Q: Two different state authorities are telling me conflicting information concerning the maximum temperature for domestic hot water. The first one is telling me the hot water cannot exceed 100°F and he is basing that on the Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code. The second one is giving me a range of 105° – 120°F and he is basing that on The Facility Guidelines Institute, 2010 edition. Which state authority is correct? Who trumps who?
A: To directly answer your questions, they are both correct and no one authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) can or does trump another AHJ. They are all AHJs who enforce the codes and standards that they are charged to uphold. The frustrating thing is they don’t always enforce the same codes and standards. Your responsibility as a facility manager is to comply with the most restrictive. If 100° is the most restrictive that is enforced by an AHJ, then that is what you must do. You indicated that the second AHJ gave you a range of 105° – 120° based on The Facility Guidelines Institute (FGI), 2010 edition. Table 2.1-5 in the FGI states the range of 105° – 120°F is both the minimum and maximum temperature of potable hot water for a hospital. Since both inspectors have authority over your hospital, you have a conflict as the second AHJ’s temperature range has a minimum requirement which is 5° higher than the maximum temperature of the first AHJ. My suggestion is to negotiate with both of them to form an agreement that they both can live with and allow you to have a consistent temperature for your hot water. The key point here is: All AHJs have the authority to enforce the codes and standards as they see fit, and no AHJ can trump any other AHJ. When AHJs differ on a specific issue, then the hospital must comply with the most restrictive. Get the two different state agencies together in your conference room and ask them to set a temperature that they can both live with.