Changing of the Guard...
Robert Keefe, the creator of this newsletter and author of its past 49 issues, has retired. Robert joined Willdan in 2002 following a career in state government that started in 1963. He gained building code experience while working at the Department of Housing and Community Development, Division of Codes and Standards. He taught evening building code classes over a 10-year span at Cosumnes River College and U.C. Davis Extension, in Sacramento. At Willdan, Robert managed the Building and Safety Division in Northern California until 2008. He continued authoring this newsletter on a part-time basis until this issue. Robert joined the Building Standards Commission as a retired annuitant in 2008 and developed most of the educational documents available at the Commission's website. We wish Robert and his wife Louise many years of good health and enjoyment in retirement.
Our new Editor is Dan Chudy. Dan joined Willdan in 2015 following a 30-year career in local government. He has worked as a licensed General Contractor, Building Inspector, Plans Examiner and Building Official. Dan’s education includes a Ph.D. in Public Administration, a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Construction Management. Dan is a former CALBO President (1999) and is currently the Vice-Chairman of the State Historic Building Safety Board. Over the past 30 years, Dan has authored numerous published articles concerning the Building Codes as well as a book, titled: “California Historical Building Code Commentary”. Dan aspires to carry on with Robert’s diligent newsletter legacy and provide articles of interest to Building Inspectors, Plans Examiners, Permit Technicians, Building Officials and others in our industry. In that effort, Dan welcomes input from any and all readers concerning topics of interest. Dan’s email address is email@example.com.
Pictured: A few buildings plan-checked or inspected by Willdan
Focus on the Codes
A New Tool for Your Tool Box (Part 1 of a Series)
By Dan Chudy, Ph.D., CBO, LEED AP, CASp
Principal Project Manager – Willdan Engineering
After a full 360 days of retirement, I decided to get back to work. I had spent 24 years as a Building Official and 6 years as a Building Inspector/Plans Examiner and came to the realization that I needed some brushing-up on the codes if I was going to get back into the inspection business. As a Building Inspector, back in the 1980’s, I had learned the value of having a certain inspection routine and the challenges of trying to memorize all of the codes. Those same challenges are experienced by Plans Examiners as they thumb through hundreds of pages of code to find that certain code section which is applicable to the scenario drawn on the plans. After dusting off my code books and beginning to study, I realized that there was a more logical way (at least for me) to organize and consolidate the most common residential code requirements by segregating them according to which room in the house they applied. The result was an abbreviated listing of hundreds of code provisions grouped according to the room or area in a dwelling to which they related. The complete list is much too large to publish in a single Newsletter article; therefore, this article will be continued in subsequent Newsletters as we move through a typical home, from A (Attic) to U (Utility Room).
Please understand that this effort is a work in progress and I make no claim that the list is all inclusive nor that it is without error. If any errors or omissions are found, please send me an email so that the list can be improved. Email comments or corrections to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Future Willdan Letter articles will consolidate the various code requirements for Bathrooms, Bedrooms, Carports, Closets, Decks, Entry, Foyer, Garage, Hallways, Kitchens, Laundry, Patios, and Utility Rooms. In future issues, you will find these at Code Series Compiled.
CODE PROVISIONS SEGREGATED ALPHABETICALLY BY SPECIFIC ROOMS IN DWELLINGS
A - ATTIC
- CRC R202 – Habitable attic not considered a story. 70 S.F. min. and compliant w/R304 & R305
- CRC R310 – Egress window in habitable attic: 44” sill, 5.7 S.F., 20” wide, 24” tall
- CRC R3184.108.40.206 Exception 1– AFES NOT required in unoccupied attic – except one head above fuel fired equipment
- CRC R314.3 – Smoke alarms required in habitable attics
- CRC R807.1 – Attic access required if 30 S.F. or more AND 30” or more vertical height (22”X30” min rough-in)
- CPC 507.4 – Drainage pan under water heater if: in attic, on floor/ceiling, floor/subfloor where damage results from leakage. ¾” minimum drainage line to approved location
- CPC 507.5 – T & P prohibited from discharging into drainage pan.
- CMC 802.6.1 – Horizontal vent run limited to 75% of vertical run
- CMC 802..7.3 – Single wall vent pipe shall NOT originate or pass thru an attic space or concealed space (Amerivent flex vent single wall no good in attic but Duravent double wall flex vent is OK)
- CMC 904.10 – min. attic access = 22”X30” (also CRC R807.1)
- CMC 904.10 1 & 2 – Access walkway 24” wide solid flooring with 30”X30” min. clear passageway and 20’ max from attic access opening.
- CMC 904.10.3 – Level working platform not less than 30”X30” at service side of unit
- CMC 904.11.5 – Light and receptacle at mechanical unit with switch at attic access opening. Duplex receptacle NOT to be mounted in upward facing position.
- CMC 1312.4 - Gas shut-off within 6’ of mechanical unit
- NEC 210.8(A) and 210.12(A) – receptacle outlets in attic do NOT require AFCI or GFCI protection (including the FAU circuit) and are not require to be Tamper-Resistant (NEC 406.12)
- NEC 314.29 – Junction boxes in attic to be accessible
- NEC 334.23 & 320.23 – All electrical wiring within 6’ of attic access opening must be secured and protected by a guard strip
- NEC 334.23 & 320.23 – Romex (NMC) wire within 6’ of attic access opening and NOT installed along the face of a rafter or joist shall be protected by a guard strip (aka: running board – see 334.15(A))
- NEC 690.31(D) & (E) – PV DC conductors inside the building to be in metallic conduit or MC cable and 10” below the roof deck (unless below the PV panels) (Also CRC R331.3 Conduit in attic to be run along bottom of load bearing members)
- CRC R331.3 – Photovoltaic DC conductors in the attic shall be in metallic conduit and run along the bottom of load bearing members and labeled every 10’.
- CEC 110.8(d) & (e) and 150.0(a) & (b) – R-30 (or higher) ceiling insulation (depending on the climate zone and compliance approach used - some exceptions may apply).
- CEC 150.1(c)2 – Radiant barrier at roof required IF prescriptive approach used
B – BASEMENT
- CRC R305.1 – min. ceiling height 7’-0” in habitable space, hallways, bathrooms, toilet rooms, and laundry rooms
- CRC R305.1.1 – 6’-8” min. ceiling height in basement areas that ARE NOT habitable space, hallways, bathrooms, toilet rooms, and laundry rooms
- CRC R310 – Egress windows: 44” sill, 5.7 S.F., 20” wide, 24” tall. Window well per R310.2
- CRC R310 Exception – basements used only for mechanical equipment and not more than 200 S.F. don’t require egress windows
- CRC R310.2 – Window well min. size: min. 36” wide and min. 36” deep (from window) and 9 S.F. min. area
- CRC R310.2.1 – Window well ladder required if deeper than 44”
- CRC R310.2.2 – Window wells to be designed to drain
- CRC R314.3.4 (9) – Smoke alarms required on the basement ceiling near the entry to the stairs
- CRC R315.1.4 (6) – Carbon monoxide alarms required in basements
- CRC R501.3 – underside of floors requires a minimum ½” gypsum board or 5/8” plywood covering if less than 2X10 joists. Except if space above is fire sprinklered or if it is an underfloor crawl space with no fuel-fired appliances or storage. Also 80 S.F. per story may be unprotected
- NEC 210.12 – Arc-fault circuit interrupter required for outlets in all rooms of house that are not protected by GFCI (with a few exceptions for dedicated circuits)
- NEC 210.52 (G) – Basements and garages to have at least (1) receptacle outlet
- NEC 210.70 (A) – at least (1) wall switched light outlet required in every habitable room and bathroom and hallway, stairway, garage, exterior side of outdoor grade level entrances (garage vehicle doors are exempt)
- NEC 406.12 – Tamper resistant receptacle outlets for all non-locking 120V/15 & 20 Amp outlets unless for dedicated appliance or luminaries or over 5.5’ above floor.
- CEC Lighting Mandatory Measures (150.0(k)) – All other rooms (excluding kitchen, laundry, garage, utility, bathroom) to have either high-efficacy light fixtures OR controlled by a dimmer or vacancy sensor
Construction Trends and Forecast for 2016
According to many of the leading economists and construction industry experts, the activity forecast for 2016 is looking positive. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), has predicted that single-family construction will increase slightly, as most new household formations are renting and many existing homeowners are not moving. Cited as reasons for the uptick in single-family construction activity are that new households are being formed; more jobs are being created; home equity is increasing; and confidence is coming back.
Another leading construction industry forecasting report, the Dodge Report Forecast, has predicted the following trends:
- Single family housing will rise 20% in dollars, corresponding to a 17% increase in units
- Multifamily housing will increase 7% in dollars and 5% in units
- Commercial building will increase 11%, up from the 4% gain estimated for 2015
- Institutional building will advance 9%, picking up the pace after the 6% rise in 2015.
- Manufacturing plant construction will recede an additional 1% in dollar terms
- Public works will be flat with its 2015 amount
- Electric utilities and gas plants will fall 43% after a sharp 159% jump in 2015
The 2016 Dodge Construction Outlook was presented at the 77th annual Outlook Executive Conference held by Dodge Data & Analytics in Washington, D.C. Copies of the report with additional details by building sector can be ordered at analyticsstore.com.
The Growing Shortage of Plan Reviewers and Building Inspectors
By Dan Chudy, Ph.D., CBO, LEED AP, CASp
Principal Project Manager – Willdan Engineering
Planning... construction... inspection... code enforcement... At every step, building safety staff are key.
During the recent 2016 CALBO ABM held in San Diego, I had the opportunity to speak with many of my former and current colleagues. Almost without exception, the growing shortage of qualified staffing became the major topic of our discussions. One former colleague, who now resides in another state, indicated that an academic study had been done in that state to forecast the availability of qualified building department staffing over the next 5 to 10 years. My former colleague reported to me that the findings of the study were dismal and that the study found that for every 4 qualified individuals leaving our profession, only 1 qualified individual will be available to replace them. (See pie chart of data from an NIBS survey showing that 82% of code officials plan to leave in the next 15 years.) Add to that the anticipated increase in construction activity over that same time period and you have a recipe for disaster.
In Pennsylvania, where the number of building inspectors is down approximately 25% from 2007 levels, municipalities and third-party agencies are experiencing shortages in qualified building inspectors and plans examiners to fill those vacancies, while builders are complaining that they can’t get the level of service they need. In an effort to address the shortage, Pennsylvania lawmakers are proposing legislation to create a training program whereby a certified code official would agree to assume “responsible supervision” of a trainee. While under supervision, the trainee would be assisting with building inspections and plan reviews. The training program would be voluntary, and cities could opt to not participate.
As members of this profession, we all need to do our part to seek out and encourage talented individuals to consider a careers as a Building Inspectors, Plans Examiners, Permit Technicians, or Building Officials. We need to build opportunities for growth and development through volunteer programs, ride along programs, trainee programs, apprenticeship programs, internships, and developing related programs at our local community colleges.
Data: NIBS Survey, Future of Code Officials
For a more complete list of legislative actions which may have an impact on local building departments, please visit the CALBO Legislative Watch link at: www.CALBO.org.
The following is a list of bills that are being considered and discussed by the California Legislature which may be of interest, sorted by topic, then title. This report is not intended to be all inclusive. Readers are encouraged to seek out additional sources of information pertaining to legislative actions in Sacramento.
Click the + next to each bill title to view its description, or click the "Expand All" button.