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Master Plumber
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1,069 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Just got turned down on a gas line. It is a combination of black iron pipe and Gastite.

The reason for the red tag?

He wants my gas line to be marked every 3 feet with a yellow tag that says Gas on it in black letters.

No stinking way will I comply.

The code says:

For other than black steel pipe, exposed piping shall be identified by a yellow label marked "Gas" in black letters. The marking shall be spaced at intervals not exceeding 5 feet (1524 mm).
Well, he wants it on the black pipe and on the Gastite. I screwed up and did not have my fuel gas code with me. He wouldn't get his out. Said this is the code and that is what I have to do if I want it to pass. The code plainly says black pipe is exempt. And the Gastite already is marked "Gas" on a yellow label at intervals lees than 5 feet.

And where did the 3 foot requirement come from anyways?

I will not comply. He will allow my code compliant work to pass or face the legal consequences. Thankfully on this job, we have a few months to play with so I have that in my favor.

First step? I placed a call to his supervisor. My bet is that this will stop right there. But we shall see.
 

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I live in lovely FL, each governing area (counties etc) adopt and amend the Florida building code to invidual areas needs. There is this infamous claus the state put in our building code. "Except at the discretion of the building official" In this case is there a local ordinance that requires it?
 

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Master Plumber
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1,069 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
There is this infamous claus the state put in our building code. "Except at the discretion of the building official"
That phrase does not make it legal for a local code enforcement officer to arbitrarily create his own rules. Anyone who tries that needs to be smacked with a lawsuit.
 

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I agree, our code has some gray areas, that can give the officials a little extra boost if they need it. However, all the inspectors I deal with are all good guys. For the most part. At the same time they do have to answer to there actions. They all have bosses, and there bosses are all former plumbers who understand frustration.

Because of the high quantity of Craigs List Hacks right now, they are just glad to see a licensed guy on the job.
 

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Master Plumber
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1,069 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
It's over. The Head Inspector actually chuckled when I told him what was going on. Asked me if I had the code section handy to save him hunting for it when he talked to the inspector.

I want to say I won, but it wasn't me. I had nothing to do with it. The law won.
 

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Retired Moderator
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Good job 22! My boss just had a run in with an inspector. It concerned windows. I told him to call the inspectors boss but I think he is afraid to!

Me? I fear no inspector.
 

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I think sometimes the inspectors see their friends do something that amazes them so much they just adopt it into the code without giving any thought to it.
 

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Professional Bullshioter
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If it's some little BS item like a few stickers. I usually just comply. I'm not interested in a inspector having a hard-on for me for the next 10 years.

I still respect you immensely for calling him to the carpet. Just not sure I would do the same. It usually comes to the matter of letting him know he has the juice. Power trip kinda thing.

On a side note, I believe pipe labeling is in another one of the codes. I'd have to hunt for it. We go 10' centers on labels on all piping. Maybe it will keep a maintenence man from cutting itno a gas line thinking its compressed air.
 

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Master Plumber
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Discussion Starter #13
It helps that the Head Inspector knows I try to get along with his guys. I just want them to comply with the same code they want me to comply with. Head Inspector is a great guy. His attitude is "All we want is for you to comply with the code and be respectful. In turn, I will make sure we respect you too." When his guys screw up he corrects it.
 

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I am with ILPlumber if its something small (and I dont have my code book with me, and I always carry a set of code books in my truck) anyway if I cant open the book to show the inspector then I comply. And that clause is in the UPC where an administrative authority has discrettion, and your lucky the head inspector is a good guy because if they are stricter then the code you ussually never win the argument. I try to befriend my inspectors and let them know I know the code the last thing I want is for a stress full inspection.
 

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Master Plumber
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Discussion Starter #15
I am with ILPlumber if its something small (and I dont have my code book with me, and I always carry a set of code books in my truck) anyway if I cant open the book to show the inspector then I comply. And that clause is in the UPC where an administrative authority has discrettion, and your lucky the head inspector is a good guy because if they are stricter then the code you ussually never win the argument. I try to befriend my inspectors and let them know I know the code the last thing I want is for a stress full inspection.
That clause does not give them arbitrary rights. They cannot simply make up something out of the blue and make you comply.

It means they have some flexibility on HOW and WHERE they will apply the code.

Imagine, if we all stopped putting up with the BS, everyone would be better off. The inspectors are mostly just trying to do their job. What is their job? Enforcing the code. What is our job? Following the code. So theoretically, we are both on the same team.

There is no need for animosity as long as both parties approach it from that angle. Yeah, we might get irritated with each other now and then. But if we would all check a bit of ego at the door everything would run smoothly.

I don't have to be right. Neither should my inspector have to be right. We should both focus on compliance with the minimum codes.

As an employer, wouldn't you folks appreciate it if you got a friendly tip that an employee was screwing up in his duties? I would. So should any public servant.

Understand, I am not talking about making an arse out of yourself on differing interpretations. Too many of us do that. And that makes the inspectors eager to bust our you-know-whats on the next job. On those issues, I will comply while engaging them in debate. I will tell them, "Look, I disagree with how you are interpreting this. But hey, it's no big deal. I will do it your way for now."

But I am talking about stuff pulled out of their butts. Like this instance. This is not misinterpreting a vague part of the code. It's making up crap because of ignorance, then refusing to look up the actual code.

Or another example was the guy busting me for not using a 6" liquid filled gauge for my DWV test. Hello? There is NO SUCH requirement. He got a reprimand in his file over that case. (It was a lot more involved than just the gauge.) Without knowing my name, the locals praised me as the guy who made ----- back down and got ----- in trouble. It was in the plumbing supply houses and the electical supply houses and on the job sites. Everyone hates this guy.

Now when ----- inspects my jobs he does it with a meek attitude and goes by the book. The first time he was almost acting like he was scared to say anything. I told him right then, "-----, don't be scared to call me on violations. I WANT you to do your job. I will never get mad at you for calling me on a violation. All I ask is no BS and if I disagree that we can look it up and work it out." Since then he has caused no trouble.

I did screw up when he pulled his stunts. He was looking at a gauge where the even numbers were marked with a numeral and the odd numbers were marked by a heavy line. Plus all the fractional pound marks of course. I had 5 psi on it and he told me he could not tell what it was as there was no number there. I asked him which number was beteen 4 and 6. He said "I can't tell because it's not on your gauge." I replied "If you can't tell that then maybe you need to be flipping burgers instead of inspecting my jobs."

True, but I should have never said it. But he had pulled so much BS that moring I had HAD it. I immediately apologized and he left. The first thing I did when meeting with the bosses was to confess that and apologize for saying it. I told them I believed it, but I should not have said it.

Anyways, each to his own. Just think about whether your approach helps the problem or contributes to it.
 

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Dont get me wrong if the inspector is dead wrong I call them on it and go to the mattresses on the issue. But all i am saying is if you are not preppared to debate like having your code book with you then look at it this way your just saying something without any proof to back it up even if your right. I had an inspector try to tell me on a black iron gas pipe I had to use a nail protection plate. Now the protection plates we use are like 18 gauge and this is black iron pipe I told the guy he was insane and went all the way to the top but the head inspector was not as cool as yours and this particular county is known for bieng hard asses with the code and the head inspector told me to comply or I wouldnt pass. So as stupid as it was I put a self nailing protection plate anywhere my black iron gas pipe went through a wall. I think you have to know who your dealing with and pick your battles its good you have a good repoire with the head inspector but you could be making things hard for your guys in the field at the same time.
 

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Master Plumber
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Discussion Starter #17
Dont get me wrong if the inspector is dead wrong I call them on it and go to the mattresses on the issue. But all i am saying is if you are not preppared to debate like having your code book with you then look at it this way your just saying something without any proof to back it up even if your right. I had an inspector try to tell me on a black iron gas pipe I had to use a nail protection plate. Now the protection plates we use are like 18 gauge and this is black iron pipe I told the guy he was insane and went all the way to the top but the head inspector was not as cool as yours and this particular county is known for bieng hard asses with the code and the head inspector told me to comply or I wouldnt pass. So as stupid as it was I put a self nailing protection plate anywhere my black iron gas pipe went through a wall. I think you have to know who your dealing with and pick your battles its good you have a good repoire with the head inspector but you could be making things hard for your guys in the field at the same time.
I am willing to show up at a County Commissioners meeting with code book and photographs in hand. A friendly call the the county attorney would also be considered.

I don't blame you for doing what you feel you need to do. It just pisses me off to no end when authority abuses their position.
 
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