Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by stovepipe?, Sep 18, 2006.
do national codes (i.e. those in NFPA 211) trump local codes? or is it the other way around?
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Literally every tenth word in NFPA 211 bows to local modifications of the codes.
NAPA 211 is not a reconised code on a national level to fireman yes Ihe national reconises and uniform code
is the formerBOCA now the international code group What governs wood stoves is the International Mechanical codes
In my state we use a variation based on the international codes MA the sixth edition. No town can have local building codes in MA. However zoning fire and health codes can be localized. Other states or countieas may have variations of national codes and local.
What trumps code is the guy doing the inspections For instance inspectors are toold to enforce the most resrtrictice of code applications. We can over ride the applaince listing. Good inspection officials will tell whay and what code refference they used to come to their decision. Good officials will have it backed by written code.
in my town in NH woodstoves and their venting is unregulated. so long as the install is done by a pro, they do not inspect. That means if I want an inspection I basically have to talk somebody into doing one. I was told to get the fire dept to do it, but I've seen them do inspections and they aren't exactly walking around with a code book and a tape measure. The mason who did my wall pass-though to my interior masonry chimney insists that what he did meets code requirements for this area (he is also a fireman). He has been doing this a long time and has a very good reputation, but if he owns a copy of nfpa 211 it is from 1963. I can get all the assurances I want but if something happens I will be the once answering to my insurance co, so I want to be very sure that my arrangment is 100% acceptable and in keeping with whatever code governs. So, if there is a local code which takes priority, I should in principle be able to find this in writing somewhere, yes? And then can get the fire dept to come out, and give me a written statement that my set-up meets these codes and I've done everything I need to do to be safe, etc. so any pointers as to how I might get this info/make this happen? If I can get the fire dept to do this I want to have done my homework in advance so that I won't pay for their mistakes later on.
If you have the fire department out and inspect then in my opininion you've done everything in your power to ensure code compliance. If your house burned down at that point I would think the insurance co would cover your claim and go after the fellow who installed. I was told that inspectors are protected from lawsuits. I've never seen that in writing but if it's true it's BS. An inspector should be called out when they pass shoddy work just like the contractor who did the shoddy work.
Your manual trumps codes. If code says your mantel needs to be 36" above, and the manual you have says you only need it 18", the manual wins. That's because your unit was tested and the clearance to combustibles deemed safe. It happened to me, code says I need at least a 16" hearth, but my manual said 18". I called up Hearthstone to clarify and they told me during the testing 16" hearth was found to be inadequate and it must be more strict than code, so because my manual stated 18" hearth, even though code says 16", I wouldn't pass unless I had enough my manual asked for.
As I work on my house, I've realized local codes can only be more strict than national and superscede them. National codes are generic, the same for everyone across the country but there are situations or climates that may require something else. An example is hurricane clips. National codes may say using nails to attach your roof to your house is fine and, generally that's true. But in a city that can get hit with hurricanes they may have local codes saying you need hurricane clips to hold your roof to your house. In that case, local code is more strict and superscedes national... your house won't pass inspection unless you have hurricane clips that local codes require.
So, that's my understanding. Your manual superscedes code, local code supercedes national and can only be more strict, national codes are generic and the minimum standards, if you don't have local codes on certain topics you fall back on the national. Any local codes that are more lax than national is a mistake, the inspector has to pick the one that's more strict. To find out any local codes, I contacted my inspector.
Local codes always win but they cannot supercede the law. In other words, all local communities are under law to adopt a certain national code as a minimum. They can add to it but they cannot dismiss it. This may be different from state to state but as far as I know all states have come on board with the new international building codes.
NFPA 211 is not specifically a building code. However, it is essentially the code adopted by the IBC and is usually enforced as local code.
In the absence of local code enforcement you are bound by the code adopted in your state, most likely the current IRC (for residential). So, if your mason can confirm that he has installed your chimney and thimble according to the rules outlined in the NFPA 211 you will be to code, regardless of whether or not you get the local guys to inspect.
If the version of NFPA 211 used by your mason is from 1993 your are probably fine. There has not been a change in the codes for thimbles since then, as far as I know. Maybe Elk knows more about the current versions and whether they have changed in this area. The NFPA 211 shows four acceptable ways to build a thimble through a combustible wall. If you want it inspected to that document then I would go to the library and photo copy the appropriate pages and have them on site when the inspection is done. You can also buy a copy from NFPA. The Tek-spek for building masonry fireplaces and chimneys is also in line with the NFPA 211. There have been some changes in how air space and mass are used and these ae clarified in the new IRC. If your mason built to the current Tek-spek or NFPA you will be to code, unless the local authority has not yet enforced the changes in how air space is used. (used to be that sheathing, etc, could not technically touch the masonry. It is now allowed with conditions).
As a Firefighter, Fire Inspector/ Arson Investigator I will give you the best answer I can. Call YOUR local Building Codes & Permits office. Request any and all information on this matter. I am sure they would love to give you the information. Then contact YOUR local Fire Department and ask them to come to your house and look at the installation. If they don't/won't ask for the Fire Marshalls office and ask them. Some don't like to give any fire appliance a clear "Go ahead...It looks good to me..." because they are afraid of possible litigation. Litigation sucks! But most importantly your and your family's safety is paramount! I can't speak for other Fire Departmentsbut in my district it is commonplace to do a "walkthrough" and look at these installations. I will say that "The Code" can and is at times very vague. Most look at the NFPA as a guidline and not "code" unless they municipality or governing body has adopted it. (There are "codes" issued by NFPA that even Fire Department are not compliant to, but pretend they are. Kinda like the Coast Guard not using "U.S. Coast Guard approved" PFD's.)
Rhonemas Been a while since reading national code ? There are extensive sections pertaining to wind zones earthquake and temperature zones where codes a reflect additional structural stiffening re-enforcement or additional insulation
Even more so in the 2006 codes call it the Katrina effect shear walls wind bracing hurricane straps and bracing better anchoring to foundations # whole new chapters addressing what we have learned form the effects of hurricanes Tornado's and earthquakes
No attempt at sarcasm or humor here whatsover. But the only code that would have saved a house in New Orleans during Katrina would have read "Ensure that the house is built in Omaha".
When built under sea level nature has a way of re-claiming. those areas
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