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Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry

Opinion: Routing of natural gas piping in townhouses




Routing of natural gas piping in townhouses


Minnesota State Residential Code (IRC) paragraph 321 and
Minnesota State Fuel Gas Code (IFGC) paragraph 404.1.

Submitted By:

Matthew Wilber
Technical Manager, Codes and Standards, CenterPoint Energy

Approved By:

Tom Anderson
State Building Official

Issue Date:

October 16, 2006


Can the individual natural gas service piping in a townhouse development be routed through one townhouse unit to another townhouse?


Yes. The current State Residential and Fuel Gas Codes do not prohibit the routing of natural gas piping in this manner.


Other State Codes such as the Minnesota Electrical and Plumbing Code's require separate utility entrances into each townhouse.

The 2000 IRC Section R321 DWELLING UNIT SEPARATION does not prohibit the routing of piping through a townhouse. IRC paragraph R321.2 Townhouses indicates that plumbing or mechanical equipment cannot be contained (included) within the 2 hour rated common wall between units. However, gas piping can penetrate (pierce) the rated wall if the penetration complies with IRC321.3 Rated penetration.

Note: Applicable provisions of the State Residential Code require protection of penetrations with a separation distance of less than 3 feet (IRC R302.3) and of fire rated penetrations (IRC R321.3) shall be followed when they apply to a particular installation.

The 2006 International Fuel Gas Code contains the following language: "404.1 Prohibited locations. (Natural gas) Piping shall not be installed in or through a circulating air duct, clothes chute, chimney or gas vent, ventilating duct, dumbwaiter or elevator shaft. Piping downstream of the point of delivery shall not extend through any townhouse unit other than the unit served by such piping."

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