2018 UPC Review
Looking through the crystal ball
We all have moments in life we would like to take back. With the rate in which I tend to embarrass myself, I have a long list of incidents I wish I could forget. For example, I had shoulder surgery in June of this year. It has since required a lot of physical therapy and effort to try to regain the range of motion and strength I lost. It turns out this doesn’t mix well with trying to be an accommodating father. In July, I took my 2-year-old daughter to a local carnival to go on the kiddie rides. Toward the end, we had just enough tickets to go on one more ride. She picked the big slide you see at virtually every carnival; the one where you ride down on the burlap sack. Well, long story short, when I went to sit down, the sack moved forward so I was no longer sitting on it. Unfortunately, I lacked the strength to hoist myself up to reset the sack. It is at this time that the slide became the most popular ride at the carnival and I had what seemed to be thousands of people watching me struggle. Finally, a gentleman offered some assistance and I, as a grown man, had to be dragged off of a kiddie slide by another grown man. All of this while my daughter stood there looking at me. I was humiliated.
So, let’s say that common sense and some forethought would not have prevented me from finding myself in such an embarrassing predicament. In that magical world, a crystal ball would have come in very handy to foresee the humiliating outcome and I could have recommended the merry-go-round instead.
Well, it is late 2017 and I find myself in a position to serve as your crystal ball. The codes are changing in 2018 and I am here to look into the future and show you a few key changes coming your way.
Engineered storm drains
A new section has been added that allows for engineered storm drainage systems. In this new code section, the design and sizing of a storm drainage system will be permitted to be determined by accepted engineering practices. The system must be designed by a registered design professional and approved in accordance with Section 301.5. For siphonic roof drainage systems, the system must comply with ASPE 45 and siphonic roof drains must comply with ASME A112.6.9.
The change will add the allowance for an engineered storm drainage system. This is similar to text added to Chapter 9 regarding engineered vent design. It is also consistent with Section 301.5 on engineered design. Section 1106.2 adds a reference to ASPE/ANSI 45-2013: Siphonic Roof Drainage, which is the national consensus standard for the design of siphonic roof drainage systems. This is the accepted engineering practice for siphonic roof drainage design. Any siphonic roof drainage system would have to be designed by a registered design professional.
By referencing the ASPE design standard, the 2018 Code gives the AHJ the tools to enforce the engineered design of a siphonic roof drainage system. The modification adds a reference to the siphonic roof drain standard. The ASME design standard also references this standard for siphonic roof drains. The 2015 UPC provides no guidelines for an alternative engineered design for storm drainage.
Specialty plumbing fixtures
Section 406.0 and its subsections have been totally rewritten. The revised text updates and clarifies the approval, water and waste connections, and materials for specialty plumbing fixtures.
Restaurant kitchen sinks, special-use sinks, baptisteries, ornamental and lily ponds, aquaria, ornamental fountain basins, and similar fixtures (no need to provide a laundry list of every specialty plumbing fixtures, as the list is endless) all require water, waste or both, approval by the AHJ, protection against backflow and materials used in accordance with their listing.
Where a fixture is produced to a fixture standard not referenced by the code or no fixture standard exists, the authority having jurisdiction must evaluate and approve the fixture in accordance with Section 301.3, regardless of whether the fixture is made of soapstone, chemical stoneware, copper-based alloy, nickel-based alloy, or corrosion-resistant steel.
All materials used for specialty plumbing fixtures must be approved, listed and used for the application for which the fixture is intended.
Vent connectors and plastic vents
There are several sections in Chapter 5 that have been modified greatly to correlate with NFPA 54-2015, which is the latest version. Section 509.3.6 is new in 2018 and provides regulations for above-celling or non-ducted air-handling systems. This new language requires that, where a venting system passes through an above-ceiling air space or other non-ducted portion of an air-handling system, it must conform to one of three requirements:
1. The venting system must be a listed special gas vent, other system serving a Category III or Category IV appliance, or other positive pressure vent, with joints sealed in accordance with the appliance or vent manufacturer’s instructions;
2. The vent system must be installed such that no fittings or joints between sections are installed in the above-ceiling space; or
3. The venting system must be installed in a conduit or enclosure with joints between the interior of the enclosure and the ceiling space sealed.
Section 509.4.1 provides new language for plastic piping. In the 2018 UPC, where plastic piping is used to vent an appliance, the appliance is to be listed for use with such venting materials and the appliance manufacturer’s installation instruction must identify the specific plastic piping material.
Plumbing product listing and labeling
In the 2018 UPC, section 301.2 has been changed to remove the labeling requirement that had accompanied the listing requirement. With the removal of the term “labeled,” manufacturers do not need to worry about AHJs only accepting labels over other recognized marks of conformity. Previously, only products that were listed and labeled as to that particular equipment meeting the terms of the listing and labeling requirements would be verified to comply with the requirements of their listings.
Subsection 301.2.1 brought in more specific language regarding plumbing products by requiring each length of pipe and each pipe fitting, trap, fixture, material, and device used in a plumbing system to have cast, stamped, or indelibly marked on it any markings required by the applicable referenced standards and listing agency. This is in addition to requiring the manufacturer’s mark or name, which must readily identify the manufacturer to the end user of the product. Through the addition of the text, “any markings required by the applicable referenced standards and listing agency,” markings required by the referenced standards and listing agency to demonstrate compliance with the listing will be required. Furthermore, the proposed text will not encroach on the authority granted by ISO 17065 for accredited assessment bodies to develop their own marking requirements.
Installers or technicians need to be familiar with the listing requirements of Chapter 17 Referenced Standards and need to know when plumbing fixtures, pipe, tubing, fittings, etc. should have an appropriate marking meeting the minimum requirements.
For those working in jurisdictions that will be adopting the 2018 Uniform Plumbing Code, having a magic crystal ball to help you adapt to the new code would be priceless. Without sounding like a commercial, it may be useful to know that IAPMO will be publishing a variety of resources that could be very useful when using the new code. Keep an eye out for the 2018 UPC Illustrated Training Manual, the 2018 Guide to Important Code Changes, the 2018 UPC Study Guide, as well as a variety of IAPMO training opportunities based on the new code.