We Work Continuously to Improve our Codes

From April 29-May 2, we held the IAPMO Technical Committee Meetings in Denver.  As always, our TC members worked hard to consider more than 260 comments. The Report on Proposals is scheduled to be released by late August. The 2021 editions of the Uniform Mechanical and Plumbing Codes will be available in the first quarter of 2020. 

I’d like to remind everyone that this cycle of the code development process was accelerated one year to allow adopting jurisdictions, international government agencies, code users, and other interested parties the benefit of the early release of the Uniform Codes. This also gives adopting jurisdictions time to submit proposed amendments to their local governing body. In many cases, IAPMO takes the local amendments and inserts them throughout the body and appendices of the codes where they apply. We do this as an added value so that the code user will know precisely the requirements of the base model and any amendments made by the local jurisdiction. IAPMO will publish our technical support documents, such as the Guide to Important Code Changes, Illustrated Training Manuals and Study Guides, earlier to correspond to the updated timeline. 

The WE-Stand Technical Committee met April 9-10 at IAPMO World Headquarters, Ontario, Calif., to hear, discuss and vote on 68 technical proposals received for the 2020 WE-Stand. Five task groups reported to the TC. During the meeting, the TC re-appointed the Alternate Water Sources Task Group to continue research for both onsite blackwater and stormwater treatment systems. The TC also appointed the Water Efficiency and Conservation Task Group to compare the performance paths in WERS Index and HERS H2O with the prescriptive path in WE-Stand.

Onsite blackwater and stormwater treatment systems were introduced as proposals from the results of the research completed by the Alternate Water Sources Task Group. Although both proposals were rejected, the TC commended the work that had been done and re-appointed the task group to continue the work in pursuit of the several recommendations made by the TC. Closely related to this was a proposal for non-sewered sanitation systems complying with the ISO 30500 standard that was accepted by the TC. This will provide installation guidance for these systems as they are introduced in U.S. markets.

Efficient grease interceptor performance was targeted in a proposal that would limit hot water temperatures to allow for optimal performance. Energy and water efficient commercial dishwashers requiring higher temperatures have a negative effect on the performance of grease interceptors, which precipitated this proposal. Additionally, the TC approved a proposal requiring water used for tempering high temperature water from commercial food services equipment must be from a source other than potable water.

Other proposals that received approval from the TC were the consideration of plant material as a water saving provision for landscape irrigation. Such plants not requiring supplemental irrigation are required for at least 60 percent of the landscape. Also, a new table for maximum soil absorption capacity was found to be better aligned with industry standards for soil identification. Finally, an inspection checklist for composting toilets and urine diversion systems had a welcomed acceptance with the TC. The inspection checklist will guide an AHJ to identify the items for code compliance built within the system.

IAPMO is in the process of developing the 2021 edition of the National Standard Plumbing Code™ (NSPC™).  Not unlike the UPC, the NSPC committee is reviewing several proposed code changes. Included is a major update to the water supply system sizing methodology, BMS 66. Dr. Roy Hunter of the National Bureau of Standards, the predecessor to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, wrote BMS 66 is a statistical methodology to determine the necessary pipe sizing based on the maximum demand on delivery and drainage systems. This method has formed a bedrock of water supply system design for more than eight decades. 

IAPMO, together with the Water Quality Research Foundation (WQRF) and American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE), led the effort to update all the variables that address today’s low-flow plumbing fixtures. As we all know, the implementation of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drastically reduced water supply to toilets, urinals, tub/shower faucets, and other fixtures. Those originally reduced were reduced even further with additional flow rate regulations enacted by the EPA. IAPMO is very pleased to incorporate this updated water supply pipe sizing methodology in the Peak Water Demand Calculator in Appendix M of the 2018 edition of the UPC and 2021 edition of the NSPC. I cannot overstate the importance of this update as it essentially brings 80 years of model code development up to date. 

Switching gears, I’d like to congratulate our staff in Australia, who have just moved IAPMO R&T Oceana’s office into a new world class, state-of-the-art gas and plumbing products test lab and South Pacific headquarters in Narre Warren, Victoria, Australia. The new test lab and offices are now operational to serve IAPMO’s clients in the southern hemisphere. We’re privileged to be sharing this water technical park with the Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre (PICAC), which is an industry leading education and trade development organization. Shayne La Combre, CEO of PICAC and chairman of the World Plumbing Council (WPC), and I have worked together for years and I am confident that this will be a lasting collaboration to provide the Australian and South Pacific plumbing and gas industries with enhanced services. I’ve had the distinct pleasure of working with Shayne when he was director at the Plumbing Industry Commission, which is the regulatory body overseeing plumbing licensing and installations in the state of Victoria, Australia. Shayne joined PICAC as CEO approximately five years ago and I had the pleasure of serving with him while I volunteered on the WPC Executive Board. Shayne has been able to expand PICAC’s industry leading training program while also partnering with IAPMO R&T Oceana in our common effort to promote skills development, codes and standard development, product testing, and personnel credentialing. I have a great degree of admiration for Shayne and his unstinting commitment to maintaining the integrity of our trade in the Australia and South Pacific region.

As you may be aware, IAPMO’s charitable foundation, IWSH, has been ramping up our capabilities to undertake multiple Community Plumbing Challenges (CPC) each year. We’re presently looking at a joint project in South Africa with Pride ‘n Purpose (PnP, PnP was established in 2003 by members of the Ulusaba family and is supported by Virgin Limited Edition and Virgin Unite, the Virgin Group’s non-profit foundation. The foundation’s purpose is to provide local communities with sustainable initiatives.  They serve six communities in the Ulusaba region. I’ve had the opportunity to visit more than once and during our last visit we realized that IWSH and PnP could collaborate to conduct a CPC in one of the communities. We are in the process of assessing logistics and resource needs given these communities are far from supplies and access points. 

Last year, IAPMO conducted a similar initiative in the Navajo Nation, which also presented logistic challenges, however, with the support of our industry partners and donors we were able to achieve significant success in changing the lives of residents. IAPMO is committed to expanding IWSH and the CPC and we’re excited that others in our industry have seen the look in the children’s eyes when they no longer must carry water for miles each day. We’re making substantial progress since we began this project in 2014. We continue to receive financial support and have dozens of volunteers at each CPC to provide access to safe sanitation and clean water. How can one not be optimistic about our industry and the future of our trade? Please join me in supporting IWSH and giving back to those who deserve better.  I am proud to be a plumber and a part of this wonderful industry.

Finally, I look forward to seeing everyone at IAPMO’s 90th annual Education and Business Conference.  For the first time, we are co-locating our event with ASSE’s 2019 International Annual Meeting at the Silver Legacy Resort in Reno, Nevada. Join us for the Roscoe King Memorial Golf Tournament, the Association Technical Meeting Convention, education sessions, UPC/UMC workshops, and so much more!