ADOPTS WITH AMENDMENTS:

International Mechanical Code 2015 (IMC 2015)

Heads up: There are no amended sections in this chapter.

Part 1 — Scope and Application

These regulations shall be known as the Rhode Island State Mechanical Code Regulation SBC-4-2019 hereafter referred to as "this code."

The other codes referenced elsewhere in this code shall be considered part of the requirements of this code to the prescribed extent of each such reference.

  1. Electrical. The provisions of the Rhode Island State Electrical Code SBC-5-2019 shall apply wherever referenced in this code as the ICC Electrical Code, and shall apply to the installation of electrical systems, including alterations, repairs, replacement, equipment, appliances, fixtures, fittings, and appurtenances thereto.
  2. Mechanical. The provisions of the Rhode Island State Mechanical Code SBC-4-2019 shall apply wherever referenced in this code as the International Mechanical Code®(IMC®), and shall apply to the installation, alterations, repairs and replacement of mechanical systems, including equipment, appliances, fixtures, fittings and/or appurtenances, including ventilating, heating, cooling, air-conditioning and refrigeration systems, incinerators and other energy-related systems.
  3. Plumbing. The provisions of the Rhode Island State Plumbing Code SBC-3-2019 shall apply wherever referenced in this code as the International Plumbing Code®(IPC®), and shall apply to the installation, alteration, repair and replacement of plumbing systems, including equipment, appliances, fixtures, fittings and appurtenances, and where connected to a water or sewage system and all aspects of a medical gas system.
  4. Property Maintenance. The provisions of the Rhode Island State Property Maintenance Code SBC-6-2019 Provides requirements for continued use and maintenance buildings and property, and of related plumbing, mechanical, electrical and fire protection systems in existing residential and non-residential structures.
  5. Fire Prevention Code. Wherever and whenever provisions of the 2015 International Fire Code®(IFC®) editions are referenced, the appropriate Rhode Island Fire Safety Code requirements shall apply.
  6. Energy Code. The provisions of the Rhode Island State Energy Conservation Code SBC-8-2019 shall apply wherever referenced in this code as International Energy Conservation Code®(IECC®), and shall apply to all matters governing the design, alteration and construction of buildings and systems for energy efficiency.
  7. Building Code. The provisions of the Rhode Island State Building Code SBC-1-2019 shall apply wherever referenced in this code as the International Building Code®(IBC®).
  8. Residential Code.The provisions of the Rhode Island One and Two Family Dwelling Code SBC-2-2019 shall apply wherever referenced in this code as the International Residential Code®(IRC®).
  9. Existing Building Code. The provisions of the State Building Codes SBC-1-2019 in conjunction with the State Rehabilitation Code SRC-1 and the Rhode Island Fire Safety Code shall apply wherever referenced in this code as the International Existing Building Code®(IEBC®).

All other Administrative provisions shall remain in effect. To the extent that there is an apparent conflict between the provisions of these administrative sections and RIGL 23-27.3 101.0 et al, the provisions of state law shall prevail. Where other provisions of this code refer to provisions of Chapter 1 Administration, Chapter 1 Administration or RIGL 23-27.3-101.0 et al shall apply as appropriate.

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 multiple single-family dwellings (townhouses) not more than three stories high with separate means of egress and their accessory structures shall comply with the International Residential Code.

Provisions in the appendices shall not apply unless specifically adopted.
The purpose of this code is to establish minimum standards to provide a reasonable level of safety, health, property protection and public welfare by regulating and controlling the design, construction, installation, quality of materials, location, operation and maintenance or use of mechanical 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.

It shall be the duty of every contractor who enters into contracts for the installation or repair of mechanical systems for which a permit is required to comply with adopted state and local rules and regulations concerning licensing.

Any building owner, authorized agent, person or contractor who installs, modifies or repairs mechanical systems for which a permit is required shall comply with all state laws and regulations regarding licensing.

Except as otherwise provided for in this chapter, a provision in this code shall not require the removal, alteration or abandonment of, nor prevent the continued utilization and maintenance of, a mechanical system lawfully in existence at the time of the adoption 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.

It shall be unlawful to make a change in the occupancy of any structure which 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.
Except as determined by Section 102.2, mechanical systems that are a part of buildings or structures moved into or within the jurisdiction shall comply with the provisions of this code for new installations.

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: Section deleted in Rhode Island. Reference to the appropriate sections of SBC-1-2019 and RIGL 23-27.3-100 et al.

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.
Requirements necessary for the strength, stability or proper operation of an existing or proposed mechanical system, or for the public safety, health and general welfare, not specifically covered by this code, shall be determined by the code official.
Section deleted in Rhode Island. Reference to the appropriate sections of SBC-1-2019 and RIGL 23-27.3-100 et al.
Section deleted in Rhode Island. Reference to the appropriate sections of SBC-1-2019 and RIGL 23-27.3-100 et al.

Part 2 — Administration and Enforcement

Section deleted in Rhode Island. Reference to the appropriate sections of SBC-1-2019 and RIGL 23-27.3-100 et al.
Section deleted in Rhode Island. Reference to the appropriate sections of SBC-1-2019 and RIGL 23-27.3-100 et al.
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 method of construction not specifically prescribed by this code, provided that any such alternative has been approved. An alternative material 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.
Supporting data, where necessary to assist in the approval of materials or assemblies not specifically provided for in this code, shall consist of valid research reports from approved sources.
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.
Tests shall be performed by an approved agency.
Reports of tests shall be retained by the code official for the period required for retention of public records.
Materials, equipment and devices approved by the code official shall be constructed and installed in accordance with such approval.
Materials, equipment, appliances and devices shall not be reused unless such elements have been reconditioned, tested and placed in good and proper working condition and approved.

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.

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.
The person to whom an annual permit is issued shall keep a detailed record of alterations made under such annual permit. The code official shall have access to such records at all times or such records shall be filed with the code official as designated.

Permits shall not be required for the following:

  1. Portable heating appliances.
  2. Portable ventilation appliances and equipment.
  3. Portable cooling units.
  4. Steam, hot water or chilled water piping within any heating or cooling equipment or appliances regulated by this code.
  5. The replacement of any minor part that does not alter the approval of equipment or an appliance or make such equipment or appliance unsafe.
  6. Portable evaporative coolers.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

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.

Before a permit is issued, the code official is authorized to inspect and evaluate the systems, equipment, buildings, devices, premises and spaces or areas to be used.
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.
Section deleted in Rhode Island. Reference to the appropriate sections of SBC-1-2019 and RIGL 23-27.3-100 et al.
Section deleted in Rhode Island. Reference to the appropriate sections of SBC-1-2019 and RIGL 23-27.3-100 et al.
Section deleted in Rhode Island. Reference to the appropriate sections of SBC-1-2019 and RIGL 23-27.3-100 et al.
Section deleted in Rhode Island. Reference to the appropriate sections of SBC-1-2019 and RIGL 23-27.3-100 et al.
Section deleted in Rhode Island. Reference to the appropriate sections of SBC-1-2019 and RIGL 23-27.3-100 et al.
Section deleted in Rhode Island. Reference to the appropriate sections of SBC-1-2019 and RIGL 23-27.3-100 et al.
Section deleted in Rhode Island. Reference to the appropriate sections of SBC-1-2019 and RIGL 23-27.3-100 et al.
Section deleted in Rhode Island. Reference to the appropriate sections of SBC-1-2019 and RIGL 23-27.3-100 et al.
Section deleted in Rhode Island. Reference to the appropriate sections of SBC-1-2019 and RIGL 23-27.3-100 et al.
Section deleted in Rhode Island. Reference to the appropriate sections of SBC-1-2019 and RIGL 23-27.3-100 et al.
Section deleted in Rhode Island. Reference to the appropriate sections of SBC-1-2019 and RIGL 23-27.3-100 et al.
Section deleted in Rhode Island. Reference to the appropriate sections of SBC-1-2019 and RIGL 23-27.3-100 et al.
Section deleted in Rhode Island. Reference to the appropriate sections of SBC-1-2019 and RIGL 23-27.3-100 et al.
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 accessible and exposed 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

In addition to the inspections specified in Section 107.2, the code official is authorized to make or require other inspections of any construction work to ascertain compliance with the provisions of this code and other laws that are enforced.
It shall be the duty of the holder of the permit or their duly authorized agent to notify the code official when work is ready for inspection. It shall be the duty of the permit holder to provide access to and means for inspections of such work that are required by this code.
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.
The code official is authorized to accept reports of approved agencies, provided that such agencies satisfy the requirements as to qualifications and reliability.
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 upon 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.
The code official shall designate the evaluation service of an approved agency as the evaluation agency, and review such agency's evaluation report for adequacy and 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 upon request, and the mechanical system shall have an identifying label permanently affixed to the system indicating that factory inspections have been performed.
Required test and inspection records shall be available to the code official at all times during the fabrication of the mechanical system and the erection of the building; or such records as the code official designates shall be filed.
Mechanical systems shall be tested as required in this code and in accordance with Sections 107.3.1 through 107.3.3. Tests shall be made by the permit holder and observed by the code official.
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.
Where any work or installation does not pass an initial test or inspection, the necessary corrections shall be made so as to achieve compliance with this code. The work or installation shall then be resubmitted to the code official for inspection and testing.
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.
The code official shall have the authority to authorize the temporary connection of a mechanical system to the sources of energy for the purpose of testing mechanical systems or for use under a temporary certificate of occupancy.
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.
Section deleted in Rhode Island. Reference to the appropriate sections of SBC-1-2019 and RIGL 23-27.3-100 et al.
Section deleted in Rhode Island. Reference to the appropriate sections of SBC-1-2019 and RIGL 23-27.3-100 et al.
The code official is authorized to issue a permit for temporary equipment, systems and uses. Such permits shall be limited as to time of service, but shall not be permitted for more than 180 days. The code official is authorized to grant extensions for demonstrated cause.
Temporary equipment, systems and uses shall conform to the structural strength, fire safety, means of egress, accessibility, light, ventilation and sanitary requirements of this code as necessary to ensure the public health, safety and general welfare.
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 terminate such permit for temporary equipment, systems or uses and to order the temporary equipment, systems or uses to be discontinued.
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