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Old 10-27-2011, 06:00 PM   #1
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Above Roof Vertical Clearance - E3504.2.1


Hey Folks -

So I have a code question for you more experienced electricians/builders. I'll try and keep this short.

I'm building a 300 square foot addition (a bathroom and walk in closet) to my 1200 square foot house. I've submitted the plans to the Phoenix building department, and they returned them with red-lined changes (also commenting on what an awesome job I did on the plans and that they appreciate it). I drafted all the plans and I'll be contracting the job and doing much of the work myself.

One of the issues the official brought up has to do with my existing electric service. Its an overhead service (as most are here) and has been in the same place since the house was built in 1953. At some point, the service was updated, but the location and overhead lines remained the same.

The building official wants me to comply with
E3504.2.1 which has to do with vertical clearance over a roof. The line hangs over the eaves of a flat roof for about 12 feet (always has) with about 18 inches of clearance. They want 8 FEET of clearance, which would of course require me to completely move the location of the service. I'm not doing any work to this portion of the house or to the service, other than to add a couple of circuits to feed the new bathroom. Is their request reasonable?

The official has brought up other things which I don't understand... such as requiring me to upgrade my water meeter (from 5/8" to 3/4"), and my water service (from 3/4" to 1 1/4"... yea really), both of which I didn't even object to. They also want AFCI protection in the bedroom adjacent to the bathroom, even though there is no work being done in that room, and they want windows updated to comply with egress requirements (again, no work being done in these rooms).

Back to the vertical clearance for the existing overhead service (which I had no plan to alter in any way), how should I go about presenting my case? Last time I asked the official a simple question (very passively and nicely) he blew up at me, threatening to look at my plans even harder and to take his time ("A second review will take me weeks, MONTHS even, if you want to Nit pick!" His words).

I've found what I believe to be relevant codes for existing residential buildings, level 2 alterations and additions. Those codes clearly state that compliance with
E3504.2.1 is only required in "Work Areas." I feel this makes my case, but I don't want to piss the guy off.

Thoughts? If I do everything this guy wants, I'll be turning a $25K bathroom addition into a $40K bathroom, replumb, rewire, reglaze. A contractor friend of mine says the guy is being unreasonable and that I should talk to the supervisor. I'd prefer to resolve this without getting the official mad at me and spreading the word to all his inspector friends that I'm a "special" case that needs extra attention.

Never thought it would be this hard to build an addition, and I haven't even broke ground. The construction part should be easy, if I can get there.

Thanks.

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Old 10-27-2011, 06:34 PM   #2
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Above Roof Vertical Clearance - E3504.2.1


What they are asking sounds like current code for those things...

So the question is... Is there a rule there that you have to bring other things up to code when you are doing the work you plan on doing?

Or that the services supplying the new addition must be brought up to code (plumbing and electric)?

I know if you rewire an old house for example, around here, they will make you also bring all the smoke detectors up to code. And all the electrical in the house will need to be up to code which might include adding some things which were not there before.

This requirement could be a national code or could be a local law or amendment to the national code(s). Local areas can have their own rules/laws.

Might also ask in the plumbing and construction forums...

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Old 10-27-2011, 06:41 PM   #3
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Above Roof Vertical Clearance - E3504.2.1


I wish I knew the answer, but around here in Va, the SE is nearly lying on the addition as it's built and we're climbing/stepping over the SE to work around it.

I'm looking now to see if I have any pix.
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Old 10-27-2011, 06:48 PM   #4
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Above Roof Vertical Clearance - E3504.2.1


N luck with the pix. Sorry.
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Old 10-27-2011, 06:53 PM   #5
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Above Roof Vertical Clearance - E3504.2.1


Found one that may help in some way.
One section of the roof, I was bending to go under it. The other, I was stepping over it. Typical as far as my experiences go.
Attached Thumbnails
Above Roof Vertical Clearance - E3504.2.1-0721110958.jpg   Above Roof Vertical Clearance - E3504.2.1-0721111000.jpg  
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Old 10-27-2011, 07:17 PM   #6
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Above Roof Vertical Clearance - E3504.2.1


Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy_Bob View Post
What they are asking sounds like current code for those things...

So the question is... Is there a rule there that you have to bring other things up to code when you are doing the work you plan on doing?

Or that the services supplying the new addition must be brought up to code (plumbing and electric)?
They require that any "work area" be brought up to current code. I don't see how the electric panel is a work area. Its on the opposite side of the house.

They are in fact requiring me to install hard-wired, interconnected smoke detectors, since the code states that any extensive permitted work will require that smoke detectors are installed per relevant code. No problem there, I think its a great idea.
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Old 10-27-2011, 07:19 PM   #7
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Above Roof Vertical Clearance - E3504.2.1


Quote:
Originally Posted by tinner666 View Post
I wish I knew the answer, but around here in Va, the SE is nearly lying on the addition as it's built and we're climbing/stepping over the SE to work around it.
The way your picture shows the line drooping over the house is similar to this situation.
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Old 10-27-2011, 07:48 PM   #8
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Above Roof Vertical Clearance - E3504.2.1


I had some time, so I went poking around Phoenix...

I went to this web site which has all the rules and laws...
http://phoenix.gov/DEVPRO/bldproc2.html

Then I clicked on "2006 Phoenix Building Code".

On that page I found "Chapter 34 - Existing Structures".

That page says under section 3403 uses the words "Portions of the structure not altered and NOT AFFECTED"

3403 top right here...
http://www2.iccsafe.org/states/Phoen...Structures.pdf

Then I found the following ammendment to the code...

"CITY OF PHOENIX AMENDMENTS
TO THE 2006 PHOENIX BUILDING CONSTRUCTION CODE
AMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS
Approved on April 1, 2009
102.6 Existing Buildings. The legal occupancy of any structure existing prior to the effective date of this code shall be permitted to continue that occupancy or use as long as the property is in compliance with the provisions of this Code and Chapter 39 of the Phoenix City Code."
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Old 11-01-2011, 06:27 PM   #9
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Above Roof Vertical Clearance - E3504.2.1


Thanks for taking the time to look into everything Billy Bob!

I've been reading the same websites/codes. It sounds like you agree that the code does not require me to bring "not altered and not affected" portions of my house into current code compliance. Now to plead my case to the building official... If he ever calls me to pick up my 2nd review/or permit (please please please).
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Old 11-01-2011, 09:45 PM   #10
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Above Roof Vertical Clearance - E3504.2.1


Since this is an additional bathroom to what you have it may require upgrade of the homes water system to meet code. I don't know your local codes but in many places the size of the devices in the water system are based on the number of bathrooms. This may explain some of the changes he's requesting. Also many areas have a requirement that if the cost of a renovation exceeds a certain percentage of the entire structures value everything must be brought up to the new code requirements as part of the reservation.
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Old 11-01-2011, 09:58 PM   #11
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Above Roof Vertical Clearance - E3504.2.1


Quote:
Originally Posted by JeepNick View Post
Thanks for taking the time to look into everything Billy Bob!

I've been reading the same websites/codes. It sounds like you agree that the code does not require me to bring "not altered and not affected" portions of my house into current code compliance. Now to plead my case to the building official... If he ever calls me to pick up my 2nd review/or permit (please please please).

No. An additional bathroom would use more electricity, water, and sewer. So I see it as those things would be affected.

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