Permit denied because of basement ceiling height and now requiring a smoke exhaust system

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by Mmoy, Mar 10, 2021.

  1. Mmoy

    Mmoy New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2020
    Location:
    Pa
    Hi all,

    Beginning the remodel of my basement and submitted all the required documents to get all the permits needed. Found out yesterday one of the permits was denied because the height of my basement is 1 inch below the minimum requirement, 7feet. To get the permit they want me to agree to install a smoke detector relay to fan exhaust system. From the explanation I got from the head of inspector when the smoke detectors have an active alert the relay should close and turn on smoke exhaust fans to allow occupants to vacate the basement without the room being filled with smoke.

    I've searched and haven't found anything like this anywhere. Has anyone ever heard of such a system or such a requirement because of the ceiling height of the basement being too low?
     
  2. Paulypfunk

    Paulypfunk In the Trades

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    Location:
    Seattle
    I’ve seen that in commercial buildings. This sounds like more of an HVAC situation rather than a plumbing problem.

    Unfortunately your local building inspectors can make rules that differ from city to city. That’s the way things go.
     
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  4. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2009
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Orlando, Florida
    It's not that hard to do. If you know anything about electrical wiring line voltage or low voltage, it's durable. Universal Security Instruments in Maryland makes what you need. For an exhaust fan you'll need to find what CFM is needed.

    https://www.universalsecurity.com/
    https://images.homedepot-static.com/catalog/pdfImages/af/af631c7a-c8fb-4969-bbe2-7e5c240573f4.pdf
    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Univers...r-USI-Smoke-And-Fire-Alarms-USI-960/205749140
    https://www.homelectrical.com/smoke...zQVWNmNJVUov1_d4-hjVZcmDcIL2GkWkaAkKsEALw_wcB
     
  5. taylorjm

    taylorjm Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2019
    Location:
    Saginaw, Michigan
    As someone else said, find out from the inspector what cfm you are required to have and where it needs to draw from and go from there. You can get some centrifugal fans made for hydroponics that will really move a lot of air. Hopefully you can run some flex duct from the source, to the fan and outdoors and running it between the joists. Then get a smoke detector relay that is connected to the wires in a interconnected smoke detector. I believe they make relays with 120v contacts so you can run the power from the fan through the relay contacts so it turns on when the smoke detector goes off. As someone else said, the inspector can do whatever he wants. Unfortunately, many don't like working with homeowners and can make things extremely difficult for them just for the heck of it. At a local electrical supply store, they had a homeowner that was going to wire outlets in his pole bar. The inspector told him that he needed a very specific type of ground screw on the outlets and the original green screw that came with them wasn't adequate. The guy went all over looking for those screws and went to the electrical supply store. He told the counter person what he needed and the person said he can order the screws, but he needs to get 5000 of them, and asked why he wanted them. Homeowner said it was required by his inspector. The clerk asked what inspector and just shook his head. He went in the back and called the inspector, had a conversation with him, came back out and told the homeowner that the original green screws would be fine now.
     
  6. Paulypfunk

    Paulypfunk In the Trades

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    Location:
    Seattle
    You can appeal a failed inspection. The green screw thing would be a good example. I’ve had to do it a couple of times and have prevailed both times, but one should be careful. You better have a solid argument and be respectful in your disagreement. They can make your life difficult.
     
  7. taylorjm

    taylorjm Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2019
    Location:
    Saginaw, Michigan
    In Michigan, the only way to appeal is through the State's building code board which meets every couple months. They only take on building code issues, not inspection issues. There is no way to appeal a failed inspection here. I know because when adding a third car garage at our home years ago, we did everything right. Created a site plan and drawings, filed the plan and paid the fee and permit fee and were issued a building permit. Excavated and poured footings and called for an inspection and were told "you can't put this here". There is a little part of the zoning code that says if your on a corner you can't build past your neighbors home, even if it's within the measurements for the lot. Even though they approved it, they tried blaming us by saying we should have known we couldn't put it there, and they don't have manpower to go visit every site to see if it complies with zoning codes. Um, that's what the site review plan fee was for! Too bad, stop work order issued. Ended up the only way to fix it was to request a variance from the zoning board. Took 3 months because they only meet once a month. First month, there weren't enough board members attending to vote. (not my problem) Second month, presented the case, the board requested more information. Third month they barely approved the variance in a 3-2 vote. There was no other way to appeal an inspectors mistake. Nobody else has jurisdiction over the township building inspector.
     
  8. fitter30

    fitter30 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2020
    Occupation:
    Retired service tech
    Location:
    Peace valley missouri
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