Building Codes making it more difficult

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by JeffY, Feb 2, 2008.

  1. JeffY

    JeffY LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 324

    We were informed of changes to the local plumbing codes here in Omaha, NE that are only going to raise the cost sprinkler systems. Those that do it by code are going to have to raise their prices in will lose business to those that don't do it by code because of the huge cost difference. What we found out was:

    1) 3/4" backflows can have a maximum flow of 7 GPM. The zones will have to be sized to achieve no more than 7 GPM even if you can get 12 GPM.
    2) 1" backflows can have a maximum flow of 12 GPM.
    * They are requiring this to make sure that velocity is kept be low the 5 fps.
    3) Since backflows can only be installed by plumbers here, it doesn't really pertain to us, but there is a minimum of 3' of copper from the foundation wall before the manifold or can be converted to pvc as the norm here.
    4) A maximum static pressure of 80 PSI is the limit. Here, we can get around 100 PSI normally.
    5) Any turf that is over 10' in width, such as the side of the house to property line, requires an opposing row of either square or triangle spacing. No more placing heads on the driveway edge and spraying 12' towards the property line.
    6) Mandatory PRS (pressure regulating stems) for sprays. We typically install Hunter pro-sprays on *cheaper* systems and institutional sprays on the more expensive systems. No more, all institutional sprays from here on out. I know we can go with the add on PRS to pro-sprays, but makes more sense to us to just use institutional sprays.

    Typically, we install 5 or 6 zone systems on residential yards. 2 or 3 rotors zones in the back, 1 in the front, and a spray zone on each side of the house that ties in with the parking strip. Now, we are looking at 8 to 10 zones just to comply with the code because of opposing row of sprays and lower available GPM.

    We also on occassion install ponds and were told that plumbers now have to pull a permit for a water feature pond. Then the pond must be hooked up to the house's sanitary sewer, but off the record we were told that we are to be able to prove that we can drain the water from the pond onto the property without having the water flow onto any other property or storm sewer to satisfy the requirement for now.

    I am all for rules and regulations, but this seems over the top. We are a company that does things by the rules so we are going to follow them, but I can't imagine why such strigent rules. I do just fine with 12' H nozzles on the side of my house that is 12' from the driveway to the property line and my grass is green and there is no extra water being thrown onto the neighbor's yard. For now, I'm safe from these rules as I live in a city just outside of Omaha, but the plumbing codes for the cities around the Omaha metro area typically follow Omaha's codes. I'm curious as to what you guys think of all these codes.
  2. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,335

    No offense man, but what you just listed are minimum standards/specs for any quality system and I would hardly consider them over the top. If you want to see what over the top regulations are, take a look at the Texas regulation thread.
  3. JeffY

    JeffY LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 324

    No offense taken. We used to do a lot of residential installs back when I joined the irrigation side of the company, but now with rising costs and lots of competition, we have gone away with the standard home irrigation systems and do athletic fields and work with a landscape designer who does multi-million dollar homes. She refers them to us for irrigation systems that are high quality. The reason I posted the thread was for someone who solely does on standard systems, this is a pretty high jump for them when there were no previous regulations.
  4. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,752

    Who the hell is going to monitor the flow rates? Are you looking at anything in writing, as pertains to these changes?

    As far as opposing rows of popups go, you can use nozzles smaller than 12's, and keep the number of zones down. (I wonder how Omaha would like all those old systems I see with a row of full-circle popups down the middle of a side strip)
  5. Hank Reardon

    Hank Reardon LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 599

    I second Kiril's comments and also add that this will put everyone on the same higher level. Water conservation and proper waste drainage is everyone's issue as density increases. IMHO, it would make selling a better system easier.
  6. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,570

    why would this raise your costs??? this is how you should be doing it in the first place.

    sounds like this will eliminate a lot of shoddy work. It is good for homeowners, as there is now a standard that they can reference, so thy know when they are getting substandard work
  7. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,752

    So if you, or anyone out there, is working under similar requirements, how is the compliance with flow limit checked? I don't see this being done.
  8. Flow Control

    Flow Control LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,267

    I think you need to send that memo to hundred thousand or so Companies that install irrigation.
  9. JeffY

    JeffY LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 324

    I'm not sure how they are going to check on the flow. I just can't see them going around themselves and adding up all the gpm coming out of nozzles on a zone to see if they are not exceeding the max flow. Sounds way too time consuming for an inspector to be doing something like that.

    As far as the raising costs, you have to add more zones than you typically used, especially if the turf on the side of the house exceeds 10', and that's more heads, valves, pipe, labor, bigger clock and/or more modules. Like I said, we aren't marketing to standard residentials any more so these situations aren't going to affect us a whole lot. But we do do them on occasion. We are running some fliers and pamphlets to help those who are deciding on sprinkler systems why ours cost so much more than the guy down the street.
  10. Flow Control

    Flow Control LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,267


    I would market that you do follow all the rules and that your systems are water efficient. And I would help code enforcers when you see some TS installing a system not up to code.

    Here is the way the DA's might check for the flow rates: HMMM no water hammer and you can run your dishwasher while the system is working. PASS

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