About this chapter: Chapter 1 establishes the limits of applicability of the code and describes how the code is to be applied and enforced. Chapter 1 is in two parts: Part 1—Scope and Application and Part 2—Administration and Enforcement. Section 101 identifies what buildings, systems, appliances and equipment fall under its purview and references other I-Codes as applicable. Standards and codes are scoped to the extent referenced.
The code is intended to be adopted as a legally enforceable document and it cannot be effective without adequate provisions for its administration and enforcement. The provisions of Chapter 1 establish the authority and duties of the code official appointed by the authority having jurisdiction and also establish the rights and privileges of the design professional, contractor and property owner.
These regulations shall be known as the Mechanical Code of [NAME OF JURISDICTION], hereinafter referred to as "this code."
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. This 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 appliances and fuel gas-fired appliance venting systems shall be regulated by the International Fuel Gas Code.
Exception: Detached one- and two-family dwellings and townhouses not more than three stories above grade plane in height with a separate means of egress and their accessory structures not more than three stories above grade plane in height shall comply with this code or the International Residential Code.
Provisions in the appendices shall not apply unless specifically adopted.
The purpose of this code is to establish minimum requirements to provide a reasonable level of safety, health, property protection and general welfare by regulating and controlling the design, construction, installation, quality of materials, location, operation and maintenance or use of mechanical equipment or systems.
If a section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase of this code is, for any reason, held to be unconstitutional, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this code.
Where there is a conflict between a general requirement and a specific requirement, the specific requirement shall govern. Where, in a specific case, different sections of this code specify different materials, methods of construction or other requirements, the most restrictive shall govern.
Mechanical systems, both existing and new, and parts thereof shall be maintained in proper operating condition in accordance with the original design and in a safe and sanitary condition. Devices or safeguards that are required by this code shall be maintained in compliance with the edition of the code under which they were installed. The owner or the owner's authorized agent shall be responsible for maintenance of mechanical systems. To determine compliance with this provision, the code official shall have the authority to require a mechanical system to be reinspected.
The inspection for maintenance of HVAC systems shall be performed in accordance with ASHRAE/ACCA/ANSI Standard 180.
Additions, alterations, renovations or repairs to a mechanical system shall conform to that required for a new mechanical system without requiring the existing mechanical system to comply with all of the requirements of this code. Additions, alterations or repairs shall not cause an existing mechanical system to become unsafe, hazardous or overloaded.
It shall be unlawful to make a change in the occupancy of any structure that will subject the structure to any special provision of this code applicable to the new occupancy without approval. The code official shall certify that such structure meets the intent of the provisions of law governing building construction for the proposed new occupancy and that such change of occupancy does not result in any hazard to the public health, safety or welfare.
The provisions of this code relating to the construction, alteration, repair, enlargement, restoration, relocation or moving of buildings or structures shall not be mandatory for existing buildings or structures identified and classified by the state or local jurisdiction as historic buildings where such buildings or structures are judged by the code official to be safe and in the public interest of health, safety and welfare regarding any proposed construction, alteration, repair, enlargement, restoration, relocation or moving of buildings.
The codes and standards referenced herein shall be those that are listed in Chapter 15 and such codes and standards shall be considered as part of the requirements of this code to the prescribed extent of each such reference and as further regulated in Sections 102.8.1 and 102.8.2.
Where conflicts occur between provisions of this code and the referenced standards, the provisions of this code shall apply.
Where the extent of the reference to a referenced code or standard includes subject matter that is within the scope of this code, the provisions of this code, as applicable, shall take precedence over the provisions in the referenced code or standard.
The provisions of this code shall not be deemed to nullify any provisions of local, state or federal law.
Reference to chapter section numbers, or to provisions not specifically identified by number, shall be construed to refer to such chapter, section or provision of this code.
The [NAME OF DEPARTMENT] is hereby created and the official in charge thereof shall be known as the code official. The function of the agency shall be the implementation, administration and enforcement of the provisions of this code.
The code official shall be appointed by the chief appointing authority of the jurisdiction.
In accordance with the prescribed procedures of this jurisdiction and with the concurrence of the appointing authority, the code official shall have the authority to appoint a deputy code official, other related technical officers, inspectors and other employees. Such employees shall have powers as delegated by the code official.
The code official is hereby authorized and directed to enforce the provisions of this code. The code official shall have the authority to render interpretations of this code and to adopt policies and procedures in order to clarify the application of its provisions. Such interpretations, policies and procedures shall be in compliance with the intent and purpose of this code. Such policies and procedures shall not have the effect of waiving requirements specifically provided for in this code.
The code official shall make all of the required inspections, or shall accept reports of inspection by approved agencies or individuals. Reports of such inspections shall be in writing and be certified by a responsible officer of such approved agency or by the responsible individual. The code official is authorized to engage such expert opinion as deemed necessary to report on unusual technical issues that arise, subject to the approval of the appointing authority.
Where it is necessary to make an inspection to enforce the provisions of this code, or where the code official has reasonable cause to believe that there exists in a building or on any premises any conditions or violations of this code that make the building or premises unsafe, insanitary, dangerous or hazardous, the code official shall have the authority to enter the building or premises at all reasonable times to inspect or to perform the duties imposed on the code official by this code. If such building or premises is occupied, the code official shall present credentials to the occupant and request entry. If such building or premises is unoccupied, the code official shall first make a reasonable effort to locate the owner, the owner's authorized agent or other person having charge or control of the building or premises and request entry. If entry is refused, the code official has recourse to every remedy provided by law to secure entry.
Where the code official has first obtained a proper inspection warrant or other remedy provided by law to secure entry, the owner, owner's authorized agent or occupant or person having charge, care or control of the building or premises shall not fail or neglect, after proper request is made as herein provided, to promptly permit entry therein by the code official for the purpose of inspection and examination pursuant to this code.
The code official shall issue all necessary notices or orders to ensure compliance with this code.
The code official shall keep official records of applications received, permits and certificates issued, fees collected, reports of inspections, and notices and orders issued. Such records shall be retained in the official records for the period required for retention of public records.
The code official, member of the board of appeals or employee charged with the enforcement of this code, while acting for the jurisdiction in good faith and without malice in the discharge of the duties required by this code or other pertinent law or ordinance, shall not thereby be rendered civilly or criminally liable personally, and is hereby relieved from personal liability for any damage accruing to persons or property as a result of an act or by reason of an act or omission in the discharge of official duties.
Any suit or criminal complaint instituted against any officer or employee because of an act performed by that officer or employee in the lawful discharge of duties and under the provisions of this code shall be defended by the legal representatives of the jurisdiction until the final termination of the proceedings. The code official or any subordinate shall not be liable for costs in an action, suit or proceeding that is instituted in pursuance of the provisions of this code.
Where there are practical difficulties involved in carrying out the provisions of this code, the code official shall have the authority to grant modifications for individual cases upon application of the owner or owner's authorized agent, provided that the code official shall first find that special individual reason makes the strict letter of this code impractical and the modification is in compliance with the intent and purpose of this code and does not lessen health, life and fire safety requirements. The details of action granting modifications shall be recorded and entered in the files of the mechanical inspection department.
The provisions of this code are not intended to prevent the installation of any material or to prohibit any design or method of construction not specifically prescribed by this code, provided that any such alternative has been approved. An alternative material, design or method of construction shall be approved where the code official finds that the proposed design is satisfactory and complies with the intent of the provisions of this code, and that the material, method or work offered is, for the purpose intended, not less than the equivalent of that prescribed in this code in quality, strength, effectiveness, fire resistance, durability and safety. Where the alternative material, design or method of construction is not approved, the code official shall respond in writing, stating the reasons why the alternative was not approved.
Where there is insufficient evidence of compliance with the provisions of this code, or evidence that a material or method does not conform to the requirements of this code, or in order to substantiate claims for alternative materials or methods, the code official shall have the authority to require tests as evidence of compliance to be made at no expense to the jurisdiction.
Test methods shall be as specified in this code or by other recognized test standards. In the absence of recognized and accepted test methods, the code official shall approve the testing procedures.
An owner, owner's authorized agent or contractor who desires to erect, install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert or replace a mechanical system, the installation of which is regulated by this code, or to cause such work to be performed, shall first make application to the code official and obtain the required permit for the work.
Instead of an individual construction permit for each alteration to an already approved system or equipment or application installation, the code official is authorized to issue an annual permit upon application therefor to any person, firm or corporation regularly employing one or more qualified tradespersons in the building, structure or on the premises owned or operated by the applicant for the permit.
Permits shall not be required for the following:
- Portable heating appliances.
- Portable ventilation appliances and equipment.
- Portable cooling units.
- Steam, hot water or chilled water piping within any heating or cooling equipment or appliances regulated by this code.
- The replacement of any minor part that does not alter the approval of equipment or an appliance or make such equipment or appliance unsafe.
- Portable evaporative coolers.
- Self-contained refrigeration systems that contain 10 pounds (4.5 kg) or less of refrigerant, or that are actuated by motors of 1 horsepower (0.75 kW) or less.
- Portable fuel cell appliances that are not connected to a fixed piping system and are not interconnected to a power grid.
Exemption from the permit requirements of this code shall not be deemed to grant authorization for work to be done in violation of the provisions of this code or other laws or ordinances of this jurisdiction.
Each application for a permit, with the required fee, shall be filed with the code official on a form furnished for that purpose and shall contain a general description of the proposed work and its location. The application shall be signed by the owner or the owner's authorized agent. The permit application shall indicate the proposed occupancy of all parts of the building and of that portion of the site or lot, if any, not covered by the building or structure and shall contain such other information required by the code official.
An application for a permit for any proposed work shall be deemed to have been abandoned 180 days after the date of filing, unless such application has been pursued in good faith or a permit has been issued; except that the code official shall have the authority to grant one or more extensions of time for additional periods not exceeding 180 days each. The extension shall be requested in writing and justifiable cause demonstrated.
The application, construction documents and other data filed by an applicant for a permit shall be reviewed by the code official. If the code official finds that the proposed work conforms to the requirements of this code and all laws and ordinances applicable thereto, and that the fees specified in Section 109.1 have been paid, a permit shall be issued to the applicant.
When the code official issues the permit where construction documents are required, the construction documents shall be endorsed in writing and stamped "APPROVED." Such approved construction documents shall not be changed, modified or altered without authorization from the code official. Work shall be done in accordance with the approved construction documents.
The code official shall have the authority to issue a permit for the construction of part of a mechanical system before the construction documents for the entire system have been submitted or approved, provided that adequate information and detailed statements have been filed complying with all pertinent requirements of this code. The holder of such permit shall proceed at his or her own risk without assurance that the permit for the entire mechanical system will be granted.
The issuance of a permit or approval of construction documents shall not be construed to be a permit for, or an approval of, any violation of any of the provisions of this code or of other ordinances of the jurisdiction. A permit presuming to give authority to violate or cancel the provisions of this code shall be invalid.
The issuance of a permit based on construction documents and other data shall not prevent the code official from thereafter requiring the correction of errors in said construction documents and other data or from preventing building operations from being carried on thereunder where in violation of this code or of other ordinances of this jurisdiction.
Every permit issued by the code official under the provisions of this code shall expire by limitation and become null and void if the work authorized by such permit is not commenced within 180 days from the date of such permit, or if the work authorized by such permit is suspended or abandoned at any time after the work is commenced for a period of 180 days. Before such work recommences, a new permit shall be first obtained and the fee therefor shall be one-half the amount required for a new permit for such work, provided that changes have not been made and will not be made in the original construction documents for such work, and provided further that such suspension or abandonment has not exceeded one year.
A permittee holding an unexpired permit shall have the right to apply for an extension of the time within which the permittee will commence work under that permit where work is unable to be commenced within the time required by this section for good and satisfactory reasons. The code official shall extend the time for action by the permittee for a period not exceeding 180 days if there is reasonable cause. A permit shall not be extended more than once. The fee for an extension shall be one-half the amount required for a new permit for such work.
The code official shall have the authority to suspend or revoke a permit issued under the provisions of this code wherever the permit is issued in error or on the basis of incorrect, inaccurate or incomplete information, or in violation of any ordinance or regulation or any of the provisions of this code.
This code shall not require changes in the construction documents, construction or designated occupancy of a structure for which a lawful permit has been heretofore issued or otherwise lawfully authorized, and the construction of which has been pursued in good faith within 180 days after the effective date of this code and has not been abandoned.
The permit or a copy shall be kept on the site of the work until the completion of the project.
The code official is authorized to give permission to temporarily supply utilities before an installation has been fully completed and the final certificate of completion has been issued. The part covered by the temporary certificate shall comply with the requirements specified for temporary lighting, heat or power in the code.
The code official is authorized to conduct such inspections as are deemed necessary to determine compliance with the provisions of this code. Construction or work for which a permit is required shall be subject to inspection by the code official, and such construction or work shall remain visible and able to be accessed for inspection purposes until approved. Approval as a result of an inspection shall not be construed to be an approval of a violation of the provisions of this code or of other ordinances of the jurisdiction. Inspections presuming to give authority to violate or cancel the provisions of this code or of other ordinances of the jurisdiction shall not be valid.
The code official, upon notification from the permit holder or the permit holder's agent, shall make the following inspections and other such inspections as necessary, and shall either release that portion of the construction or shall notify the permit holder or the permit holder's agent of violations that must be corrected. The holder of the permit shall be responsible for the scheduling of such inspections.
- Underground inspection shall be made after trenches or ditches are excavated and bedded, piping installed, and before backfill is put in place. Where excavated soil contains rocks, broken concrete, frozen chunks and other rubble that would damage or break the piping or cause corrosive action, clean backfill shall be on the job site.
- Rough-in inspection shall be made after the roof, framing, fireblocking and bracing are in place and all ducting and other components to be concealed are complete, and prior to the installation of wall or ceiling membranes.
- Final inspection shall be made upon completion of the mechanical system.
Exception: Ground-source heat pump loop systems tested in accordance with Section 1210.10 shall be permitted to be backfilled prior to inspection.
The requirements of this section shall not be considered to prohibit the operation of any heating equipment or appliances installed to replace existing heating equipment or appliances serving an occupied portion of a structure provided that a request for inspection of such heating equipment or appliances has been filed with the department not more than 48 hours after such replacement work is completed, and before any portion of such equipment or appliances is concealed by any permanent portion of the structure.
Work shall not be done beyond the point indicated in each successive inspection without first obtaining the approval of the code official. The code official, upon notification, shall make the requested inspections and shall either indicate the portion of the construction that is satisfactory as completed, or notify the permit holder or his or her agent wherein the same fails to comply with this code. Any portions that do not comply shall be corrected and such portion shall not be covered or concealed until authorized by the code official.
Prior to the approval of a prefabricated construction assembly having concealed mechanical work and the issuance of a mechanical permit, the code official shall require the submittal of an evaluation report on each prefabricated construction assembly, indicating the complete details of the mechanical system, including a description of the system and its components, the basis on which the system is being evaluated, test results and similar information, and other data as necessary for the code official to determine conformance to this code.
Except where ready access is provided to mechanical systems, service equipment and accessories for complete inspection at the site without disassembly or dismantling, the code official shall conduct the in-plant inspections as frequently as necessary to ensure conformance to the approved evaluation report or shall designate an independent, approved inspection agency to conduct such inspections. The inspection agency shall furnish the code official with the follow-up inspection manual and a report of inspections on request, and the mechanical system shall have an identifying label permanently affixed to the system indicating that factory inspections have been performed.
New mechanical systems and parts of existing systems, which have been altered, extended, renovated or repaired, shall be tested as prescribed herein to disclose leaks and defects.
Apparatus, material and labor required for testing a mechanical system or part thereof shall be furnished by the permit holder.
A permit shall not be valid until the fees prescribed by law have been paid. An amendment to a permit shall not be released until the additional fee, if any, has been paid.
Where work requires a permit, a fee for each permit shall be paid as required, in accordance with the schedule as established by the applicable governing authority.
The applicant for a permit shall provide an estimated permit value at the time of application. Permit valuations shall reflect the total value of work, including materials and labor, for which the permit is being issued, such as mechanical equipment and permanent systems. If, in the opinion of the code official, the valuation is underestimated on the application, the permit shall be denied unless the applicant can show detailed estimates to meet the approval of the code official. Final building permit valuation shall be set by the code official.
The payment of the fee for the construction, alteration, removal or demolition for work done in connection to or concurrently with the work authorized by a permit shall not relieve the applicant or holder of the permit from the payment of other fees that are prescribed by law.
Construction documents, engineering calculations, diagrams and other data shall be submitted in two or more sets, or in a digital format where allowed by the building official, with each application for a permit. The code official shall require construction documents, computations and specifications to be prepared and designed by a registered design professional where required by state law. Where special conditions exist, the code official is authorized to require additional construction documents to be prepared by a registered design professional. Construction documents shall be drawn to scale and shall be of sufficient clarity to indicate the location, nature and extent of the work proposed and show in detail that the work conforms to the provisions of this code. Construction documents for buildings more than two stories in height shall indicate where penetrations will be made for mechanical systems, and the materials and methods for maintaining required structural safety, fire-resistance rating and fireblocking.
One set of approved construction documents shall be retained by the code official for a period of not less than 180 days from date of completion of the permitted work, or as required by state or local laws. One set of approved construction documents shall be returned to the applicant, and said set shall be kept on the site of the building or job at all times during which the work authorized thereby is in progress.
After the prescribed tests and inspections indicate that the work complies in all respects with this code, a notice of approval shall be issued by the code official.
The code official is authorized to, in writing, suspend or revoke a notice of approval issued under the provisions of this code wherever the notice is issued in error, on the basis of incorrect information supplied, or where it is determined that the building or structure, premise or portion thereof is in violation of any ordinance or regulation or any of the provisions of this code.
A person shall not make connections from a utility, source of energy, fuel or power to any building or system that is regulated by this code for which a permit is required, until authorized by the code official.
The code official shall have the authority to authorize the temporary connection of the building or system to the utility, source of energy, fuel, power, water system or sewer system for the purpose of testing systems or for use under a temporary approval.
The code official shall have the authority to authorize disconnection of utility service to the building, structure or system regulated by this code and the referenced codes and standards in case of emergency where necessary to eliminate an immediate hazard to life or property or where such utility connection has been made without the approval required by Section 112.1 or 112.2. The code official shall notify the serving utility, and wherever possible the owner or the owner's authorized agent and occupant of the building, structure or service system, of the decision to disconnect prior to taking such action. If not notified prior to disconnecting, the owner, the owner's authorized agent or occupant of the building, structure or service system shall be notified in writing as soon as practical thereafter.
The stop work order shall be in writing and shall be given to the owner of the property, the owner's authorized agent or the person performing the work. Upon issuance of a stop work order, the cited work shall immediately cease. The stop work order shall state the reason for the order and the conditions under which the cited work is authorized to resume.
Where an emergency exists, the code official shall not be required to give a written notice prior to stopping the work.
Any person who shall continue any work after having been served with a stop work order, except such work as that person is directed to perform to remove a violation or unsafe condition, shall be subject to fines established by the authority having jurisdiction.
In order to hear and decide appeals of orders, decisions or determinations made by the code official relative to the application and interpretation of this code, there shall be and is hereby created a board of appeals. The board of appeals shall be appointed by the applicable governing authority and shall hold office at its pleasure. The board shall adopt rules of procedure for conducting its business and shall render all decisions and findings in writing to the appellant with a duplicate copy to the code official.
An application for appeal shall be based on a claim that the true intent of this code or the rules legally adopted thereunder have been incorrectly interpreted, the provisions of this code do not fully apply or an equivalent or better form of construction is proposed. The board shall not have the authority to waive requirements of this code or interpret the administration of this code.
The board of appeals shall consist of members who are qualified by experience and training and are not employees of the jurisdiction.
It shall be unlawful for a person, firm or corporation to erect, construct, alter, repair, remove, demolish or utilize a mechanical system, or cause same to be done, in conflict with or in violation of any of the provisions of this code.
The code official shall serve a notice of violation or order to the person responsible for the erection, installation, alteration, extension, repair, removal or demolition of mechanical work in violation of the provisions of this code, or in violation of a detail statement or the approved construction documents thereunder, or in violation of a permit or certificate issued under the provisions of this code. Such order shall direct the discontinuance of the illegal action or condition and the abatement of the violation.
If the notice of violation is not complied with promptly, the code official shall request the legal counsel of the jurisdiction to institute the appropriate proceeding at law or in equity to restrain, correct or abate such violation, or to require the removal or termination of the unlawful occupancy of the structure in violation of the provisions of this code or of the order or direction made pursuant thereto.
Persons who shall violate a provision of this code or shall fail to comply with any of the requirements thereof or who shall erect, install, alter or repair mechanical work in violation of the approved construction documents or directive of the code official, or of a permit or certificate issued under the provisions of this code, shall be guilty of a [SPECIFY OFFENSE], punishable by a fine of not more than [AMOUNT] dollars or by imprisonment not exceeding [NUMBER OF DAYS], or both such fine and imprisonment. Each day that a violation continues after due notice has been served shall be deemed a separate offense.
The imposition of the penalties herein prescribed shall not preclude the legal officer of the jurisdiction from instituting appropriate action to prevent unlawful construction or to restrain, correct or abate a violation, or to prevent illegal occupancy of a building, structure or premises, or to stop an illegal act, conduct, business or utilization of the mechanical system on or about any premises.
A mechanical system that is unsafe, constitutes a fire or health hazard, or is otherwise dangerous to human life, as regulated by this code, is hereby declared as an unsafe mechanical system. Use of a mechanical system regulated by this code constituting a hazard to health, safety or welfare by reason of inadequate maintenance, dilapidation, fire hazard, disaster, damage or abandonment is hereby declared an unsafe use. Such unsafe equipment and appliances are hereby declared to be a public nuisance and shall be abated by repair, rehabilitation, demolition or removal.
Where the code official determines that any mechanical system, or portion thereof, regulated by this code has become hazardous to life, health, property, or has become insanitary, the code official shall order in writing that such system either be removed or restored to a safe condition. A time limit for compliance with such order shall be specified in the written notice. A person shall not use or maintain a defective mechanical system after receiving such notice.
The code official shall have the authority to order disconnection of energy sources supplied to a building, structure or mechanical system regulated by this code, where it is determined that the mechanical system or any portion thereof has become hazardous or unsafe. Written notice of such order to disconnect service and the causes therefor shall be given within 24 hours to the owner, the owner's authorized agent and occupant of such building, structure or premises, provided, however, that in cases of immediate danger to life or property, such disconnection shall be made immediately without such notice. Where energy sources are provided by a public utility, the code official shall immediately notify the serving utility in writing of the issuance of such order to disconnect.
A person shall not make energy source connections to mechanical systems regulated by this code that have been disconnected or ordered to be disconnected by the code official, or the use of which has been ordered to be discontinued by the code official until the code official authorizes the reconnection and use of such mechanical systems.