Inspectors Newsletter - February 2015

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OntarioACHI Annual General Meeting

The annual general meeting of OntarioACHI will take place in April 2015.   Be sure to put it in your calendar.   Last years AGM was held in Burlington and in order to give all of our members a chance at attending a local venue we will holding the AGM at a different location this year.  The new venue will be in the Niagara Region and we are aiming for the 23rd April.  More information can be found on the registration page, click the pencil below.

This years format will be the same as 2014. We recognise that our members travel long distances for a short meeting, we will be engaging several speakers to come to the AGM and talk about subjects that align to many of the services we provide, and issues that affect us as Inspectors.

 So the AGM this year will be preceded by a mini-conference that will be open to all inspectors,  starting at 1:30pm and ending with the AGM which will start at 6:30pm where only paid members can attend and vote.

We will be having a membership booth at the meeting, where any members who have not yet received their membership cards can ensure their online profiles are updated and membership cards produced.

 We strongly encourage members and attendees to register ahead of time, you can do this here.

 

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Adjustable Steel Columns

 
by Nick Gromicko and Kenton Shepard
 
Adjustable steel columns, also known as screw jacks and beam jacks, are hollow steel posts designed to provide structural support. An attached Adjustable steel columnthreaded adjustment mechanism is used to adjust the height of the post. 
 

A few facts about adjustable steel columns:

• They are usually found in basements. 

• In some parts of North America, adjustable steel columns are called lally columns, although this term sometimes applies to columns that are concrete-filled and non-adjustable. 

• They can be manufactured as multi-part assembles, sometimes called telescopic steel columns, or as single-piece columns.

The following are potentially defective conditions:

• The post is less than 3 inches in diameter. According to the 2006 International Residential Code (IRC), Section R407.3, columns (including adjustable steel columns)...

"shall not be less than 3-inch diameter standard pipe." 

Poles smaller than 3 inches violate the IRC, although they are not necessarily defective. A 2½-inch post may be adequate to support the load above it, while a 4-inch post can buckle if the load exceeds the structural capacity of the post. Structural engineers -- not inspectors -- decide whether adjustable steel posts are of adequate size. 

• The post is not protected by rust-inhibitive paint. The IRC Section R407.2 states: 

All surfaces (inside and outside) of steel columns shall be given a shop coat of rust-inhibitive paint, except for corrosion-resistant steel and steel treated with coatings to provide corrosion resistance.
Inspectors will not be able to identify paint as rust-inhibitive. In dry climates where rust is not as much of a problem, rust-inhibitive paint may not be necessary. Visible signs of rust constitute a potential defect.

• The post is not straight. According to some sources, the maximum lateral displacement between the top and bottom of the post should not exceed 1 inch. However, tolerable lateral displacement is affected by many factors, such as the height and diameter of the post. The post should also not bend at its mid-point. Bending is an indication that the column cannot bear the weight of the house. 

• The column is not mechanically connected to the floor. An inspector may not be able to confirm whether a connection between the post and the floor exists if this connection has been covered by concrete. 

• The column is not connected to the beam. The post should be mechanically connected to the beam above to provide additional resistance against lateral displacement. 

• More than 3 inches of the screw thread are exposed. 

• There are cracks in upstairs walls. This condition may indicate a failure of the columns.  

 
In summary, InterNACHI and OntarioACHI inspectors may want to inspect adjustable steel columns for problems, although a structural engineer may be required to confirm serious concerns.
CompuSilv: Online Software discounts

CompuSilv: Online Software discounts

We are working with CompuSilv to provide our members with discounts from the online store.In the meantime Adam has generously offered our members discounts on Panda Internet Security -2015 edition.  Normal retail price is $43.99 for the single user license and $69.99 for the 3 user.Adam is offering it to our members at $34.99 and $49.99 respectively.Until the portal to …

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Wood-burning Inserts into factory-built fireplaces

The installation of a wood-burning insert into a factory-built fireplace has garnered a lot of talk recently. There are many opinions on the subject as to whether or not it should be done. The manufacturers of these inserts have installation instructions on the procedure to follow but there is a general feeling of “this is not right” within the industry.
 
It is accepted that the installation instructions for any certified appliance take precedence over the Codes. This is confirmed in B365 4.2.1, which states, “Certified appliances, accessories, components, and equipment shall be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s certified instructions. When a difference exists between the manufacturer’s certified instructions and the requirements of this Code, the manufacturer’s instructions shall take precedence.” This allows manufacturers to develop new products that do not have the same limitations as the original products that were available at the time. Since the manufacturers have a certified appliance and the installation instructions tell you how they must be installed, then it follows that the installation should be acceptable. The problem is that there is no Standard written for this application and, as such, any test that was done by the manufacturer would not have followed an accepted protocol.
 
B365 also states in 6.5.9 that, “A fireplace insert, hearth-mounted stove, or a similar appliance (e.g., a tubular grate) shall not be installed in a factory-built fireplace or an artificial fireplace.”
 
Alberta has banned these installations and certain areas of the country also do not allow them. This measure was taken due to the problem of installers removing vital components of the fireplace in order to fit the insert. While the installation manuals give instructions on how the installation should be done, these appear to have been written prior to some of the current Code requirements.
 
The concerns with doing this type of installation would include:

  1. Being in contravention of the B365;
  2. Chimney for factory-built fireplaces not usually certified to S629 and, even with a liner that is certified to S635, the chimney would not be deemed acceptable;
  3. The installation requires components of the fireplace to be removed for the installation and, as such, the certification of the fireplace would no longer be valid.

 
Since the original tests were done without a Standard, the installation of a wood insert into a factory-built fireplace should be considered unacceptable.
 
All manufacturers with installation instructions that allow this type of installation are encouraged to remove this from their manuals and state unequivocally that this is not allowed. This would remove the ambiguity for the Industry rather than have the confusion that now exists.

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EMSL: Lab service discounts

EMSL offer OntarioACHI members substantial discounts on laboratory services , equipment and sampling supplies.  These allow you to remain competitive in the market regardless of whether you offer Mould, Radon or Indoor Air Quality measurement services.The EMSL Laboratories are certified and approved by the relevant Canadian and Ontario Authorities. For pricing and any assistance you can contact the OntarioACHI representative, …

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