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Building Systems UPCS

Electrical Systems and Violations

The Electrical Systems are defined as the portion of the building systems that safely provide electrical power throughout the building, including equipment that provides control, protection, metering, and service.

*Note: Electrical System Violations are always severe violations recorded as L3, Life Threatening Health & Safety; variants regarding the location of the electrical systems are not taken into account.  In other words, just because the panel is installed behind a locked door and not accessible to the residents, this will not prevent REAC from citing the panel as deficient and presenting a safety hazard during the inspection.  (This is for the safety of the staff as well as the residents).

The inspector must record electrical deficiencies for electrical equipment that services more than one specific area of the building (e.g. main electrical panel) within Building Systems.  Electrical deficiencies for electrical equipment that service a specific area of the building (e.g. community room, hallway, unit) must be recorded in their respective locations.

Blocked Access/ Improper Storage (EH&S)

This violation is defined as any fixed obstruction or item of sufficient size and weight that can delay or prevent access to any panel board or main power switch in an emergency.  This is often a large object such as a filing cabinet or other heavy object stored in front of a breaker panel or other electric panel. This can also be recorded if access cannot be provided to an electrical or another utility room in instances where the door cannot be opened or the door has been disabled.

  • Electrical panels (breaker/fuse boxes) that are secured at the time of inspection (except for disconnects and timer boxes) must be made accessible to the inspector for inspection. Any electrical panel (breaker/fuse box) that is not made accessible will be recorded as "Blocked Access/Improper Storage"

Level 3
One or more fixed items of sufficient size and weight impede access to the building system's electrical panel during an emergency.

Burnt Breakers (EH&S)

This violation relates to a breaker that has carbon on the plastic body, or the plastic body is melted and scarred. This is a severe violation and can be an indicator of a major fire hazard. For more detail on this violation, please see ANSI (American National Standards Institute) for more details on melted breakers or arcing scars.

Level 3
Any carbon residue melted breakers or arcing scars.

Evidence of Leaks/Corrosion

This violation is recorded when there are liquid stains or other signs of corrosion on electrical enclosures or hardware. This can be evidenced by rust, corrosion, or water stains on the exterior of the breaker box, meter box, electrical boxes, or any other electrical enclosures, on either the box or the conduit leading to the electrical enclosure.

Note: Do not consider surface rust a deficiency if it does not affect the condition of the electrical enclosure. (However, we have found that most inspectors will site this deficient if any streaking or superficial rust is on any part of a junction box, shut off, breaker panel or any conduit or box that houses electricity indoors or outdoors. It is best to clean, scrape and Rustoleum, enclose with overhangs, or change these boxes in order to avoid this deficiency)

Level 3
Any corrosion that affects the condition of the components that carry current OR any stains or rust on the interior of electrical enclosures OR any evidence of water leaks in the enclosure or hardware.

Frayed Wiring

This violation is defined as any nicks, abrasions, or fraying of the insulation that exposes wires that conduct current. This can be damaged wires (such as Romex or other insulated wire).

Note: Do not consider this a deficiency for wires not intended to be insulated, such as grounding wires.

Level 3 
Any nicks, abrasions or fraying of the insulation that expose any conducting wire.

Missing Breakers/Fuses (EH&S)

This deficiency is defined as an open circuit breaker position that is not appropriately blanked off in a panel board, main panel board, or any other electrical box containing circuit breakers. This can be a missing breaker or fuse of any kind or location to be recorded as a violation. Any gap of ¼" or more can be recorded as deficient. REAC Inspectors do not use testing devices to determine if there is an active current, so the breaker panel does not have to be active to be recorded as a violation. (Note: Do not use tape (of any kind) or any other item that can be removed without the use of a tool to seal these. Input a breaker or install a plastic or metal breaker blank or appropriate size and be certain that it is secured and cannot be pulled off).

Missing Covers (EH&S)

This deficiency will be recorded if there is a cover is missing from any electrical device box, panel box, switch gear box, or control panel with exposed electrical connections. This can also be recorded if a panel cover is loose and exposes a gap of ¼" or more that exposing electrical connections. This includes any crescent gaps around conduits leading into any boxes, missing knockout seals, rust that created holes or pitting, and even old screw holes with a ¼" diameter. Be sure to check the front, top, bottom and sides of the boxes/panels thoroughly. (Some boxes/panels may be suspended in the middle of the room so check the backs in those cases. Note: Do not use tape (of any kind) or any other item that can be removed without the use of a tool to seal these).

  • Any electrical panel/box that is designed to have an interior cover but the cover is missing at the time of inspection will be recorded as "Missing Covers".
  • Timer and disconnects (all electrical boxes other than breaker/fuse) that are not secured must be inspected provided that doing so will not interrupt electrical service. Secured means that it requires the use of a tool. (Tools could be keys for locks, cutters, screwdrivers, etc.) The inspector must exercise professional common sense in inspecting these boxes.

A missing elevator motor control panel cover must be recorded as "Missing Covers" if the control panel was designed to have a cover. If a cover was not part of the original design do not record a deficiency [this violation is only recorded if the elevator room must be entered to access inspectable items such as the roof or if the property requests an inspection of the elevator room].

Level 3
A cover is missing, which results in exposed visible electrical connections

Elevator

The elevator is defined as any vertical conveyance system for moving personnel, equipment, materials, household goods, etc. The elevator will be recorded as deficient if it will not ascend or descend OR the elevator door will not open or close OR the elevator door opens when the cab is not there.

Level 3
The elevator does not function at all OR the elevator doors open when the cab is not there.

Domestic Water Systems

The Domestic Water Systems are the portion of the building systems that provides potable water conditioning, heating and distribution taking its source from outside the building, and terminating in domestic plumbing fixtures; the system typically consists of water conditioners (filters and softeners), water heaters, transfer and circulating pumps, strainers and connecting piping, fittings, valves, and supports. These inspectable items can have the following deficiencies recorded.

Leaking Central Water Supply

This deficiency would result if water is leaking from any water system component, including valve flanges, stems, bodies, hose bibs, any domestic water tank or its pipe or pipe connections.

  1. This includes both hot and cold water systems but does not include fixtures. Address fixtures in dwelling units or common areas.
  2. Some pumps, pump packing, and valves are designed to leak as a normal function, particularly in fire pumps, water pressure pumps, and large circulating pumps, and should be considered accordingly.

Level 3
An active water leak that is observed by the inspector. This relates to any active leak that is either part of the main plumbing system or part of any system that is not confined to a particular room or area.

Misaligned Chimney Ventilation System

This deficiency would result if the ventilation system on a gas-fired or oil-fired water heater is misaligned. If the top of the tank has screw holes to align the vent stack, then be certain that they are all screwed into the appropriate holes. Fill or cover test holes or pitting from rust in the vent stack and be certain that all joints are secured.

Level 3
Any misalignment of an exhaust system that may cause improper or dangerous venting of exhaust gasses.

Missing Pressure Relief Valve

This deficiency would result if the pressure relief valve on the central hot water heating system is missing, or does not extend to within 18" of the floor.

Level 3

There is no pressure relief valve OR the pressure relief valve does not extend to within 18 inches of the floor.

*Note: If the pressure relief valve installed on the water heater does not extend to at least 18 inches from the floor, it will be recorded as missing. The idea is that the valve should not be installed with the end high enough to allow the possibility for the valve to spout off and burn a person's face or hands, thus making it extend to at least 18 inches (or closer) to the floor would help to prevent someone from burning their hands or face and direct the flow of hot water/steam toward the floor and away vulnerable areas. This is commonly misinterpreted as an exact measurement, meaning that you can't have the pressure relief valve extend any more, or less, than 18 inches off the floor – this is incorrect. The maximum amount of distance allowed between the floor and the outlet or end of the pressure relief valve is 18 inches. Installing the PRV to extend slightly lower, say around 16 inches from the floor helps to ensure that faulty measuring by the inspector does not result in this deficiency being recorded improperly. Many locations have local codes that specify 6" from the ground.

Rust/ Corrosion on Heater Chimney

This deficiency would result if the water heater chimney shows evidence of flaking, discoloration, pitting or crevices.

Level 3
The water heater chimney shows evidence of flaking, discoloration, pitting or crevices that may create holes that could allow toxic gasses to leak from the chimney.

Water Supply Inoperable

This deficiency would result if water is not available in any area of a building.

Level 3
There is no running water in any area of the building.

Emergency Power Systems

Emergency Power Systems are the standby or backup equipment intended to supply illumination or power or both (battery or generator set) during a utility outage. This inspectable item can include the following deficiencies.

Auxiliary Lighting Inoperable

This deficiency would result if emergency lighting that provides illumination during power outages does not function as it should. (There is no requirement under UPCS to have any auxiliary power system or components).

*Note: This includes fluorescent lighting fixtures that have test buttons, exit signs with test buttons, if an auxiliary light bulb is burnt out or if battery backups are inoperable, etc.

Level 3
Auxiliary lighting does not function.

Run-Up Records

This deficiency would result if there are no records available or if they not properly maintained.

Level 2
Current generator records from the last 12 months are lost, but older records are properly maintained and are available.

Level 3
No generator records are available during the inspection.

Roof Exhaust Systems

Exhaust systems are defined as the system used to exhaust stale air from the building, primarily from the kitchen and bathroom areas. The deficiency that can result related to this inspectable item is if the ventilation system to exhaust kitchen or bathroom air does not function.

Level 3
The roof exhaust fan unit does not function.

*Note: This deficiency is commonly recorded in error due to roof fan timers being installed and the systems turning on and off on cycles, sometimes giving the appearance that the system is inoperable. When at all possible, ensure that all fans are running, or may be tested for operability at the time of the inspection. Even if the fan is working, if you can't show the inspector it is working during the inspection in a reasonable amount of time, you will be forced to appeal the issue as the inspector would be required to record the item as deficient/inoperable during the inspection.

  • The inspector shall determine if the fans are event activated, for example, fire, timer, etc. If so, there is no deficiency.
  • "Missing" only refers to the case where there were fans to begin with. If a fan was not included in the design, do not record a deficiency for not having one

Fire Protection Systems

The building system designed to minimize the effects of a fire, which may include fire walls and doors, portable fire extinguishers and permanent sprinkler systems. To follow are the violations that may be recorded in association with this inspectable item.

Fire Extinguishers

This deficiency will result if any portable fire extinguisher is not where it should be, is damaged, or the fire extinguisher certification has expired.

Level 1
This deficiency will result if any portable fire extinguisher is not where it should be, is damaged, or the fire extinguisher certification has expired.

Level 2
For all buildings, 5-10% of the fire extinguishers are missing, damaged or expired.

Level 3
For all buildings, more than 10% of the fire extinguishers are missing, damaged or expired OR there is not an operable and non-expired fire extinguisher on each floor

Missing Sprinkler Head

This deficiency will result if a sprinkler head or its components (including text plugs, drains, and test fittings) connected to the central fire protection system are either missing, visibly disabled, painted over, blocked or capped

Level 3
Any sprinkler head is missing visibly disabled, painted over, blocked, or capped.

HVAC Systems

The HVAC systems are the portion of the building systems that provides the ability to heat or cool the air within the building, including equipment such as boilers, burners, furnaces, fuel supply, hot water and steam distribution, and any associated piping, filters, and equipment. This also includes air handling equipment, and all associated ventilation ducting. To follow are the violations that may be recorded in association with this inspectable item.

Boiler/ Pump Leaks

This deficiency will result if there is any water or steam escaping from the HVAC unit casing or system piping.

Level 1
Coolant, Water or steam is visibly leaking in a unit casing, piping or pump packing.

Level 3
Coolant, Water or steam is leaking in a unit casing, piping or pump packing to the point that the system or pumps should be shut down.

Fuel Supply Leaks

This deficiency will result if there is any evidence that fuel is escaping from a fuel storage tank or fuel line.

Level 3
Any amount of fuel is leaking from the supply tank or piping.

General Rust/ Corrosion

This deficiency will result if the HVAC equipment or associated piping and ducting show evidence of flaking, discoloration, pitting or crevices.

Level 2
There are significant formations of metal oxides, flaking, discoloration or the development of a noticeable pit or crevice.

Level 3
The equipment or piping does not function because of this condition.

Sanitary Systems

The sanitary systems are the portion of the building system that provides for the disposal of waste products with discharge to the local sewage system, which consists of floor drains and traps, collection sumps, sewage ejectors, sewage pumps and collection piping, fittings, valves and supports, and can include sources such as domestic plumbing fixtures, floor drains and other area drains. To follow are the violations that may be recorded in association with these inspectable items.

Broken / Leaking / Clogged Pipes or Drains

This deficiency will result if a drain is clogged or components of the sanitary system are leaking.

Level 3
There are active leaks in or around the system components OR there is evidence of standing water, puddles or ponding, which are signs of leaks or clogged drains.

Missing Drain/ Cleanout/ Manhole Covers

This deficiency will result if a protective cover is missing.

Level 3
A protective cover is missing.

Contact Us

  • US Housing Consultants
  • 160 Dover Road# 6, Chichester, NH, 03258
  • Phone: (603) 223-0003
  • Fax: (603) 736-4777
  • Email: info@us-hc.com
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U.S. Housing Consultants, Real Estate Consultants, Epsom, NH