Plumbing Code Revision Cycles
By Thomas Palkon
Plumbed-in water treatment products, at the point of installation, need to comply with the local plumbing code. In the US, there are several model plumbing codes, state plumbing codes and even city plumbing codes, so it’s difficult to keep track of the differing code requirements. To add a further layer of confusion, we also need to note the revision date of the plumbing code adopted by the state or local jurisdiction. Although plumbing codes are updated and published on a three-year cycle, many jurisdictions are unable adopt the new codes every three years, so their regulations may specify an older version. The intent of this article is to provide the water treatment industry with plumbing code revision cycles, examples of existing code requirements and the process to propose revisions to the plumbing codes. This first article will focus on the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC), International Plumbing Code (IPC) and the International Residential Code (IRC) revision cycles. Unfortunately, by the time this article is published the UPC, IPC and IRC code proposal deadlines for the 2024 revision will have passed. Future articles will focus on specific plumbing code sections that impact the water treatment industry, provide information on the code cycles for the National Standard Plumbing Code and state plumbing codes, and proposed revisions to existing plumbing codes when they become available.
IAPMO and UPC
IAPMO updates and revises the UPC using the ANSI accredited consensus process and publishes the UPC as an American National Standard. IAPMO is proud to utilize an open consensus process accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in its code development practice. During the revision process IAPMO gathers the largest assembly of plumbing experts in the world at its annual education and business conference, where anyone, members and non-members alike, can have a voice and a vote on proposed changes to the code.
The purpose of the IAPMO code development process is to ensure the continued development and maintenance of the Uniform Codes with the following goals in the forefront:
- Effectiveness in preserving the public health, safety and welfare
- The timely evaluation and recognition of technological developments
- A consensus process, which provides for the open discussion of proposals by all parties who wish to participate
IAPMO urges its members and other interested parties to get involved in the code development process to ensure that these goals are maintained. Installers, plumbing and mechanical officials, the construction industry, engineers and manufacturers all benefit from a cooperative effort in developing codes.
Tentative 2024 UPC revision schedule*:
- Submit online 2024 UPC proposals: deadline January 4, 2021
- Distribute proposals to committee (ROP monograph): April 1, 2021
- Technical Committee meetings (Anaheim, CA): May 3-5, 2021 (UPC)
- Initial ballots to Technical Committee: June 4, 2021
- Circulation of comments on ballots: June 18, 2021
- Final closing date for ballots: July 2, 2021
- Technical Correlating Committee meeting: July 13, 2021
- Distribution of Report on Proposals (ROP): September 3, 2021
- Call for comments: September 3, 2021
- IAPMO assembly consideration session (San Antonio, TX): September 28, 2021
- Deadline for submission of comments: January 4, 2022
- Distribute comments to committee (ROC monograph): March 30, 2022
- Technical Committee meetings: May 2-5, 2022
- Initial ballots to Technical Committee: May 16, 2022
- Circulation of comments on ballots: May 30, 2022
- Final closing date for ballots: June 10, 2022
- Technical Correlating Committee meeting: July 1, 2022
- Distribution of Report on Comments (ROC): August 12, 2022
- IAPMO association technical meeting convention: September 27, 2022
- Initial ballots to Technical Committee on membership amendments: October 3, 2022
- Circulation of comments on ballots: October 10, 2022
- Final closing date for ballots: October 14, 2022
- Deadline to submit appeals: October 17, 2022
- Standards Council meeting: November 16, 2022
- Deadline to file written petition to Board of Directors: November 30, 2022
- Board of Directors meet to address petitions: January 18, 2023
* Timeline dates are subject to be revised
ICC, IPC and IRC
The International Code Council (ICC) publishes the International Plumbing Code (IPC) and the International Residential Code (IRC). These model plumbing codes are also revised on a three-year cycle. 2024 IPC and IRC revision schedule:
- Deadline for cdpACCESS online receipt of code change proposals: January 11, 2021
- Web posting of Proposed Changes To The I-Codes: March 1, 2021*
- Committee action hearing (CAH): April 11-May 5, 2021
- Online CAH Assembly Floor Motion Vote: Starts approximately two weeks after last day of the CAH (open for two weeks).
- Web posting of Report of the Committee Action Hearing: May 24, 2021
- Deadline for cdpACCESS online receipt of public comments: July 2, 2021
- Web posting of Public Comment Agenda: August 13, 2021*
- Public Comment Hearing (PCH) annual conference dates noted by AC: September 22-29, 2021 (David L. Lawrence Convention Center Pittsburgh, PA) AC: September 19-22
- Online Governmental Consensus Vote (OGCV): Starts approximately two weeks after the last day of the PCH (open for two weeks).
- Web posting of final action following validation committee certification of OGCV and ICC board confirmation.
* Web posting of the Proposed Changes to the I-Codes and Public Comment Agenda will be posted no later than scheduled. ICC will make every effort to post these documents earlier, subject to code change/public comment volume and processing time.
Understanding the plumbing code development process and timeline is the first step to becoming involved in code revisions. I recommend that water treatment manufacturers, dealers and trade associations get involved in the plumbing code revision processes so that your voice can be heard. If you have a code question, contact ICC for available options for IPC or IRC questions. For UPC code questions, IAPMO makes it easy by choosing any of these three options:
- Call center: call and speak with a code representative at (800) 210-0335.
- Request informal clarification: the Answers and Analysis Committees have been appointed to respond to all requests for clarification on any published IAPMO plumbing code. You may submit your question online or download the PDF form.
- Request a formal interpretation of ANSI code (UPC): read procedures for requesting formal interpretation (https://www.iapmo.org/hidden/procedures-for-requesting-formal-interpretion/)
Introduction to UPC and IPC requirements for water treatment products
The UPC and IPC have designated Section 611.0 to cover drinking water treatment units. The following summary of the 2021 UPC and IPC includes the requirements covered in Section 611 but does not dive into the complexities of proper sizing of POE water treatment equipment. I look forward to providing additional plumbing code information in future articles along with product examples.
- POU reverse osmosis systems shall comply with CSA B483.1 or NSF 58. Drinking water treatment units shall meet the requirements of CSA B483.1, NSF 42, NSF 44, NSF 53 or NSF 62.
- Discharge from a reverse-osmosis drinking water treatment unit shall enter the drainage system through an air gap or an air gap device that meets the requirements of CSA B483.1 or NSF 58.
- The tubing to and from drinking water treatment units shall be of a size and material as recommended by the manufacturer and the tubing shall comply with NSF 14, NSF 42, NSF 44, NSF 53, NSF 58 or NSF 61.
- Drinking water treatment units shall comply with the applicable referenced standards in Table 611.1.
- Alkaline water treatment devices shall comply with IAPMO IGC 322.
- Scale reduction devices shall comply with IAPMO Z601.
- Discharge from drinking water treatment units shall enter the drainage system through an air gap in accordance with Table 603.3.1 or an air gap device that complies with Table 603.2, NSF 58 or IAPMO PS 65.
- The tubing to and from drinking water treatment units shall be of a size and material as recommended by the manufacturer.
- Residential water softeners shall be sized in accordance with Table 611.4.
About the author
Thomas Palkon is the Executive Vice President and Chief Technical Services Officer for the IAPMO Group and ASSE International Executive Director. Palkon joined IAPMO in 2014. He has over 20 years of experience in the water treatment industry, with expertise in product testing, product certification, standards development, professional qualification standards development, professional certification, government affairs and international operations.