Sunday, March 26, 2006

Working within the system

Recently M of Another Chicago 2-flat asked:

I'm curious as to what you're running into as far as requirements to bring things up to code. It sounds like you're being told you need to bring plumbing up to code if you touch it at all(?). But with electrical it is only the service and presumably the the areas you are actually working on?

The answer is that yes, if we touch the plumbing at all in this project, we will have to bring it to code, which means adding the booster pump and replacing all the 3/4" water lines with 1". The reason this came up is because we had been considering replacing the bathroom stack (drain) and the bathtub and sink connections to this drain. At that point we were told, we'd have to update it all and that this would maybe even require new water service to the building, which would be extremely costly since the water line is across the street.

It's pretty sad that they make it so you can't do ANY improvement to the plumbing unless you can afford to do it ALL. We figure that if in a few years time we have plumbing issues, we are prepared to open up a few walls and fix it then. We've been through worse- one open wall is nothing to us.

Regarding the electrical, we've been told by a few Electrical Contractors that if we are not touching the first floor in this project (we aren't) that the inspector won't require us to update anything inside the unit. But, since we are touching the panels and service, the service to the building has to be updated if neccesary. We were worried about our basement because it's semi-finished and somewhat hodge-podge. We are certain there is flexible conduit down there etc...
But they told us that unless there was something really alarming(and there isn't), the inspectors would leave that be.

One of the guys we talked with said we should put in the panel for the 2nd floor in pre-permit so then it would be considered existing and the permit would just include rewiring the 2nd floor to an existing panel. Otherwise, we would be forced to upgrade the service coming into the building, which would then open up inspection to the first floor. It's all sooooo complicated.

It's kind of like politics in a way.

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