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#176449 - 04/01/08 09:46 PM Energy not electric code  
schenimann  Offline
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 193
Western North Carolina
So I call in a rough in residential inspection at 8:45 Monday morning. I tell the inspector permit number and what I need. He informs me he just came out of a meeting and that effective immediately they will be enforcing the 2005 energy code. Shouldn't be a problem for me, I do electrical. They want a "thermal envelope" around the house and all penetrations goiong out need to be sealed. Has nothing to do with electrical saftey but rather energy conservation. I have to drive 45 minutes and seal two dozen openings. Not rally a big deal and maybe some of you already are doing this, but I don't like finding out the morning while I'm calling in for inspection. Just something else to increase the cost of a house. Thanks for listening.

Building Codes & Related References

#176453 - 04/02/08 01:26 AM Re: Energy not electric code [Re: schenimann]  
gfretwell  Offline

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,057
My thought is you ain't seen nothin yet. Florida just added an interesting rule to the energy code here. If you swap out a HVAC condenser, one for one, you not only need an electrical permit and an HVAC permit, you also need need an energy calculation for the house by an engineer or certified energy consultant.
The owner might have to put in thousands of dollars into sealing up and insulating their house before they can fix the A/C
The government is rapidly spinning out of control

I suspect the unintended consequence is there will be trunk slammers putting in gray market AC units without any permits of inspections at all.

Greg Fretwell

#176459 - 04/02/08 08:54 AM Re: Energy not electric code [Re: gfretwell]  
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Blue Collar Country

Codes run amok, and maybe even in conflict with each other? Electric, Fire, Building, Environmental, Energy, LEED, etc .... gee, I wonder how that could ever happen?

Permit costs in the order of thousands of dollars, for a rather simple remodel? Almost routine now.

Load calculations for a job? What a concept.

Grey market HVAC? Like the one I encountered, that had no nameplate?

I've made the point that code administration has got out of control a few times here .... only to have some folks scream 'you're too political.' Well, that's what it is - a political issue, which can be addressed only in the political arena.

The results are:
- My current job has had so many inspections, from so many parties, that I've lost count; and,
- Another recent job saw what should/could have been a $100K building put up at a cost of nearly a Million dollars. We also had a DAILY presence of an inspector on the site.

#176465 - 04/02/08 11:58 AM Re: Energy not electric code [Re: renosteinke]  
gfretwell  Offline

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,057
Permit costs in the order of thousands of dollars, for a rather simple remodel? Almost routine now.

I ran into that brick wall myself. I was being a citizen and tried to get a permit to replace an aluminum and glass "Florida room" with block. I had engineering for the trusses, engineered window and door systems and I was really just down to a block wall. Long story short, $400 later I still did not have drawings of that wall that the county would accept. (3 stamped/sealed pages of engineering was still not enough) I have abandoned the project. It became apparent to me that it cost more to draw a picture of a block wall than it will to build it.
The government is clearly out of control.

Greg Fretwell

#176467 - 04/02/08 12:16 PM Re: Energy not electric code [Re: gfretwell]  
SteveFehr  Offline
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,198
Chesapeake, VA
It's almost like they're actively encouraging non-compliance and uninspected work in your area.

My city has been the exact opposite- they're so overworked, inspections and permit approvals are a joke, more of a spot-check than a real inspection. As a private individual, I designed walls, diaphragms, did mechanical, electrical and structural calculation, etc, with full blessing from the city to proceed. About halfway through the addition (with all the rough-in inspections completed) I got my PE license, and was anxious to stamp something, though hesistant to stamp anything unless it absolutely required it as I don't have E&O insurance... but they didn't so much ask ask for the I-joist tables. I should have just gone ahead and charged the AC myself, I doubt they'd have cared I'm not certified to work with refrigerant.

#176469 - 04/02/08 05:38 PM Re: Energy not electric code [Re: SteveFehr]  
gfretwell  Offline

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,057
I think this is this is a result of being overworked or so they would have you believe. They did take in about 3 that day and my 326 square foot put them over the top. (I was permit #36 in mid February). wink
The most charitable thing I can say is we have probably made the Florida Building Code so complex that the building officials don't trust their people to review the permit. They want an engineer to sign everything. The engineer was baffled too. He told me what they want us to build so far exceeds what the real engineering numbers say for any possible load condition that he is just reading off a chart and writing it down.

Greg Fretwell

#179623 - 07/24/08 01:03 PM Re: Energy not electric code [Re: gfretwell]  
earlydean  Offline
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 751
Griswold, CT, USA
And yet, when the hurricane blows through, who complains that the inspectors should not have allowed that sub-standard construction to be installed in the first place?

Why do you think that thousands die in other less fortunate countries, versus a handful, if any, in the U S of A?


#179630 - 07/24/08 09:25 PM Re: Energy not electric code [Re: earlydean]  
gfretwell  Offline

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,057
The problem is we have so much code churn the inspectors don't even understand what they are inspecting.
In fact the engineer I hired said the engineers don't really understand it either and just work from interpretations they get in the mail. There is no real "engineering" going on in residential, in spite of the fact that it is required to get a permit.
Our wind code is so far and above any other state that we don't really have any real world experience in the 2001 code, much less the 2007 revisions to the 2004 or 2006.
I know when I looked at damage from Charley and Wilma, it was virtually all in homes built before any of these changes.
The classic example you see and hear was Andrew but when they actually looked at the damage, it was stuff that wasn't even compliant in 1992. (things like roof sheathing with a dozen nails per 4x8 and missing "clips", shingles with a couple staples, not nailed etc). Miami/Dade already had the strongest code in the country, it was just not being complied with or enforced. That is not a code problem, it is an builder and inspection problem.
I really think it is time to say "no mas" to all code changes, including the NEC, FOR 10 YEARS except things that correct confusing language and basic errata. NO NEW RULES.

Let's let the dust settle and see where we are.

Greg Fretwell

#179633 - 07/24/08 10:43 PM Re: Energy not electric code [Re: gfretwell]  
homer  Offline
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 68
Vancouver, WA, USA
The code rewrite system and timing has become a vehicle for many individuals and organizations (can you say NFPA) to make a large amount of money. The manufacturers use the code to require purchases of more equipment and products. There would be a lot less work for code update instructors if the code did not change so often.
The NEC has become so large and cumbersome that most electricians have little hope of ever understanding it. Even the practice of taking update classes every three years is mostly eyewash. Understanding good electrical practice requires just that--practice. Just about the time that we become accustomed to using the latest code, it is time to change to the next version.
It would be a real slap at NFPA if many states refused to accept the arc fault protection section of the 2008 code. What a joke that is. There will be more fires from overheating panelboards, because the panels are not designed to remove the excess heat from a high number of arc fault breakers.
Because of the profit motives involved, there is very little hope of ever changing the update schedule to something more reasonable, such as 5 to 10 years.
Another cynical wireman

#179634 - 07/24/08 11:32 PM Re: Energy not electric code [Re: homer]  
gfretwell  Offline

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,057
Ramming AFCIs into the code before they were perfected was a real mistake. Now we have thousands (millions ?) of obsolete AFCIs installed that were force fed onto the customers.
They paid a premium price for a less capable breaker than what we have now and far less capable than the promise.
I still can't get an answer about how many of the recalled SqDs that actually got replaced.
If they had waited until the technology matured the product might have sold itself. Instead of that they did development and testing in the customer's home at the point of a government gun.

Greg Fretwell

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