2018 product highlights and code change deadlines

The American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE) held their Convention and Engineered Plumbing Exposition in late September. I always find that attending the ASPE convention and walking the product show is a real opportunity to learn about new plumbing products. I attend many plumbing and mechanical trade shows around the world, and I can honestly say there is not another show exclusively dedicated to engineered plumbing products like the ASPE show. 

My first ASPE convention and product show was in 1980 in Atlanta. I have attended many ASPE shows over the last three decades. I still find that walking the product show and visiting with the various manufacturers gives the design professional a chance to see, first-hand, what new products are available with the various manufacturers. The manufacturers do a good job of staffing the booth with technical staff that can answer the design professional’s questions and explain the science and engineering behind the products. The manufacturers often have cut-away samples, graphics and videos of products that give the design professional a unique understanding of how a products work. 

During the Chicago ASPE product show, there were a few products and design concepts that caught my eye. One of the design concepts was promoted in two different booths of Viega and Kemper Hygiene Systems. Both manufacturers were promoting a new design concept that is based on eliminating dead legs in the plumbing system by flowing through the branch piping. Dead legs are where water can sit for long periods of time and the water treatment chemicals (Chlorine, Mono-chlorine or Chlorine dioxide) can dissipate over time. The water treatment chemicals dissipate faster as the water contaminants increase, when piping systems are older and scaled-up or full of biofilm and with elevated water temperatures. 

The idea is to flow a side stream flow of fresh water from the utility, which should have acceptable levels of treatment chemicals through a looped branch that allows water to flow through fixture branches right up to the fixture connection. Kemper even had fitting that allowed flow right up to and through the faucet. The links in the side bar are from one of the manufacturers that has a patented check valve in a venturi fitting. These videos illustrate how the new design concept works without writing a book on the concept. 

Other interesting new products noted at the ASPE show were Internal Hot Water recirculation systems. Viega and Kemper both offer this type of system. 

There were also flow-through thermal expansion tanks that were ground breaking and much needed new products. The current, which will soon be the old style thermal expansion tanks, are bladder type tanks on the end of a dead leg from the cold water pipe serving a water heater. The old design would allow stagnant water to sit for long periods of time in a tank with a bladder that could support biofilm growth. 

I noted a couple of manufacturers selling flow-through thermal expansion tanks at the show that were forward thinkers. Flow through expansion tanks allow the municipal water to flow through the thermal expansion tank bladder. The municipal water should have a sufficient level of water treatment chemicals to control bacteria growth in the thermal expansion tank. I would not be surprised to see the old style of thermal expansion tanks prohibited on domestic water systems as people become more aware of the problems with dead legs in the plumbing systems. These flow-through expansion tanks solve the problem of water sitting stagnant in the expansion tank and being discharged into the system in doses every time there is a large demand on the system that allows the bladder to collapse and dump stagnant water into the piping system. 

The manufacturers I noted included but were not limited to:

• Wessels: http://westank.com/flowthrough 
• Calefactio: http://calefactio.com/home 

You can go to http://events.ntpshow.com/aspe2014/public/FloorPlan.aspx?ID=6668&sortMen... and find the manufactures that were at the ASPE product show. Most of them have links to their websites and are promoting the newest plumbing technology on their websites:

2015 and 2018 plumbing codes

Most state and local jurisdictions have not even started using the 2015 codes and we are just over a month away from the deadline when the code changes are due for the 2018 plumbing codes. The code change process is a long, three-year process that has many steps from the time the proposed code changes are due until the last hearing and voting on the proposed changes are held and the books are printed and ready for distribution and sale. Because of this, most jurisdictions have just become familiar with their 2012 edition of their codes and we are weeks away from the deadline for the 2018 code changes. 

The 2015 International Plumbing Code (IPC)

The 2015 IPC along with the other international codes was finished in June, with the exception of the International Green Codes that should have been finalized in early October. The Green Codes should be available for sale soon. 

Most local jurisdictions should be, or soon will be, reviewing the 2015 codes and proposing ordinances or legislation to adopt the 2015 codes as the codes that are enforced in the various jurisdictions within the next year. 

Both model plumbing code organizations are about to begin working on their 2018 plumbing codes. The International Code Council (ICC) has a deadline of January 12, 2015 for proposed changes to the 2018 Plumbing Code. As of this writing, the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) has not yet published their code development schedule for the 2018 codes. They should be publishing the code development cycle soon, which should call for code change proposals sometime within the next year. For the international codes, all of the codes in the group A code cycle that are due on January 12, 2015. They are:

Group A Codes 

1. International Building Code - Egress provisions (IBC-E): IBC: Chapters 10 and 11 
2. International Building Code - Fire Safety provisions (IBC-FS): Chapters 7, 8, 9 (partial), 14 and 26
Majority of IBC Chapter 9 maintained by the IFC in Group B.
3. International Building Code - General Provisions (IBC-G): Chapters 3 – 6, 12, 13, 27 – 33 
4. International Existing Building Code - EBC: IEBC non-structural provisions
5. International Fuel Gas Code (IFGC) 
6. International Mechanical Code (IMC) 
7. International Plumbing Code (IPC) 
8. International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) 
9. International Private Sewage Disposal Code (IPSDC) 
10. International Residential Code - Mechanical Provisions (IRC-M): Chapters 12 - 23 
11. International Residential Code – Plumbing Provisions (IRC-P): Chapters 25 - 33 
12. International Swimming Pool & Spa Code (ISPSC) 
13. International Zoning Code (IZC) 

Group B Codes: (Tentatively due Jan 11, 2016)

1. All administrative chapters of all of the International Codes - Admin: Chapter 1 except the IECC and IRC. Also includes the update of currently reference standards in the 2015 Codes. 
2. International Building Code – Structural provisions (IBC-S): IBC Chapters 15 – 25 and IEBC structural provisions. 
3. International Energy Conservation Code – Commercial energy provisions (IECC-C). 
4. International Energy Conservation Code – Residential energy provisions and IRC Energy provisions in Chapter 11 (IECC/IRC-R: IECC).
5. International Fire Code (IFC): The majority of IFC Chapter 10 is maintained by IBC-E in Group A. 
6. International Residential Code – Building Provisions (IRC-B): Chapters 1 – 10. 
7. International Wildland Urban Interface Code (IWUIC).

Group C Codes: (Tentatively Due Jan 9, 2017)

1. International Green Construction Code (IgCC) 

ICC has published a document on their website that is titled: “2015/2016/2017 Code Committee Responsibilities.” The Code Committee Responsibilities document identifies responsibilities that are different than Group A, B and C codes, and committees that may impact the applicable code change cycle and resulting code change deadline. It also covers the staff person assigned to each code and it gives contact information. 

One notable change is there are portions of the International Fuel Gas Code that formerly addressed combustion flue gas venting requirements that were formerly heard by the International fuel gas code committee and will now apparently be heard by the National Fire Protection Association’s NFPA 54 fuel gas code committee hearings. This is not currently identified in the Code Committee Responsibility Document, but according to discussions with ICC staff it will be the responsibility of NFPA for Flue venting requirements. I’m not sure if it will be covered should be covered in the code committee responsibility document when it is revised. The document is currently available and covers the I-code committee responsibilities. 

In Chapter 9 of the IBC (IBC- Fire Safety, a Group A code committee with hearings in 2015), there are numerous sections that include a “[F]” to indicate that the provisions of the section are maintained by the International Fire Code committee (a Group B code committee with hearings in 2016). Similarly, there are numerous sections in the IEBC that include a “[B].” 

These are structural provisions that will be heard in Group B by the IBC – Structural committee while the non-structural provisions will be maintained in the 2015 Group A Cycle. This is also indicated in the Code Committee Responsibilities document. Proposed changes to the ICC Performance Code will be heard by the Code Development Committee noted in brackets in the text of the code. 

Be sure to review the brackets in the code in Chapter 2 of the applicable code in conjunction with the Code Development Responsibilities document noted above to determine which Code Development Committee will consider proposed changes to definitions.

Any changes to the code change groupings will be posted on the ICC website. ICC indicated they will be reviewing the groupings after the completion of the Green Code hearings in October. Stay tuned to the ICC website for possible changes to the 2015 – 2017 code change cycle for the 2018 codes. Group A code change proposals are due January 12, 2015. 

The international codes will be using a new computer based code change process called “cdpACCESS.” CDP Access stands for Code Development Process Access. It is intended to make it easier for code officials in remote or smaller jurisdictions that may not be able to afford sending code officials to the code hearings, to allow the code officials to tune in to the internet broadcast of the code hearings and participate in the process and vote online. 

The following are the steps in the International Code Development cycle for Group A codes at this time. This is subject to change, and you should always refer to their website for the most up-to-date information. 

2015/2016/2017 ICC Code Development Schedule 

Date Step in code developement cycle
Jan. 12, 2015 Deadline for receipt of code change proposals for Group A Codes
Mar. 13, 2015 Web posting of proposed changes to the I-codes
Apr. 26-May 3, 2015 ICC “Group A” Committee Action Code Hearings (Memphis, Tenn.)
May 10- 17, 2015 Online post Code Action Hearing (CAH) voting period
Jun. 5, 2015  Web posting of the Report of the Committee Action Hearing (CAH)
Jul. 17, 2015 Deadline for online receipt of public comments
Aug. 28, 2015 Web posting of public comments/agenda for Public Comment Hearings
Sep. 30 – Oct. 7 Public Comment Code Hearings (Long Beach Convention Center)
Oct. 14 – Oct. 21 Online governmental consensus voting period

Ron George, CPD, is president of Plumb-Tech Design & Consulting Services LLC. Visit www.Plumb-TechLLC.com

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