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  1. #66
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Philip View Post
    Tell me this. Are home inspectors code inspectors in your state?
    No. Home Inspectors are not required to be code inspectors in North Carolina.

    Elite MGA Home Inspector E&O Insurance
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  2. #67
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Philip View Post
    I am new to home inspections and somewhat confused, but not over the 15" rule. As I understand it, I am a house inspector not a code inspector. I will ensure that it flushes, functions, does not leak, and the floor is not soft around the base, and no faint outline of yellow. The rest of it is actually none of my business. I might tell the home buyer to go sit on it for a while and see if they can live with it.

    Correct, you are a "HOME INSPECTOR" and you should, therefore, KNOW how the home is supposed to be constructed, and that includes KNOWING the MINIMUM WIDTHS required at the toilet, just like you are expected to KNOW the minimum ceiling heights - you do, don't you?

    Otherwise, how can you inspect what you do not know? It is, after all, YOUR JOB to inform your client of things NOT DONE RIGHT, which means knowing those things.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  3. #68
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    *I* would NOT want some home inspector who THINKS THEY KNOW IT ALL and is required to, then and there, without being able to check and verify suspect or suspicious components or systems, to inspect for me.
    Jerry, you need to make up your mind. Do you want inspectors to know the codes or not?

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  4. #69
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    Wink Re: Toilet clearance

    Not only is Mr. MacBeth seemingly a sub standard builder, he appears to employ sub standard employees... around here the majority of contractors I have worked with are well above the "unemployable" mark. Hire poorly, build poorly, have a bad attitude! Minimum standards are not to be defended when they affect so many people, like it or not there are numerous overweight people both due to medical conditions and genetics they cannot easily control and handicapped people who NEED the extra space. Every house has the likelihood of having one of both sometime during the high turnover rate of the typical home in the average life span.


  5. #70
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    [quote=kenny martin;123533]Hire poorly, build poorly, have a bad attitude! handicapped people who NEED the extra space.

    Learn to read!!! I said the unreasonable inspectors are unemployable. Study the ADA rules after you learn to read. Maybe you'll see the access issues are addressed in that part of the code. Quit trying to impose additional standards! You are just one more example of how bad the independent home inspectors have become.


  6. #71
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    [quote=Daniel MacBeth;123564]
    Quote Originally Posted by kenny martin View Post
    Hire poorly, build poorly, have a bad attitude! handicapped people who NEED the extra space.

    Learn to read!!! I said the unreasonable inspectors are unemployable. Study the ADA rules after you learn to read. Maybe you'll see the access issues are addressed in that part of the code. Quit trying to impose additional standards! You are just one more example of how bad the independent home inspectors have become.
    .
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  7. #72
    Daniel MacBeth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    While I am ranting...

    Since when does a counter top that encraoches 1/2" into a 15" required space make a builder with an impeccable record a shoddy builder? I suppose the millions of times the building officials have let the counter tops, towel bars, TP holders, baseboards, grab bars, crown mouldings, etc encroach makes them shoddy inspectors.

    God save the unwary home owner that buys a home which in fact actually has 15" clearance to the TP holder and towel bars and discovers they can't use toilet paper because the roll of TP encroaches. They will also have to quit using towels to dry off because the folded towel on the towel bar encroaches the sacred throne.

    I suppose what we will see next is some of the inspectors on this site will start a side business educating the naive homeowners how to protect themselves by not using towels or toilet paper - all in the name of code compliance.

    To all the unreasonable home inspectors - let me repeat - get a job, get a life. To the reasonable ones, thank you again - we all appreciate the extras eyes.


  8. #73
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel MacBeth View Post
    While I am ranting...
    I suppose the millions of times the building officials have let the counter tops, towel bars, TP holders, baseboards, grab bars, crown mouldings, etc encroach makes them shoddy inspectors.
    So you are saying that if the ahj doesn't "catch it", or turn it down it's OK?


  9. #74
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    No. I am saying nobody is perfect. That is why I advocate reasonable tolerance.


  10. #75
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    Jerry, you need to make up your mind. Do you want inspectors to know the codes or not?
    Ken,

    Huh?

    Not sure where you come up with your stuff, obviously not from reading what is written.

    You know the answer to your question: Yes, all home inspectors should know the codes.

    You apparently have no clue to the other part of the statement: If you think you know it all - no, I do not want you - I want someone who recognizes the fact that they know they do not know it all - and then takes the time to find out the answers for what they did not know, instead of writing a report then and there based on them thinking they knew it all.

    Crimeny, man, don't you have a brain which can actually think about what is written, and then respond based on the result of that through process?

    You are successfully showing me (intentionally or not) that you know even less than I thought you did.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  11. #76
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel MacBeth View Post
    No. I am saying nobody is perfect. That is why I advocate reasonable tolerance.
    Daniel,
    I couldn't agree more, but...it's wrong and has been called out, you said that you have told you cabinet guys to make sure it has the 15" clearance. If they have to absorb the cost, even though it is an inconvenience to you, it is a problem that will never be an issue again.

    I speak from experience.


  12. #77
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    [quote=Jerry Peck;123137]
    From the 1994 Standard Plumbing Code, which was from SBCCI, which morphed into the ICC with the other model codes agencies:
    - P403.4 SETTING
    - - Fixtures shall be set level and in proper alignment with reference to adjacent walls. No water closet or bidet shall be set closer than 15 inches (381 mm) from its center to any side wall or partition nor closer than 30 inches (762 mm) center-to-center with adjacent fixtures. No urinal shall be set closer than 12 inches (305 mm) from its center to any side wall or partition nor closer than 24 inches (610 mm) center-to-center with adjacent urinal fixtures. See P708.

    Jerry, thank you for you response from several days ago. The issue that I am having is obstructions. I have no problem with 15" clearance to walls, etc. It is the nuance of counter tops, etc. that are a minor obstruction in my opinion. I note that you are quoting the 1994 Standard Plumbing Code. Moreover, I doubt Arizona uses the California Plumbing Code. Does the Standard Plumbing Code that you use have the "Obstruction" provision that we have in California (please see below)? If it does, do you know when the code you use became more strict to include obstructions? I am curious because the code you have quoted only discusses any side walls or partitions.

    Thank you for in advance for your comment. Dan

    2007 -- California Plumbing Code -- Effective 1-1-2008
    407.6 Setting. Fixtures shall be set level and in proper alignment with reference to adjacent walls. No water closet or bidet shall be set closer than fifteen (15) inches (381 mm) from its center to any side wall or obstruction [emphasis added] nor closer than thirty (30) inches (762 mm) center to center to any similar fixture. The clear space in front of any water closet or bidet shall not be less than twenty-four (24) inches (610 mm). No urinal shall be set closer than twelve (12) inches (305 mm) from its center to any side wall or partition nor closer than twenty-four (24) inches (610 mm) center to center.


  13. #78
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel MacBeth View Post
    No. I am saying nobody is perfect. That is why I advocate reasonable tolerance.
    "Reasonable tolerance" is not an accidental thing used to allow for known, and repeated, failures to adhere to minimum standards.

    "Reasonable tolerance" is what a good builder will do and use to ensure that he correct for known and repeated failures by allowing for those tolerances to appear in construction (as they always will) and to allow the good builder to STILL meet at least the minimum requirements.

    Here is an example of "reasonable tolerance": You building your first house and you plan on having 30 inches for the toilet space but end up having only 29-1/2 inches and the toilet is offset by another 1/2 inch ... "reasonable tolerance" is where you go "Oh Sheeit! How to Fudge did that happen? I WILL MAKE SURE TO ALLOW FOR THAT IN MY NEXT HOUSE."

    Here is NOT an example of "reasonable tolerance": You have built 500 homes and YOU STILL HAVE THAT SAME PROBLEM. That is called STUPIDITY.

    In some circles that is known as being insane: doing the SAME THING over and over again and expecting a DIFFERENT result ...

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  14. #79
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Chris, I have no problem asking the cabinet guys to make room for the obstructions. I am taking issue with the intent of the code. As you may note in my previous post and my original post, I am trying to determine when the code changed to include obstructions.

    I am not a shoddy builder. With that said, I admit that it is impossible for me to keep up with every code change. When I am aware of a code I conform. However, when I get blind sided from a nuance in a new code - I like to inquire about how the private home inspectors are reporting stuff. After a personal forty year history of building, and a continuation of a very respectable family tradition reaching back three generations, it is imprtant for me to know the point of view of all the stakeholders.


  15. #80
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Jerry, I am not trying to say that I will not conform to the code. I am saying that I have been building homes for forty years using 15" centers and for the first time I got written up for an encroachment - even though I was fine with the wall and cabinet locations.

    I am just trying to learn how long I have been unaware of the obstruction part of the code because I have known about the 15" to partitions and walls from the beginning. I don't try to cheat. However, I will admit that I am not perfect and we have missed a center line by less than a quarter inch before without getting called out. I am suggesting that was reasonable on the inspector's part because he recognized the overall quality of the home and further recognized that I do go the extra mile.


  16. #81
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel MacBeth View Post
    Does the Standard Plumbing Code that you use have the "Obstruction" provision that we have in California (please see below)? If it does, do you know when the code you use became more strict to include obstructions?
    The code I quoted was the oldest I had on my computer to show the requirement for the 30 inch space - that code was the 1994 Standard Plumbing Code.

    The following edition of the Standard Plumbing Code, and the last edition of it before becoming the International Plumbing Code, was the 1997 Standard Plumbing Code, which says: (bold and underlining are mine and answers your question)
    - P405.3.1 Water closets, lavatories and bidets. A water closet, lavatory or bidet shall not be set closer than 15 inches (381 mm) from its center to any side wall, partition, vanity or other obstruction, or closer than 30 inches (762 mm) center-to-center between toilets or adjacent fixtures. There shall be at least 18 inches (457 mm) clearance in front of the water closet or bidet to any wall, fixture or door. Water closet compartments shall not be less than 30 inches (762 mm) wide and 60 inches (1524 mm) deep. There shall be at least 18 inches (457 mm) clearance in front of a lavatory to any wall, fixture or door (see Figure P405.3.1).

    The "or other obstruction" was added to the Standard Plumbing Code in the 1997 code cycle.

    The code I was used to working with, the South Florida Building Code-Broward County Edition included that prior to then, this is from the 1996 South Florida Building Code-Broward County Edition (and was not new to that code):
    - 4613.3 INSTALLATION:
    - - (a) FIXTURE CLEARANCE:
    - - - (1) Plumbing fixtures shall be installed and spaced in a manner to permit easy access for cleaning and for the intended use, and shall be set with the following minimum clearances:
    - - - (2) Closet bowls and the roughing-in of bends shall be spaced a minimum of 15 inches from the center of the bowl to any finished wall or shower compartment wall (curb): A minimum of 15 inches from the center line of the closet tank to the edge of a lavatory, vanity lavatory counter-top, or any other infringement: A minimum of 15 inches from the center of the water closet and/or bidet to the outside wall or edge of a shower curb/bathtub, and in battery installations a minimum of 30 inches center to center of bowls plus the total thickness of partitions:
    - - - - (aa) There shall be a minimum clearance of 21 inches from the front of the bowl to any finished or stall compartment wall, door, or other fixture.
    - - - (3) Pedestal, stall and wall hung urinals shall be spaced a minimum of 15 inches from the center of the urinal to any finished or stall compartment wall, and in battery installations a minimum of 30 inches center-to-center of the urinals, plus the total thickness of the partition.
    - - - - (aa) There shall be a minimum clearance of 18 inches from the front of pedestal urinals and 21 inches from the front of a stall or wall-hung urinal to any finished or stall compartment wall, door, or other fixture.
    - - - (4) Lavatories shall be spaced a minimum of four inches from any finished or stall compartment wall, a minimum of two inches from a tub and, in battery installations, a minimum of four inches between lavatories.
    - - - - (aa) There shall be a minimum clearance of 21 inches in front of any lavatory and any finished or stall compartment wall, door or other fixture.
    - - - (5) Shower receptors and compartments shall have a minimum clearance of 24 inches in front of opening to any finished or stall compartment wall, door or other fixture.
    - - (b) PIPES FROM FIXTURES: Where practical, all pipes from fixtures shall be run to the nearest wall.
    - - (c) GROUTING OR SEALING: Where fixture surfaces come in contact with wall or floor, the point of contact shall be grouted with suitable material to provide a water-tight seal.
    - - (d) SECURING FIXTURES: Floor-outlet fixtures shall be rigidly secured to floor flange by brass bolts and/or screws.
    - - (e) WALL HUNG FIXTURES: Wall-hung fixtures shall be rigidly supported by concealed approved floor mounted carriers securely bolted to the floor or to suitable backing.
    - - (f) SETTING: Fixtures shall be set level and in proper alignment with reference to adjacent walls. See Paragraph 4613.3(a).
    - - NOTE: See Appendix A-2 for graphic reference.

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 03-08-2010 at 07:07 PM. Reason: added and revised last code section
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  17. #82
    Daniel MacBeth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Jerry,

    Thank you for clearing that up. It is extraordinary about the 18" requirement in front of the W.C. in the code quoted. 24" is the current requirement - but it is silent on 60" as quoted.


  18. #83
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Because the Florida Code mentions shower "curb", it leads one to believe that encroaching baseboards may also be a violation - especially in Florida. It appears the intent is not a big a$$ but maintenance concerns


  19. #84
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel MacBeth View Post
    Jerry,

    Thank you for clearing that up. It is extraordinary about the 18" requirement in front of the W.C. in the code quoted. 24" is the current requirement - but it is silent on 60" as quoted.
    Daniel,

    You've lost me there ...

    Not having the California Plumbing Code I can only refer to the International Plumbing Code from which it is based on:
    - 405.3.1 Water closets, urinals, lavatories and bidets. A water closet, urinal, lavatory or bidet shall not be set closer than 15 inches (381 mm) from its center to any side wall, partition, vanity or other obstruction, or closer than 30 inches (762 mm) center-to-center between adjacent fixtures. There shall be at least a 21-inch (533 mm)clearance in front of the water closet, urinal, lavatory or bidet to any wall, fixture or door. Water closet compartments shall not be less than 30 inches (762 mm) wide and 60 inches (1524 mm) deep (see Figure 405.3.1).

    The reason for the "You've lost me there .. " is that the IPC only requires 21 inches in front of the water closet, not 24 inches, and what 60 inches are you referring to?


    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  20. #85
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    [quote=Jerry Peck;123645]The code I quoted was the oldest I had on my computer to show the requirement for the 30 inch space - that code was the 1994 Standard Plumbing Code.

    The following edition of the Standard Plumbing Code, and the last edition of it before becoming the International Plumbing Code, was the 1997 Standard Plumbing Code, which says: (bold and underlining are mine and answers your question)
    - P405.3.1 Water closets, lavatories and bidets. A water closet, lavatory or bidet shall not be set closer than 15 inches (381 mm) from its center to any side wall, partition, vanity or other obstruction, or closer than 30 inches (762 mm) center-to-center between toilets or adjacent fixtures. There shall be at least 18 inches (457 mm) clearance in front of the water closet or bidet to any wall, fixture or door. Water closet compartments shall not be less than 30 inches (762 mm) wide and 60 inches (1524 mm) deep. There shall be at least 18 inches (457 mm) clearance in front of a lavatory to any wall, fixture or door (see Figure P405.3.1).

    See bold in blue


  21. #86
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel MacBeth View Post
    Because the Florida Code mentions shower "curb", it leads one to believe that encroaching baseboards may also be a violation - especially in Florida. It appears the intent is not a big a$$ but maintenance concerns
    That South Florida Building Code-Broward County Edition ceased to exist with the 2001 Florida Building Code which was based on the 1997 Standard Building Code. The 2001 Florida Building Code was replaced by the 2004 Florida Building Code which was based on the International Codes, as is the updated 2007 Florida Building Code.

    Thus, the current Florida code requirement for that is: (from the 2007 Florida Plumbing Code)
    - 405.3.1 Water closets, urinals, lavatories and bidets. A water closet, urinal, lavatory or bidet shall not be set closer than 15 inches (381 mm) from its center to any side wall, partition, vanity or other obstruction, or closer than 30 inches (762 mm) center-to-center between adjacent fixtures. There shall be at least a 21-inch (533 mm) clearance in front of the water closet, urinal, lavatory or bidet to any wall, fixture or door. Water closet compartments shall not be less than 30 inches (762 mm) wide and 60 inches (1524 mm) deep (see Figure 405.3.1).

    The same basic, and maybe even exact, wording as in the IPC, and probably the same as in the CPC?

    I must say, though, the old South Florida Building Code-Broward County Edition stated it mostly clearly of all.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  22. #87
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    2007 California Plumbing Code clearly requires 24" clear in front of a toilet and 15" clear unobstructed from center line of toilet. It further require that toilet is set square to the rear wall to eliminate the possible skewing of the toilet to make the dimensions work.


  23. #88
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    It still requires the 60" dimension. However, one could argue the definition of compartment. This most likely refers to a room with only a toilet sized minimum of 30" x 60". The big question is what about the baseboard, caing, TP holder, grab bars, door handles, etc. BTW, we never make our toilet compartments less than 36" x 84" - regardless of code.


  24. #89
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel MacBeth View Post
    Water closet compartments shall not be less than 30 inches (762 mm) wide and 60 inches (1524 mm) deep.
    That is referring to what is now known as "toilet stall" - see attached figure which did not show up in the copy and paste of the code section.

    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images
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  25. #90
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Jerry, fortunately, I do not build commercial projects so compartments do not come into play for me. Nevertheless, it still leaves the question about TP holders, grab bars, ass rings, handles etc. whether it is a stall or a compartment. Incidently, the average toilet is approx 28" deep set 1 inch from a wall. The 21" front clearance would only require a 4'-2" stall.

    One more thing that we have found - yet it is not addressed in any code is the problem with in swinging doors. I have seen several bathrooms built to all clearance standards where you'd have to stand on the toilet to close the door. Once door is closed the room makes code. I am sure they will correct this soon enough.


  26. #91
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel MacBeth View Post
    I have seen several bathrooms built to all clearance standards where you'd have to stand on the toilet to close the door. Once door is closed the room makes code. I am sure they will correct this soon enough.
    Unlikely to be changed in the codes.

    The reason why is that codes are "minimum" standards and "minimum" is what you get.

    Any builder who tries to stand on code and defend their actions as being acceptable to my clients soon regretted it as they were building high end (ultra-high end) homes and "minimum" simply does not come into play unless you are building "minimum standard housing", and there is no way a builder can advertise "custom", "luxury", "estate" or any other description of like kind and then expect to be able to put forth a "minimum" standard such as "code" as a defense for what they did or did not do - doing that just does not fly.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  27. #92
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Any builder who tries to stand on code and defend their actions as being acceptable to my clients soon regretted it as they were building high end (ultra-high end) homes and "minimum" simply does not come into play unless you are building "minimum standard housing", and there is no way a builder can advertise "custom", "luxury", "estate" or any other description of like kind and then expect to be able to put forth a "minimum" standard such as "code" as a defense for what they did or did not do - doing that just does not fly.
    Jerry, one of the things you need to take into consideraion is the entire design process that goes into building expensive "custom" homes. As I mentioned earlier, I build on very small and very expensive land. Perhaps the most expensive single family land per square foot in USA. We are always tweaking and engineering our homes to maximize space - right down to quarters of inches.

    For instance - an upsatirs master suite may have a 60 inch hallway while the kids wing may utilize 36 inch halways. We may opt to make the maids room and bath as small as habitable in order to use the allowable square footage mandated by the other codes into more important rooms.

    Water heaters are replaced with tankless heaters and moved to the attics to reduce wall thickness otherwise lost to vents. We use radiant heating to eliminate duct chases.

    It is a different world building on a site where the cost of the underlying land may excedd $1000 per square foot.

    I make this point so you will see that putting out there general statements such as "...put forth a "minimum" standard such as "code" as a defense for what they did or did not do - doing that just does not fly..." is not accurate or well thought out. There is in fact an art to designing to minimum codes in certain circumstances when the client has made their needs and desires known. We call it efficient engineering. However, I am accutely aware of the risk of getting to refined and stepping on my own toes when the field crew doesn't execute - or as I started this dialogue several days ago - a new code bites me in the ass such as the "obstruction" provision that I rightly have learned about here.

    If you read my previous posts, you will note that I have been attempting to learn what a good inspector looks for. Things like baseboards, TP holders, Towel Bars, or even crown mouldings which could technically be written up because they do infact encroach into the toilet space requirement - note: the Plumbing Code does no talk about the vertical column with respect to obstructions. The Building code does because it requests 7 feet of clearance. However, it is also ambiguos when it only calls for 30 inches clear for the toilet while it is silent on centering the toilet. Common sense tells us to center it - but technically - the building code and Plumbing code are at odds on certain matter. If you used the strict interpretation the Plumbing code would not allow a roof because it encroaches into the 15" center line column - even though it might be infinite feet in the air. But then, who is to say the TP holder or counter top are at such a height that they are not a problem.

    My point remains reasonable tolerance because nobody is perfect - even the guys that wrote the codes have short comings. In my opinion, most laws are about intent and the spirit of the law. Don't even get me started on how OJ was set free - that stuff totally misses the mark as far as I am concerned - the guy was clearly quilty and he got off on a technicality.


  28. #93
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Phillip: May I suggest that you read this several times and approach your inspections according to your desires to protect your assets and remain in business.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Harris View Post
    If you do some research, you may find the rookies go by the wayside, due to lawsuits, or no referrals for failing to properly disclose.

    If they remain they soon learn to get experienced and disclose everything the most experienced inspectors do, or pay to correct a defect for not disclosing it.



    -

    Erby Crofutt, Georgetown, KY - Read my Blog here: Erby the Central Kentucky Home Inspector B4 U Close Home Inspections www.b4uclose.com www.kentuckyradon.com
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  29. #94
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel MacBeth View Post
    Jerry, I am not trying to say that I will not conform to the code. I am saying that I have been building homes for forty years using 15" centers and for the first time I got written up for an encroachment - even though I was fine with the wall and cabinet locations.

    I am just trying to learn how long I have been unaware of the obstruction part of the code because I have known about the 15" to partitions and walls from the beginning. I don't try to cheat. However, I will admit that I am not perfect and we have missed a center line by less than a quarter inch before without getting called out. I am suggesting that was reasonable on the inspector's part because he recognized the overall quality of the home and further recognized that I do go the extra mile.
    daniel,
    FYI, the "sidewall or obstruction "language first appeared in the 1982 u.p.c. section 907(e)


  30. #95
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by brian schmitt View Post
    daniel,
    FYI, the "sidewall or obstruction "language first appeared in the 1982 u.p.c. section 907(e)
    Thank you Brian - that is the answer I have been searching for. I appreciate your help. It is amazing how many years have gone by without me ever having a write up concerning this. I suppose it is because the UBC loose language provision which most general contractors and building inspectors refer to during final inspections. As recent as 1997, the UBC simply provided that:
    Section 2904:
    The water closet stool in all occupancies shall be located in a clear space not less than 30 inches in width


  31. #96
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel MacBeth View Post
    I make this point so you will see that putting out there general statements such as "...put forth a "minimum" standard such as "code" as a defense for what they did or did not do - doing that just does not fly..." is not accurate or well thought out.


    It IS accurate and well thought out.

    What IS NOT accurate or well thought out is:

    There is in fact an art to designing to minimum codes ...


    There is no reason a quality builder would design to MINIMUM CODE, and even less reason to to try convince others that doing so is a good thing.

    If you are designing to MINIMUM CODE I would hope that you are advising your client that you are building MINIMUM housing.

    To acknowledge your intent, though, if the client wants MINIMUM CODE then giving it to them is satisfying what they are demanding, if in fact they are demanding such and you are not merely "selling" them on such because "that's how we do it here".

    However, it is also ambiguos when it only calls for 30 inches clear for the toilet while it is silent on centering the toilet. Common sense tells us to center it - but technically - the building code and Plumbing code are at odds on certain matter.
    There is no requirement to center the toilet as there is no need to center the toilet to meet minimum code ... unless you are building to minimum code 30", and then the code does not need to tell you to "center" the toilet, any builder who can read a tape measure KNOWS that if you need 15" to EACH SIDE and that if you are only providing 30", then, well, do the math ... 30" / 2 = 15" ... the toilet HAS TO BE CENTERED to meet 15" from EACH SIDE.

    Surely you are not going to try to tell me that you need a minimum code to tell you that 15" + 15" = 30" and therefore you must center the toilet between the two 30" obstructions to get 15" to each side?

    I just am not following your lack of math skills and lack of logic ... if I told you that the garage door was 8 feet wide and that the garage door operator needed to be installed with 4 feet from it center to either side ... would I then need to tell you that the garage door operator "needed to be centered" on the garage door???

    Your posts and excuses just continue to pile up as unreasonable excuses for doing what is not allowed and trying to get by with minimum code on a maximum price house.

    If you used the strict interpretation the Plumbing code would not allow a roof because it encroaches into the 15" center line column - even though it might be infinite feet in the air.
    (sigh)

    For a builder you certainly do not know, or understand, building codes - here is a question for you: What is the minimum ceiling height in a bathroom? Over plumbing fixtures? That your answer and apply it to your statement above about infinite feet in the air ... do any bells go off as to what was just pointed out?

    In my opinion, most laws are about intent and the spirit of the law.
    And the "spirit" of MINIMUM CODE is to not reduce everything you can possibly think of to MINIMUM CODE and then charge a MAXIMUM PRICE for it.

    Talk about going against the spirit and intent of the code - you certainly have shown that as your way.

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  32. #97
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Jerry, for a man that loves to be right - it seems you would first learn to read and listen. Your logic defies logic.

    First, I said the 1997 UBC only says the toilet has to be in a 30" space. It is silent with respect to the word centered.

    Next, nowhere in the plumbing code are ceiling heights discussed. Ceiling heights, ventilation, light, etc are in the UBC.

    Third, only in the Plumbing Code do you read about obstructions in the 15" clearance.

    Next, since the plumbing code is silent on ceiling heights, a person like you could make a technical argument that there shall be no encroachments anywhere in the "30 inch wide vertical toilet setting shaft to the sky" - starting somewhere around the floor all the way up to the heavens. And, you would be technically right. Yet I am sure you don't write this up because you want to appear reasonable rather than a man who strictly enforces the plumbing code.

    Then, on the other hand, you could rely strictly on the Building Code and insist that the toilet reside in a space 30 inches clear in width with at least a 84 inch ceiling. Again you would be technically right within the building code provisions but the plumbing code provisions would have hurt feelings on account of your neglect.

    So, being a man of reason, it appears you would try to blend the codes and arrive at the intent that a toilet should have 15" clear unobstructed space on each side from the floor up to 84 inches. This technically means that the crown moulding and baseboard have to be removed if either encroaches.

    However, this is where you contrdict yourself when in an earlier post you said you would not write up the crown mold. Why not - were you just trying to sound like a nice reasonable guy? Or do you need to do some more code research? hmmm - not our little always right Jerry...

    Finally, in my example about 36" hallways - why is this a sub-standard home? The code makes 36" the minimum standard. Where I build the zoning codes restrict the ratio of habitable square footage to lot size. For instance a 3000 square foot lot near the water front will cost you upwards of $3,000,000. Nevertheless, the zoning code and municipal code formula will only strictly allow a house equal to or less than 3385 square feet on this lot. Moreover, the square footage includes the garage, basements, attics over 84", etc. In other words the city officials have put a lot of thought into making sure that nobody over-builds these small multi-million dollar lots. Now you can be stupid and question out loud why someone would want to spend $5,000,000 - $6,000,000 on such a small lot with such a small lot. Let me assure you - the market for these homes was little changed by the current real estate crisis.

    So, because these clients are not dummy stupid low lifes - my job is to design maximum efficiencies and conserve unnecessary space while I maximize living space such as kitchens, living rooms, master suites, etc. keeping in mind the very desirable million dollar view.

    The irony is my willing clients spend millions of dollars for these shoddy gems that I build only to have a clown like you come along and tell them their 36" hallway leading to the childrens wing and the maids quarters is shoddy designed and constructed to minimum code at maximum price and advising them to be wary because it must have been constructed at the lower end of the housing spectrum when it comes to minimum standards and livability.

    I ahve no clue about your background - but one thing for sure - you do not have an educated engineer's mind and way of thinking. I can picture you driving through Florida in your great big gas eating 59 chevy and wonder why someone like my clients and me would be driving a puddle hopper prius when I could have so much more space.

    If you find the time to look back at my several posts over the past several days, you will see that my only purpose here has been to educate myself about minimum standards and how they are enforced in your world. You have made it clear that you are going to show up with a boat load of paper, books, and measuring devices to hang the rich. I am glad I visted so I can be more wary of unemployable scoundrels such as yourself that think they are doing the world a favor by showing off how much book knowledge they have - and how stupid they really are.


  33. #98
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel MacBeth View Post
    I ahve no clue about your background ...
    Daniel,

    Based on your posts and continued defense of building to code minimum, you are no clue about more than just my background.

    - but one thing for sure - you do not have an educated engineer's mind and way of thinking.
    This is true, I have a general contractor's mind - I want the work to be a work of pride, not some engineer's idea of "value engineering" which is a fancy pants way of saying "engineer the value out of it". "Value" is giving more than was paid for. Engineering the thing down to the last nut and bolt takes all the "value" out.

    When in your Prius look out for those lumbering motor homes, might just be our 36 footer on your tail. Here's hoping your brakes don't fail as the Prius' computer tries to figure out whether it should let the motor generate the braking to charge the batteries or actually apply some friction braking so you can stop before hitting something which stops you.

    Your Prius would probably fit nicely in the trunk of a '59 Chevy.

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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post

    Your Prius would probably fit nicely in the trunk of a '59 Chevy.
    .
    Wait a Minute Jerry,

    I never knew You had a '59 Chevy.

    Sweet !!!
    .

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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Stephens View Post
    .
    Wait a Minute Jerry,

    I never knew You had a '59 Chevy.

    Sweet !!!
    .
    I didn't/don't. They, like a lot of cars 'back then', would be nice to have as they are - as you said - "Sweet !!!"

    Mine were all Jags.

    Daniel brought that car up, not sure where he got it from. Maybe a fantasy of his?

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  36. #101
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    He has one. It is out in the back behind his 36 foot mobile home along with all the rest of his trailer trash


  37. #102
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I didn't/don't. They, like a lot of cars 'back then', would be nice to have as they are - as you said - "Sweet !!!"

    Mine were all Jags.

    Daniel brought that car up, not sure where he got it from. Maybe a fantasy of his?
    .
    Oh it was a Metaphor.
    *man I never get those.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel MacBeth View Post
    He has one. It is out in the back behind his 36 foot mobile home along with all the rest of his trailer trash
    .
    No You Didn't !
    * you'll regret that one.
    .

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  38. #103
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Hi.

    Brand new to this thread, and I am an investor that often looks at "enhance" very tight 1/2 baths by adding a shower.
    It is often a great challange, and beyond the "creative" skills (or maybe patience) of my contractors or plumbers.
    So I find myself having to design it out for initial proposal.

    So, here are my questions, and I hopre it doesn't seem like I'm splitting hairs over little detail, but in this particular case, that little detail makes or breaks the plan.

    Situation Overview: I have tight bathroom that I am trying to fit a shower and toilet side by side.
    Let's not address the details of the 30" shower width here, but just assume that after the souround, it leaves just 25" from outside surround wall to bathroom wall, and let's also assume that I can not expand out any walls to get more width.
    So the challange is in creating a 30" width from 25" to work with.
    So here we go...

    In discussion with local (Dallas) code compliance, I was told (possibly incorrectly) that the 15" is measured from the dead center of the toilet (as has been stated here).
    The dead center being defined as tip of the back of the tank to tip of the front of seat.
    I was also told that this dead center is where the bottom hole is that sits on the flange.

    THat in mind, I designed out a plan where by a neo angle shower may work.
    So the 30" shower starts to yeild space for the toilet from the neo angle.
    While the tank remains with less than 15" clearance ont he shower side, the "center" of the toilet does have 15" because of the benefit of the neo angle.

    Please see the 1st diagram/page of the .pdf


    The problem in actual implementation is that, while I was measuring to the shower door or curtain line on the neo angle area, I was not accounting for the width of the frame around the pan, which steals at least 2 additional inches protruding out into the room.

    Please see the 2nd diagram int he .pdf file.
    (In this one, I tried to draw it as 3 dimensional to show the pan fame/lip (not sure of the technical term for it).

    Because of this lip/frame, if measures at floor level, the clearance drops from 15" to about 13".

    So, I am forced to really dissect the code to figure out if technically, it can work.
    (Note that there is always the solution of moving the toilet forward, but an offset flange is already planned on, so moving it more forward would require breaking of the concrete slab, and I want to avoid that at this point).


    Question 1: When we say "center" of the toilet, can I also assume a vertical center --meaning that if the toilet w/tank is say, 32" tall, we measure from a point 16" above the floor --meaning that the base frame/lip doesn't interfere. Rather, we start 16" up, and then measure 15" out, so if the door is closer tot he interior of the shower, I essentially regain my needed 2 or so inches?

    Question 2: What is toilet center? (laterally speaking, not vertical)
    Do I measure from tip of back of tank to tip of front of seat, and then take the center of that?
    Or is it the hole ont he bottom of the toilet where it sits ont he flange?
    Or, as 1 plumber told me, but never heard anyone else say this, is it the visible drain hole inside the bowl?
    In the off assumption that it is infact this, I drew that drain hole on the 2nd diagram to show that if you use that, I do still have 15" to the outside of the frame/lip at the base.

    Question 3: Assuming the center is simple the tip of tank to tip of seat, and nothing to do with location of holes, can I "stretch" the code requirements by doing stuff like changing the tank to a shallow one depth wise, and adding a slightly elongated seat, thus shifting the "center" forward a bit, and reclaiming some of inches lost by the shower pan base framing lip?

    Any other thoughts, code issues I'm not aware of, or ideas?

    I'm trying to decide if this is worth pursuing or not.
    From a resale perspective, I really want to pursue this if it is feasible...

    Thanks to all for working this wonderful thread! (I suppose "potty" humor should follow)
    ...and sorry if this is viewed as a long annoying post...

    Attached Files Attached Files

  39. #104
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Lee
    Thanks for asking.
    Here is my view on you questions, hope this helps.

    "While the tank remains with less than 15" clearance ont he shower side, the "center" of the toilet does have 15" because of the benefit of the neo angle.
    Question 1: When we say "center" of the toilet, can I also assume a vertical center --meaning that if the toilet w/tank is say, 32" tall, we measure from a point 16" above the floor --meaning that the base frame/lip doesn't interfere. Rather, we start 16" up, and then measure 15" out, so if the door is closer tot he interior of the shower, I essentially regain my needed 2 or so inches?"



    The code does not say "Center", it says " CenterLINE"
    "P2705.general. The installation of fixtures shall conform to
    the following:
    5. The centerline of water closets or bidets shall not be less
    than 15 inches (381 mm) from adjacent walls or partitions "

    The centerline is a Line that starts in the center at the back of the tank and goes to the center on the front of the bowl.
    15" EACH side of this LINE is required to be clear.

    Also it looks as though the doorway to the shower may be obstructed by the toilet
    "P2708.1.1 Access. The shower compartment access and
    egress opening shall have a minimum clear and unobstructed
    finished width of 22 inches (559 mm).

    6. The location of piping, fixtures or equipment shall not
    interfere with the operation of windows or doors."


    Looking at you drawings, it does not appear to have the room required to do what you want to.
    It may be possible to swap the toilet and sink though.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  40. #105
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    See annotated drawing and code wording below:
    - P2708.1 General. Shower compartments shall have at least 900 square inches (0.6 m2) of interior cross-sectional area. Shower compartments shall be not less than 30 inches (762 mm) in minimum dimension measured from the finished interior dimension of the shower compartment, exclusive of fixture valves, shower heads, soap dishes, and safety grab bars or rails. The minimum required area and dimension shall be measured from the finished interior dimension at a height equal to the top of the threshold and at a point tangent to its centerline and shall be continued to a height of not less than 70 inches (1778 mm) above the shower drain outlet. Hinged shower doors shall open outward. The wall area above built-in tubs having installed shower heads and in shower compartments shall be constructed in accordance with Section R702.4. Such walls shall form a water-tight joint with each other and with either the tub, receptor or shower floor.
    - - Exceptions:
    - - - 1. Fold-down seats shall be permitted in the shower, provided the required 900-square-inch (0.6 m2) dimension is maintained when the seat is in the folded-up position.
    - - - 2. Shower compartments having not less than 25 inches (635 mm) in minimum dimension measured from the finished interior dimension of the compartment provided that the shower compartment has a minimum of 1,300 square inches (0.838 m
    2) of cross-sectional area.



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  41. #106
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Thanks Rick and Jerry.

    Jerry, so it sounds like this would basically be the dimensions of a tub (5' x 25" = 1300).

    I redrew my diagram with these dimensions.

    Perhaps it meets code, but it would be a ridiculously long (5' long), not to mention narrow) shower, and consume a great deal of bathroom space.

    Please see new diagram.

    Plus, what was originally planned with a good amount of leg space by the toilet (because it opened up at the neo angle), is now 5' long, though be it at 30" wide.

    I believe botht he shower and toilet are far less attractive, convenient, and become difficult to use like this.

    But if this is the only way it can meet code, I guess I just explain that to buyers, and hopefully they will understand and appreciate having something up to code vs. something more practical and appealing.

    Either way, code is code, and not something up for debate...


    Thanks again.
    -Lee

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    See annotated drawing and code wording below:
    - P2708.1 General. Shower compartments shall have at least 900 square inches (0.6 m2) of interior cross-sectional area. Shower compartments shall be not less than 30 inches (762 mm) in minimum dimension measured from the finished interior dimension of the shower compartment, exclusive of fixture valves, shower heads, soap dishes, and safety grab bars or rails. The minimum required area and dimension shall be measured from the finished interior dimension at a height equal to the top of the threshold and at a point tangent to its centerline and shall be continued to a height of not less than 70 inches (1778 mm) above the shower drain outlet. Hinged shower doors shall open outward. The wall area above built-in tubs having installed shower heads and in shower compartments shall be constructed in accordance with Section R702.4. Such walls shall form a water-tight joint with each other and with either the tub, receptor or shower floor.
    - - Exceptions:
    - - - 1. Fold-down seats shall be permitted in the shower, provided the required 900-square-inch (0.6 m2) dimension is maintained when the seat is in the folded-up position.
    - - - 2. Shower compartments having not less than 25 inches (635 mm) in minimum dimension measured from the finished interior dimension of the compartment provided that the shower compartment has a minimum of 1,300 square inches (0.838 m
    2) of cross-sectional area.



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  42. #107
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Lee - why not put the toilet where the sink is and put the sink where the toilet is? You can massage the dimensions and various toilet angles from there and perhaps turn the toilet a full 90 degrees toward the door. Your challenge would be more difficult here in California because we require 24" in front of the toilet instead of 21" shown on Jerry's sketch. BTW - I would verify the 21" measurement suggest by Jerry- he may be using Florida Code instead of Texas.


  43. #108
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel MacBeth View Post
    Lee - why not put the toilet where the sink is and put the sink where the toilet is? You can massage the dimensions and various toilet angles from there and perhaps turn the toilet a full 90 degrees toward the door. Your challenge would be more difficult here in California because we require 24" in front of the toilet instead of 21" shown on Jerry's sketch. BTW - I would verify the 21" measurement suggest by Jerry- he may be using Florida Code instead of Texas.
    Thanks Daniel.

    Would be great, except for 1 nasty little glitch...
    This is a central heated/cooled condo.
    The Chiller/boiler pipes run direxctly under that sink area, immediately below the slab.
    Even if can finagle toilet drain plumbing in, would be a very tricky and risky job.

    But based on the 25" rule, I have drawn several alternative plans that I *hope* would met code. Would any or all of these work code wise???

    Please see attached .pdf

    Thanks
    -Lee

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  44. #109
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Lee, I think each of these have possibilities. One of the things that you have to be very aware of is the the inspectors are enforcing the "obstruction" part of the code. It basically syas the the 15 inch clearance is measured from the obstructions. This may include the counter top on the Home Depot Sink. For instance, lets say the cabinet box is 16 inches. However, it has a counter top that hangs over the box by 1/2 inch on the two sides and front. Suppose you notched the drywall on the one side and cut out the baseboard so the cabinet fit snug to the wall. This would solve half the problem because the counter top still encroaches 1/2 inch into the toilet space. My point is - make sure you measure the cabinet and counter top precisely. The other things to be wary of are the curb for the shower. The code is vague concerning the area in which the encroachment violation will be enforced. Literally code interpretation and enforcement, which unfortunatly is what the home inspectors are currently doing, means any encroachment into the 15 inch space between the floor and ceiling could be written up. This may include towel bars, TP holders, baseboard, grab bars, chair rails, wainscote, and even crown moulding.

    Bottom line - think of everything because the home inspectors are looking at this after the installation - kid of like coaches a Sunday game the following Monday. Unfortunately, out of survival instincts and their need for food and job security (or should I say job importance & justification), many home inspectors are throwing reason out the door and nailing us with strict code interpretations and enforcement - all under the guise that the Code is a minimum standard to protect the unwary and blind Buyers.

    Good Luck - I like the way you are thinking - I am sure you will find the solution to adding the good amenity to the small bathroom. America will be a better place again.


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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel MacBeth View Post
    all under the guise that the Code is a minimum standard

    Ummm ... Daniel ... that is EXACTLY what the code is - a "minimum" standard of requirements.

    Pushing only 30" is not the real problem here, you have made that quite obvious, the real problem here is that YOU are trying, begging, pleading, to get away with less - even though it was not accidental and you do it all the time, and then try to berate others because YOU crossed the line drawn by the code.

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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel MacBeth View Post
    Your challenge would be more difficult here in California because we require 24" in front of the toilet instead of 21" shown on Jerry's sketch. BTW - I would verify the 21" measurement suggest by Jerry- he may be using Florida Code instead of Texas.
    I posted the 2006 IRC, which Texas has adopted statewide (although it is not quite as simple as that, which our Texas inspectors can detail out).

    Yes, the California code at 24" would make it more difficult.

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 03-12-2010 at 06:30 PM. Reason: Brian: Yes, the California code at 224" would make it more difficult - that WOULD be more difficult, wouldn't it? :-)
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  47. #112
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Lee,

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Birnbaum View Post
    Jerry, so it sounds like this would basically be the dimensions of a tub (5' x 25" = 1300).

    I redrew my diagram with these dimensions.

    Perhaps it meets code, but it would be a ridiculously long (5' long), not to mention narrow) shower, and consume a great deal of bathroom space.

    Please see new diagram.
    Yes, that would meet code, and you can see why I have been pointing out to Daniel that code is "minimum" as that shower would be just as you described "it would be a ridiculously long (5' long), not to mention narrow) shower". I've inspected a couple of showers built to those dimensions and it felt like getting in the shower in our motor home, which one expects and tolerates in a motor home, but not in a house.

    I took your drawing and checked the length of the door to the end of the shower, and, as you have drawn it, the door would either 'just hit' or 'just miss' the end of the shower.

    If you had to make it those dimensions, the door would logically go on the side and start from the corner of the shower near the sink, but you might not have room for a door which is large enough and still miss the front of the toilet when the door opens.

    You said this was in a condo - what is on the other side of the wall where your 6/ 8" dimension is shown? I.e., can that wall be: a) made with 1-5/8" studs along the shower wall to allow gaining the extra 2" of very critical space?

    If you could make the shower 27" inside, then 1300 sq in / 28 in = 48-3/16". Make it 28" inside and it only needs to be 46-1/2" long. Each additional inch in width of the shower will dramatically affect its user-friendliness.

    Can that wall be relocated in the 'up' direction on your drawing?

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  48. #113
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    You know this site is full of great info., and I learn a lot by reading everything that is discussed on this forum. I've got to say though, if I wrote up a toilet that was off by a 1/4 inch, it would be the last time that realtor ever referred me to anyone. I would be black listed in the realtor community, and I could go back to building and being a contractor. As an inspector there are a hundred things to consider on every item written up.
    When it became code, is it really an issue worth writing up, if I don't write it up will it cause me grief, will it make me the deal killer, will it make me lose this realtor. I think we have to become a well respected inspector before we can be so picky as to write up a toilet off by a 1/2 inch. It is a tough job with a lot of stress, and it still stresses me out to this day.


  49. #114
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I posted the 2006 IRC, which Texas has adopted statewide (although it is not quite as simple as that, which our Texas inspectors can detail out).

    Yes, the California code at 224" would make it more difficult.
    jp,
    yeah us left coasters need 224" to mount,ride, and dismount the ole porcelain pony.


  50. #115
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Philip: if you don't have at least a limited knowledge of the code, you will never be a good inspector, and will probably be sued out of business. While you may never need to cite the code, you better have a pretty good idea of how things are supposed to be built. When you go into an attic and see 2x6 rafters spaced 48"OC, I would hope you would call it out. Or see a floor joist that has been notched in the middle third of the span, or notched 1/4 the depth.

    Daniel,
    Not all of us here are unemployable idiots. There are many engineers and architects here, as well as contractors. I grew up in a family of builders/contractors. My Grandfather took pride in going the extra step, not getting by, or skating on thin ice.
    I also worked as an inspector for Los Angeles County, so I have a pretty good idea on how builders try to get by, and pass inspection. I find it very interesting how having to do something twice saved them any money (in labor or materials). More than once, I made a contractor tear out a bunch of their work and do it over.
    As a home inspector, I'm probably not nearly as picky as Jerry P., nor do I see the homes that he typically inspected. But I am considered one of those nasty deal killers by some of the Realtors in my area, so I guess I am pretty picky after all. Just not on JP's level.

    I heard an interesting story that was told to a church youth group. It relates to things that are "just a little bit....".
    Here goes...
    The woman was giving to talk to a church youth group. She had a power point presentation. She was starting the talk about sex in movies and TV programs. Some of the kids said it was OK to watch the movies, because it only had a little bit of sex in it.
    She handed out a huge box of cookies to pass around while she was giving the talk. Of course the kids were chowing down like crazy.
    Into the PP she had photos of her home, her cats, dogs, yard etc.
    She then told the group that while she was making the cookies, her cat had got into the batter and thought it was her litter box, and pooped in it. She managed to get MOST of it out, but there was just a LITTLE bit in it. Since it was so late, and she needed to get the cookies done, she just went ahead and made them. But it was OK, because there was only a little bit of cat poop in them.
    Truth is there wasn't any cat poop in them, but she made her point. I remember it well when someone tries to tell my "its only a little bit not right".

    It's really not that hard to do things right, the first time.


  51. #116
    Daniel MacBeth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Jack - it is reasurring for me and all the low life builders in the world that there are some people in the world such as yourself who has evolved into perfection. This gives all of us a hint of real hope instead of dispair. In fact, for the rest of us mortals - let us pray for grace and mercy. Let us confess our sins - we are not perfect. Not because we try to be shoddy. We do the best we can. And forgive our teachers who have taught us one way - such as 15 inch clearance to the centerline of the toilet is sufficient. Now, we pray for forgiveness because we do not go to sleep at night without the new buiding code books next to our bed beside our bibles, for we have sinned and allowed counter tops to invade the sacred throne by 1/2 inch. Please, dear lord, please do not cast us out as shoddy builders. And dear lord, forgive our fathers who trespassed before us and allowed encroachments into the sacred space. And father in heaven, we pray for those who errantly taught us that we should make sure there truly is 15 inches unobstructed toilet space - we pray for the long departed teached and hope they made it through the pearly gates before it was discovered that the sacred throne needed 30 inches of unrestrictd space. AMEn


  52. #117
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Daniel, I don't think I once said you were low life. Lazy maybe for not trying to do the right thing (by following the code), using one excuse after another on why you cant. I find it amusing that you said you don't/can't keep up with the codes.
    Forgive me, but isn't the Building Code part of your career/profession? Shouldn't keeping up with it be part of being diligent in your profession?

    You come on the inspection forum, and criticize us for being "too picky", yet we are all here to keep up with what's new and what's the "right" call, to BETTER our profession. You should spend less time here on this forum trying to belittle the inspection profession and use that time to maybe learn some building codes that might have changed since, say 1970's when you say you started.

    Like it or not the Building Code is the MINIMUM standard. So, when you choose to ignore the code, and use the "that's good enough" attitude, you are really building a BELOW MINIMUM QUALITY house.

    By the way, I am in no way perfect. Even after 20 years of inspecting, and thousands of home inspections, I still learn stuff from my friends here on Inspection News.

    AS far as your teachers showing the way?? They showed you wrong. Your focused on this toilet thing, but what about all the other codes you try to skirt, all under the guise of "well, that's the way I was taught". Lame.

    Here a story....new wife decides to cook hubby a roast. Cuts an inch off both ends, puts it in into the oven. Hubby asks wife.."Why did you cut the ends off". " Thats the way my Mom always did it, and you know she's a great cook. Next time Mom is over, Hubby asks her why she cuts the ends off the roast. Mom say, "The roast was too big for the pan, so I cut the ends off."

    If your looking for salvation, go back to the Builders forum and cry on their shoulders.


  53. #118
    John Tannehill's Avatar
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Harris View Post
    New home, toilet room is 31" wide, toilet is 13" to center on one side.
    I'm beating myself up on this for not addressing this..
    Would you write it up?
    Dan,
    In Oregon, the dimension to the centerline of the toilet bowl is required to be 15 from the wall or bathtub. The jurisdiction that I work for usually requires that most dimensions be within construction tolerances. For a 15 dimension I will give them one inch either way but not two inches. I would have called it. I hope that helps.

    JET (Building Inspector)



  54. #119
    Lee Birnbaum's Avatar
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Lee,



    Yes, that would meet code, and you can see why I have been pointing out to Daniel that code is "minimum" as that shower would be just as you described "it would be a ridiculously long (5' long), not to mention narrow) shower". I've inspected a couple of showers built to those dimensions and it felt like getting in the shower in our motor home, which one expects and tolerates in a motor home, but not in a house.

    I took your drawing and checked the length of the door to the end of the shower, and, as you have drawn it, the door would either 'just hit' or 'just miss' the end of the shower.

    If you had to make it those dimensions, the door would logically go on the side and start from the corner of the shower near the sink, but you might not have room for a door which is large enough and still miss the front of the toilet when the door opens.

    You said this was in a condo - what is on the other side of the wall where your 6/ 8" dimension is shown? I.e., can that wall be: a) made with 1-5/8" studs along the shower wall to allow gaining the extra 2" of very critical space?

    If you could make the shower 27" inside, then 1300 sq in / 28 in = 48-3/16". Make it 28" inside and it only needs to be 46-1/2" long. Each additional inch in width of the shower will dramatically affect its user-friendliness.

    Can that wall be relocated in the 'up' direction on your drawing?
    Jerry and Daniel, thanks to both of you for your input, even though so different, I think it all comes together to paint an accurate picture for me.

    I certainly do understand the reasons for min standards, the idea being that the min is really pushing it to an inconvenient small size, and it is encouraged to be somewhat bigger than the min.

    And Daniel, I certainly understand where you're coming from regarding mins.

    I once worked int he defense industry and held a top secret plus special customer clearance.
    The security "behind the wall" was so strict rules wise that no one 100% followed it because it was too much over the top.
    Was it unreasonable? That's a good question. Maybe, maybe not, but it was not my place to question it.
    However, what I did notice is that when rules were very strict and many in quantity, people tended not to follow them all, and that diluted following of the really important ones sometimes, and security was actually threatened as a result.
    In my opinion, for what it's worth, the best situation was to reduce the rules to those that are essential, and enforce them to an absolute T with no exceptions.

    The same perhaps can be said here. If rules are too strict, perhaps remodlers lean towards doing work w/out permiting. I see that A LOT in the Dallas area. A really lot!
    Perhaps the argument can be made that it would be better to loosen up the rules in favor of jobs most always being properly permitted instead of being done "under the table".
    THen again, perhaps not. It might lead to impartialness if rules are "stretched" in some cases but not others.
    It's, among other things, a philasophical debate that I don nto think I am qualified to expand upon.

    Either way, code is code, period.


    Now, Jerry, I will look into your great suggestions more.
    I am already planing thin (stud turned sideways) 2-3" walls.
    The other side of the long wall is a bedroom closet.
    Can be eaten into, but means a lot of extra wall work.
    It may even be a load bearing wall (haven't checked).

    One thing I would like to address is the discussion that followed about home inspectors and how strict or lenient they are.

    I am pretty heavily into the real estate investment business.
    I can say home inspectors are not my concern.
    I've sold many personal investment properties that had not just "minor" but sometimes major code infractions --either because the homes were old, or because someone had done unpermitted, perhaps uneducated work.

    I've also worked w/many a home inspector.
    Some are extremely meticulous and write up everything, but it is seldom an issue.
    Rather, it simply raises questions by the buyer which are then explained, and it is then up to the buyer to decide if it bothers him or not.
    For example. a toilet or shower that feel comfortable to the buyer usually isn't an issue even if it was noted to not meet code.
    A furnace with say, a flex gas hose instead of a ridged one --usually the buyer will request the seller correct that or reduce the price slightly.
    It usually can all be worked out.

    That said, in situations where it causes lendor issues, such as often the case in FHA loans... true, that can be an issue. But again, I've rarely seen minor, non-life threatening things (like slight toilet clearance issues) be a problem.

    What I AM concerned with is city inspections and code compliance (not private home inspectors).

    If I do (and permit) this job, I am in great fear that I will invest a lot of money with licensed plumbers and such and all for not because either the city will never approve it, or they will but in the end, it comes out slightly off from the plans and it fails, or major rework is needed, and then it's an argument between me and the plumber and carpenters and such as to who is responsible.
    The risk can be too great.

    I think this is a bit different scenario than builders/architects doing brand new construction, working from a clean slate from the ground up.

    THere is also the fear that a property is sold that is not up to code and later, the buyer decides to sue. --Rare, but can happen.

    If I had such a property, and the buyer did not use an inspector, I would probably voluntarily disclose the infractions, and explain them before the sale to ensure there was nothing hidden and they were ok with it.


    ...just my 2.5 cents from an investor perspective.



    P.S. --Here's some food for thought.
    In a condo with a small, private HOA such as this one, I am even finding situations where the HOA insists on things being done a certain way, which is not necessarily the way code requires it.

    In fact, in a related situation on this project, where some major slab jack-hammering and plumbing work was needed to re-do the boiler/chiller pipes int he slab, they actually insisted that I use their on staff of 25 years maintenance man to do the work, if I insisted on doing it, instead of a licensed plumber that could permit it, because they implicitly trusted him.
    It's crazy, and one of the reasons most investors stay away from condos...


  55. #120
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    D. McB:

    You blew yourself up with your "habital space" ratio argument. Habital space not the same as occupiable space vs. taxable/developed space.

    Bathrooms, halls, garages and attics are not "habital" in the Calif building or zoning codes.

    As for the rest of your ramblings, complaints, insults, excuses, illogical justifications as no singular extract of one aspect of the building codes in California stand alone, your arguments don't make your case they sink you.

    One last word for D. McB on this topic: NUTS!!



    Lee Birnbaum,

    In re:

    In fact, in a related situation on this project, where some major slab jack-hammering and plumbing work was needed to re-do the boiler/chiller pipes int he slab, they actually insisted that I use their on staff of 25 years maintenance man to do the work, if I insisted on doing it, instead of a licensed plumber that could permit it, because they implicitly trusted him.
    It's crazy, and one of the reasons most investors stay away from condos...
    That's more than likely the Condo Association's Floor your jackhammering!
    (are you sure your name isn't Gloria or Mihal?)

    In Condos it is not at all unusual, in fact it is rarely legal for the owner of a condo, especially one who is not an OCCUPANT (in residence) of a condo to be allowed to do, supervise, or contract out ANY plumbing work beyond swapping out a fixture or faucet, within the footprint of the actual owned "condo" especially not interconnecting, rerouting common elements or limited common elements so critical as building systems, potable plumbing, DWV, or something as risky as anything that might leak, overflow, or clog, especially below a floor surface, in a wall cavity beyond the "footprint" or if a chase within, one that also shares pathways to other units.

    I'm surprised you're jackhammering anything, or moving fixture locations, adding a shower, etc. Adding demand (DFUs and demand - water to the branch and entire system) without their express approval that's their building - structure, systems, etc. its just your airspace and decor.

    A licensed, permitted plumbing contractor that the condo works with, knows their entire SYSTEM (history of repairs/modifications/materials, engineering, and functioning, OR the condo's on-site maintenance engineer/staff was and is the usual modus. Many Condos will not allow anyone but their designee turn off or on a supply valve to a riser or individual unit branch. Most plumbing codes that allow an owner to work even on a free-standing single family residence as an exception to otherwise require a licensed plumber, usually do so only if owner occupied, and intending to remain so for a finite period of time beyond the completed project. Many states/locales also have similar provisos for work otherwise required to use a licensed electrician, for the owner/OCCUPANT exception, and allow "investor owners" only if they own the entire multifamily structure and reside in one of the units (owner/occupied). It likewise seems REASONABLE that a Condo Association would be less likely to "bend" their policies or rules for an investor "developer" or "remodeler" who has no intention of residing in the unit but looks to either flip it or be an offsite landlord and therefore will not personally experience the ramifications, should there be any (such as repair costs/fines down the road should there be problems - you and your plumber long gone) and "in their mind" you'd have less incentive to assure the "hidden" parts of your project are done not only minimally to code, but to the unique requirements of the building as a whole (including their experience with the demands upon the system). "They" may ( ) require more than the Minimum "code", they're allowed to - those systems "belong" to "them".

    Point being, I wouldn't be throwing stones at the condo board/association, on your many DIY flips/conversions/investor rennovation projects, for if "they" wanted to they could turn the tables on YOU. More and more such associations have and are adopting rules (some by mere rules adopted by the board and not requiring owners approval vote, some via bylaws or covenants requiring owners voting to approve) prohibiting "investor owners". More states' courts have supported those "new rules" even when not providing a "grandfather" to those units already purchased by "investors".

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 03-13-2010 at 02:11 AM.

  56. #121
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by John Tannehill View Post
    Dan,
    In Oregon, the dimension to the centerline of the toilet bowl is required to be 15” from the wall or bathtub. The jurisdiction that I work for usually requires that most dimensions be within construction tolerances. For a 15” dimension I will give them one inch either way but not two inches. I would have called it. I hope that helps.

    JET (Building Inspector)

    Well heck if thats the case, Mr MacBeth should be beating up his local city building inspector, the only state enforcement official that can permit speeding, or in this case a 1" tolerence/ exception to the building code..

    Instead he's here crying the blues, and beating us lowley home Inspectors up, an inspector that can only recommend correction of a defect.

    Last edited by Dan Harris; 03-13-2010 at 06:36 AM.
    Phoenix AZ Resale Home, Mobile Home, New Home Warranty Inspections. ASHI Certified Inspector #206929 Arizona Certified Inspector # 38440
    www.inspectaz.com

  57. #122
    Daniel MacBeth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    [quote=H.G. Watson, Sr.;124122]D. McB:

    You blew yourself up with your "habital space" ratio argument. Bathrooms, halls, garages and attics are not "habital" in the Calif building or zoning codes.

    It is you that blows up my dear Watson. Perhaps, as one of the previous colleagues, you should lern every trifling detail of the codes instead of spending time here on this forum.
    The fact is... City's have the option to ammend codes. They also have the option to enforce codes that have been approved through process. In Newport Beach we have a zoning ordinance. Within it are several development restrictions from parking to landscape requirements to height limits. It also contains a Floor Area Restriction (FAR) which concerns itself with square footage ratios to the lot being built upon. The FAR limit habital space, as defined in the Newport Beach Zoning Code is all space measured from within the outside facing of the exterior wall (i.e. face of stud on a typical residentila type V building) There are no acceptions and the code is strictly enforced to the T. All of us Architects and Builders have known about this requirement for years. The code hasn't changed but the massaging of floor plans and the refinements evolve with each project as we find ways to maximize the preferred space in the homes. We simultaneously evaluate the efficiency of the less valuable space. These decisions are client driven. Some clients want huge bathrooms and only a small TV room. Others want a theater with several powder rooms.

    When I originally came on this forum it was not to justify my shoddy construction. It was to learn how strictly some of the newest codes were being enforced. I also wanted to see if the home inspectors were allowing any tolerances.

    As I thought, I have now confirmed. They have no tolerance. Unfortunately, this means that we will be hiring Architects and Engineers to inspect our buildings for us. We find that their experience and background is based on reasonableness rather than "job justification".

    What is missed when Lee says he doesn't concern himself with home inspectors - it is the building officials that he worries about - is the fact that every thing written up by a home inspector becomes a disclosure issue further down the line. The thing that makes this significant is we may be able to reason with buyer "A" concerning what they will accept vs. repair --- however a couple years down the line buyer "A" has to, or decides to, sell and he (under California law) has to disclose anything known concerning defects to Buyer "B". It doesn't matter if Buyer "A" has lived with the defect from the beginning, Buyer "B" has an actionable claim. Accordingly, I was recently involved in a sale where the home inspector went nuts with his word processor and wrote up things that were not even in the code. For instance he said hinges on outswinging exterior doors are a security risk and the pins should be non removeable. He didn't know that the knuckle of the hinge prevented removal of the door while the door was in the closed position. However, instead of creating a disclosure issue down the line, we replaced all the hinges with NRP hinges. This petty item was one of over one hundred such nuances. Another one on the list involved the pan under the water heater in the garage. The water heater was on the 18 inch platform and the garage floor sloped toward the front yard. The Home inspector said the PVC pipe in the overflow pan should be changed to copper because PVC was not acceptable material for hot water. He also said the pipe should enpty into a floor sink/drain in the garage so personal belongings would not be soiled if the hot water heater blew. Fortunately, the water heater was on an outside wall. I ran a copper pipe (with isolator at the tin pan) to an exterior site drain that I had the landscaper install.

    There are hundreds of examples like this that bring me to this site. I am here to learn what the home inspectors are looking for and enforcing so I can be 99.9% prepared.


  58. #123
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by John Tannehill View Post
    dimensions be within construction tolerances. For a 15 dimension I will give them one inch either way

    John,

    Let me understand this ... a 1" variation with 15" is a "construction tolerance"?

    That would mean 2" in 30", 4" in 60", 6" in 90" ... which means you are going to allow for walls, doors, etc., to be off 6-1/2" in 8'??

    That is not a "construction tolerance", that is "construction intolerance" as that would not be tolerable anywhere.

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

  59. #124
    Daniel MacBeth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Jerry - using your words -- you are full of she##at. The only reason I pay any attention to you is because your ignorance could be a virus infecting all the healthy people on this forum and in this world. You are like Al'qaeda as far as I am concerned. You are too radical... You defy every thing I stand for. I did not fight overseas for your vision of America. Get a life.


  60. #125
    Daniel MacBeth's Avatar
    Daniel MacBeth Guest

    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    On account of Jerry's antics, I will no longer recommend independent home inspectors. Never. Ask any home owner who the would rather hav as an inspector - trailer trash Jerry or an Architect. The answer is clearly a no brainer. In case Jerry doesn't know, every town has several architects ready, willing, and able to make reaonable inspections for $2,000 or less. This may seem expensive on the surface - however compared to those over zealous reports prepared by the likes of Jerry - the professional reports from a repected Architect are a bargain. Jerry, your bitter approach to builders and investors is an outrage that nobody needs. May you rot in hell!


  61. #126
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel MacBeth View Post
    You defy every thing I stand for.

    From your posts on this board and presuming they indicate what you "stand for", then I accept the compliment for not agreeing with you.

    I certainly must have hit a nerve as to what you do and what you "stand for" ... based on your last few posts.

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

  62. #127
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    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Daniel,

    I hope you decide to stick around. I personally like to see things from all sides and your input is appreciated. I would like to ad though, I have met and know a few Architect and they would not know how to inspect a home and if your a licensed state you need a home inspectors license for inspecting more then there components.

    Mike Schulz License 393
    Affordable Home Inspections
    www.houseinspections.com

  63. #128
    Daniel MacBeth's Avatar
    Daniel MacBeth Guest

    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Hi Mike,

    Thank you. I am not fleeing or fighting. I have no problem with learning what the home inspectors are doing. However, I disagree with a tiny part of your statement concerning Architect's qualifications. Architects have been involved with quality controls since the pyramids. In modern terms, all you need to do is simply compare AIA document A1072007 beginning from the original version first published in 1915 through the current revision and you will see how we have been involved in quality control and enforcement for a lot longer than private home inspectors as a profession per se.


  64. #129
    chris mcintyre's Avatar
    chris mcintyre Guest

    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel MacBeth View Post
    May you rot in hell!
    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel MacBeth View Post
    I am not ...... fighting.
    Then what do you call it?

    Architects have been involved with quality controls since the pyramids.
    ...and builders built them, and inspectors inspected them.

    I hate to say it Daniel but it sounds like you are saying I will pay an architect 2 grand to let me slide before I will take a chance on a home inspector calling it out.


  65. #130
    Richard M. Pinkerton's Avatar
    Richard M. Pinkerton Guest

    Default Re: Toilet clearance

    1. Toilet must be 15" minimum from center to nearest sidewall. Write it up. R307.1
    2. Toilet must have 21" clearance in front of unit. Write it up. R307.1
    May I ask what jurisdiction this is in? I could sure use the job if their inspector isn't going to work.


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