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    clearances to upper cabinets over Wolf gas cooktop

    clearances to upper cabinets over Wolf gas cooktop

    New postby Jerry Peck - Codeman on Tue Jun 18, 2013 2:27 pm

    I received the following question:
    Hi - I need help clarifying the code for installation of a new Wolf 36" rangetop.
    Per page 11 of the Wolf installation guide ... lguide.pdf , our local building inspector said that Wolf-Subzero's install guide does not meet California state building codes.
    Specifically - the guide indicates a required min. spaces of 6" laterally, 30" vertically to the range hood and 18" between countertop and underside of cabinets. This is very clear to me. The dispute I'm having is that the inspector says that the upper cabinets must NOT ONLY be 18" above countertop but additionally the sides facing the rangetop must ALSO be 6" away (striking a plane between the upper & lower cabinets). The install guide shows upper cabinets perfectly lined up vertically with the lower cabinets and he told me that the diagram is not to code.
    Can you please clarify this for me.

    First, I will start with the installation instructions:
    - The installation instructions require the following clearances:
    - - The * (single asterisk) requires a side (lateral) clearance to combustible material of 6 inches, and that side clearance of 6 inches is to be maintained for a minimum of 18 inches measured from the countertop (this is being generous as the heat and flame is at the height of the "cooktop", this specifies "countertop").
    - - In the section view of the cabinets and cooktop, the maximum allowed projection from the wall is specified as 13 inches, and that is shown being measured to the face of the door. This may be where the difference between the installation, the installation instructions, and the inspector is as it is the point of most clearance rejections I see and issue, the cabinets themselves are typically projecting 13 inches from the wall, the door adds another 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch projection - now the cabinets need to have the same clearance as the combustible material above the cooktop, not just be 18 inches above the countertop.
    - - The ** (double asterisk) is requiring 36 inches to combustible material above the the line drawn as an extension of the countertop plane to the underside of any combustible material above, and within, the 36 inch specified minimum width of the cooktop, the minimum clearance required increased to 44 inches if a charbroiler is installed, this clearance is when no ventilation hood is installed.
    - - The ** requires 30 inches to 36 inches to combustible material when a ventilation hood is installed. While the drawing is certainly far from being clear, concise, and precise, if one reads the 30 inches to 36 inches clearance requirement with a ventilation hood in the same manner as the 36 inch minimum and 44 inch minimum for a charbroiler without a ventilation hood installed, then the 30 inch minimum would be for a cooktop without a charbroiler and 36 inches for a charbroiler - again, that is how I read it due to the lack of specificity in the drawing.
    - - Here is another twist which some inspectors pick up on and others do not: The clearance with the ventilation hood is for a full width ventilation hood (this is implied as the drawings are not specific about several aspects and this is one of those nonspecific aspects), if the ventilation hood is not full width over the cooktop then the 36 inch and 44 inch clearance is applied to any combustible material to the side of the not-full-width ventilation hood within the specified 36 inch width for the cooktop. This may, or may not, be the case there.

    I suspect the issue may be the depth of the cabinets exceed the allowed 13 inches to the face of the cabinets.

    Wolf 36 gas cooktop clearances 06_17_2013 annotated.jpg

    Now to the California codes:
    - From the California Mechanical Code:
    - - 303.0 Installation
    - - - 303.1 Listed Appliances. Except as otherwise provided in the code, the installation of appliances regulated by this code shall conform to the conditions of the listing. The appliance installer shall leave the manufacturer's installation and operating instructions attached to the appliance. Clearances of listed appliances from combustible material shall be as specified in the listing or on the rating plate.
    - (My comment: Does the rating plate show the same clearances as the installation instructions, it should, if not, that would cause a definite conflict and problem. Also, the code states "shall be as specified in the listing or on the rating plate", not "shall be as specified in the listing or on the rating plate and this code", if the "and this code" were included, then the installation shall meet both, the most restrictive of which would take precedence.)

    2010 California code for installation of appliances.jpg

    Ask the inspector for a code reference 'so you can look it up and read it so that you understand what the code is asking for', the inspector should be able to backup what they are disapproving with a code reference as to why they are disapproving something. If the inspector says 'because I said so', that is a very good indication that the inspector does not 'know', but 'thinks' they know, what the requirements are.

    I do inspections and always encourage the contractors to ask questions about what I am not approving as that helps both of us - it helps refresh me on the specific wording in the code, it gets the contractor to read the code, something they likely last did when they took their test, and it allows me to explain my thinking, the contractor to explain their thinking, and what the code says is (in most cases) 'what the code says' - there are some, but not many, code sections which are unclear in what it is saying, similar to those I pointed out in the installation instructions.

    It is up to the AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction, the building department and the building official) to make the interpretation as to what the code is saying. When there is a Commentary or Handbook, the Commentary/handbook helps explain what was intended by the code, however, in most cases, the Commentary/Handbook has not been legally adopted and therefore is not enforceable, it is just a guide on what the intent of the code is to help the AHJ with their interpretation of the code.
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    Jerry Peck - CodeMan

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    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC.
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