• Welcome to the new and improved Building Code Forum. We appreciate you being here and hope that you are getting the information that you need concerning all codes of the building trades. This is a free forum to the public due to the generosity of the Sawhorses, Corporate Supporters and Supporters who have upgraded their accounts. If you would like to have improved access to the forum please upgrade to Sawhorse by first logging in then clicking here: Upgrades

Basement garage penetrations through ceiling -- what's needed to fix this?


Dec 3, 2022
Greater Boston, MA
I have quite a few areas in my basement garage that have ceiling penetrations. The rooms above these areas are bathrooms / bedrooms. The first two pictures show where the ceiling was apparently cut away to make room for the sewage piping from the two bathrooms. The last picture shows an approximately 2-3" gap all the way around the side and rear wall where the ceiling doesn't quite make it to the wall (and the wall is actually slightly shorter than the ceiling as well). There appears to be some orange Romex running through this area as well.

My question is simply what is necessary to get this up to modern standards? The house is not that old for its location (Massachusetts, build in 1994), but it seems that at some point after the house was build that the standards changed with regard to the ceiling penetrations. Anyway, any advice would be appreciated.

The requirement in Ma. has been 5/8 Fire code sheetrock between the garage and living space since 1997, I do not have access to the 5th edition from home.

It is permissible to have the sheet rock and plaster tight to the piping,,or you could box out the piping and install 5/5 FC rock around the piping.

The requirment is not to construct a rated assembly.
If it is a garage you may want to box it in to keep it from freezing, but if it hasn't frozen yet, might not be an issue.... and then it saves you an access panel for that cleanout and serviceable trap....
In 1994 the California building code required 5/8 Type X on the walls that support the lid. You said that the wall stops short of supporting the ceiling. That seems odd. I don't know what the code was there in 1994 but by the looks of it, there was lax enforcement.