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copper tubbing

copper tubbing

New postby Brent on Sat May 16, 2009 3:54 pm


Is their any codes calling for protection of copper tubbing that is run along floor joist. Thanks!
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Re: copper tubbing

New postby Jerry Peck - Codeman on Sat May 16, 2009 6:47 pm

Hi Brent,

Not knowing what state you are in, the following is from the 2006 IRC.
- M1308.2 Protection against physical damage. In concealed locations where piping, other than cast-iron or galvanized steel, is installed through holes or notches in studs, joists, rafters or similar members less than 1.5 inches (38 mm) from the nearest edge of the member, the pipe shall be protected by shield plates. Protective shield plates shall be a minimum of 0.062-inch thick (1.6 mm) steel, shall cover the area of the pipe where the member is notched or bored, and shall extend a minimum of 2 inches (51 mm) above sole plates and below top plates.

Granted, that does not do as the NEC does with NM cables and protect the cables along the nailing surface or install the cables back 1-1/4 inches, however, that could be applied to copper tubing and pipe run with floor joists within 1-1/2 inches of the nailing surface (whether or not the nailing surface is used, such a a basement ceiling/floor system which has the potential to be finished off with a ceiling at a later date) based on this wording: "is installed ... less than 1.5 inches (38 mm) from the nearest edge of the member, the pipe shall be protected by shield plates".

Yes, there would be those who would complain that was not "the exact wording of the code", and the response would be that was "the intent of the code" - to protect the piping within 1.5 inches of the nearest edge of the member.

While that would be something for the AHJ to address and enforce, "the intent of the code" *IS* *to protect piping from physical damage*, for "other than cast-iron or galvanized steel", caused by nails and screws into the member, regardless whether the piping penetrates perpendicular through the member or runs alongside the member, and, as "the intent of the code is to protect the piping from physical damage" that is how it could be, should be, addressed in inspection reports.

Remember, codes are "minimum" standards set to establish "minimum" levels of safety and protection, and "the intent" of the code is not always limited to the wording of the code.

As supporting documentation for the above "intent of the code" is the Commentary, which states: (bold and underlining are mine)
- This section is intended to minimize the possibility of damage to refrigerant piping and other mechanical piping from nails, screws, or other fasteners. Because nails and screws sometimes miss the stud, rafter joist, or top or sole plate, the shield must protect the pipe through the full width of the member and must extend not less than 2 inches (51 mm) above or below the sole or top plates, respectively. Commentary Figure M1308.2 shows typical shield plates. Cast-iron and galvanized steel pipe have wall thicknesses greater than the required thickness of the shield plate, which makes them inherently resistant to nail and screw penetrations. The same requirement exists in Section P2603.2.1 for plumbing piping; see the commentary for Section P2603.2.1.

The Comomentary is backup for that intent.
Jerry Peck - CodeMan
Construction Litigation Consultant - Retired
Construction and Code Consultant - Semi Retired
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