Sometimes I run across things on a pre-drywall inspection that is new, and it's how I learn that this or that is the new wave. I don't know when the HVAC duct code changed for garages, but in the past this was not allowed.
All of the ducts passing through the garage were flexible ducts.
I had never seen this before.
In the past they have had to be metal or some fire-rated board material.
Wondering if they were metal encased in insulation and plastic I went to the beginning and they are flexible ducts throughout.
Certainly the area will be insulated and the drywall will by Type X or 5/8" thick (because that has a better and necessary fire rating).
In the past the code that I have followed was this one:
International Residency Code -- R309.1.1 Duct penetration.
- - - - Ducts in the garage and ducts penetrating the walls or ceilings separating the dwelling from the garage shall be constructed of a minimum No. 26 gage (0.48 mm) sheet steel, 1-inch (25 mm) minimum rigid nonmetallic Class 0 or Class 1 duct board, or other approved material and shall have no openings into the garage.
Not wanting to alarm my client, which is not my style, I simply said this may be something new, put the mention on the report with a question mark, and went on from there.
The "and shall have no openings into the garage" has always been the case. So if the builder says there aren't any openings into the garage my client can just cite the code and see when things changed in the county.
If they did change!
So the question mark simply asks the question of the builder. They can prove what they will. But not verbally! Let's see the new stuff in writing! Anything can simply be said to a buyer.
My recommendation: home inspectors are not code inspectors. And we certainly don't claim to be up on every code in every circumstance. For sure things change. And when they do the builders are usually up on it, especially if the new code change makes things cheaper for them! However, when I see something different I will put a question mark. And why not? It's only fair.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560