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Plastic access cover (garage-house wall)


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34 minutes ago, Jim Katen said:

It's a clear violation. 

I agree it's violation. Last year I seen this being done in a new development. I talked with City building inspector that was onsite, he said it was OK  and when on about fire drafting being acceptable. I pretty much thought he was full of it and was just trying to cover himself for not calling it out.   

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I just talked with the City building inspector about this, he said it's OK and that there's nothing in the code that prohibits it. He said that unless it's over 10% of wall surface, otherwise all junction boxes in garage wall would also not be compliant. This is the second building inspector that said these types of plastic access covers are allowed. I guess I need to look at the specific codes that they are using.      

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R302.4.1.1Fire-resistance-rated assembly.

Penetrations shall be installed as tested in the approved fire-resistance-rated assembly.

 

R302.4.1.2Penetration firestop system.

Penetrations shall be protected by an approved penetration firestop system installed as tested in accordance with ASTM E 814 or UL 1479, with a positive pressure differential of not less than 0.01 inch of water (3 Pa) and shall have an F rating of not less than the required fire-resistance rating of the wall or floor-ceiling assembly penetrated.

 

R302.4.2Membrane penetrations.

Membrane penetrations shall comply with Section R302.4.1. Where walls are required to have a fire-resistance rating, recessed fixtures shall be installed so that the required fire-resistance rating will not be reduced.

Exceptions:

  1. 1. Membrane penetrations of not more than 2-hour fire-resistance-rated walls and partitions by steel electrical boxes that do not exceed 16 square inches (0.0103 m2) in area provided that the aggregate area of the openings through the membrane does not exceed 100 square inches (0.0645 m2) in any 100 square feet (9.29 m2) of wall area. The annular space between the wall membrane and the box shall not exceed 1/8 inch (3.1 mm). Such boxes on opposite sides of the wall shall be separated by one of the following:

    1. 1.1. By a horizontal distance of not less than 24 inches (610 mm) where the wall or partition is constructed with individual noncommunicating stud cavities.

    2. 1.2. By a horizontal distance of not less than the depth of the wall cavity where the wall cavity is filled with cellulose loose-fill, rockwool or slag mineral wool insulation.

    3. 1.3. By solid fireblocking in accordance with Section R302.11.

    4. 1.4. By protecting both boxes with listed putty pads.

    5. 1.5. By other listed materials and methods.

  2. 2. Membrane penetrations by listed electrical boxes of any materials provided that the boxes have been tested for use in fire-resistance-rated assemblies and are installed in accordance with the instructions included in the listing. The annular space between the wall membrane and the box shall not exceed 1/8 inch (3.1 mm) unless listed otherwise. Such boxes on opposite sides of the wall shall be separated by one of the following:

    1. 2.1. By the horizontal distance specified in the listing of the electrical boxes.

    2. 2.2. By solid fireblocking in accordance with Section R302.11.

    3. 2.3. By protecting both boxes with listed putty pads.

    4. 2.4. By other listed materials and methods.

  3. 3. The annular space created by the penetration of a fire sprinkler provided that it is covered by a metal escutcheon plate.

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4 hours ago, Trent Tarter said:

I agree it's violation. Last year I seen this being done in a new development. I talked with City building inspector that was onsite, he said it was OK  and when on about fire drafting being acceptable. I pretty much thought he was full of it and was just trying to cover himself for not calling it out.   

Unless its rated.

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The garage to house is not a fire rated assembly or a "fire wall".

It IS a fire separation according to IRC it it is a single family home.

Now the argument could be made that it could be an "opening" into the home which IS addressed but I think that would be pushing it.

Do I like it? NO. Is it prohibited by code, most likely not.

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7 hours ago, Trent Tarter said:

I just talked with the City building inspector about this, he said it's OK and that there's nothing in the code that prohibits it.

In the 2014 IRC, 302.6 prohibits it. Unless, of course, the inside of the space behind that cover is lined with drywall or packed with some kind of fireblocking. 

7 hours ago, Trent Tarter said:

He said that unless it's over 10% of wall surface, otherwise all junction boxes in garage wall would also not be compliant. 

Ask him for a reference for that one. I suspect that it comes from one of the fire-rated assemblies that don't apply here. As for the junction boxes, they're designed to contain fire. That's their whole point. 

7 hours ago, Trent Tarter said:

This is the second building inspector that said these types of plastic access covers are allowed. I guess I need to look at the specific codes that they are using. 

Absolutely. Why aren't you? 

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2 hours ago, inspector57 said:

Now the argument could be made that it could be an "opening" into the home which IS addressed but I think that would be pushing it.

 

You only have to make the argument that it's an "opening in the wall" and a "penetration through the separation," which it clearly is. Look at 302.6. It says that "openings in garage walls shall comply with Section 302.5," which, in turn, talks about, "openings and penetrations separating the dwelling from the garage" and, later, "penetrations through the separation required in 302.6 shall be protected as required in 302.11, item 4." 

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3 hours ago, John Kogel said:

Back in the day, someone, such as Mycroft, would take a torch to one of those covers to see if they burn. Maybe they don't.

Send me one and I'll be happy to do it. But there's no need. Those things are just a hunk of styrene, which burns with a bright orange flame and puts out lots of black soot. 

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22 hours ago, Jim Katen said:

You only have to make the argument that it's an "opening in the wall" and a "penetration through the separation," which it clearly is. Look at 302.6. It says that "openings in garage walls shall comply with Section 302.5," which, in turn, talks about, "openings and penetrations separating the dwelling from the garage" and, later, "penetrations through the separation required in 302.6 shall be protected as required in 302.11, item 4." 

302.11 item 4 only states that spaces "around" such openings be filled and specifically states it does NOT have to meet the ASTM standard which I take to mean it could be anything, caulk, joint compound, etc. just as long as the spaces around the cable, pipe, etc. are filled to prevent the free passage of  flame and combustion products,(and the local AHJ approves it.

I agree I don't like the covers but when I read the items mentioned in the code that applies, I still find nothing to support the prohibition of pipes, cables, etc. in this seperation wall.

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2 hours ago, inspector57 said:

302.11 item 4 only states that spaces "around" such openings be filled and specifically states it does NOT have to meet the ASTM standard which I take to mean it could be anything, caulk, joint compound, etc. just as long as the spaces around the cable, pipe, etc. are filled to prevent the free passage of  flame and combustion products,(and the local AHJ approves it.

I agree. But you just know that once you take off that plastic cover, there's nothing filling the space. You could reach your whole arm up inside that stud bay, like a vet inseminating a cow. 

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