What Role does the Mechanical Code Play in Code Enforcement?
The mechanical code plays a critical role in ensuring the proper installation of equipment and piping for many types of systems. Just like other codes, its primary purpose is to provide safeguards to the public health and safety of all communities. The mechanical code covers the typical building systems such as heating, cooling, kitchen exhaust, or gas piping and provides information to the use on proper installation and design of these many types of systems.
The systems are also critical to the building performance. Ducts without proper fire dampers, or kitchen exhaust systems without appropriate seams can lead to the spread of fire during. Buildings without proper ventilation could also lead to mold or comfort issues for the occupant. The mechanical inspector may also be utilizing multiple code books in order to properly enforce the needed aspects of the code.
A mechanical code is typically adopted in conjunction with building and fire code. Chapter 1 of the major codes deals with the administrative provisions to ensure the proper enforcement of the code. Subsequent chapters very, although, they do include specific requirements based on the application of the section. Many communities utilize the companion code which is part of a code series.
What Codes Are Available
There are three major codes available to the adopting community and utilized for different areas. The most common is the International Code Series and the International Mechanical Code (IMC). The most recent version is the 2009 edition. The scope includes:
This code shall regulate the design, installation, maintenance, alteration and inspection of mechanical systems that are permanently installed and utilized to provide control of environmental conditions and related processes within buildings. The code shall also regulate those mechanical systems, system components, equipment and appliances specifically addressed herein. The installation of fuel gas distribution piping and equipment, fuel gas-fired appliance venting systems shall be regulated by the International Fuel Code
Exception: Detached one and two family dwellings and multiple single family dwellings not more then three stories high with separate means of egress and their accessory structures shall comply with the International Residential code.
The scope of the NFPA 54 is:
- Coverage of piping systems shall extend from the point of delivery to the appliance connections. For other than undiluted liquefied petroleum gas (LP-Gas) systems, the point of delivery shall be considered to be the outlet of the service meter assembly or the outlet of the service regulator or service shutoff valve where no meter is provided. For undiluted LP-Gas, the point of delivery shall be considered to be the outlet of the final pressure regulator, exclusive of line gas regulators, in the system.
- The maximum operating pressure shall be 125 psi. Exception No. 1:Piping systems for gas–air mixtures within the flammable range are limited to a maximum pressure of 10 psi. Exception No. 2:LP-Gas piping systems are limited to 20 psi, except as provided in 5.5.1(6).
- Requirements for piping systems shall include design, materials, components, fabrication, assembly, installation, testing, inspection, operation, and maintenance.
- Requirements for appliances, equipment, and related accessories shall include installation, combustion, and ventilation air and venting.
A key requirement in all codes is the maintenance of the systems. With any code or installed equipment, maintenance is key to ensure proper system use. Wear, deterioration, corrosion, or dirt can create an unsafe mechanical system.
In your community who is responsible for enforcing the mechanical code?
Does that inspector perform maintenance inspections in accordance with the adopted code?
- City of Mesa, Mechanical Code Checklist, IBC Based, 2006 edition
- City of Austin Tx, Ordinance for the Adoption of the 2003 UMC
- City Dallas, Mechanical Permit Checklist
- City of Yakima, General Mechanical Checklist
- LA City, Plumbing and Mechanical Checklist
- City of Everett Washington, Mechanical Construction Checklist