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Bonding and building permits in the Boonies......


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Yesterday's house was owner built in 1999. It is way out in the boonies, at the end of a quarter mile dirt track that is off of a dirt road that is in turn off a dirt road on the top of a hill so high I could see almost all of Steuben County.

The supply from the well is plastic, then galvanized before the pressure tank, then copper, except for a little PEX to the UV filter situated between the sediment filter and the water softener. I'm thinking there should be bonding jumpers at each of these apparatus, right?

The supply from the LP tank is copper and enters the house directly above the water supply. About 6' in the copper tees into black iron, two lengths of CSST (that runs right along side the ducts), and more copper. I'm thinking that I should be seeing a bond near the entrance, but at a minimum within the first 6' of copper, right?

I didn't see any bonding at all. There are two GECs exiting the panel, but they don't go anywhere near the piping. Is it more probable that the electrical inspector missed the lack of bonding, or that he never issued a final? Should I be calling the Buildings Dept. to check out the permits or just advise my guy to fix this asap?

I checked the County web site and there are several permits listed for out buildings and decks that were obviously also owner built, but no permit history for the professionally bungled patio enclosure or the house itself.

To complicate things I am working through the buyer's agent. My clients, her parents, are in Homer, Alaska and I have yet to speak with them.

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The supply from the well is plastic, then galvanized before the pressure tank, then copper, except for a little PEX to the UV filter situated between the sediment filter and the water softener. I'm thinking there should be bonding jumpers at each of these apparatus, right?

If all the plumbing is copper except for the bits near the devices, then a bonding jumper that goes around all of them or each of them should suffice. The water softener and UV filter are bonded by default

The supply from the LP tank is copper and enters the house directly above the water supply. About 6' in the copper tees into black iron, two lengths of CSST (that runs right along side the ducts), and more copper. I'm thinking that I should be seeing a bond near the entrance, but at a minimum within the first 6' of copper, right?

As I understand it, after the regulator, before the first joint

I didn't see any bonding at all. There are two GECs exiting the panel, but they don't go anywhere near the piping. Is it more probable that the electrical inspector missed the lack of bonding, or that he never issued a final? Should I be calling the Buildings Dept. to check out the permits or just advise my guy to fix this asap?

I checked the County web site and there are several permits listed for out buildings and decks that were obviously also owner built, but no permit history for the professionally bungled patio enclosure or the house itself.

To complicate things I am working through the buyer's agent. My clients, her parents, are in Homer, Alaska and I have yet to speak with them.

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I checked the County web site and there are several permits listed for out buildings and decks that were obviously also owner built, but no permit history for the professionally bungled patio enclosure or the house itself.

.....

.....

So I shouldn't worry about the permit history?

I was bored, so I went looking for online permit searches in Steuben County. I can't say I had much success. I picked a few homes at random. The county assessor site lists various "Improvements" such as decks, etc, but that seems to just be to say those are present. Is that what you are looking at? Site is http://www.steubencony.org/rpsweb/frmcriteria.aspx

There also doesn't seem to be much info before 2002, so I wonder if that's when they started putting any stuff online.

If this is what you are going by, or anything else online, I would be cautious about reporting the lack of the house permit without going to the actual building dept for a full document search.

Frankly, I don't think this is your concern anyway. Your client hired you to do an inspection of the existing structure, as it stands. A defect is a defect whether or not it has "papers".

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That is where I was looking. I look at the County online data for every house I inspect. Erie County has a lot of tax history but nothing in the way of permits. Cattaraugus, the poorest County in NY, has fabulous data; interactive maps, photos of the properties, and decades of permit history. This place was an hour and a half from home and I've never worked in Steuben before so I thought I'd look at what the County had on it.

I had real concerns that I was looking at an illegal building with no permits at all. This place had multiple electrical defects including a very scary manual transfer switch with a hard wired generator cord that likely wouldn't make it outside, 6 double tapped breakers, at least a dozen white wires identified as hot in the panel, and none of the piping was bonded. There was also a bunch of really stupid structural stuff, decks attached to the house with drywall screws, four of the worst flights of stairs I've ever seen, two of which didn't have handrails, and on and on. The only way the muni inspectors could have missed all that is if they looked at the place from the road. Did I mention it's 1/4 mile off the road?

I finished my report and sent it to Alaska last night. My client called 20 minutes later to thank me for all my hard work and to ask if I'd be interested in inspecting the next one for him. No more worries on this one.

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My business is located in NE Steuben, on the border with Yates County (where I live). Most of my work is in these counties with Yates being one of the smallest and Steuben one of the largest in NY. Towns in Yates seem to have the strictest (best) permit control while towns in Steuben are pretty "relaxed".

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Yesterday's house was owner built in 1999. It is way out in the boonies, at the end of a quarter mile dirt track that is off of a dirt road that is in turn off a dirt road on the top of a hill so high I could see almost all of Steuben County.

The supply from the well is plastic, then galvanized before the pressure tank, then copper, except for a little PEX to the UV filter situated between the sediment filter and the water softener. I'm thinking there should be bonding jumpers at each of these apparatus, right?

The supply from the LP tank is copper and enters the house directly above the water supply. About 6' in the copper tees into black iron, two lengths of CSST (that runs right along side the ducts), and more copper. I'm thinking that I should be seeing a bond near the entrance, but at a minimum within the first 6' of copper, right?

I didn't see any bonding at all. There are two GECs exiting the panel, but they don't go anywhere near the piping. Is it more probable that the electrical inspector missed the lack of bonding, or that he never issued a final? Should I be calling the Buildings Dept. to check out the permits or just advise my guy to fix this asap?

I checked the County web site and there are several permits listed for out buildings and decks that were obviously also owner built, but no permit history for the professionally bungled patio enclosure or the house itself.

To complicate things I am working through the buyer's agent. My clients, her parents, are in Homer, Alaska and I have yet to speak with them.

According to the 2008 NEC (Upon which current NY State Electrical Code is based) the only thing required is for metal water distribution pipe to be bonded in a single location...anywhere on the system.

So you are NOT CORRECT in assuming that "there should be bonding jumpers at each of these apparatus..." since none have ever been required.

Such a 'bonding jumper' connection is only required when the water service pipe is at least 20ft of metal and therefore used as a grounding electrode....and only when the grounding electrode conductor needs to be connected within 5ft of the metal water pipe's entrance into the building....and there is a detachable water meter between the grounding electrode conductor connection and the metal water pipe entrance to the building.

Since the water service pipe is NOT metal and therefore NOT a 'grounding electrode'...only a single bond to the metal water distribution pipe is required....anywhere on the system.

If you want to get 'anal' about supplying bonding jumpers at appliances on a metal water distribution system, you can certainly aks for them...but none have ever been required by the NEC....not even at water heaters....and you will having NOTHING to back you up.

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You are also NOT CORRECT in "thinking that I should be seeing a bond near the entrance, but at a minimum within the first 6' of copper" gas pipe.

Until the 2009 IRC, the entire gas pipe system was considered 'bonded' provided any single gas appliance was connected to the electrical system via at least a 20amp circuit with a 12AWG equipment grounding conductor.

If any single gas appliance such as a gas range, gas fireplace, gas water heater, gas furnace, etc... is connected to a 20 amp circuit via 12AWG wiring, then the entire gas supply system is considered 'bonded'.

+++++++++++

Everything you are seeing on this inspection is entirely code compliant based on the time of construction, is not 'unsafe', and cannot be made to comply with modern codes.

Give it your approval, then walk away.

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You are also NOT CORRECT in "thinking that I should be seeing a bond near the entrance, but at a minimum within the first 6' of copper" gas pipe.

Until the 2009 IRC, the entire gas pipe system was considered 'bonded' provided any single gas appliance was connected to the electrical system via at least a 20amp circuit with a 12AWG equipment grounding conductor.

If any single gas appliance such as a gas range, gas fireplace, gas water heater, gas furnace, etc... is connected to a 20 amp circuit via 12AWG wiring, then the entire gas supply system is considered 'bonded'.

+++++++++++

Everything you are seeing on this inspection is entirely code compliant based on the time of construction, is not 'unsafe', and cannot be made to comply with modern codes.

Give it your approval, then walk away.

Did you miss the part of the post about CSST as part of the LP distribution? Do you know the requirements for bonding NG/LP piping systems when CSST is present? It seems that you're the one that's "NOT CORRECT" - once again.
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It's been a week,

Tom has already sent his report out and did his job. The seller is offering concessions. It's in the buyer's court now. It looks like we have a difference of opinion. There is no scoreboard here. Nobody gets points for winning an argument here. It isn't worth getting worked up over. You've voiced your opinions, now let it go.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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You are also NOT CORRECT in "thinking that I should be seeing a bond near the entrance, but at a minimum within the first 6' of copper" gas pipe.

Until the 2009 IRC, the entire gas pipe system was considered 'bonded' provided any single gas appliance was connected to the electrical system via at least a 20amp circuit with a 12AWG equipment grounding conductor.

If any single gas appliance such as a gas range, gas fireplace, gas water heater, gas furnace, etc... is connected to a 20 amp circuit via 12AWG wiring, then the entire gas supply system is considered 'bonded'.

+++++++++++

Everything you are seeing on this inspection is entirely code compliant based on the time of construction, is not 'unsafe', and cannot be made to comply with modern codes.

Give it your approval, then walk away.

Did you miss the part of the post about CSST as part of the LP distribution? Do you know the requirements for bonding NG/LP piping systems when CSST is present? It seems that you're the one that's "NOT CORRECT" - once again.

Until the 2009 IRC and 2008 NEC, any gas system, even with CSST gas pipe, was considered 'bonded' providing at least 1 appliance was connected with at least a 20amp circuit with a 12AWG equipment grounding conductor.

The following is taken from the 2000 through 2006 IRC and is also stated in the 1999 through 2005 NEC:

IRC E 3509.7 / NEC 250.104

"The equipment grounding conductor for the circuit that is capable of energizing the piping shall be permitted to serve as the bonding means."

Only since the 2009 IRC and 2008 NEC has that changed.

Under each of these current Code versions, where CSST pipe is used anywhere in the gas pipe system, the gas pipe system must be bonded prior to entering the building and must now be connected to the grounding electrode system from that point either to:

-a grounding electrode

-the grounding electrode conductor

-the service panel

But again, since this house was built prior to the above requirements (1999), the gas system piping was/is considered bonded merely by having 1 gas appliance served by a 20 amp circuit.

Not my opinion.

It is a statement of Code fact.

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There were significant issues with this building that lead me to believe it was never inspected when it was built. There are structural problems, plumbing problems and a slew of electrical problems. I may have overstated the danger of the absent bonding, but I don't think so.

Interestingly, I was in the very modern mechanical room of a very small 1866 church yesterday and nothing was bonded there either. I suppose if your going to get electrocuted, a church is a pretty good place to meet your maker.

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