BCAB #1796 - Mechanical Tees/Saddle Fittings

April 20, 2017

BCAB #1796

Re: Mechanical Tees/Saddle Fittings

Project Description

The subject is the use of mechanical tees in a domestic water system in a residential building.

The mechanical tee consists of a cast stainless steel outlet housing and a galvanized ductile iron strap housing/clamps held in place by bolts. The bolts secure the outlet housing and strap housing around the pipe which in turn compress a gasket around a hole drilled in the pipe. The outlet housing has a collar which projects within the hole drilled in the pipe to prevent rotational and axial movement of the tee fitting, and to ensure the hole in the pipe is not undersized thereby restricting flow.

Applicable Code Requirement

Sentence of Division B of the 2012 British Columbia Plumbing Code states:

1) A saddle hub or fitting shall not be installed in drainage, venting, or water systems. (See Appendix A.)

Decision Being Appealed (Local Authority’s Position)

The local authority has determined that the proposed subject mechanical tee is a saddle hub or fitting and therefore is not permitted in the water system as restricted in Sentence of the BC Plumbing Code.

Appellant's Position

The appellant contends that Article of the BC Plumbing Code, Stainless Steel Threaded Fittings, applies to the mechanical tee proposed and that, because of the locating collar that physically engages the pipe, it creates a mechanical joint similar to those described in Article of the BC Plumbing Code, Mechanical Joints, which is distinct from a saddle hub or fitting.

Appeal Board Decision #1796

It is the determination of the Board that the subject mechanical tee is a saddle fitting and the restriction in the acceptable solution in Sentence is applicable.

Reason for Decision

As the term saddle fitting is not a defined term in the BC Codes, the Board considers the subject to meet the generic description of a saddle fitting. The Board looked to Sentence in Division A “…shall have the meanings that are commonly assigned to them in the context in which they are used, taking into account the specialized use of terms by the various trades and professions to which the terminology applies.”

Although the Board considered unique features that mitigate some of the inherent concerns with other saddle fittings, the Board still determined the subject to be a saddle fitting.

Lyle Kuhnert
Chair, Building Code Appeal Board