Calling the Building Dept...


Old 03-28-03, 02:48 PM
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Calling the Building Dept...

The following is really an addendum to several threads working-out all aspects of a single project which was researched via four posts in three forums. All of the related threads are cross-linked from the concluding post which can be found at

Basically, I was working through putting insulation on the inside of my home. But, because the specifics of this subject is not germaine to the following, but I did feel a need to reply and where a discussion may or not ensue, I decided to post this part of my thought process to this forum. Once again, the specifics of the topic are not that important and I do welcome any questions or comments which may be forthcoming.

Throughout this process, you will find various persons recommending that I contact my local building department and inquire about codes; I feel this goes without saying, but because this project is only one component of a much larger upgrade to my fixer-upper; I also feel that more harm than good would be accomplished by constantly contacting them, whenever I have a question of any sort, especially before the permit process has formally begun.

Now, there are "special" circumstances which apply only to my locality which causes pause about calling, but they aren't completely relevant and may not be important. What is important is the fact that I must apply for a homeowner's license to do my own electrical and plumbing and whether or not, I am granted this license is entirely up to the local officials; So I feel that it is better to demonstrate my knowledge and preparation by limiting the volume of contacts and submitting a detailed, researched plan when the time is right.

Needless to say, I am compiling a list of questions to which I can find no answer and I will submit these queries in one or two visits, thus limiting the volume of contacts but not the number of questions. Also, the building codes which apply to my community, including the local-specific data are available in my local library; So, I am confident that by researching my questions through this forum, other online resources, consulting experts and the actual code books; Not only am I answering many of my own questions, but along the way I am discovering new aspects of the equation that I had never considered and/or other things that I may decide to do at the same time.

So please, no one consider the fact that I seem to be ignoring the suggestion of contacting the AHJ, as an indication that I will be proceding half-cocked. Quite the opposite is true. I have been and will be contacting my local building department; Plus, the plans will be submitted and they have jurisdiction over whether or not, the plans will need to be changed before they are approved. Plus, I'm more than positive that because there is only one multidisciplinary inspector in my town, who will be visiting my home numerous times over the next year as I complete the various aspects of my several projects; As we step through the processes and as I give him indications of when, he might expect to visit my property next and what he will be seeing at that time, I'm more than confident that as we come to things, if he sees something we missed when he looked at my plans, he won't hesitate to tell me.

If your project is smaller, you would of course be contacting your local building department much earlier in the process. It should also go without saying that everyone should contact the AHJ and have their plans approved, before they purchase materials.

But it is equally true that if we all simply called our building departments about every conceivable code questions; No one would learn about codes from these forums. After all did you know that the code dictates how far apart the fasteners must be when you are installing sheetrock? I know that I didn't, but by researching this question, myself; I have learned that if your studs are 16" or 24" oc, nails can be no more than 8" apart and screws would have to be spaced no more than 16" for 16"oc and 12" for 24"oc under the Uniform Building Code and if, I simply called the local guy and asked, no one except me would be aware of this truth.

Peace, Love & Happiness;
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Old 03-28-03, 04:10 PM
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Location: Kansas City MO
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But what is the spacing under the International Building Code?

Just curious....

Hey and 1 more quick thought about your greywater system. There is a considerable amount of code involved with gutters under the Uniform Plumbing Code. If you fall under that, you may want to read a few pages and then go...HUH! This brings to mind one of your earlier postings in plumbing and I said it kicked in some brain cells that had laid dormant too long.
Old 03-28-03, 05:51 PM
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The best I can come up without leaving my house or actually looking at a codebook is that the IRC requires 12"oc for 1/2" and 16"oc for 5/8", when it is installed on a ceiling and indications are that this may actually extend down to screws in the walls, but I can't be sure without spending more than 15 minutes trying to find out. But I do know, without a doubt that these numbers are correct for a ceiling.

Want to hear something real funny; I have several reasons to wonder about the accuracy of any info that I may get from the AHJ and I feel that I have legitimate reasons to limit my contact, prior to going for the permit. But since posting, I've also been given a strong reason not to even apply for the permit to start. I am definitely going to get the permit, though I have had several very knowledgeable persons locally, whom I trust, actually try and talk me out of it. All the more reason to have my ducks in a row, before I bring additional attention to myself is the way I'm forced to look at it and one of the principal reasons that I want to fully understand the codes and law, as I go.

(Note to other DIYers: The situation in my current community is unlike anything that I have seen, anywhere and I've lived in at least nine different states and in several different communities within some of these states; When in doubt, please contact your local building department)

Last edited by magister; 03-29-03 at 03:36 AM.

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