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  1. #1
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    Default How do I address interpretation of NEC 680.73 with Building Official

    I'll apologize for the length of this post, but most of it is correspondence that explains my situation. In short, is it worth my time to sit in on a local meeting to convince local appointed officials that they are misinterpreting code or should I just leave well enough alone - wait unil an inaccessible motor catches fire or something and let someone else address it. Apparently in 2005 Louisiana adopted the "Louisiana Code Council" a 19 member board to address enforcement issues, however I read last week that their position is that they can't actually "force" a municipality to comply, just ask them.

    I know that accessibility to “hydromassage” mechanical and electrical equipment has probably been beaten to death here, however I sent the following email following a phone call to both the builder and to the Ascension Parish Building Official, both of which told me that there were thousands of houses being built just like mine and that if I wanted or needed access to the motor, just cut the surround off and there you go.
    __________________________________________________ _______
    Copy of: Review of Access to Whirlpool tub motor
    Sent: Wed 3/23/2011 4:09 PM
    AscensionParish.NET webmaster@apgov.us
    Copy of:

    This is an enquiry e-mail via http://www.ascensionparish.net/ from:
    Shannon Allen <shannon@shannonallenonline.com>

    Mr. Bourgeois,

    Thank you for taking time yesterday afternoon to discuss with me, my confusion and concerns with code requirements for the residential installation of a whirlpool tub, in Ascension Parish.

    I understand that your office has posted the following Mission Statement: “We provide Ascension Parish residents and contractors impartial and professional guidance through Planning, Zoning and Permitting procedures and to help economically grow and develop Ascension Parish while protecting the safety and property of our residents.”

    If I understand our telephone conversation of yesterday afternoon, it is the position of your office that removal of a 24 square foot piece of marble (approximate dimension), by way of cutting through with a razor blade or similar object, and removing all caulking and/or adhesive materials is an acceptable means of access, as required by code, to the motor of such a whirlpool tub for maintenance or replacement of the motor or any electrical or mechanical equipment.

    It is my understanding that Louisiana requires all buildings intended for human occupancy to adhere to IBC 2006, excluding Ch's 1, 11, 27, 29 with no amendments and NEC 2005 with no amendments, among of course a host of other codes.

    The National Electrical Code (NEC), in particular, is a United States standard for the safe installation of electrical wiring and equipment and is part of the National Fire Codes series published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). It is the “authority having jurisdiction” who inspects for compliance with these minimum standards. In the U.S., anyone issuing building permits may face a civil liability for negligently creating a situation that results in loss of life or property. Those who fail to adhere to well known best practices for safety have been held negligent. This has led to the NEC becoming the de facto standard set of electrical requirements in most jurisdictions. Please advise me if in fact Ascension Parish rejects or takes exception to this standard.

    As I understand, the Louisiana (AHJ) for structural, mechanical and electrical concerns is Mr. Don Zeringue, Chief Architect with the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office and would be the one to lend guidance to questions of interpretation of governing code, again correct me if I am mistaken here.

    I thought that in December of 2005, the Governor of Louisiana, signed a bill calling for the state to adopt the International Building Code (IBC), International Existing Buildings Code (IEBC), International Residential Code (IRC), International Mechanical Code (IMC), and the International Fuel Gas Code (IFGC).

    Looking to the International Residential Code for guidance, one would find that:
    IRC SECTION P2720
    WHIRLPOOL BATHTUBS
    P2720.1 Access to pump.
    Access shall be provided to circulation pumps in accordance with the fixture manufacturer’s installation instructions. Where the manufacturer’s instructions do not specify the location and minimum size of field fabricated access openings, a 12-inch by 12-inch (304 mm by 304 mm) minimum size opening shall be installed to provide access to the circulation pump. Where pumps are located more than 2 feet (609 mm) from the access opening, an 18-inch by 18-inch (457 mm by 457 mm) minimum size opening shall be installed. A door or panel shall be permitted to close the opening. In all cases, the access opening shall be unobstructed and be of the size necessary to permit the removal and replacement of the circulation pump.

    And referencing the equipment manufacturer’s recommendations for installation of the subject tub, as noted in IRC Section P2720; citing the Mansfield Pro-fit Builders Series Whirlpools and Baths, Installation Manual, page 3 of 12:

    “2. Literature dimensions are for general reference only. Installation dimensions should be taken directlyfrom the bath. AN ACCESS PANEL MUST BE PROVIDED AT THE PUMP END OF THE WHIRLPOOL allowing sufficient clearance to make final connections and for servicing the pump and power panel. Access of at least 12” x 18” (305mm x 457mm) may be through the wall or platform apron at the end of the unit, or in the case of sunken installations, through the ceiling below.”

    And if one were to reference the 2005 edition of the National Electrical Code:
    NEC 680.73 Accessibility.
    Hydromassage bathtub electrical equipment shall be accessible without damaging the building structure or building finish. (Please note the “without damaging the building structure or building finish.”).

    This has become problematic enough that the NEC addressed this issue again this year and expanded in the NEC 2011 to include:
    “680.73 Accessibility
    The accessibility of the receptacle supplying a hydromassage tub has been revised.
    680.73 Accessibility.
    Electrical equipment for hydromassage bathtubs must be capable of being removed or exposed without damaging the building structure or finish.
    Where the hydromassage bathtub is cord-and plug-connected with the supply receptacle accessible only through an access opening, the receptacle must face toward the opening and be within 1 ft of the opening.
    Analysis: When a hydromassage tub is cord- and plug-connected, it isn’t uncommon to find the receptacle beneath the tub arranged in a manner that makes it nearly impossible to see, much less use. Oftentimes, these receptacles are several feet away from the access opening, facing away from the person trying to access the receptacle. This change now requires that such a receptacle be installed close to the access opening (within 1 ft), and it must also be facing toward the opening.”

    I am of the opinion that the use of a razor blade or similar object used to cut out the entire panel might well damage the finish, thus falling short of what I believe to be the intent of the code. While that position is by no means a professional opinion, I am certain that the fact that hundreds if not thousands of them being installed outside of code would in no way serve to amend code.

    Considering these facts, while I appreciate and respect your professional opinion, I shall pose this question to the State AHJ for review?

    Thanks,

    Shannon Allen
    _______________________________________________
    Later, I sent this email to the Louisiana AHJ:

    Ascension Parish Residential Construction - Hydromassage Tub Installation
    Sent: Fri 3/25/2011 3:59 PM
    To: don.zeringue@dps.la.gov

    Mr. Zeringue,

    To whom do I go for guidance regarding the proper installation of a hydromassage tub.

    I have spoken to both the superintendent for the builder and to the Ascension Parish Chief Building Official, Mr. Levern Bourgeois

    [FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']Lavern Bourgeois [/FONT][FONT='Verdana','sans-serif'][/FONT]
    Chief Building Official / 42077 Churchpoint Rd. / Gonzales, LA 70737
    Ph. 225-621-5700
    Fax. 225-621-5705

    Both assure me that access to the motor can be had by way of cutting completely thru the caulking and adhesive material used to secure the 24 square foot piece of tub surround. When I questioned both regarding compliance with NEC 680.73; [FONT='sans serif','serif'][/FONT]

    NEC 680.73 Accessibility.
    Hydromassage bathtub electrical equipment shall be accessible without damaging the building structure or building finish.

    I was told that “there were thousands installed exactly like yours” and that this was not an issue, this by Mr. Bourgeois. I did reply by way of email but he has not responded.

    I have even spoken with the manufacturer of the equipment, Mansfield; they pointed me in this direction:

    Mansfield Pro-fit Builders Series Whirlpools and Baths, Installation Manual, page 3 of 12:
    “2. Literature dimensions are for general reference only. Installation dimensions should be taken directlyfrom the bath. AN ACCESS PANEL MUST BE PROVIDED AT THE PUMP END OF THE WHIRLPOOL allowing sufficient clearance to make final connections and for servicing the pump and power panel. Access of at least 12” x 18” (305mm x 457mm) may be through the wall or platform apron at the end of the unit, or in the case of sunken installations, through the ceiling below.”

    IRC SECTION P2720
    WHIRLPOOL BATHTUBS
    P2720.1 Access to pump.
    Access shall be provided to circulation pumps in accordance with the fixture manufacturer’s installation instructions. Where the manufacturer’s instructions do not specify the location and minimum size of field fabricated access openings, a 12-inch by 12-inch (304 mm by 304 mm) minimum size opening shall be installed to provide access to the circulation pump. Where pumps are located more than 2 feet (609 mm) from the access opening, an 18-inch by 18-inch (457 mm by 457 mm) minimum size opening shall be installed. A door or panel shall be permitted to close the opening. In all cases, the access opening shall be unobstructed and be of the size necessary to permit the removal and replacement of the circulation pump.

    The question only arose when the equipment failed and will not turn off – thus I cut it off in the breaker box. My original inquiry was only to ask where physically the motor was located so that I could cut a penetration for future service or maintenance. But the defensive nature that both took alarmed me, and if “thousands” are in fact installed that way here in Ascension Parish, I wonder if the electrical hook-up was even inspected on them; could this not be a safety issue that I should consider?

    Your input is greatly appreciated.

    For the record, I have no problem with cutting the surround out, but that would seem, at least to me, to damage the building finish. Too, I really don’t know what I would be getting into, as the builders superintendent told me that it was glued in place then caulked and the Parish official told me that it was not glued in place, only caulked in.

    Shannon Allen
    _______________________________________
    Still no reply, so I did follow up with my original parish official on Friday:

    Copy of: No Reply to email of March 23rd
    Sent: Fri 4/1/2011 3:38 PM
    Copy of:

    This is an enquiry e-mail via http://www.ascensionparish.net/ from:
    Shannon Allen <shannon@shannonallenonline.com>

    Mr. Bourgeois,

    As I have received no reply to my email of March 23, 2011 concerning applicability of NEC 680.73 in residential construction, I must assume that your office has no opinion as to whether or not I should contact the office of the State AHJ, to address my concerns.

    Thanks again for your time earlier, during our initial phone conversation where it was stated that there are plenty of homes being built in Ascension Parish "just like mine" with no accessibility to a hydromassage motor, without damaging the building finish.

    To make the necessary repairs and to ensure the safety of my dwelling, I shall have a contractor begin this weekend, demolishing the surrouned and providing proper access to the electrical and mechanical equipment, and shall provide for video equipment to document this repair and any findings made upon obtaining proper access.

    This video documentation shall be offered to the Louisiana Code Council for review of appicability; as my question to them shall include not only how a parish takes exception to a national code, but how it is allowed to violate LA. R.S. 40:1730.28.

    Thanks again for your time.

    Very best regards,

    Shannon Allen
    __________________________________________________ __________
    Finally today, I get the following response:

    RE: AscensionParish.NET: No Reply to email of March 23rd
    Lavern Bourgeois lbourgeois@apgov.us
    Sent: Mon 4/4/2011 7:17 AM
    To: Shannon Allen
    Cc: Richard Compton
    Mr. Allen,

    I have reviewed my e-mails received on Wednesday March 23, 2011, but I do not find that I received an e-mail from you on this date. If this is an error on my part or the parish's system I certainly apologize, but I can reply to your e-mail below.

    Section 680.73 does address accessibility to a hydro massage bathtub without damaging the building structure or building finish.

    This issue has been discussed many times in the pass due to the unsightly appearance of an access door if built into the front bottom side of the tub. There are some homes which have access from a side panel, but many homes do not have that pleasure but only the front bottom of the tub for an area to access. Also it has been found that the small access panel which is an acceptable access to the underside equipment for most part are very small and makes it difficult to make repairs or maintenance. The code does not state how large the access panel must be, but only states that the building structure or building finish is not to be damaged when repairs or maintenance becomes necessary. There have been many homeowners and contractors that have addressed this issue for acceptable access to the equipment of the tub by allowing the front panel to be caulked and thus when a repair or maintenance is necessary, simply cut the caulking with a utility knife for access. This method of access is not damaging the "Building Structure or Finish". By removing the entire front panel, this opens up the entire front thus more room for needed attention of the equipment. Once the repair or maintenance is complete, simply re-caulk the front panel.

    There will be a Residential Contractor's Board meeting on Wednesday April 20, 2011, at 4:00 pm, at the Department of Public Works Conference room, 42077 Church Point Rd, Gonzales, La. 70737. If you wish, I can place this item on the agenda and you may address your concerns to the board. This board governs the Building Department of Ascension Parish and hopefully we can come to a resolve of this interpretation . Please let me know.

    With Best regards;

    Lavern Bourgeois CBO
    Building Official
    Ascension Parish
    42077 Church Point Rd.
    Gonzales, La. 70737
    Office 225-621-5715
    Fax 225-644-6044
    __________________________________________________

    So, do I go and see if I can convince a bunch of appointed locals that their interpretation of the code is incorrect or is there a better way to do this?

    Thanks

    Shannon

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: How do I address interpretation of NEC 680.73 with Building Official

    Well, if you have the time and energy to go to a meeting then I say Go For It! Now being realistic it is very doubtful that you will change their minds.
    It sounds like the AHJ for the Parish has his mind set, and truth be known it is most likely due to some political reason. You know how LA and local politics go hand n hand!

    Are you a home inspector or a just a homeowner?

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

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    Default Re: How do I address interpretation of NEC 680.73 with Building Official

    I would go to the meeting and raise questions. Say why is the building official siding with the builder, who exactly does he work for, is he accepting fat white envelopes, where is he getting his info to allow a variance for the builder to build contrary to adopted code, is there a variance in writing, what are the officials qualifications in writing, just because it is being done doesn't make it right, if there is no access panel how will the BO verify proper and safe electrical installation and protect the public from hazard?
    But that's just me and I like going after those guys.
    Go to askcodeman.com and ask Jerry. He is a Guru and probably much more familiar with local antics down there. I'm sure Jerry can help you drive them into an oil slick.

    www.aic-chicago.com
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    Default Re: How do I address interpretation of NEC 680.73 with Building Official

    record first post, i'm sure H.G and ted are drooling

    chas


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    Default Re: How do I address interpretation of NEC 680.73 with Building Official

    The apron end panel you describe from the manufacturer is caulked in place? Why would you be removing a surround wall panel to access under the tub? Makes no sense.

    If you are worried about damaging the finish - use a "plastic razor blade" to "cut" the caulk. Start at the floor/base end of the "seam". You may find you can easily pull a string forward, and simply pull/unzip the remainder as you pull it out away from the tub panel and floor. Order the gasket and use that instead when you set the end panel back in position.

    Why wouldn't you go ahead and send your original email to Mr. B? Seems formatting error or something prevented his receipt. Then of course he could be reminded that the code does speak to a minimum access size, unless otherwise (larger) specified by the manufacturer and in accordance with its LISTING (labeling, etc.) instructions.

    The access door or panel does not have to be from within the bathroom. Oftentimes an access door or panel can be found via a linen closet, or a closet wall in an adjacent room.

    A photo or perhaps a few might be helpful.

    It would also be clearer if you indicated what the point actually is. You apparently need access to maintain or service your tub unit, are beyond the builder's warranty period, and don't know where it is, is that right? Are you the original owner/occupant? What (if anything) is indicated on the plans?

    Do you have the original paperwork (instructions/owner's manual/warranty info) on your hydro-tub?

    If the tub is cord & plug connected there must be access, ready access.
    If the receptacle within is a combination gfci receptacle even caulking in place defeats the listed instructions of the receptacle which recommends testing the function monthly (the test/reset buttons).

    You aren't going to get very far claiming or implying tortious personal liability or negligence upon/to a local code inspector (Mr. B.). If you think you have a claim against the builder that is a something else entirely.

    Crawlspace, basement or occupied floor below? checked for from under the floor access?

    What plumbing code was applicable at the time of construction/installation.

    Not enough information, or details specific to your situation and/or question and/or concern.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 04-04-2011 at 09:14 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How do I address interpretation of NEC 680.73 with Building Official

    To clarify, I do not have plans for the home, thus my question to the builder.

    I don't think or even desire a claim against anyone - I don't mind repairing this myself, but think it such a waste to impose a cost of a building permit, collected by a local government, to ensure compliance with building code - if in fact these same codes are not going to be enforced.

    I was merely pointing out that "only in Louisiana" could we enact a law, set up a council to ensure enforcement, then give them absolutely no authority to enforce any decision or determination that they make - they can merely ask nicely if local governments would comply with state law.

    This tub is on the first floor and I don't know of any basements in south Louisiana - we'd call those indoor swimming pools.

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    Default Re: How do I address interpretation of NEC 680.73 with Building Official

    oops forgot - the gfi is located on the wall in the bedroom, however no access.

    I have since received a call and email from the local building official:

    "Section 680.73 does address accessibility to a hydro massage bathtub without damaging the building structure or building finish.
    This issue has been discussed many times in the pass due to the unsightly appearance of an access door if built into the front bottom side of the tub. There are some homes which have access from a side panel, but many homes do not have that pleasure but only the front bottom of the tub for an area to access. Also it has been found that the small access panel which is an acceptable access to the underside equipment for most part are very small and makes it difficult to make repairs or maintenance. The code does not state how large the access panel must be, but only states that the building structure or building finish is not to be damaged when repairs or maintenance becomes necessary. There have been many homeowners and contractors that have addressed this issue for acceptable access to the equipment of the tub by allowing the front panel to be caulked and thus when a repair or maintenance is necessary, simply cut the caulking with a utility knife for access. This method of access is not damaging the "Building Structure or Finish". By removing the entire front panel, this opens up the entire front thus more room for needed attention of the equipment. Once the repair or maintenance is complete, simply re-caulk the front panel.

    There will be a Residential Contractor's Board meeting on Wednesday April 20, 2011, at 4:00 pm, at the Department of Public Works Conference room, 42077 Church Point Rd, Gonzales, La. 70737. If you wish, I can place this item on the agenda and you may address your concerns to the board. This board governs the Building Department of Ascension Parish and hopefully we can come to a resolve of this interpretation . Please let me know.



    With Best regards;

    Lavern Bourgeois CBO
    Building Official
    Ascension Parish"

    Thought about going, however I see little need in arguing this point at a Parish level, as local municipalities have no authority to govern state mandated code.

    Oh well, I'll just fix it and cut a hole in mine -


  8. #8
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    Default Re: How do I address interpretation of NEC 680.73 with Building Official

    Quote Originally Posted by Shannon Allen View Post
    To clarify, I do not have plans for the home, thus my question to the builder.

    I don't think or even desire a claim against anyone - I don't mind repairing this myself, but think it such a waste to impose a cost of a building permit, collected by a local government, to ensure compliance with building code - if in fact these same codes are not going to be enforced.

    I was merely pointing out that "only in Louisiana" could we enact a law, set up a council to ensure enforcement, then give them absolutely no authority to enforce any decision or determination that they make - they can merely ask nicely if local governments would comply with state law.

    This tub is on the first floor and I don't know of any basements in south Louisiana - we'd call those indoor swimming pools.
    If that front panel is a piece of man made marble/faux marble I bet that it is only attached with silicone around the edges. This is a common method for attaching the front panel. They are fairly simple to remove, all you do is to take a utility knife and run it around the edge to cut the silicone and you should be able to removed it with ease.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
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    Default Re: How do I address interpretation of NEC 680.73 with Building Official

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    If that front panel is a piece of man made marble/faux marble I bet that it is only attached with silicone around the edges. This is a common method for attaching the front panel. They are fairly simple to remove, all you do is to take a utility knife and run it around the edge to cut the silicone and you should be able to removed it with ease.
    This type of installment is common in the Dallas Fort Worth area. It actually allows for a larger and better working area. I could only imagine a contractor trying to get both hands inside a small 12 X 12 area to disconnect and remove any parts.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: How do I address interpretation of NEC 680.73 with Building Official

    Thanks all - that's exactly what I am going to do.

    The question at hand wasn't how do I fix the problem, it was rooted in the fact that code requires accessibility without damaging the building structure or finish. I'm pretty sure a razor or even a plastic knife will damage the finish.

    I'm also pretty sure that if this motor were to ever catch on fire, I don't know how calmly I could cut the adhesive away to access the problem.

    If we are not going to follow the code why have a code and why charge for permits to pay for enforcement of code - let's just charge you and call it what it is - a tax.


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    Default Re: How do I address interpretation of NEC 680.73 with Building Official

    Quote Originally Posted by Shannon Allen View Post
    Thanks all - that's exactly what I am going to do.

    The question at hand wasn't how do I fix the problem, it was rooted in the fact that code requires accessibility without damaging the building structure or finish. I'm pretty sure a razor or even a plastic knife will damage the finish.

    I'm also pretty sure that if this motor were to ever catch on fire, I don't know how calmly I could cut the adhesive away to access the problem.

    If we are not going to follow the code why have a code and why charge for permits to pay for enforcement of code - let's just charge you and call it what it is - a tax.
    You are only cutting the silicone which is the sealant holding the panel. With a solid surface front like you have that is about the only option. Personally, I see nothing wrong with that type of panel attachment.

    If the motor was to catch fire and it did not trip the breaker then I would be calling the fire department. More folks are killed or burned trying to put out fires instead of waiting for the professionals to do it.

    As for the building codes, keep in mind that the local AHJ can choose how to adopt them right or wrong.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: How do I address interpretation of NEC 680.73 with Building Official

    Thanks again for the input, but bear in mind that Louisiana Revised Statute 40:1730.28 sets forth the minimum standards as adopted by legislature, the NEC is adopted without exception.


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    Default Re: How do I address interpretation of NEC 680.73 with Building Official

    I think the sticking place is the definition of "damage to building finishes" which seems readily apparent to me that cutting your way in to provide access is going to damage the "building finish" since repair by way of replacing the caulk will be needed once you are done. If there is any disagreement here, ask how many inspectors cut their way in to inspect this area... my guess is none that are still in business after damaging the seller's home

    I call this out as a deficiency on almost every house I see but even though things are getting better with recent changes in wording, it is an ongoing practice to seal up the motors here, even behind tile.


    The fire issue is a non-starter since that is not the intent of the access panel.

    Basically you have competing issues here and there person with the biggest lobby wins. Unless you deal with this on a daily basis, fix your house how you want it and move on. Life is too short to sweat the small stuff.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  14. #14
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    Default Re: How do I address interpretation of NEC 680.73 with Building Official

    not sweating it at all -it was merely a question. I thought that was what this board was for.

    I work on a daily baisis with the boiler code - think I'll tell my AI this week - that's just how we started doing things, see what he says.

    Really this is no big deal, but if we are not going to abide by a code, why bother having one?

    Let's do away with governmental building officials all together - besides, even if they do their job they cannot be held accountable.

    This was just another one of those things that make me go hummmmmmm.


    Funny how all of the permiitting and code interpretation process is "open to interpretation" but the fee collection is pretty cut and dry - guess we have our priorities in place.


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    Default Re: How do I address interpretation of NEC 680.73 with Building Official

    If thats a cultured marble tub/riser it will need to be secured /glued on the back side, top and bottom, and verticle supports every couple feet so it won't warp. If you need to remove the panel if installed properly the chance of getting it off in one piece is not good.

    Been there, done that, watched the customer go round and round with the local inspector. Like stated it will depend on the local AHJ. If an access wont work on an interior or exterior wall, the accepted way here is cut the riser panel, 24" plus opening, secure it with screws, and cover the seam with a batten strip.

    Last edited by Dan Harris; 04-05-2011 at 08:28 AM.
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    Default Re: How do I address interpretation of NEC 680.73 with Building Official

    Quote Originally Posted by Shannon Allen View Post
    not sweating it at all -it was merely a question. I thought that was what this board was for.

    I work on a daily baisis with the boiler code - think I'll tell my AI this week - that's just how we started doing things, see what he says.

    Really this is no big deal, but if we are not going to abide by a code, why bother having one?

    Let's do away with governmental building officials all together - besides, even if they do their job they cannot be held accountable.

    This was just another one of those things that make me go hummmmmmm.

    Funny how all of the permiitting and code interpretation process is "open to interpretation" but the fee collection is pretty cut and dry - guess we have our priorities in place.
    Yes, this is the place for those questions

    Lot's of things around building codes make me go hummmm, but realize building codes are written by building officials for the most part and sometimes I think there is a little ambiguity written intentionally just to appease some factions. Why else would some areas be so buttoned down with plain wording and others so convoluted to require a building official to "interpret" what was in the code?

    Jim Luttrall
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    Plano, Texas

  17. #17
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    Default Re: How do I address interpretation of NEC 680.73 with Building Official

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    Yes, this is the place for those questions

    Lot's of things around building codes make me go hummmm, but realize building codes are written by building officials for the most part and sometimes I think there is a little ambiguity written intentionally just to appease some factions. Why else would some areas be so buttoned down with plain wording and others so convoluted to require a building official to "interpret" what was in the code?
    Sounds a bit like the dilemma with our SOP and its proposed commentary in our neck of the woods. Eh, Jim?

    But to stay on thread, I agree with Jim. I don't think you should have cut anything to open an access panel. When I come across a panel like Mr. Allen's, I make a note of "inaccessable" and notate why. To cut that panel out for inspection would mean that I would have to have a caulk gun and sealant to put it back in place. Way beyond the scope of my inspection.

    I see this quite a bit as well. More often then not, I see an access in a closet or WC wall with a nice wooden panel or trimmed piece of drywall screwed in place. Unfortunately (on newer homes) the painters have usually puttied over the scew holes, caullked the perimter and painted everthing. To remove such a panel as this, it would be nearly impossible to not damage the paint, etc., by cutting away the caulk and digging out the putty.

    Sometimes I see where a 12x12 hole has been cut in the front of the tub skirt and another piece of cultured marble screwed and then caulked to the skirt as a cover. Do I cut the caulk then? No.

    I agree that code interprtation can be very frustating. Believe me I've quoted code verbatim to no avail.

    I say go to the meeting and speak your mind. Certainly won't hurt.


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