Code Changes are Constant
Making plumbers aware of the changes is a two-pronged effort
If there is one thing in life that we know for sure will not change, it is that things will always change. Change can be good, it can be bad, and sometimes change is just change. In the code development world, you can always count on the codes changing after each code cycle. These changes allow for new and innovative products and installations, the elimination of outdated practices, and for further clarification or modification of code sections in need of some tweaking.
In code development organizations like the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, the issue that arises when the codes change is how to make people in the field aware of the changes and help ensure they are being implemented and enforced correctly. For the 2012 Uniform Codes cycle, we utilized a two-prong attack to try to meet both goals.
The first was with the publication of the 2012 Guide to Important Code Changes book. This book took a new approach to discussing the code changes by not only showing how the code changed via strikeout and underline formatting, but also discussed the background on why the code changed and, most importantly, how that change affects installers and inspectors in the field. After all, what is the good in knowing about a specific code change if you are not able to apply it in real life?
The second effort was with training focused squarely on the most notable changes and their correct application. IAPMO has created seminars that are available on the important changes to the Uniform Plumbing Code and the Uniform Mechanical Code. These seminars are offered as both half-day and full-day programs, with the full-day program going into a high level of detail regarding the new chapters on alternate water source systems and rainwater harvesting.
The new text has been brought over from the IAPMO Green Plumbing and Mechanical Code Supplement in order to address the growing scarcity of the world’s water. All around the country, there are increasing shifts in water planning and governance strategies to account for climate change, growing populations, urbanization, security, increased irrigation and industrial water use, and deteriorating and undersized infrastructure. The key component of this strategy is to minimize consumption while maximizing recovery and reuse of alternate water sources.
For the first time, installers, inspectors, designers, and contractors will have to apply code requirements to installations and systems that have previously gone unregulated. As a result, inspectors will have the systems addressed in this chapter falling under their responsibility to inspect. Installers, designers, and contractors will have to be cognizant of these new provisions and be aware that they will be enforced.
Although some of the important new sections are highlighted in this document, it is not practical to cover every change in the 2012 Guide to Important Code Changes book since these entire chapters were new in 2012. For further information regarding all of the new provisions in Chapters 16 and 17 of the UPC, it is recommended that interested parties utilize the 2012 UPC Illustrated Training Manual.
Since change is inevitable, preparations are already underway for producing the book and associated training for the upcoming 2015 UPC and UMC. The experts serving on IAPMO committees and staff are working diligently in making sure that when change does happen, those affected by it are prepared.