Am I penetrating a fire wall?

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Old 01-13-13, 10:44 PM
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Am I penetrating a fire wall?

I want to run 3/4" EMT with low voltage cable diagonally through about 16 inches of a hollow interior wall of a 1960s building designated as fireproof. The wall I'm cutting through is plaster and steel mesh with steel studs. There's a pipe in the wall covered with asbestos. The wall on the other side of the pipe is concrete block which I won't touch, and the public stairway is behind that block. There's sometimes a slight breeze when I uncover the hole I cut, maybe from the basement (over 10 floors below) or roof (several floors above) or from a release of pressure due to a temperature difference, but my hole doesn't create any exchange of air with another room or apartment. I'm hoping I don't have to bother packing the conduit with anything because I can't find mineral wool in small quantities and fire caulk in the EMT would make it difficult to replace the cable in the future. I intend to fire caulk only around the outside of the conduit. Does that sound sufficient?

Here's the hollow wall as seen through holes I cut.:
 
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Old 01-13-13, 10:52 PM
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Not quite sure I follow exactly what you're doing but you only need to re-fireproof the connection between the pipe and the wall.

Only the wire goes in the pipe.

As far as penetrating a firewall.....in your picture I believe the block is the firewall and you aren't going thru the firewall.
 
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Old 01-13-13, 11:05 PM
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Yeah, that's what I thought. I'll use a fireblock sealant around the EMT mainly because it's also a draft sealant and I don't want asbestos blowing into my apartment. This picture shows where my EMT will go.
 
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Old 01-14-13, 05:42 PM
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I want to run 3/4" EMT with low voltage cable diagonally through about 16 inches of a hollow interior wall of a 1960s building designated as fireproof
Would I be correct in assuming you are the owner of this apartment building?
 
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Old 01-14-13, 07:16 PM
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I'm co-owner of the apartment but not the building. I found nothing in the lease prohibiting this. The low voltage cable is coaxial cable for TV and internet.

I'll also be surface mounting a new low voltage jack using, I think, a one gang extension on top of a small hole in the wall rather than using a low voltage box. Technically, I'm more worried about that violating the lease than the conduit because I'm supposed to ask permission before adding an outlet, but I'd be more worried if management knew I put conduit through the wall than if they see the "outlet" box.

BTW, I stuck my cell phone camera through a hole in the wall for those pictures. I was barely able to do that. It's a large enough hole that I'd hide it from management (I'm putting a soffit over it) but it's not like I tore down half the wall.
 
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Old 01-14-13, 08:48 PM
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I'm co-owner of the apartment but not the building. I found nothing in the lease prohibiting this.
How do you own something and have a lease on it? It sounds like you're cutting holes in someone else's property, and opening yourself up to all kinds of liability if the owners, or any other tenant, suffers any damage that they can trace back to your work.

Time to close the hole and figure a different way to do what you want.

BTW, what is it you're trying to accomplish? We may be able to help you find a different way to do it.
 
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Old 01-14-13, 09:29 PM
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There's a lease (I think that's what it's called) and house rules and tenants must pay a monthly maintenance charge, then they can sell their apartment if management approves the buyer if and the buyer agrees to the same rules.

I want to run two coaxial cables from the living room to two bedrooms. I decided that building a soffit is the best way to hide the two parallel cables in the hallway. It will be fireproof (drywall and steel furring channel) with the exception of a 6" x 9" plastic access panel that I bought at a home center.

Raceway would present problems because of the contour of the wall and I'm worried that a couple of coats of paint could make it impossible to open. I think a soffit would look much better - totally like part of the wall - and the access door is made to be pried open.

If I'm told to remove it during the next inspection, I'll probably ask what rule I'm violating. If they come up with something, I'll remove it.
 
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Old 01-14-13, 10:54 PM
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That sounds like a co-op. If so, you may be allowed to make some changes to the interior of your unit, such as painting, window treatments, light fixtures - that sort of thing.

Running EMT through a common chase probably isn't one of those interior improvements.

Why do you want to run these two cables? What is it that you're trying to accomplish? And, since you decided to enclose them in a soffit, why are you trying to run a raceway (EMT conduit) - whether through a chase or not?
 
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Old 01-14-13, 10:59 PM
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BTW, penetrating that wall may or may not violate a fire barrier. The Fire Marshall's office for your jurisdiction will know.
 
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Old 01-15-13, 12:09 AM
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I recently switched from DSL to a cable modem and one cable will be for the computer in the small bedroom. The cable is currently on the floor. I'll use a splitter near the bedrooms and feed at least one branch into the master bedroom for future use. The other cable will go from the living room cable box to the bedroom (maybe both bedrooms) so I can get cable TV in two rooms without renting two cable boxes. I know both TVs have to be on the same channel and I don't mind.

The EMT in the soffit will allow the feeding of cable through the soffit and wall by hand (no fish tape) with minimal access points. The first entry point into the soffit is inside a closet, then you'll have to open the access panel to feed it through the EMT. The EMT will guide the cable through two or three turns. The first turn is 90 degrees. The other turns are 45 degrees or less (to enter and exit the wall). I tested the hand feeding on a similar configuration and I'll test it again before installation. The cable will probably go through raceway, along with CAT 5 cable for my phone, just before entering the bedrooms. A 14" section of EMT will be used make it easier to enter the small bedroom through another hollow wall. I think I'll secure that EMT with cotter pins.

All together, I'll have about 9 feet of soffit, 7 feet of EMT, and 9 feet of raceway.
 
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Old 01-16-13, 07:37 PM
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I'm not sure why connecting your cable modem to a wireless router wouldn't do what you want to do with cables. Plus, that would give you wi-fi for anything else that can use it, like cell phones, tablets and laptops.

That said, I think I mis-spoke earlier when I said it sounded like a co-op residence. I should have said that you appear to be the proud co-owner of a condominium unit.

What you're thinking of doing, if I understand you correctly, is inserting a length of EMT through the corner of a plumbing or heating chase that serves the entire building, so that you can reduce the number of bends in your overall cable run and get a signal to a second TV without paying for it.

That space you're thinking of penetrating is not yours; it belongs to the condominium association. You need to get their approval before doing anything to, or through, it.

Post back when you have that approval and we can advise you on the best way to do what you're planning (it needs a bit of adjustment to work as you envision it). Given that you intend to make a straight shot through it, and seal it in a way that will preserve any fire rating, they may be OK with it. If not, tell us that and we can help you think of a different way to do it.
 
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Old 01-16-13, 08:46 PM
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I'm told it's a co-op, not a condo. We have a board of directors that could change the house rules. I don't remember hearing the building called a condo in meetings. I don't know the exact definition of co-op though.

As far as I know, neither the law nor my lease is against me, and I'm not going to risk asking because the board of directors may change the rules before I finish.

I'm leaning against insulating inside the EMT, but I may use fire caulk to seal the couplings as well as the outside of the EMT where it enters and exits the wall.

Note that there's a floor and ceiling in the area I'm drilling in. Off to the side are the holes in the floor and ceiling for the pipes. The chase may be considered an area equal in width to the holes and away from what I'm doing. I'm just drilling through a hollow wall in my apartment.
 
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Old 01-16-13, 09:08 PM
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You've decided to work through a common space without permission in order to acquire a service without paying for it. I'm closing this thread.

Mod Note: The discussion in this thread may be read as an example of deciding to ignore advice on the potential legal and social consequences of pursuing a plan against advice.
 
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