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I inspected an old Chicago house with a three-quarter inch water main supply. One bathroom on the second floor. Water volume to all the fixtures was fine.

I got an e-mail from my clients saying that their HUD inspector told them that if they add another bathroom, which is their intention, they will have to increase the size of the water main from the street. I know inspectors make all kinds of statements that they are not qualified to make.

For the sake of argument, what would a plumber do to determine whether this is indeed true?

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Mr. HUD has it right, sort of.

Be aware that the City of Chicago has a sucker punch code out REQUIRING a minimum 1 1/4" supply to all houses, regardless of age. If not 1 1/4", then you're supposed to install a pressure pump. They're also enforcing minimum sizing of 1 1/2" and sometimes even 2" on some of the mega Lincoln Park manses. It's a bizarre sliding scale of number of fixtures to size of service; if it's not up to snuff, the boys want to see a new larger water service.

Yeah, I know. It's gotta go back to Local 130 some way or another in a make work drive.

It's only enforced randomly, and not all inspectors enforce it, but me and Hier have it on direct word from the main desk that this is the new reality.

It led to my first blatant donation to a plumbing inspector last Spring on a Lincoln Park shakedown. 2K to make it all go away.

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Good info and thanks, Kurt.

I will hazard $1500 to run new service from the street.

More like $12,000-15,000 retail. Permits alone run around $2800. Curb cut, street close, plumbing, sidewalk, etc., etc., all require a permit. If you're in the biz and can call in favors and work with a small union shop cutting you a break, you might get it in for $10,000. The cheapest service I've ever done was 8 grand a few years back. That's why it's mostly getting enforced in the 'hoods that can afford it. The CCBD and DCAP are a new profit center and revenue stream for our lively city.

Start developing report language for water service upgrades and explanations of the possibilities. It's the new wrinkle.

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Mr. HUD has it right, sort of.

Be aware that the City of Chicago has a sucker punch code out REQUIRING a minimum 1 1/4" supply to all houses, regardless of age. If not 1 1/4", then you're supposed to install a pressure pump. They're also enforcing minimum sizing of 1 1/2" and sometimes even 2" on some of the mega Lincoln Park manses. It's a bizarre sliding scale of number of fixtures to size of service; if it's not up to snuff, the boys want to see a new larger water service.

Yeah, I know. It's gotta go back to Local 130 some way or another in a make work drive.

It's only enforced randomly, and not all inspectors enforce it, but me and Hier have it on direct word from the main desk that this is the new reality.

It led to my first blatant donation to a plumbing inspector last Spring on a Lincoln Park shakedown. 2K to make it all go away.

1-1/4" minimum water supply and conduit for wiring. What other good ideas have the unions thought of?

Must be $$$ to build a shack in Chicago.

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What other good ideas have the unions thought of?

No mini splits for central heating or cooling equipment, only approved for auxiliary). (Sheet metal workers and pipe fitters)

No NMC. (Local 134). Although, after 30 years of running pipe, steel 1900 boxes, mud rings, and all the accoutrement of hard iron distribution and ability to have redundant grounding and pulling wire instead of threading rope......I'm down with pipe.

No PVC until about 1990. No copper water service until 1989 (lead supplier a political powerhouse).

There's more, but it gets redundant. Yeah, it's pretty stupid, but if you ever see a basement full of perfectly run EMT, it's kinda pretty.

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What other good ideas have the unions thought of?

No mini splits for central heating or cooling equipment, only approved for auxiliary). (Sheet metal workers and pipe fitters)

No NMC. (Local 134). Although, after 30 years of running pipe, steel 1900 boxes, mud rings, and all the accoutrement of hard iron distribution and ability to have redundant grounding and pulling wire instead of threading rope......I'm down with pipe.

No PVC until about 1990. No copper water service until 1989 (lead supplier a political powerhouse).

There's more, but it gets redundant. Yeah, it's pretty stupid, but if you ever see a basement full of perfectly run EMT, it's kinda pretty.

Call me nuts buts I'd wire my own house with EMT for fire safety reasons. I bent pipe for a couple years as oilfield/commercial electrician, EMT, rigid and PVC.

I don't agree with the rest.

Marc

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Yeah. I sometimes forget those.

Clay tile. Nothing like a 2000 year old technology to guarantee work. I know a few plumbers that put in tile, get the inspection, then pull out the clay and put in plastic. On their own houses, of course.

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Only clay drains out in the yard to the sewer. I suppose that is to support the drain cleaning contractors.

Lead mains. Maybe the politicians having been drinking too much of the water. Most municipalities started to ban them by the 1920s.

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Kurt,

All the exit and emergency lighting that I've seen in Chicago (all metal const.) is manufactured by one company. Do you know any specifics?

They do all look the same. I press the test button when doing multi-units. Sometimes they work. Most of the time not.

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Kurt,

All the exit and emergency lighting that I've seen in Chicago (all metal const.) is manufactured by one company. Do you know any specifics?

They do all look the same. I press the test button when doing multi-units. Sometimes they work. Most of the time not.

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When they don't work, it's usually because the battery is toast.

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I've heard a rumor that it's the only brand "approved" and all other company applications get "misplaced". I was just trying to get some more info. On an unrelated topic, I was in the basement of the Hilliard Towers (in China Town) and came across, what I was told, a conduit of the main electrical grid. It apparently could not be moved so they built the building on top of it. It literaly cuts through the middle of the basement. The maintenance staff built a bridge to get from one side to the other. I noted two observations; 1. It disappeared into the middle of a support column, and 2. the concrete was not dyed red. I think someone was pulling my leg. Could this be a hastily improvised design feature?

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Usually you need to duck your head going under a bridge instead of over it.

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That could easily be real. Any older City urban infrastructure is a mish mash of craziness.

They discovered some old copper bus in Evanston; about 6" in diameter solid copper housed in an old cedar log/box buried in an alley. When it blew, it was spectacular....intense greenish whitish bluish light just pulsing away...lotta damage, no one was hurt TG.

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Good info and thanks, Kurt.

I will hazard $1500 to run new service from the street.

More like $12,000-15,000 retail. Permits alone run around $2800. Curb cut, street close, plumbing, sidewalk, etc., etc., all require a permit. If you're in the biz and can call in favors and work with a small union shop cutting you a break, you might get it in for $10,000. The cheapest service I've ever done was 8 grand a few years back. That's why it's mostly getting enforced in the 'hoods that can afford it. The CCBD and DCAP are a new profit center and revenue stream for our lively city.

Start developing report language for water service upgrades and explanations of the possibilities. It's the new wrinkle.

We get around $3000.00 for a typical water service change out here in the Omaha/Bellevue area with a new tap and a 1" service,The city will still let us do a 3/4" tap if its an existing house though.

Are they making you guys install sprinkler systems in the houses ,Why in the world do they require an 1 1/4" water supply for a house?

Or is your water pressure just that bad in Chicago?[:-crazy]

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  • 2 weeks later...

Kurt,

All the exit and emergency lighting that I've seen in Chicago (all metal const.) is manufactured by one company. Do you know any specifics?

I saw this one yesterday. Plastic. And the test button was broken.

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