
    TS OGrady's Avatar
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    Default Re: Back flow device required?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Bertrams View Post
    The last time I bought a house, as part of my offer, I was required to sign a form that stated that I would not bring any government employee to the property . The Realtor is supposed to research the building dept. file but they have the buyer sign a statement that says that the buyer has researched the building dept. file. The last thing any of the stakeholders in a real estate transaction want is for the government to get involved. Right or wrong, that's the way it is.

    There are usually plenty of signs when something has been built or installed without a permit. I am not so sure that the role of a HI includes quoting codes unless the HI is certified in that code. As an example, lets say there is a wall furnace in a bedroom and you know that is a code violation. Now let's say that there is another wall furnace in a hallway, did you know that is a code violation? Now lets say that there is carpet under both wall furnaces, did you know that that is a violation? How about clearances to combustibles? How about those 90 degree bends in the vent or the fact that 85% of the vent is horizontal? And on and on it goes. When you quote one code you give the impression that you know all of the code. If you don't know all of the code you shouldn't quote any of it.

    If you ask the building dept. if a back flow device is needed they will ask if the overflow rim is below the next upstream manhole cover. If you ask them if a check valve is required they will say no.
    Wow, so you would not mention the code violation even if you knew about it? That seems like less than the full value you could provide as a home inspector than what you could provide. I think there must be some middle ground as a knowledgable home inspectore, and a someone certified in codes.


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    Default Re: Back flow device required?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Bertrams View Post
    The last time I bought a house, as part of my offer, I was required to sign a form that stated that I would not bring any government employee to the property . The Realtor is supposed to research the building dept. file but they have the buyer sign a statement that says that the buyer has researched the building dept. file. The last thing any of the stakeholders in a real estate transaction want is for the government to get involved. Right or wrong, that's the way it is.

    There are usually plenty of signs when something has been built or installed without a permit. I am not so sure that the role of a HI includes quoting codes unless the HI is certified in that code. As an example, lets say there is a wall furnace in a bedroom and you know that is a code violation. Now let's say that there is another wall furnace in a hallway, did you know that is a code violation? Now lets say that there is carpet under both wall furnaces, did you know that that is a violation? How about clearances to combustibles? How about those 90 degree bends in the vent or the fact that 85% of the vent is horizontal? And on and on it goes. When you quote one code you give the impression that you know all of the code. If you don't know all of the code you shouldn't quote any of it.

    If you ask the building dept. if a back flow device is needed they will ask if the overflow rim is below the next upstream manhole cover. If you ask them if a check valve is required they will say no.

    David, (nothing personal) (seller can ask for anything in negotiating a sale) BUT -
    Stupid is stupid does. Big red flag, "required to sign a form that stated that I would not bring any government employee" , telling me something is wrong and will bite be on the ass if not careful. I would (if seller wouldn't back down) have signed the paper and then brought a government crew in to look at the place, let the seller sue for breach of contract. If anything was found the seller would have to disclose to next buyer or be on the hook for defect/repair/entire sale. Realtor doing research on permits and buyer signing off that the buyer has done the search. Hope you had Realtor sign off on responsibility for search.

    Sorry folks, nothing to do with original post question. But could not let pass.


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    Default Re: Back flow device required?

    Before recommending your client call in the local building dept, you may want to look into how they handle violations, compliance and responsibility. You could be helping your client or doing them a huge dis-service.
    Around here violations flow with the property. That means any violations, costs, corrective measures become the responsibility of the current owner. Lets say you recommend your client calls the local AHJ as part of the deal, they come in, find violations, give your client a verbal synopsis, your client buys the house, 6 months later they get a violation notice with fines.
    Now your has to shell out the money for fines or an attorney. Unless an escrow was established for this contingency your client would have to sue the previous owner to recoup costs. Which tends to be a big fat waste of time.
    If you see violations as part of the HI report them to your client. I would not recommend my client contact the local AHJ.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

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    Default Re: Back flow device required?

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    Before recommending your client call in the local building dept, you may want to look into how they handle violations, compliance and responsibility. You could be helping your client or doing them a huge dis-service.
    Around here violations flow with the property. That means any violations, costs, corrective measures become the responsibility of the current owner. Lets say you recommend your client calls the local AHJ as part of the deal, they come in, find violations, give your client a verbal synopsis, your client buys the house, 6 months later they get a violation notice with fines.
    Now your has to shell out the money for fines or an attorney. Unless an escrow was established for this contingency your client would have to sue the previous owner to recoup costs. Which tends to be a big fat waste of time.
    If you see violations as part of the HI report them to your client. I would not recommend my client contact the local AHJ.
    I was commenting on David and his own purchase in the first person. Also responding in the first person as what I would do if I were making an offer on a property. Especially if the seller is trying to hide something. David did not say that the seller had disclosed all defects in the property.

    If a buyer, after being informed about a problem and any recommendation on what should be done about that problem, chooses to not act in regards to what has been presented to them it is their choice.

    If the buyer chooses to accept the responsibility then they accept the consequences,i.e. violations flow with ownership. I would rather have suggested/recommended that an AHJ be called and put the buyer on notice rather than have to explain in court why I didn't make that recommendation.

    Again its about the case of a seller requiring an agreement that the buyer would not bring any government employee onto the property. Thinking in the terms of code violations. Maybe its just a new minority group that is being discriminated against. Glad David's wife was not a government employee. Interested to find out if sellers wore foil hats?

    Though I bought my first house then told the wife about it. Did show it to her before settlement. She had said that she wanted a house....... so I found one for her.


  11. #11
    Widdershins Saunders's Avatar
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    Default Re: Back flow device required?

    Quote Originally Posted by mark tyson View Post
    group,
    Had an inspection today on a building that has been converted from a duplex into a four family unit. Potable water is delivered thru the original(2) 5/8" water meters that serviced the original (2) living spaces. The new add on units have multiple water fixtures and now share the potable water supply with each of the original water services I was able to find in the code that full open valves will be required for the water supply piping where it enters the habitable space of the add ons but can not seem to be able to cut through the verbiage about a requirement for a back flow device. Logic would tell me that they would be required.
    what say ye?
    I can't think of a specific reason why this installation would require backflow protection -- Then again requirements vary from locale to locale and can be required by any of a number of different AHJ's. In Washington State, the City of Bellevue requires backflow protection on all new construction -- Whereas on Vashon Island, requirements for backflow protection are set forth by the Water Purveyor/Utility.

    To me, the best option is to involve the local Building & Planning Dept. Sure, it may make or break the sale by opening up a huge can of worms -- But it would protect your client down the road if new Multi-Family codes are later adopted and implemented.

    King County in Washington State recently adopted and implemented code changes that require yearly inspections of Multi-Family dwellings. Consequently, there has been a huge rush by landlords to bring their properties into compliance.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Back flow device required?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    David, (nothing personal) (seller can ask for anything in negotiating a sale) BUT -
    Stupid is stupid does. Big red flag, "required to sign a form that stated that I would not bring any government employee" , telling me something is wrong and will bite be on the ass if not careful. I would (if seller wouldn't back down) have signed the paper and then brought a government crew in to look at the place, let the seller sue for breach of contract. If anything was found the seller would have to disclose to next buyer or be on the hook for defect/repair/entire sale. Realtor doing research on permits and buyer signing off that the buyer has done the search. Hope you had Realtor sign off on responsibility for search.

    Sorry folks, nothing to do with original post question. But could not let pass.
    Well thankfully, I are one. How's that for a box of chocolates.


  13. #13
    Bruce Adams's Avatar
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    Default Re: Back flow device required?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Bertrams View Post
    The last time I bought a house, as part of my offer, I was required to sign a form that stated that I would not bring any government employee to the property . The Realtor is supposed to research the building dept. file but they have the buyer sign a statement that says that the buyer has researched the building dept. file. The last thing any of the stakeholders in a real estate transaction want is for the government to get involved. Right or wrong, that's the way it is.

    There are usually plenty of signs when something has been built or installed without a permit. I am not so sure that the role of a HI includes quoting codes unless the HI is certified in that code. As an example, lets say there is a wall furnace in a bedroom and you know that is a code violation. Now let's say that there is another wall furnace in a hallway, did you know that is a code violation? Now lets say that there is carpet under both wall furnaces, did you know that that is a violation? How about clearances to combustibles? How about those 90 degree bends in the vent or the fact that 85% of the vent is horizontal? And on and on it goes. When you quote one code you give the impression that you know all of the code. If you don't know all of the code you shouldn't quote any of it.

    If you ask the building dept. if a back flow device is needed they will ask if the overflow rim is below the next upstream manhole cover. If you ask them if a check valve is required they will say no.
    David
    I carry an ICC certification. As an HI I do not do code, but if I see a violation I will let my client know that they need to contact the local AHJ to be sure that things were done according to code. Code is minimum standard. Nothing more.
    If I were purchasing a home and the seller or the Realtor had told me that I had to sign a piece of paper that says I can not bring someone on the property to do the proper things to educate me on that property. I would inform them that this deal is dead. And walk away from it.
    The AHJ has there job. That is to protect the Public. The HI has his job that is to try to protect and educate his client on what they are buying. Over the years I have contacted the local AHJ several times on homes that I have inspected to find out if certain things were approved by them. Most times has helped the seller and the buyer.
    I will always do my best to give my clients the best information to protect them. A HI or the AHJ are not deal killers. I have never killed a deal. Several homes and sellers have been deal killers.
    Bruce


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Back flow device required?

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    Around here violations flow with the property. That means any violations, costs, corrective measures become the responsibility of the current owner. Lets say you recommend your client calls the local AHJ as part of the deal, they come in, find violations, give your client a verbal synopsis, your client buys the house, 6 months later they get a violation notice with fines.
    Now your has to shell out the money for fines or an attorney. Unless an escrow was established for this contingency your client would have to sue the previous owner to recoup costs.
    "Unless an escrow was established for this contingency"

    If the home inspector has done their part, their part well and educated their client well, the above has been very strongly recommended.

    If the client fails to follow through, ... well, that is their fault and the client gets no pity from me.

    Different matter entirely if the home inspector *does not* very strongly recommend the client getting that escrow ... and, no, simply putting it in the report somewhere *is not* very strongly recommending it, you need to hit them in the face with it, like it was a cream pie, let them wipe the residue from their face, if they still do not understand ... then as Forrest Gump said "Mama used to say 'Stupid is as stupid does.' "

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

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Back flow device required?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Adams View Post
    David
    I carry an ICC certification. As an HI I do not do code, but if I see a violation I will let my client know that they need to contact the local AHJ to be sure that things were done according to code. Code is minimum standard. Nothing more.
    If I were purchasing a home and the seller or the Realtor had told me that I had to sign a piece of paper that says I can not bring someone on the property to do the proper things to educate me on that property. I would inform them that this deal is dead. And walk away from it.
    The AHJ has there job. That is to protect the Public. The HI has his job that is to try to protect and educate his client on what they are buying. Over the years I have contacted the local AHJ several times on homes that I have inspected to find out if certain things were approved by them. Most times has helped the seller and the buyer.
    I will always do my best to give my clients the best information to protect them. A HI or the AHJ are not deal killers. I have never killed a deal. Several homes and sellers have been deal killers.
    Bruce
    I have lost count of the times I have been sent to a property to investigate illegal construction where the owner said he bought it that way. The owners always ask "Why didn't the HI tell them about this"? Much of what I see is so obviously wrong that I wonder what purpose that HI served. My opinion is one sided because I only see the results of improper inspections by a HI.

    So much work is done without permit such as replacement furnaces, water heaters, el. service upgrades, windows and new kitchens, bathrooms and patio covers, all the way to additions and yes, even entire houses, that I sometimes wonder if the AHJ isn't just a fly in the ointment. After all, people aren't dieing in these houses. The houses aren't bursting into flames. The houses aren't falling down. Then I find such things as gas fired furnaces and water heaters in an attic or closet without a vent, land locked bedrooms, ungrounded electrical systems and a host of other dangerous conditions. That is when I realize that the occupants have just been lucky.
    In a more perfect world, Home Inspectors would have the same training and certifications as AHJ inspectors. A HI should be able to not only determine if a component works but also if it meets code. In my experience, truly dangerous conditions are missed all too often.


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