ALERT: Does your state require permit to alter? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-13-2014, 12:56 AM   #1
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Exclamation ALERT: Does your state require permit to alter?

In certain instances, Washington State does:

Recreational Vehicles
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Old 10-13-2014, 05:13 AM   #2
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LMAO. Technically, attaching the stinky slinky to the camper is a modification to the plumbing system, or if the trailer manufacturer supplies a 10-foot slinky and it is replaced with a 15-foot it has been modified. Or if you bring a newspaper inside, paper being flammable, you have affected fire safety. Adding a new vent fan would be a mechanical/structural mod as would going to a different sized tire or installing a bypass on the hot water heater. This would seem to be another governmental attempt to wrangle more money from its citizens under the guise of "we are only looking out for your safety."


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Old 10-13-2014, 05:23 AM   #3
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What's amazing is the fees. If I lived in WA the fees for our mods might be more than the cost of the trailer. Initial design, design review, travel to inspect, inspection fees, ..... Thank god for New Hampshire.
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Old 10-13-2014, 05:29 AM   #4
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That's why if I lived in Washington my trailer would remain totally stock......no mods.
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Old 10-13-2014, 06:59 AM   #5
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Even more amazing is that I don't see any mention of requiring inspection of trailers brought in from other states and countries.....

I will be in WA for a few weeks and have a friend that works for L&I. I'll see what I can find out and what they are using for their "Safety Standard".



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Old 10-13-2014, 08:28 AM   #6
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It appears to be standard language from the uniform building code for residential structures . In our area modifications ,deletions or additions to structural components, mechanical, plumbing or electrical systems require a permit and inspection . A trailer would meet the definition of a residential structure if it has bathroom facilities ,sleeping facilities, a heating system ,an electrical system, cooking facilities etc . The national codes for plumbing ,heating ,gas and electrical all have sections covering RV,s .Washington State has chosen to enforce the code as adopted .Many states adopt the code but choose not to enforce them. The fees are usually based on the cost of the job and the cost to process the permit and inspection . In most cases the fees do not cover the cost of enforcement.
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Old 10-13-2014, 09:15 AM   #7
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I still find it hard to believe that any state would expect me to spend hundreds of dollars and many hours of my time applying for a permit if I wanted to add another 12v outlet, or install a detachable shore power cord on my camper. Let's just say Richard the non-handy man wanted either of these mods but did not possess the expertise to do it. So he goes to Camping World and has the "pros" install the items. Is the State of Washington going to insist he draws a permit so that they can do the work? On the other hand, it would be OK to add a 12v outlet or a shore power cord to a cargo van if it didn't have a bathroom, heater, cooking facilities, etc. because the cargo van technically is not an RV, even if it is slept in. Seems to me to be a total lack of common sense.


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Old 10-13-2014, 09:30 AM   #8
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This would seem to be another governmental attempt to wrangle more money from its citizens under the guise of "we are only looking out for your safety."
I for one remember that back in the day when growing up I was exposed from childhood to mechanical things and the physics of how different things work by watching and "helping" my Dad and my Grandpa. We all took "Shop" classes in school. We were taught to be self-sufficient. The majority of work involved physical labor and mechanical aptitude.

Today that idea has all but vanished. People are not taught these things. But people have vague ideas about DIY and no fear to try it. They go out and buy a water heater and attempt to install it, or add more 115 volt outlets, and in the process burn the house down because they did not understand the details about doing something properly.

I see this as where the fear of propane appliances comes from, and where ever stricter building codes and inspection requirements come from. To those of us who know how to be self sufficient, we may jump to the conclusion of government intrusion in our daily lives. But we are becoming an endangered "species" as more people aren't self sufficient (but think they are), and need supervision.
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Old 10-13-2014, 09:41 AM   #9
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It "kinda" looks like it would cost over $225 in fees if one were to install an extra 12VDC outlet and comply with the letter of the law.

But there is something called "Self Certification" listed on the 2nd page of fees. I will be at a WA courthouse on Friday and will stop by L&I and get a reading.

As there is no mention otherwise, it would seem that even places like Camping World would have to pull a permit.



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Old 10-13-2014, 09:43 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Frederick L. Simson View Post
To those of us who know how to be self sufficient, we may jump to the conclusion of government intrusion in our daily lives. But we are becoming an endangered "species" as more people aren't self sufficient, and need supervision.

Yes Frederick, I think you are correct in your assessment. While there are some DIY projects I will not attempt because I may not have the expertise, I guess I don't feel that I should have to pay some bureaucrat to look at work I have done and I know it is done correctly to tell me that it is OK, when I already know that. And I surely wouldn't replace a propane appliance if I wasn't sure of what I was doing. I'm not sure we are an endangered species; I just don't think competent DIYs should be penalized because if the screw-ups of less than competent DIYs.


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Old 10-13-2014, 09:57 AM   #11
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Codes are a legal acknowledgement that we have made mistakes and people have been injured or died due to these mistakes . People with the knowledge and training to do certain tasks have no fear of inspections ,in fact we welcome them .
When I did electrical work in people's homes where they and their children lived ,the last thing I wanted was for them to be harmed by my actions . We all make mistakes and inspections benefit me as well as the homeowner . I suggest you read the IAEI publication and see the number of fires and deaths caused by installations that were not code compliant . If the person who made the unsafe installation was the only one to suffer from their actions then so be it but that seldom is the case . Take time to look in the NEC and you will see that much of the code is written by insurance companies ,who often pay the financial costs of faulty , unsafe installations . If one values money over life then do as you please
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Old 10-13-2014, 10:25 AM   #12
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ALERT: Does your state require permit to alter?

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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
Codes are a legal acknowledgement that we have made mistakes and people have been injured or died due to these mistakes . People with the knowledge and training to do certain tasks have no fear of inspections ,in fact we welcome them .
When I did electrical work in people's homes where they and their children lived ,the last thing I wanted was for them to be harmed by my actions . We all make mistakes and inspections benefit me as well as the homeowner . I suggest you read the IAEI publication and see the number of fires and deaths caused by installations that were not code compliant . If the person who made the unsafe installation was the only one to suffer from their actions then so be it but that seldom is the case . Take time to look in the NEC and you will see that much of the code is written by insurance companies ,who often pay the financial costs of faulty , unsafe installations . If one values money over life then do as you please

Steve,

I don't think not wanting to pay hundreds of dollars to get a permit to install an extra 12v outlet means that I value money over life. On the other hand, if I were building my own fireplace, I would welcome an inspection and gladly pay for it. I am well aware of codes and fully understand their purpose. Also, I am fully aware that inspectors are as susceptible to making mistakes as are tradesmen. And the fact that codes are written by insurance companies rather than licensed electricians, plumbers, etc. means that common sense may sometimes be lacking. If you think that it is acceptable to pay hundreds to have a couple of splices for an extra 12v outlet inspected, by all means please do so.


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Old 10-13-2014, 11:07 AM   #13
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I think it's a big jump in risk management to equate wiring a house properly with someone installing a 12VDC water pump and a faucet where none formerly existed as I just did, albeit in the Golden (not Evergreen) State.

So far it sounds like WA is the only state with this level of "protection". Is it that the rest of the states are out of step? Or perhaps just one????

My business in WA may take me as far as Olympia and I will just bet that the closer I get to the Brewery, the more protective L&I will be.

One could file a "Freedom of Information Act" request and find out just how often that part of the code is used/enforced, but that would take spending even more money to find out what our taxes are, or aren't, doing.



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Old 10-13-2014, 11:11 AM   #14
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People are not taught these things. .....I see this as where the fear of propane appliances comes from,

Umm, no. I am a Carpenter, have several construction related licenses (Building, Mechanical, Plumbing, Electrical). Grew up on a real farm, and have been involved in building every kind of building there is, except maybe a dam. My fear of propane comes from having lived in an older trailer that had propane appliances, because fire burns and gas & smoke kills. I have been burnt, smoked, and gassed enough in my life. My fear comes FROM understanding propane appliances and the dangers involved. Fire in a very small trailer, is very, very bad. People advocating others to not worry about aging gas appliances (and associated piping) in old trailers is doing them a grave (pun intended) dis-service. I have a friend who works for the State Parks here. He says every year they hear about campers found dead from propane leaks in their trailer. They even have a name for them, "Pinks", because appearantly they turn pink in the process (I am kind of a pink hue to start with). And this is in Florida, were you would think not a lot of heaters and such are required!
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Old 10-13-2014, 12:20 PM   #15
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"I have a friend who works for the State Parks here. He says every year they hear about campers found dead from propane leaks in their trailer"
There seems to be a real shortage of reports, outside of that source that is, that are reporting deaths from "Propane Leaks" in RV's. And, most of them seemed to be posted by lawyers trying to drum up similar cases.....

Most of the posts I could find pertained to someone that left burners ON, or a couple of cases where manufacturing faults caused lines to leak, but the majority of deaths in RV's from propane seemed to be from those that did not provide adequate venting, for free standing heaters or used the stovetop burners for space heating, both, basically, operator error.

In one case, after a fire started from a stove top valve was left ON, their atty argued that the smell from the lp gas filling the trailer could not be detected by either occupant and an explosion occurred when the wife got up and lit her "Morning Cigarette" . Here's the line they used: The odorant added to the propane was rendered useless (due to the phenomenon of olfactory desensitization), and they could not smell the odorant when they awoke the following morning.

We wear safety belts when we drive, and have smoke & CO detectors in our homes. So it makes the same sense to have fire, CO and LP gas detectors in our trailers, pretty much obviating most risks except those that are self inflicted.

In closing, keep in mind that they certainly also hear about campers that died of heart attacks during marital activities, should we stop that as well?



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Old 10-13-2014, 01:05 PM   #16
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Propane Fires?????

The danger of propane is frequently mentioned. In fact the probability of a propane sourced problem is extremely low.

According to the latest national statistics, there were, on average, 3,100 RV fires each year from 2002 through 2005.

These fires caused seven deaths, 62 injuries and approximately $41 million in damages in each of those years. These statistics should give all RVers pause. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak interviews RV fire safety educator Mac McCoy, better known as "Mac the Fire Guy," to find out what RVers should know to stay fire-safe on the road.

About 75 percent of RV fires have their source in the 12-volt system, and they usually smolder long before they burst into flames.

RV Fire Safety

Realistic Propane Safety Statistics

Accidents do occur with and around propane but what many will have consumers believe is that propane is an unsafe fuel. But in reality, LP Gas usage statistics combined with accident statistics tell a much different story that is more accurate than what skeptic would have you believe.

The statistics provided below are based on information collected and provided by the NFPA between 2000 and 2004 listing LP Gas as the first material ignited in home structure fires. In other words, propane (LP Gas) was the fuel that "started" the fire. In 2001, 9.4 million homes used LP Gas. Numbers don't lie and neither do facts. Make your own decision.2000-2004


LP Gas Home Structure Fires Statistics

Average Annual Home Structure Fires 1,390
Average Annual Civilian Fire Deaths 23
Average Annual Civilian Fire Injuries 193

Based on these numbers provided by the NFPA, let's calculate the real value in statements such as "propane is a very dangerous fuel" or "propane burns houses down all the time".

.000148 residential structures burned every time LP Gas was the first material ignited
.0000025 people died in every incident of LP Gas being the first material ignited
.000021 people were injured in every incident where LP Gas was the first material ignited
The numbers and statements above seem kind of silly because the occurances of propane fires, injuries and deaths were so very rare for the total number of residential structures using propane. Using these same statistics, look at propane safety from another perspective:

1 in 6,762 homes experienced a fire
1 in 48,704 people were injured
1 in 408,695 people were killed
Skeptics will tell you that propane is so terribly unsafe, that it frequently burns or kills people and blows houses up all the time but did you know that:

Around 100 people die annually as a result of being struck by lightning
About 7,000 people die annually resulting from prescription drug filling errors
90 to 100 people die each year from bee or wasp stings
Around 200 people die each year in floods

Just a few thoughts.....
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Old 10-13-2014, 01:22 PM   #17
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A good friend of mine died in her motor home, just after retiring, due to a propane leak. When it comes to safety, I don't think we can be too cautious. Safety standards are there for a reason; she didn't make mods on her RV, but it was an older model and it is unfortunate that all of her systems weren't checked periodically. She lived in Washington State, by the way, as do I. There are many RVs, new and old, that should not be on the road.
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Old 10-13-2014, 01:53 PM   #18
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Whew!...
For a moment there I thought there may be a problem!
Fortunately I live in the U.S.
Also fortunately, every mod I would ever do comes under "adjustment and maintenance!"
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Old 10-13-2014, 02:00 PM   #19
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I can see requiring an inspection for mods done to electrical and propane systems unless done by a licensed person. But there should be no need for plans and a permit. My guess is that they just wanted to be able to require these for people living permanently in one place in a trailer or motorhome. I can't see them tracking down people with RVs to see if they've made any changes. On the other hand, they do seem to like the money that comes with permits.
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Old 10-13-2014, 03:09 PM   #20
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Yep, prescription drugs kill! I'm gonna tell the pharmacist where he can stick 'em!

But seriously, I can relate. My father fell victim to a prescription drug error. It didn't kill him, but it ended his work career because it messed up his short term memory too badly.
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