Monday, February 28, 2011

What do you mean tear it out?

What the Electrical inspector passed
The Fire Marshal Failed?

I was talking to a Fire Marshal the other day who told me about a Commercial building being built in his community where he had just turned down permission on because the Electrician had mounted plastic electrical boxes back to back in the same opening in a 2 hour rated fire wall and also used them in the fire rated ceiling to mount light fixtures. The problem being the plastic boxes are not rated to be used in fire rated walls .Of course the building owner and General Contractor seemed confused.
The 3rd Party Electrical Inspector had just put an approved install sticker on the main box. So who was right The Fire Marshal of course and now the electrician is looking at pulling out a dozen plus boxes and replacing them with proper rated boxes or with steel boxes with putty pads .The electrician also failed to seal around all the drill holes in the 2 hour rated assembly as well.
Of course when the Electrician was contacted the old line I never have to do that in other communities came out of his mouth. But code is code and either the electrician is lying or code officials are not catching the flaws in other communities, which is a well-known problem. Either way the Electrician and Electrical Inspector are both at fault because it is very well spelled out in the Electrical and Fire Codes about what has to be done when installing electrical wiring in fire rated assemblies .I personally know of Electrical Inspectors who check to make sure the proper boxes are used so this inspector either is green or does not care to do his job properly. I often here stories about shady electrical and code inspectors so I hope the Fire Marshal follows up on this Inspector and puts him on notice. If he did it in this community he has done it in others as well.
Properly constructed and maintained fire walls stop fires from spreading and save lives and property otherwise they would not be required by code but this is often an area where
Integrity should be present but sadly is not. A customer of mine is having built a custom condominium for him and his wife to be there retirement residence in a community in Northern Allegheny County and already we have caught the contractor not following codes including the proper amount and thickness of drywall in the garage and the local code enforcement officer is useless and lets any thing fly. It is a shame all the damage from fires and lost homes and possibly lives there will be in the next 20-30 years as these structures age because code enforcement is lacking. But look at all the tax money being generated in this growing bedroom community. Problem is taxes and home values are extremely high to point many volunteer fireman can not afford to live in the community any more and when the lawsuits start getting filed the people responsible will be dead or long since retired. Now you would think the insurance company's writing in this community would require proper code following since they are going to bear the brunt of grief in claims but nothing from them either.

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