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.
Part 1 Scope and Application
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 Puerto Rico Fuel Gas Code.
Exception: Detached one and two-family dwellings and multiple single-family dwellings (townhouses) not more than three stories high with separate means of egress and their accessory structures shall comply with the Puerto Rico Residential Code.
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.
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.
Minor additions, alterations, renovations and repairs to existing mechanical systems shall meet the provisions for new construction, unless such work is done in the same manner and arrangement as was in the existing system, is not hazardous and is approved.
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.
Exception: Where enforcement of a code provision would violate the conditions of the listing of the equipment or appliance, the conditions of the listing and the manufacturer's installation instructions shall apply.
Part 2 Administration and Enforcement
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.
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.
Exception: Where equipment and appliance replacements or repairs must be performed in an emergency situation, the permit application shall be submitted within the next working business day of the department of mechanical inspection.
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.
Construction documents, engineering calculations, diagrams and other data shall be submitted in two or more sets 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.
Exception: The code official shall have the authority to waive the submission of construction documents, calculations or other data if the nature of the work applied for is such that reviewing of construction documents is not necessary to determine compliance with this code.
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.
The fees for mechanical work shall be as indicated in the following schedule.
[JURISDICTION TO INSERT
The code official shall authorize the refunding of fees as follows.
- The full amount of any fee paid hereunder that was erroneously paid or collected.
- Not more than [SPECIFY PERCENTAGE] percent of the permit fee paid where work has not been done under a permit issued in accordance with this code.
- Not more than [SPECIFY PERCENTAGE] percent of the plan review fee paid where an application for a permit for which a plan review fee has been paid is withdrawn or canceled before any plan review effort has been expended.
The code official shall not authorize the refunding of any fee paid, except upon written application filed by the original permittee not later than 180 days after the date of fee payment.
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.
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.
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.
Where such mechanical system is to be disconnected, written notice as prescribed in Section 108.2 shall be given. In cases of immediate danger to life or property, such disconnection shall be made immediately without such notice.
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.
Where a mechanical system is maintained in violation of this code, and in violation of a notice issued pursuant to the provisions of this section, the code official shall institute appropriate action to prevent, restrain, correct or abate the violation.
The board of appeals shall consist of five individuals, one from each of the following professions or disciplines.
- Registered design professional who is a registered architect; or a builder or superintendent of building construction with not less than 10 years' experience, 5 of which shall have been in responsible charge of work.
- Registered design professional with structural engineering or architectural experience.
- Registered design professional with mechanical and plumbing engineering experience; or a mechanical contractor with not less than 10 years' experience, 5 of which shall have been in responsible charge of work.
- Registered design professional with electrical engineering experience; or an electrical contractor with not less than 10 years' experience, 5 of which shall have been in responsible charge of work.
- Registered design professional with fire protection engineering experience; or a fire protection contractor with not less than 10 years' experience, 5 of which shall have been in responsible charge of work.