Workspace in front of furnace part 2

Hi, thank you so much for this forum. The maintenance department where I work just installed two units in what used to be a very important storage space. They are both wall-mounted, direct-vent, closed-system water heaters. One supplies hot water to the faucets, the other to the radiators. The labels on both say that for interior installation, the minimum space in front must be at least 4" with 24" recommended, and 12" beneath the unit.

The head of maintenance says that there must be a clear space 3 feet in front of them, which effectively means nothing can be stored in the entire room.

In searching your forum, I found this code:

“M1305.1 Appliance access for inspection service, repair and replacement.
Appliances shall be accessible for inspection, service, repair and replacement without removing permanent construction, other appliances, or any other piping or ducts not connected to the appliance being inspected, serviced, repaired or replaced. A level working space at least 30 inches deep and 30 inches wide (762 mm by 762 mm) shall be provided in front of the control side to service an appliance. Installation of room heaters shall be permitted with at least an 18-inch (457 mm) working space. A platform shall not be required for room heaters.”

My question is: Does the 30"x30" space need to be only free of permanent construction, or does it also need to be continuously free of non-permanent items as well.

The way I read this, the 30"x30" space needs to be free of permanent construction, but I can store a vacuum cleaner and mop-bucket there as long as they are outside the minimum clearances on the labels of the units.

The 36" is being pitched to me as a fire-safety issue. Which contradicts what the labels on the units say. The 30"x30" space totally makes sense in terms of giving a maintenance person a place to work on the unit. But, a maintenance person could move a mop-bucket and vacuum. It’s just more convenient for them if they don’t have to.

Thank you for any advice you can give.

IMO, a “mechanicals/utility room” should NEVER be used for storage of ANYTHING not related to the appliances contained within said room.

Q: you sound like you are full of ‘sour grapes’. Again, IMO, If your company states something is to be, who are you to question their authority? Careful, you just may find yourself being let out the door. Let it go, and move on!

The prime directive, the boss may not always be right, but (s)he is always the boss.