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Closet - Mechanical Room No Drywall?


fqp25
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I did an inspection yesterday in which there was a bedroom in the basement. The family buying the house told me that they were planning on using it as a bedroom.

The closet was actually the area under the staircase, which shared a stud framed wall (No Drywall) with the mechanical room. Without the drywall, one might say; there's mechanicals in a bedroom closet. The furnace is a Cat-4, (Drawing combustion air from outside), and the water heater is a High Efficiency (power vent).

There is another door to the mechanical room, however without drywall in the closet, could this WH draw combustion air from the bedroom? I want to make a recommendation to have this closet drywalled for a fire protection, but I'm looking for some more ammunition, just in case somebody cries "Code!".

For what it's worth; this municipality goes by BOCA.

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I want to make a recommendation to have this closet drywalled for a fire protection, but I'm looking for some more ammunition, just in case somebody cries "Code!".

Make the recommendation! If someone cry's "code" because you are looking out for there safety and the safety of others, shame on them.

Thanks for the opportunity!

Craig

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Thanks, sometimes my brain gets tongue tied. I wanted to make my recommendation on more basis than "It's Just the Right Thang To Do!" The house is 4 years old and this family is going to be the second owners, so I guess I shouldn't have to worry about Mr Know-It-All Builder faxing me his occupancy pass from some City Inspector.

And yes, this was designed as a bedroom from the start, in regards to Egress Requirements.

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It really does not matter if it is required by the local code or not, as the house has been issued a CO. Now before all of you code folks get your boxers all bunched up, we need to keep in mind that code only really comes into play when the house is built, remodeled or a permit is taken out for some work. Then we can say; It MUST be _______ to meet code.

What I advise inspectors to do is to simply report what you have found. Then if you think some additional work needs to be done to make it safer, they by all means report all you want. I would however stay away from the following words; Must and Required. We are home inspectors and we can't require anything. We just report what we find.

When I find items that I know need correction due to possible hazards, I like to say; For increased safety the _______ needs correction. Not may folks will argue for increased safety.

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Originally posted by Scottpat

It really does not matter if it is required by the local code or not, as the house has been issued a CO. Now before all of you code folks get your boxers all bunched up, we need to keep in mind that code only really comes into play when the house is built, remodeled or a permit is taken out for some work. Then we can say; It MUST be _______ to meet code.

Sorry Scott, but that sounds a little strange.and I don't know if you meant it the way it reads. I don't consider myself "code folk" but just because the city inspector (probably without getting out of his car) issued a CO doesn't negate the need to bring things (especially safety items) up to code when the house finally gets its first(?) inspection 4 years later. The certificate is a nice piece of paper but it doesn't seem to miraculously fix all the crap we find in new houses!

In FQP case, it sounds like the HVAC installers got there before the drywall guys had finished...or maybe the drywallers just spaced out.

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Originally posted by Scottpat

It really does not matter if it is required by the local code or not, as the house has been issued a CO. Now before all of you code folks get your boxers all bunched up, we need to keep in mind that code only really comes into play when the house is built, remodeled or a permit is taken out for some work. Then we can say; It MUST be _______ to meet code.

I can't quite agree with that as it seems to be written. If a house was built in 2001 under the 2000 IRC it should still be possible to cite violations of that particular code in that particular house 10 years later, even if it has a CO. Just because it was missed at the start doesn't mean you can't call them on it later. If you're saying the AHJ's aren't gonna run out there and make them fix whatever it is you're probably right, but that doesn't make the cite wrong.

I'm just glad we aren't limited to code like the AHJ's are. I can recommend anything I believe is needed, in the code or not. Do it or don't do it, don't care who pays for it if it does get done; my job is to offer the best possible advice for my client.

Brian G.

Citing Common Sense More Than Any Code [:-mischie

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"we are not code inspectors"

I keep reading that on the forums.

We really are.

Most of what we do is based on codes and/or manufacturers installation instructions.

I have no problem quoting code to clients and, in fact, do it frequently, especially when it is a safety issue.

Coincidentally, I found a gas furnace in a bedroom closet yesterday - a prohibited location. The installation didn't meet any of the exceptions. - by the way, the house was 40+ years old.

After I give them the info, I take Brians position - I don't care if, when, how, etc., it gets fixed. I did my part.

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Hi,

I think maybe what Scott was trying to say is that there is a difference between "inspecting" to code/standards versus "enforcing" those codes/standards. The difference between those two concepts should mean a difference in the language/tone used in the report (which contains advice, using words such as "should" and "ought") as compared to a code inspection (which will contain mandates, using words such as "shall" and "must").

Is that somewhere close, Scott?

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Do the requirements for return air separation from a furnace change if it's a CAT 4 drawing combustion air from the outside? Saw one yesterday in condo conversion, in a small mechanical closet off them main hallway, with a small return grill in the return plenum just ahead of the furnace (there was an additional main return elsewhere.)

This seems wrong to me - for starters even if back-drafting is no longer an issue with this arrangement the return has opening GOT to be depressurizing the closet, so any leakage at the exhaust vent would still be recirculated throughout the house irrespective of the fact that there is (should be) no combustion air draw from within the structure.

BUT... the darn thing apparently passed city (Chicago) inspection - is this now kosher, at least in Chicago?

Kurt?

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Thanks John. She was an eight year old Boarder Collie. She went outside, came back in laid down and that was it. No idea what happened. Cold nose, clear eyes overall good health. Just one of those things.

Geez Scott, that's real sad. My sympathies to your family.

I have a ten year old border collie that's my absolute best friend. She still acts like she did as a puppy. When she goes, I'll be a wreck for weeks. The wife says I pay more attention to the dog then to her and the kids.

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Sorry to hear about the four-legged family member Scott. Man's best friend, indeed.

Bill wrote:

The wife says I pay more attention to the dog then to her and the kids.

Yeah, I've heard that one too. The dog is generally less demanding or irritating than the other two. [;)]

Brian G.

Make Cats Useful...Feed Them To Your Dogs [:P]

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Too bad about the pooch, Scott... will you get another?

Anyway, Guys...

My initial reaction was two fold, First that any unit utilizing a flame should be in a fire protected room... in my head that says no less than double 5/8" sheetrock and not in a bedroom or bathroom, or closet in a bedroom or bathroom. Since the description was high efficiency, I wanted to look before I leaped.

I see a note that says "NO water heater(except sealed combustion chamber type and electric) may be located bedroom, bathroom, clothes closet, or closet that opens into a bedroom or bathroom".

Does the same hold true for all sealed combustion chamber units?

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That's how life is Bain. I felt the same way when I lost my wife. Try looking at it differently. She really isn't lost... she's probably home now... sitting at the fireplace that you built... keeping warm and cozy... The only difference is... it's with someone else!!! [:-crazy] [:-yuck] [:-weepn]

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Drywall is just the most common way to separate rooms. The code does not say what material to use just that you can not draw combustioin air from those prohibited locations. When the client asks, what should I do to fix it? I tell them to drywall wall it.

If the water heater was a sealed combustion unit getting all air from outside the building than it would be allowed in a bedroom closest.

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Hi,

I think it would be prudent to recommend having the wall between the mechanical room and the closet drywalled. How will the mechanical room get it's combustion air for the water heater? Are there vents into the mechanical room from the interior or from the outside? What area does that mechanical room open to?

OT - OF!!!

M.

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