October 22, 2017
Here's an update for you. I've sent very detailed information to pretty much the entire leadership of the ICC. The president, Jay Elbettar, has given me the official brush off. This brush off includes a claim that local building officials do not require ICC certification, and as such the ICC has no power to compel local officials to follow ICC code. It only took me about 10 minutes to find 7 or 8 job postings showing that "voluntary" certification was false. Here's Mr. Elbettar's last reply:
Dear Mr. Chambers,
The ICC certification is voluntary for individuals to obtain by passing a test to demonstrate their knowledge of the codes. It is not to be confused with other licensing programs offered by states and other jurisdictions that carry disciplinary power. The ICC does not have any disciplinary power associated with its certification program to impose sanctions for an expected level of performance. I encourage you to seek relief with your city officials.
International Code Council
October 22, 2017
Thanks for the replies. Unfortunately the guy who made this bizarre decision is the head of the building department, so next step with the city will be the council and the mayor. I've also passed along the full story and a mountain of evidence to the ICC that this decision violates code in multiple ways, and in effect gives the ICC a black eye if nothing is done about it. We'll see how it goes. I'll post updates.
May 14, 2015
Start with the local Building Officials supervisor. Obviously if one of them is already leaking there is an issue. As previously stated then continue up the chain of command until you get satisfaction. In the mean time have the window installer come back and fix the one that is already leaking before it damages the framing.
April 6, 2015
As a code official I would suggest that you contact the council directly or the head of the fire department (if they have control over the inspections) - continue up the chain of command until you get satisfaction.
October 22, 2017
I recently had 15 replacement windows installed in my stucco house with wood frame walls. (Not concrete walls.) The contractor removed the old windows frame and all down to the bare studs. In the process, they cut back the existing black felt house wrap that was at least over and under lapping the old window frames. (The house was built in 2001 when the flashing requirements may have been a bit less stringent.) The stucco was also cut back as part of the old frame removal, but only by about a half inch.
The contractor then installed new windows with no nail fins (and of course a narrow stucco cut would not allow nail fins), placing the bottom of the window frame directly on the bare wood sill. No sill pan, and no flashing added at all anywhere to connect to the existing house wrap. So no shingle fashion, no directing water to the exterior, nothing but a bead of Quickrete sealant spanning a gap of up to 5/8" and more in spots between where the stucco was cut and outside of the frames of the new windows. This sealant is on the outside only with no sealant touching the wood anywhere nor touching the existing house wrap. There is not even backer rod behind the Quickrete sealant, and Quickrete does not rate the sealant to go beyond 1/2 inch in any event even if backer rod is used. The instructions attached to each and every Milgard window referred to AAMA 2400-02 for windows with nail fins (So a Milgard issue, and it gets worse but is beyond the scope of this post.), and AAMA 2400-02 specifies flashing.
In addition, the 2015 IRC applies in the City Of Chandler, Arizona where my house is located. In the 2015 IRC, code sections R609.1, R703.1, and R703.4 state that flashing must be installed. Section R102.7.1 also spells out that new code would apply to my replacement window install. Looking at the 2015 IEBC for existing buildings, sections 503.1, 503.2, and 702.6 also spell out that the new code would apply. Looking at expert resources including the APA, which is linked from the ICC website, it is made clear that caulks/sealants can never be substitutes for flashing.
There was also zero attempt to meet the intent and equivalency requirements of section R104.11 dealing with alternative methods, and there was certainly no test data provided in support of no flashing use and only sealant on the outside. In fact, there is no written set of instructions from Milgard, Quickrete, or anyone else documenting or supporting the method used to install my windows. (On top of everything else, at most of the fastener locations no shims were used, and roughly 40% of the required fasteners were omitted. I'll spare other details of the shoddy install.)
In spite of all of this, the local City Of Chandler building official who heads their department, has somehow ruled that my window install is code compliant. Although again the old windows were removed 100%, frame and all down to the bare studs, and multiple code sections state that new code would apply, he even referred to the code that may have been in effect at the time the house was built. He did ultimately refer to section R703.4 from the 2015 IRC in granting "approval". Upon asking for a code opinion from the ICC very recently, I was also told that new code would apply, but the ICC does not get involved with local building code decisions.
So now my question is, what is my recourse against a local building official who is clearly violating section R104.1 and the prohibition against waiving specific requirements spelled out in code? I have documented that one of the windows already leaks as well, such that it is absolutely clear that the install method is not going to "safeguard" anyone's health or safety as the water gets inside my wall cavities to cause rot and mold, so section R101.3 becomes a joke.
What is the process for making a formal complaint against a building official such that I, and others that may be in similar situations, will be protected from arbitrary actions by a building official, and such that the building code itself is actually meaningful??
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