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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey, gang..the fun continues in trying to do this the "right" (legal) way by getting the HT inspected..


Just so I am planning right, I asked the local inspector about RSIC, rough Electrical not terminated until columns/soffits go up, etc. He was OK w/all of that - BUT (isn't there ALWAYS a 'BUT'?)


He appears to be locked hard on firestopping. Wants drywall, OSB, etc covering any vertical surface gaps (ie: parallel to the ceiling). I tried suggesting mineral wool, but he wasn't accepting that as an option - even when I told him I THOUGHT it was part of the 2003 International Building Code. (But, he did say that if I could find a reference to it to let him know and he'd "possibly learn something" so he seems like an open and reasonable guy)..


I'm doing RSIC, GG, decoupling 3 of my 4 walls from the foundation by 1'' etc to get good sound isolation in the room.


So, if I take a 1'' slice of drywall and lay it parallel to the ceiling and connect this between my top plate and outer wall, am I not effectively "recoupling" and killing any sound isolation I would have gotten in the first place?


What are my options here? I'm off to the bookstore to buy a copy of the code and dig through it for the section that says Mineral Wool can be used as fireblocking. But, if I can't find that..what kind of impact is this going to have on the isolation in my room? Is it even worth doing RSIC, etc when I'm essentially "coupling" my walls back to where I separated them from in the first place?


Oh, this is just so maddening..(trying to play by the rules..)
 

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"Batts or blankets of mineral wool or glass fiber installed in such a manner as to be securely retained in place shall be permitted as anacceptable fireblock"


That's R602.8.1 in the 2000 IRC. I have 2003 in the office. I don't think the wording has changed. Probably the same section as well.


Apparently he's reading the paragraph where fireblocking is required, tell him to read the next paragraph where it tells you how to do it



Seriously though, I think you are doing the right thing asking the questions first. I'm sure you just went up a few rungs on the inspector's ladder. Similarly, he sounds like a reasonable person. Although I'm surprised he isn't aware of the basic fireblocking materials, he definitely has the right attitude!


If you need a copy of the 2003 code I can send you an image of the page. I also have the commentary that explains it in plain english.


Send me a PM if you need it.


Tim
 

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Wool is allowed in my state. Yours may differ. It's a lot easier to put in than strips of drywall. Neverthless... Don't skimp on the fireblocking. It could mean the difference between a scorched wall and the total loss of your home.


I haven't done any real analysis, but i would imagine the sound transfer over a short strip of drywall to the foundation walls is negligable. You could buffer the drwall strip with caulking if you're worried about low frequency vibration.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Guys - just picked up a copy of the 2003 code..65 bucks later, here's what it says in Chapter 6, titled "Wall Construction":

Page 121, section R602.8: Fireblocking required. Fireblocking shall be provided to cut off all concealed draft openings (both vertical and horizontal) and to form an effective fire barrier between stories, and between a top story and the roof space. Fireblocking shall be provided in wood-frame construction in the following locations:..vertically at the ceiling and floor levels. Horizontally at intervals not exceeding 10 ft (uh-oh).

Page 122, section R602.8.1 Materials: Fireblocking shall consist of....batts or blankets of mineral wool or glass fiber or other approved materials installed in such a manner as to be securely retained in place shall be permitted as an acceptable fire block. Batts or blankets of mineral or glass fiber or other approved non-rigid materials shall be permitted for compliance with the 10 foot horizontal fireblocking in walls constructed using parallel rows of studs or staggered sutds..


I read the section he quoted, which is 502.12 (pg 94), which is the chapter on FLOORS (HUH? We're not talking about a FLOOR, unless he means the one above the HT on the existing main floor of my house):

R502.12 Draftstopping required: Where there is usable space both above and below the concealed space of a floor/ceiling assembly, draftstops shall be installed..where the assembly is enclosed by a floor membrane above and a ceiling membrane below (uh-uh..this sounds like every HT), draftstopping shall be provided IN FLOOR CEILING ASSEMBLIES (OK, that's not what we have here!) under the following circumstances:


1. Ceiling is suspended under the floor framing (drat. Back to sounding like the situation at hand!)

...


Section 502.12.1 (Materials) says DIDDLY about Mineral Wool or fiberglass, and calls out gypsum, OSB, etc.


So, which section applies? The one on FLOORS (R502 - I'd think not, even though it's open to interpretation here) or the one on WALLS (R602 - seems obvious, doesn't it?)


I'm just SO confused..I'm tempted to call him and have a discussion around the WALL section and see if he'll be flexible..
 

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Well, I must say I'm impressed BBB.


First, R502.12 requires draftstopping so that no single area is over 1000 square feet. Unless you have a huge HT, that requirement probably won't have to be met.


If the rest of the basement is going to be finished, attaching the drywall directly to the bottom of the joists will solve this problem (unless you have open-web type trusses).


edit: don't confuse draftstopping and fireblocking (and firestopping for that matter!)


Tim
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
What's the difference between draft stopping and firestopping? I thought they were the same?


Which of the sections - 502.12 or 602.8 would apply to the vertical space between a foundation wall and a newly constructed wall set 1'' away from the foundation? I think it's 602.8. Is that right? If so, mineral wool can indeed be used according to the 2003 Residential Code (which is the one we apparently follow here).


BTW..anything I can tell the inspector to sound more authoritative/well informed when I call him tomorrow would help - eg: you guys have a day job as an inspector, etc. would be a big help!


Thanks gang.
 

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Draft stop. A material, device or construction installed to restrict the movement of air within open spaces of concealed areas of buildings...


Fireblocking. Building materials installed to resist the free passage of flame to other areas of the building through concealed areas.


The 1" space between the new wal and foundation wall is a fireblocking issue:


R602.8(2) [fireblocking is required] At all interconnections between concealed vertical [the space between new wall and foundation wall] and horizontal spaces [the ceiling cavity] such as occur at soffits....


Tim
 

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What I would do is tell the inspector what I'm trying to accomplish. With a brief explanation about de-coupling, mass, etc. and get him involved in the process.

In my experience most inspectors enjoy construction and are willing to talk through issues. And with this approach he might have a better solution. I would try and keep it a collaborative effort as opposed to finding an obscure paragraph and arguing for it. good luck.
 

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See post #1, paragraph 3.


The code is full of obscure paragraphs. If it wasn't, we'd call it common sense



The inspector gave his interpretation of what should be done, but is open to alternative methods that are approved.


It is not taking an adversarial position to read the code and ask the inspector if an alternative method will meet the intentions of the code per paragraph xxx.


I think the key to the ceiling issue is that the concealed space will not be over 1000 square feet, so no draftstop is required.


A firestop is required between the wall cavity and the ceiling. The code allows tightly fitted insulation to serve this purpose, and it is specifically stated in the code.


Armed with those two items, I don't see where the inspector will have a problem.


When I do my build, I am going to RSIC the ceiling and drywall to the perimeter of the foundation wall. Then I will stud the walls up to the drywall. In that manner there fireblock will be in place. Next, when I build the soffit, it is already enclosed on two sides-- again the required firestop is already in place. Prior to sheetrock I will stuff the soffit with insulation at 10' intervals. But, there is more than one way to skin a cat.


Tim
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Talked to the inspector this AM..


I tried the "hey, I think I found out where *I* was off-track in our conversation yesterday" route. And said "when we talked, you were talking about DRAFT-STOPPING, and I was apparently talking about FIRE-BLOCKING, right?". And TRIED to point out the differences between sections 502 and 602..


BZZT! Wrong answer! Thanks for playing! We have some nice parting gifts for you, including a version of our home game..


Inspector came back with "well, sometimes we talk about draft blocking and firestopping in the same and sometimes overlapping ways" (or some such thing). HUH?


When I tried to point out that 502.12 dealt with 1,000 square foot floor/ceiling assemblies, and the need to subdivide them into

He WAS open to the Roxul for the FIREBLOCKING and asked me to send him some info, which I did. He also wanted info on RSIC, so I sent him PAC International's site and their section of UL Fire Ratings.


I also shared how these are all "commonly used" techniques in building HTs, and that I understand he probably doesn't get a whole lot of requests for projects like this. So, let's hope he looks at the info and lets me move ahead - because it would REALLY not be good for him to come back with something that prevents me from doing sound isolation in this room!!


(Dear God in Heaven - WHY OH WHY did I ever think to permit this room?)


Oh, just to add to the "fun" - I'm meeting with the GC today and I KNOW he doesn't want to do under permit. So, now I'm boxed in on both sides..inspector will be crusing the city looking for workers (since I've alerted him there's a project going on in his patch), and builder guy will absolutely NOT want to pull permits. So, I may be REALLY screwed at this point - between a rock and a hard place.


Sometimes, I can be a COMPLETE idiot!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBB_63 /forum/post/0


Talked to the inspector this AM..


He WAS open to the Roxul for the FIREBLOCKING and asked me to send him some info, which I did. He also wanted info on RSIC, so I sent him PAC International's site and their section of UL Fire Ratings.


(Dear God in Heaven - WHY OH WHY did I ever think to permit this room?)


Oh, just to add to the "fun" - I'm meeting with the GC today and I KNOW he doesn't want to do under permit.


Sometimes, I can be a COMPLETE idiot!

Your fine and I don't think you did anything wrong. You'll appreciate having a permit when it comes time to sell. If your GC doesn't like to do anything under permits, then I would find a different one. That sounds really spooky to me! I wouldn't risk my family's life nor the asset of my home and what it contains to a GC like that.


Your Inspector still sounds like he's willing to work with you and has too much time on his hands, but I just think there is a communication gap going on and you both need to become educated with each others goals. I would continue to contact him and keep the communication flowing. It will be a little frustrating, but you'll come to a good compromise in the end if he is as you say he is.


If he has that much time I would ask him to swing by your home and have information and drawings about the ceiling system your using, etc. Help him visualize what you will be doing to the room. This can greatly help you both understand what is going on. While my inspectors were over for the rough-in inspection I was able to completely change their minds while talking to them in person. On the phone we were bumping heads because he was having troubles visualizing how I was going to finish the rooms. Once they got the concept they totally backed off. I still had fireblocking to do, but definitely not to the extreme they were saying over the phone.


Just remember, the Inspector is the AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction). They can require more than what the code book states. They have a huge responsibility for insuring the safety of the public for construction even though most appear/or are trying to be pricks. Just the nature of the business due to the Contractors they have to battle every day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Just met with the GC..


He says that if HE applies for the permit, the city will be more "fussy" in terms of the application - they'll want full Architectural blueprints (for which there is none - I have a CAD drawing I did but definitely not "blueprints" with full cutaways, etc).


He estimates this will add $8-900 (to an already overbudget project).


He also says the city's estimate of 7-10 days (which is what they told me) to approve a permit is BS, and will take "much longer" (in his experience).


The Electrical also continues to be an issue. He INSISTS I won't be able to find anyone who will do the job for less than a per-light cost of $125 and up. (Which I think is BS, as the economy here is in the tank). BUT - he gave me his "Blue Book" of Contractors listing EVERY licensed contractor in the state to look through and said "here, this might help. If you find someone who will do it, let me know - but I don't think you will". So, perhaps not BS after all and just a very greedy (and foolhardy - these people have no work!) industry. Bizarre.


He's STRONGLY pushing me to get my own, "Homeowners" permit, but I don't know:


- What this means to who's liable if something goes wrong.

- IF the city will let them do the work under a "Homeowners" permit..or, if the intent is that "I" would be doing it (yeah, right).


This whole thing is turning into a real nightmare.


Can any of you guys help with some much needed advice?


Thanks..
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Oh, just to add to the fun..


Inspector guy put me on the spot this AM during our conversation, asking me directly and flat-out:


"What street do you live on"?


(GULP!)


My mind went through about a thousand different possible responses, (including answering truthfully) before I settled on..


LYING OUTRIGHT. (Which I almost never do except under extreme circumstances - of which this was one, as EVERY contractor I've talked to said that my city won't approve the HT construction tricks we need to do "because they're unusually tough there", etc). So, at the time, I was still considering doing it sans permit - not because I wanted to avoid taxes, etc - but because I wanted to build the room and make it sound isolated!


Later, I realized (in hindsight) that this would have been one of those very good times for my cell phone to drop the connection (oops!). Figured I didn't think of that at the time.


(He indicated later he wanted to make sure I was actually "in his city" as people often confuse it with our neighbor city with a similar name, and few know where the boundary actually is - yeah, sure..that's it..NOT! I think he wanted to take a little trip...)


Now, this is NOT GOOD. Because when I DO try to get a permit, he'll likely be pissed when he sees where we DO live (assuming he takes good notes or has a good memory - hard to chalk this up to a "oh, I think you have us confused with someone else" situation). And God only knows what that will translate into.


And here I was trying to do things the "right way". Stupid me.


And, the GC is pushing back HARD on permitting anyway (see above post).


Man, am I absolutely screwed here or what? I feel like bailing on the whole project, as this is JUST NOT WORTH IT.


Lesson learned: NEVER, ****EVER**** pull a permit for a "special" project that isn't vanilla and something they've seen a thousand times before. EVER.
 

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Don't kick yourself for doing the right thing.


Bottom line is that the code is the code. The inspector can't change it (although he may try) and you can't change it.


What state are you in?


What exactly are the remaining issues? Is draftstopping the only issue?


In an ideal world the contractor pulling the permit would be the best. But considering the other option is not getting a permit, having to get a "homeowner" permit is the next best thing.


I would be a little skeptical about a GC that is advising against getting a permit. I know GC's that say if you want a permit, you pull it. That's not so bad, as dealing with the permit process can be a PITA. However, I don't know any reputable GC's that would try and talk a homeowner OUT of getting a permit.


You can always submit the plans and see what happens. I think you would have to put at least enough detail on them to substantiate code compliance. In the notes section on the plans put "1. Draftstopping not required per R502.12"


See what happens. If you get a set of plans back that are stamped approved, you have something to show when the inspector comes. It's not an absolute solution, but if you have to fight back you have a set of approved plans and more importantly you are right.


Lastly, you could always install the draftstop and remove it after you pass inspection. Since it's not required by the code it's not like you are doing anything wrong.


Tim
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBB_63 /forum/post/0


Man, am I absolutely screwed here or what? I feel like bailing on the whole project, as this is JUST NOT WORTH IT.

Take a breath and relax. I'm willing to bet it won't be that bad at all. All permits are for is to make sure that your work is done safely in a fashion that is proven to stand the test of time. Please note that does NOT equal 'grossly expensive'.

Quote:
Lesson learned: NEVER, ****EVER**** pull a permit for a "special" project that isn't vanilla and something they've seen a thousand times before. EVER.

That is until you try and sell your house and the potential owners have their agent look at the plans on file with the city. When they realize extensive work has been done that HASN'T been done with a permit you can kiss your sale goodbye.


You need to relax. Permits are there to PROTECT you, as well as future owners. The city is NOT 'out to get you' - they want to make sure they don't have to foot the cost of the fire department trying to put out the fire from a homeowner doing something not to code.


Deep breaths. More deep breaths.


Now, if the industry is seriously THAT bad off there, there's no way an electrician can be charging $125 per can. No way in hell. Even if the industry was doing WELL there's no way they could be charging that - they wouldn't be in business if they were.


I think you should consider changing your mindset - make the inspector your FRIEND. Go to City Hall and ask to speak to an inspector. Explain your needs for the room, tell him or her what the contractor has said about time to get permits and electrical costs and see what he or she has to say. You don't have to tell the inspector your address, and you don't need to panic. They're there to HELP, not hinder. They just want to see things done right.


drin
 

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If that 125 per can would include a premium can, upgraded bezel and premium light, then that may be a good deal. But I am assuming your just talking about running some wires, drilling some basic holes and rough wiring the light in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Tim /forum/post/0


Don't kick yourself for doing the right thing.


Lastly, you could always install the draftstop and remove it after you pass inspection. Since it's not required by the code it's not like you are doing anything wrong.


Tim

Ding! We have a winner. I explored this very option with the GC Super tonight. Put up the damned fireblocking/draftstopping/left handed smokeshifter BS and pull the crap down AFTER it is approved. He says this will be easy.


Because, you are right - the "code IS the code". And an uninformed inspector doesn't change that.


So, plan B) Put up whatever they want. And replace it with what is "right" and "to code" after they leave.


Man, this is a real hassle.


BTW, I have a copy of the code book. Cost me 65 bucks. I'm right on this, and they are wrong. Problem is: they have the power, and I don't.


Bigger problem: did I piss him off by lying outright? I'd think so. Just wait until he sees the permit request. Might take 74 years to approve, or nauseating detail on the plans when the street names don't match what I told him earlier. Really, really dumb on my part. But what on earth else could I POSSIBLY have done at that point? (OK, answer truthfully is the obvious response..BUT..I wasn't ready to do that as the whole "I can't do my project" thing was flashing through my brain at the moment, and I wasn't ready to put a 10,000 megawatt spotlight on my house, just in case I wanted to do this "under cover of darkness"..)


BUT - that gets back to the whole crux of the issue here..I WANTED to permit the damn thing. YET, they make it impossible with all of their silliness and being generally uninformed. (Funny story - GC told me tonight that the City Hall building has numerous visible code violations, including wrong # of stairs, lacking proper handrails, etc. Classic!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Solodon /forum/post/0


If that 125 per can would include a premium can, upgraded bezel and premium light, then that may be a good deal. But I am assuming your just talking about running some wires, drilling some basic holes and rough wiring the light in.

Exactly. So, is my GC BS'ing me?


I plan to call a bunch of Electrical Contractors tomorrow and get a feel for pricing.


GC INSISTS that **NO-ONE** will do it for

I figure that a good contractor could do Theater + 1,200 ft basement in 2 days. There's already $3K (about) in the bid for Electrical. $6K is "foofy" and a crack dream as that's $3K/DAY in a State on the verge of Bankruptcy.


I'd bet dollars to donuts I can find a hungry Contractor for $3K. That'd be a GIFT to most in this State (MI) right now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by drin /forum/post/0


That is until you try and sell your house and the potential owners have their agent look at the plans on file with the city. When they realize extensive work has been done that HASN'T been done with a permit you can kiss your sale goodbye.

drin

Drin - thanks..If only it was that simple..


NO-ONE here has pulled a permit for their basement. Repeat: **NO-ONE**. Out of 500 houses in my sub, I'd say a good 400 have finished basements. And, 398 of them (I'm sure) did NOT pull permits.


So, what kind of MORON am I for trying to "play by the rules"? (Don't answer that!)


I really don't think a buyer of the house would barf on the "non-permitted work" as EVERYONE does it - including the new buyer.


Now, that doesn't mean I don't WANT to permit this - I do. I just want to build my room the way *I* want, and don't want any freakin' government agency telling me what I can and can't do in my OWN HOME. (I certainly don't want to burn the damn thing down and kill me and everyone else in it. Me, I could live with. My wife - that'd be a real loss). So, DUH. Of COURSE I am going to INSIST it be built to code, inspected, etc. Anything else would be TRULY stupid. (Of which I can be on occasion, but not here).


This is a heckuva mess..I'm debating the suggestion to go down to City Hall and have tea and cookies with inspector, but am thinking I've already mucked things up well enough here..
 
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