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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I would like to upgrade my condo by removing the ceiling drywall, adding double drywall with GG to the underside of the above floor, and attaching the new ceiling to the furring channel with whisper clips. I spoke to the condo mgmt company, and the guy in charge told me this was not the kind of "structural" work that I'd have to apply for a building permit for (from my township). Personally, I wonder if he's trying to sneak this by the township. If I do this through the township, I would have to apply for a building permit(I think $100 fee), have an "engineer" develop a written document (probably costs a bit of money), submit a letter from the condo association, and use a licensed contractor. The drywall guy I was going to use is very experienced with drywall but not licensed. It seems like a lot of work for something like this. Should I just go with the advice of the management company (the guy has a reputation for being a bit shady) or do I go through the longer and more expensive process?
 

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I think your best bet is to just call your county building dept and simple ask them if replacing your ceiling drywall requires a permit. Different counties in different areas all have different criteria for permit requirements. Where I live, it depends on if you are doing any structural changes, renovations/improvements over x sq ft and project $ involved.


Personally, if I was considering doing just that in my house, I wouldn't pursue a permit.
 

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I agree with Floyd about calling your local building department, but I doubt a permit is required. You are not changing anything structural, electrical, water, or gas. Basically your work is "cosmetic" and shouldn't require a permit, but check anyway!
 

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I think the counties interest will be the impact your construction has on the fire rating of the ceiling since it is a multi-unit building. Worst case is some guy who is old school doesn't understand using the clips and channel on the ceiling and since you are modifying a critical element of fire safety wants a Pro Crew.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC /forum/post/18165743


I think the counties interest will be the impact your construction has on the fire rating of the ceiling since it is a multi-unit building.

As this is a multi-tenant building this would be my biggest concern. I'm sure that adding whisper clips/channel will impact the fire rating and you may need to think of additional fireblocking.
 

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Adding additional 5/8" Type X drywall increases the fire rating beyond what you have now. This type of work generally does not require a building permit.


The usual consideration is if the condo association will allow construction up in the joist cavities. The condo management company has given you a green light.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I took the advice given and called the township's building department. Bad news for me! I was told that anything involving drywall requires a permit. They charge a few fees as part of this process including a "site inspection fee" and a "permit fee." It's a ridiculous process that involves my listing all the costs of the project, as the permit fee is based on the cost of the construction. It's additionally complicated by the fact that I was going to do different parts of my home in different timeframes, and I was planning to skip certain steps in different rooms. And they will require an engineer who will have to provide a cross section of my floor ceiling assembly to make sure this is safe. I'm frustrated, to say the least.
 

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In our jurisdiction if a ceiling is larger than X sq ft and there is a gap between the ceiling and the joists, Fire blocking must be dropped down touching the drywall thereby breaking the ceiling structure into communicating areas less than X.


Found it: (typically not a problem in normally sized theaters)

"DRAFTSTOPPING: When the ceiling of the finished basement is not attached directly to the underside of

the floor joists above or when the floor joists are comprised of open web trusses, draftstopping must be

provided. Sufficient draftstopping must be installed such that the area of the concealed space does not

exceed 1,000 square feet and is divided into approximately equal areas. Draftstopping shall be installed

parallel to the floor framing members. See FIGURE 9 and FIGURE 10.

DRAFTSTOPPING MATERIAL: Draftstopping shall consist of one of the materials listed below. The

integrity of all draftstopping must be maintained

 1/2-inch gypsum board

 3/8-inch wood plywood or OSB

 3/8-inch particleboard, type 2-M-W."
 

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Big, do you have figure 9 and 10? Just curious.


Jeff... what a cluster. Seems so darned opportunist just to essentially change out drywall. So any average Joe that wants to throw up a sheet of drywall in an unfinished basement needs to go through all of this? I bet less that 1% actually does. What about the guy with water damage in his ceiling? He's going to replace part of the ceiling anbd an engineer needs to come over?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC /forum/post/18168821


In our jurisdiction if a ceiling is larger than X sq ft and there is a gap between the ceiling and the joists, Fire blocking must be dropped down touching the drywall thereby breaking the ceiling structure into communicating areas less than X.


Found it: (typically not a problem in normally sized theaters)

"DRAFTSTOPPING: When the ceiling of the finished basement is not attached directly to the underside of

the floor joists above or when the floor joists are comprised of open web trusses, draftstopping must be

provided. Sufficient draftstopping must be installed such that the area of the concealed space does not

exceed 1,000 square feet and is divided into approximately equal areas. Draftstopping shall be installed

parallel to the floor framing members. See FIGURE 9 and FIGURE 10.

DRAFTSTOPPING MATERIAL: Draftstopping shall consist of one of the materials listed below. The

integrity of all draftstopping must be maintained

? 1/2-inch gypsum board

? 3/8-inch wood plywood or OSB

? 3/8-inch particleboard, type 2-M-W."

Not sure if I am following correctly but does that mean a DD+GG+clips basement ceiling in your neck of the woods would be considered a fire hazard? More specifically, should I have placed some kind of material directly touching my DD+GG+clips ceiling? Is my fire safety now compromised (regardless of code or not)?
 

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Queen, you don't have a 1000 square foor ceiling
 

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I would really check with your local area. The info that Big posted may not be relevant, especially if the area does not require updating to new codes. On the other hand, most of that material is simply typical building codes (like no notches in the middle third of a joist). From that perspective, it's helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
My township only requires an engineer when something a little different than the ordinary is being done. The guy in the Building Dept said that if I were doing a simple ceiling without clips (no drywall on the underside of the above floor), I wouldn't likely need an engineer. But I'd still need the permit even for the simplest ceiling. I assume an engineer is an architect??? Anyone know how to find an inexpensive licensed professional who can vouch for my ceiling integrity? I am in PA.
 

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Around here you need an engineer when you are changing loads or spans. Something that could cause the building to implode. In all honesty Jeff, your situation seems to be a local income generator. But nothing you can do about it unless you go stealth.
 

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I would go stealth as long as you can get written approval from the management company. Not as good but at least it is something you can bring into play in the future.


Otherwise you are sticking your liability way out there.
 

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If you go stealth, it better be on the order of "Ninja Stealth"....living in a condo community, I'm sure there are plenty of busy bodies/do gooders who would be quick to make a call to the local building dept.
 
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