Top Plate Bore

New construction, load-bearing common interior wall (Master bed/master bath), 3" stack installed. What do you think of this workmanship?

A 2x6 wet wall would have been a better idea to run a 3" pipe through.
More attention should have been given to that issue.
Many times when a 2x4 wall is indicated on a blue print a more aware builder would notice that a 3" pipe would be better served by a 2x6 wall and make the proper changes.

Proper Bocca plates are installed.It could have been better but I don’t really think it is an issue.

Because the wall is not a shear wall, I don’t see any issues. The only concern would be a bearing member sitting on the plate between the adjacent studs and the pipe.

When shear walls are involved I don’t feel that a 2x6 wall is structurally acceptable. I push architects and developers to provide a double 2x4 wall at such conditions. That way one wall is plumbing only and one is structural only. The grant my request most of the time……

What Cheremie said. We’ve always used a 2 X 6 wall usually in the vicinity of the laundry/utility room to accomidate (sp) the 3" plumbing vent.


I do not see anything wrong with this picture.
You can cretique the home building all you want, but what you see is what you get. Hind sight is 20/20, for some and the building techniques won’t change until the designers and builders in the Home Building Trade get educated a little more than where they are.

The plumbing pipe dose fit within the confines of the space, was protected with nail/screw plate, and this is seen everywhere and a Code Officer would say it is alright.


Having chase walls and space to create the mechanical and plumbing, is not always available and have to improvise with the available space.

Achitecs and designers are not what they used to be, so be prepared. Structural Engineers are not as bad, due the liability, 85% saftey factor, OK, that should work, and I will surelly save some design work. ha. ha. :slight_smile:

Commen sense will go a long way if you have been in the Construction Industry for a while.

Some time, commen sense will tell you that a certain thing can fly along with the current standard, but wait, is there a standard on this one yet.?

Maybe no one has caught on yet, it’s coming. :wink:
Take care and inpect with a short finger and note everything.

Most Clients need an education.


If that is a bearing wall the installation is WRONG.

If the top plate on a bearing wall (exterior or interior) is cut more than 50% it would need more that the typical protection plate shown. It would need a longer 16 gage by 1-1/2" wide metal tie strap extending past the cut on each side, with 6 nails on each side. Reference IRC R602.6.1 as a “guide” … :wink:

Even with 2x6 construction the actual width is 5-1/2", and a 3" drain pipe needs a cut a little greater than the 3-1/2" pipe OD … and the longer tie plates are still needed. Here is a link to one type of top plate tie made by Simpson that meets IRC R602.6.1 …


Here in earthquake country, I don’t like it. I would have called it out and let a structural engineer sign off on it so that he has the liability and not me.

I’ll take back some of what I said.

Longer straps would be much better as indicated by Robert and IRC.Thanks Robert.

I have seen many 2 x 4 framed walls where the plumbers ran 4" drain / vent pipes in them.

Then the drywallers have to deal with it.

But, it was right there in the plans. The Architect just didn’t think.

It is very, very common. The rule, actually, rather than the exception in local production housing. Little, if any forethought; blind adherence to plans without a minor (and inexpensive) modification to install a 6" wall. We’ve performed quite a few inspections in this particular jurisdiction, and we’re certain the AHJ will not redline it. We did call it-out for the Client, but did not characterize it as a critical safety or functionality issue. The internal wall section where the bore was made has several truss sections bearing on it, but the interior wall is fairly close to the home’s exterior wall, where all of the same trusses bear-fully, perhaps 9 feet away.

Our report recommended steel straps across the top plate faces on both sides. Thanks to all for the comments.

Robert;:slight_smile: :slight_smile:

The reference to the IRC you noted is for bearing walls.

It is obvious to me in the picture that was supplied that this one is not.

The top of the walls depicts nailers for the drywall ceiling and therefore indicates to me it is an interior partion running parallel to the floor or ceiling members, therefore this situation is standard of practice for framing of the interior and plumbing procedures.
I even noticed evidence of a primer cleaner was used on the plumbing.

An no. A 4" stack or soil pipe will not fit in a 3&1/2" stud. This photo was a 3" PVC soil pipe.
I have not seen a new home yet that did not have this condition. But of course, this is Maine.


I agree with you 100% Marcel and on the west coast where I build, there would be no other requirements. However, being a hands-on contractor for 26 years, I would typically put a 24 to 26 inch simpson strap on this situation… just to help with any possible future movement from earthquakes, wind or any other unexpected stress put on the home.


I agree the picture looks unusual for a bearing wall, but the original post stated it was a bearing wall … so I indicated “if” it was a bearing wall the longer tension straps would be required … :wink:

It’s a common mistake to leave out the longer straps with adequate nails at large cuts in the exterior/interior bearing wall top plates, which has an impact on the hurricane/earthquake resistance of the building.

:slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:
Sorry guys, I am from Maine, remember?, no hurricanes, no earthquakes, no rattle snakes, no floods, but cold.

Their was a time in my life where Simpson ties did not exist, and all the buildings I can remember, are still up.

When my father built a barn in his younger years which would be in the arena of th 1940’s, there was no nails and the barn I am talking about is still upright and strong.
Have Structural Engineers relaxed to much over the years to use and specify hardware that has been engineered by others for them to save time and money on their commision to design, or have we got to the point that we are using these products because it has been proven to be better and more reliable? Are we at this point using Engineered products to provide insurance on the reliability of that product or products, to compensate for the inadequacy of the builders and us as Home Inspectors can not relate to how buildings were built in prior years?

I would imagine at this day and age that one could relate to todays’ codes and what is adequate Inspecting a Home of 100 years old. Some Inspections will definetly show inadequacy in Code Compliance and not show signs of todays’ Standards.
I personnally believe that a pipe going through a 2x4 stud does not have to go through the extreme of having these fancy straps and hangers or what not to be adequate, especially if it is not a bearing wall , regardless if it is in a Siesmic location or not.

For Inspection purposes, I would not the observation, and explain to the Client what the whole story is about.


You’ve got me thinking about how all too common this detail really is, and I’m adding this condition to my probably overlooked possible new construction flaws checklist to take a closer peak.

Bottom line… the original comment “What do you think of the workmanship?” …
IMHO the plumbers workmanship looks to be between “very good to excellent”. Since the wall appears to to be non-bearing, typical code requirements have been met and nothing more would need to be said or reported. As a builder, in the state of california (sue happy land), I tend to attempt to cover my liability exposure when ever possible. If adding a $2.00 strap does this for me… great… I am happy to spend the 2 bucks.

Again… bottom line… workmanship looks great and I believe the code requirements are met.:wink:

Cheers, Jon

The longer tie straps are required at large bearing wall top plate cuts under the IRC no matter where you are in the country. Every area of the country has some risk of a hurricane or earthquake, however remote it may seem. Some places more risky than others, where additional/special provisions apply.

History is full of examples of how mother nature and lady luck will hammer you when least expected, and how short our memories can be. So modern building codes have some minimum requirements to help handle unlikely events. The last really bad hurricane here on the northeast coast, where entire towns in some areas were turned into piles of rubble, was in 1938. So many scratch their heads at all the straps, tie plates, nailing, and other things required by the modern codes.

Hopefully as time goes on we learn from past mistakes, and write things down (e.g. modern codes) to help avoid making the same mistakes again.

JMO and 2-nickels … :wink:

I am from Illinois and see this all the time. Have never seen a local code inspection call out this type of framing. Metal straps in this area is only there as nail protection from drywaller.