Ofuro tub in Massachusetts

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Kalex, May 12, 2016.

  1. Kalex

    Kalex New Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2016
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    I purchased a wooden Japanese Ofuro tub, hand made. These are allowed in seemingly every state but MA.
    That I did not know...
    The tub is planned in a wet-room with separate shower with mixing valve. Room tiled with drain. Separate control for tub, drain from tub onto floor/drain. The plumbing inspector said tub not approved in MA, and the state inspector as well.
    I do not want to return this tub, and was told I can put it in after the fact. What should I ask my plumber to put in for rough plumbing? I originally had two faucets and filler. He suggests a mixing valve, and hand held shower head, but I really hoped to have two faucets to get enough hot here. It is on a separate line. He is also an inspector (in another town) so I have to find yet another plumber to finish the job. Sadly because he is the best.
    Suggestions for rough plumbing? Thanks!
     
  2. standardairconditioner

    standardairconditioner HVAC'ker

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2015
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    Thanks for joining and posting the forums.

    With many new members looking for advice and answers, be reminded that good photos and illustrations always invite an audience that can give faster replies that are less generalized and more suited to your exact needs.

    Try to provide at least two photos. Include a closeup of the attention area so we can identify fine details, and include one zoomed out so we can see the rest of the room and things nearby, adjacent areas, floors underneath. Use a black marker to write on blue painter's tape or bright colored Post-It's to mark areas of interest, there is no need to modify your photos with fancy text overlays. Use a low resolution setting, as the website can reject images too large. Take as many photos as you can, choose the best ones that are clear.

    Do include diagrams for plumbing and supply line projects. A scan or photo of a hand drawn illustration done quick on paper is usually easier for most to create than trying to make one in a computer app. We don't need architect plans, just something simple to help us understand your idea.

    Make sure your location is in your member profile, this tells us where you are so other members here with experience in your area may give you specific recommendations that may apply to your seasonal weather conditions and state code.

    Edit the subject title of this post to summarize the exact nature of your issue. "Second story toilet is clogged" will attract more readers than "Help I am in desperate trouble!" which more will ignore, possibly leaving your post unanswered.

    While waiting for replies, please make some effort and take the opportunity to search these forums extensively, it is likely that many in the past had your similar issue, and you may find solved solutions quicker than the many days it can sometimes take for you to get answers you want.

    As you solve your problem to finish, kindly please follow up on this thread you created and update your progress, so future members with your same problem can see that this may also be used to help and inspire.
     
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  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    For those of you living in the great commonwealth of Massachusetts, do yourself a favor and refer to this government website

    http://license.reg.state.ma.us/pubLic/pl_products/pb_pre_form.asp

    before you make a product selection for anything plumbing related. MA is one of the few places you are required to have a licensed plumber do ANY work - you as a homeowner cannot legally do it AND, the products used, MUST be on the approved list, shown on the webpage that I provided above.

    If you need a high volume of water to fill the tub, you probably will want to run at least a 3/4" and maybe even a 1" line there (assuming your supply to the house is big enough), then a valve designed with very high flow rates. Don't try to do this with a typical tankless water heater unless you go to a commercial, high volume model, as especially in the winter, you will NOT have a high volume to fill a big tub successfully. That's a whole other story.

    A single valve probably could work to provide the fill and shower capabilities, but it might be easier to use two. Keep in mind that most shower valves only need to supply 2.5gpm to satisfy a shower head, but most can provide double that on a 1/2" line. A 3/4" line might see double that or a bit more. To increase that more, you'd need a larger valve and supply line. That will eat a LOT of hot water quickly.

    [​IMG]

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    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 5, 2020
  5. Kalex

    Kalex New Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2016
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Thank you. Yet another reason to move to NH!

    My plumber would never have allowed me to purchase this tub. Unfortunately I did before knowing all this. He tells a story about a couple who bought 2 handmade granite tubs from Italy, these were not approved so they went all the way to the board in Boston but were denied.

    MA is crazy. You can put a washbasin in a shower and use that, but a freestanding tub, no.
    The plumber has figured the amount of water to use. My main concern is getting the water hot enough. I am not sure the diverter valve will accomplish that. It is a separate line to the tub. These tubs are meant to soak, you shower first, then soak, and the water is reused by other family members.
    I don't have a picture of the shower room (in its rough frame) but this one is very similar in concept.
     

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    Last edited: May 12, 2016
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    A diverter valve does not change the main supply valve's temperature, it only directs the water from one outlet to another. So, if the main valve can achieve the desired temperature, the diverter will just route it where you want it. Now, if the line to one or the other is much longer, it might cool off a bit and you'd need to tweak the main valve a little. I find that I like my shower outlet a little hotter than the tub filler because the water cools off falling through the air, while it doesn't have to fall as far and is mostly a single stream filling the tub. Most tub/shower valves can be adjusted to reach a maximum of 120-degrees, which is way more than you need to fill a tub to a comfortable temperature, and likely a lot hotter than you want to shower with as well.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. hj

    hj Master Plumber

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    ALL "approved" fixtures MUST be tested and certified by a "standard testing laboratory", such a IAPMO. MANY out of country manufacturers do NOT submit their products, feeling that costs are too high for the number of items they will sell here. Appeals seldom succeed because officials do NOT want the liability in case there is a problem down the road. I doubt that they are "approved in every state but MA" because without the "seal" it would not be approved here either. I once had a shower stall rejected because it did not have the IAPMO seal attached to it.
     
  8. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

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    Location:
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    Another thing you might want to consider is that you will be making a big investment surrounding a tub that might not be viable for use over the long run, and not easily replaceable without a complete tear-out and remodel of the tub wall. A hand carved tub might look wonderful now, but be a big problem a year or two down the road.
     
  9. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    FWIW, in MA, even if the product has the national certifications, if the manufacturer has not submitted the official paperwork to the MA licensing board, and it is on the approved list, it will be denied. Now, if it does have those certifications, the manufacturer only needs to fill out some paperwork to have it added to the database.
     
  10. Kalex

    Kalex New Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2016
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Thanks. HJ the tub was made in your neck of woods in Alaska! It is not hand carved, but hand made. I do realize a future remodel could be a problem.
    I am talking to the plumber next week on site about options. He has been so helpful. But is also an inspector himself so cannot do anything out of code. Part of the problem is that I wanted to divert some of this water to a green wall, which is why I did not want a separate drain for the tub, but a freestanding tub. All not code...but it will be clean water, not soap or shower water. These tubs are in every home in Japan, and really do last many years.
     
  11. MACODEDOC

    MACODEDOC New Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2017
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    HELLO, I JUST INSPECTED A JOB WITH THIS TYPE OF TUB. YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE TO PETITION THE BOARD OF HEALTH IN YOUR AREA AND ALSO APPLY FOR A VARIANCE WITH THE BOARD OF PLUMBERS AND GAS FITTERS. THERE IS NO OVER FLOW AND YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE TO ADD A SECONDARY SAFETY PAN UNDER THE TUB. THIS IS WHAT THE BOARD CAME UP WITH FOR THE CONTRACTOR IN QUESTION. HOPE IT HELPS, BUT NOT IMPOSSIBLE
     
  12. MACODEDOC

    MACODEDOC New Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2017
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    IF YOU HAVE A HAND HELD SHOWER IT NEEDS TO BE 112 DEGREES, I HAVE SEEN PLUMBERS ELIMINATE THE HAND HELD UNTIL AFTER INSPECTION AND THEN CHANGE TO WHAT YOU WANT
     
  13. Evelyn F

    Evelyn F New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2019
    Location:
    Cambridge, MA
    I too have purchased an wooden ofuro from Japan. My city plumbing inspector told me to go the Massachusetts state board to get a variance before I can install it. I did purchase an overflow device from an American company (Somona Forge). I am rather nervous, and my Japanese designer, who suggested the ofuro, wants nothing to do with variance request. Any suggestions?
     
  14. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    To get any plumbing inspected in MA, the bits you use MUST be either on the approved list, or, you get them to issue a variance...that is not something the plumber typically will do for you.

    I've not done it, but I hear, IF the documentation from the supplier has at least the minimum required features, you MIGHT get a variance. It's folly to install it first, IMHO.

    IMHO, a designer in MA should know what is approved or not, and not suggest things that either aren't already on the list, or has the requisite plumbing certifications that would allow them to even consider it.

    What does the spec sheet say about any national plumbing code certifications? If they can't provide any, you've got a tough row to hoe, I think.

    FOr people that live in MA (and a few other states), MA has a state run database of approved plumbing items. You MUST only use stuff on that list or try to get a variance if you want to use it. Many manufacturers either don't know this, or ignore the MA market, maybe hoping people will just install it without an inspection. This does not mean that a product not on the list is 'bad', it's just that someone hasn't done the legwork to get it approved for USE in MA. There are lots of things you can buy in MA that aren't on that list, and if you don't get an inspection, at least at the time of installation, it may be fine until later, if the house ever does need one for some other thing...then, it can get really ugly.
     
  15. Nektar

    Nektar New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2021
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Oh no. Does this mean I cannot install a Japanese bathtub here in MA?

    I was hoping to install a unit bath system which is basically a tub in an isolated wetroom that is completely sealed and free from any leakage. The whole room is prefabricated with comes with not only a tub and shower but also comes with a mirror, lighting, exhaust fan, and others. Toto's Sazana is one of the most dominant series used in Japan, and it is known for durability.

    Unfortunately, these bath model is never exported outside Japan. Thus, I was hoping to import it personally to build one here in the US. But according to the conversation, perhaps I must apply for a variance?

    pht_mv_sazana.jpg A2780E4C-5995-4589-9BF7-CB124FCECE2C-1024x768.jpeg
     
  16. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Location:
    01609
    Most inspectors in MA would allow a variance for something as simple as a bathtub, but it's always safest to ask before importing & installing a high-ticket luxury tub that isn't on the list.

    They're less inclined to go out on a limb when potable water supply plumbing is involved (tub water is grey water).
     
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