Plumbing industry code, standard activity update

This month’s column is an update on several plumbing related organizations and their code and standard activities. The American Society of Sanitary Engineering International (ASSE) Update is as follows. ASSE became part of the International Association of Plumbing & Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) a few years ago. The official name of the organization was changed to include the word “International” and ASSE operates as a chapter of IAPMO.

ASSE standards

ASSE Standards with older or no ANSI dates that should be due for updating or attention in the near future. Std #: 1010 (5/24/2004) Title: Water Hammer Arresters; Std #: 1023 Title: Hot Water Dispensers Household Storage Type - Electrical.

ASSE currently has several standards with working groups forming or with Drafts being worked on by the various working groups and their status: Std#:1001, Standard Title/Comments: Atmospheric Type Vacuum Breakers, online working group meeting was scheduled for July 9; Std#:1002, Standard Title/Comments Anti-Siphon Fill Valves for Water Closet Tanks.

Review of resolutions by Tri-Harmonization group (ASSE/CSA/ASME) The Tri-Harmonization Group consists of members from all three Plumbing Product Standards organizations in an effort to Harmonize the requirements in each organizations standards to have one set of requirements that is consistent so that manufacturers can pass one test instead of three similar, but slightly different tests from organizations with similar standards. This – 1003 Water Pressure Reducing Valves for Domestic Water Distribution Systems – did not pass ASSE Product Standards Comm. ballot. Going back to working group to resolve comments.

"1004 Backflow Preventer Requirements for Commercial Dishwashing Machines," the first meeting of the ASSE 1004 task group of the Vacuum Breaker working group is being scheduled. "1008 Household Food Waste Disposer Units," was sent to Main ASSE Prod. Standards Comm. for balloting. "1011 Hose Connection Vacuum Breakers," the first meeting of the 1011 task group of the Vacuum Breaker working group will be after the 1052 working group is complete. "1012 Backflow Preventer with Intermediate Atmospheric Vent," was sent to ASSE Product Standards Comm. for balloting. "1014 Backflow Prevention Devices for Hand-held Shower," working group forming. "1018 Trap Seal Primer Valves - Potable Water Supplied," no action scheduled until standards 1002, 1037 and 1070 are completed. "1020 Pressure Vacuum Breaker Assembly," working group forming. "1022 Backflow Preventer for Beverage Dispensing Equipment," working group comments being addressed by chairperson. "1024 Dual Check Backflow Preventers," working group forming. "1052 Hose Connection Backflow Preventers," working group vote sent out July 1. Due July 15. "1053 Dual Check Backflow Preventer Wall Hydrants - Freeze Resistant Type," sent to ASSE Product Standards Comm. "1055 Chemical Dispensing Systems," ASSE Product Standards Comm. needs to meet on issues raised in working group raised. "1060 Outdoor Enclosures for Fluid Conveying Components," first working group meeting was scheduled for June 30. "1061 Push-Fit Fittings," in public review until June 8. Board of Directors vote was scheduled for May 18.

"1062 Temp. Actuated, Flow Reduction (TAFR) Valves for Indiv. Supply Fittings," working group forming. "1063 Air Valve and Vent Inflow Preventer," Project Initiation Request form (PINS) submitted for new project."1069 Automatic Temperature Control Mixing Valves," working group forming. "1070 Water Temperature Limiting Devices," review of Resolutions by Tri-Harmonization Group. "5000 Cross-Connection Control Professional Qualifications Standard," working group has been balloted, due date July 23."6000 Prof. Qual. Std. for Medical Gas Installers, Inspectors, Verifers, Maintenance Personnel & Instructors," working group and Professional Qualifications Standard Committee (PQSC) unanimously passed Draft “C.” Currently in ANSI public review. "9000 Prof. Qual’s Std for Firestop Systems & Smoke-Limiting Materials for Mechanical Piping Systems," draft was approved by PQSC. "18000 Prof. Qual. Std. for Fuel Gas Systems and Equipment Installers and Repairers," PINs have been filed with ANSI to develop a new standard to establish minimum qualifications to perform work on natural gas fuel piping within a residential, light commercial or light industrial structure. Applications for the working group are now being accepted. "19000 Prof. Qual. Std. for Hydronic Designers and Installers," draft approved by the working group. Draft is currently being balloted to the PQSC.

Inactive ASSE Standards

Std# Issue Date Standard Title/Comments

1006 1986 Residential Use Dishwashers

1007 1986 Home Laundry Equipment

1009 1990 Commercial Food Waste Grinder Units

1021 2001 Drain Air Gaps for Domestic Dishwasher Applications

American Society of Plumbing Engineers update

ASPE recently submitted ARCSA/ASPE 78: Stormwater Harvesting System Design for Direct End-Use Applications to ANSI for approval as an American National Standard. This standard was developed with the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association. This is the second standard co-developed by these two organizations (ARCSA/ASPE/ANSI 63: Rainwater Catchment Systems).

ASPE is also co-developing several standards with the Water Quality Association (as part of WQA’s sustainability certification program. They are: WQA/ASPE/ANSI S-801 (2015): Sustainable Management; WQA/ASPE/ANSI S-802 (2014): Sustainable Activated Carbon for Drinking Water Treatment; and WQA/ASPE/ANSI S-803 (2014): Sustainable Drinking Water Treatment Systems

In addition, ASPE is currently developing WQA/ASPE 1201: Electrochemical Drinking Water Treatment Systems.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) update

By the time you read this, the ASME A112 Plumbing Materials and Equipment committee meetings in Ashville, N.C. will have been completed. The meeting are to include Task group meetings for ASME A112.6.8 Project Team on Trench Drains, the ASME A112.6.4 Project Team on Roof Drains, the ASME A112.14.3 Project Team on Grease Interceptors and the ASME A112 Standards Development Strategy Team. The summer meetings also include a meeting of the main ASME A112 Standards Committee on Plumbing Material and Equipment to discuss the status of each ASME standard and to address any new projects or interpretation requests.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) update

New Standard ASHRAE 188 - Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems is published. ASHRAE published the first edition of their new Standard 188 titled: ASHRAE 188 Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems and copies were available from the ASHRAE bookstore during their recent conference in Atlanta. They have also begun work on ASHRAE Guideline 12 titled: Minimizing the Risk of Legionellosis Associated with Building Water Systems and they are hoping work on this document can be completed soon.

ASHRAE 189.1 is in collaboration with four other organizations to develop Green Codes. The International Code Council (ICC), ASHRAE, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced the signing of a memorandum to collaborate on the development of Standard ASHRAE 189.1 Standard for the Design of High-Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) and the LEED green building program. The new document will be modified using and ANSI consensus process with ASHRAE serving as the secretariat and the document being published as the International Green Construction Code (IgCC), similar to the way the National Fire Protection Association Serves as the secretariat for updating the NFPA 54 Fuel Gas Code and the NFPA 70 National Electrical Code. The changes to the International Green Construction Code will be handled through the ASHRAE 189.1 committee.

The current purpose of the 189.1 standard is to provide minimum requirements for the siting, design, construction, and planning for operation of high-performance green buildings. Standard 189.1 covers site sustainability, water use efficiency, energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality and the building’s impact on the atmosphere, materials and resources and construction and plan for operation.

The 189.1 standard is not a design guide or a rating system, though it is hoped that organizations responsible for the development of voluntary building rating systems will integrate the standard into their rating programs. Green building rating systems have been developed for implementation as a voluntary system in the past and have not been implemented as mandatory requirements within a jurisdiction unless that jurisdiction adopts the standard or code. Green building rating systems often provide a limited number of prerequisites with many optional credits to allow focus on the green building aspects most important to the user of the system. Standard 189.1 is primarily based on the mandatory requirements (with some elements allowing a choice between a prescriptive or performance options for compliance) that establish baseline criteria for a high-performance green building found in voluntary rating systems. Also, because Standard 189.1 is a code-intended standard, it references documents that are in normative or mandatory language, meaning those reference documents will not just be for informative purposes but are required for compliance with the standard.

By merging the IgCC and Standard 189.1, the agreement will put more teeth in the green codes, which have seen little adoption to date (except in California, where CalGreen is mandatory statewide). I personally would like to see a halt to arbitrary water reductions based on arbitrary percentages in order to achieve points associated with green, water conservation or energy conservation initiatives unless the reductions are accompanied by scientific and engineering based research that conclusively shows there will be no unintended consequences associated with water use reductions. Unintended consequences of water use reductions in the recent past have included, dry drains (not enough water in the drains to transport solids), increased scald hazards where flows are reduced on shower heads of the old two-handle (non-code compliant or non-pressure or non-temperature compensating type) where the likelihood of crossover flow and scalding goes up exponentially with water flow reductions on these old style shower valves.

This is a serious scald and health and safety hazard where people are being killed and permanently disables from well intentioned, yet uninformed individuals handing out low flow shower heads without full knowledge of the consequences. There are many other issues that need to be properly researched and documented before we do the “how low can you flow limbo.” As water flows rates are reduced the hold time of the water becomes longer in the piping system, yet the water treatment chemicals such as chlorine will continue to dissipate as the chemicals react to pipe materials, heat and contaminants in the water. As the water treatment chemical dissipate, the levels can get below an effective level in order for water treatment chemicals to control organism in the water such as Legionella and other bacteria, viruses and organic pathogens.

Diseases and illnesses can increase with lower water flows. There is a Plumbing Efficiency Research Coalition (PERC), headed by Pete Demarco of IAPMO, where they are looking into things like drain line transport and other issues for what I would call “Saving Water Wisely” or “Smart Water Savings.” We should not create injuries, infect people with backed up sewers or stagnant water supply systems or cause scald injuries or deaths in an effort to save a few gallons of water. Studies have shown the majority of water is used by industrial and agricultural uses, yet the majority of our water conservation points systems and code efforts seems to be focused on the small percentage of water in plumbing systems that we regularly come into contact with in our daily lives. We need to look at the big picture and save water in all areas and there is a point of diminishing returns at which, “We must have enough water in the river to float the boats!”

International Code Council (ICC) update

Code industry professionals are making plans to attend the ICC's 2015 Annual Conference and Public Comment Hearings in Long Beach, Calif. The Conference, will be held before the code commentary hearings on September 27-29 and will include lots of educational opportunities with continuing education credits & certification testing.

The Group A Public Comment Hearings, will be held September 30 through October 7, and when completed will result in the 2018 editions of the International Building Code (egress, fire safety and general sections), International Existing Building Code, International Residential Code (mechanical and plumbing sections), International Plumbing Code, International Private Sewage Disposal Code, International Mechanical Code, International Fuel Gas Code, International Swimming Pool and Spa Code, International Property Maintenance Code and International Zoning Code.

This year they will have a new Building Safety & Design Expo, September 27-28, featuring free technical and nontechnical education sessions along with exhibitors who will showcase the latest products and services of interest to building safety and design professionals.

International Association of Plumbing & Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) update

The Timeline for the modifications to the Uniform Plumbing & Mechanical Codes are as follows.

September 3 - Call for Proposals for code changes to UPC and UMC

September 27 - October 1 IAPMO Annual Education and Business Conference (Las Vegas, Planet Hollywood Casino/Hotel)

January 4, 2016 - Deadline for submission of proposals

March 25, 2016 - Distribute proposals to committees (ROP Monograph)

May 2 - 6, 2016 – UPC & UMC Technical Committee meetings Denver, Colo. - Sheraton Denver Downtown

May 20, 2016 - Initial ballot to Technical Committee

June 3, 2016 - Receipt of initial ballots, Circulation of comments

June 10, 2016 - Final closing date for ballots, including receipt of vote changes based on re-circulated comments

August 22, 2016 - Distribution of Report on Proposals (ROP)

September 2, 2016 - Call for Comments

September 25 - 30, 2016 - IAPMO Annual Education and Business Conference, Albuquerque, N.M. - Hyatt Regency

Technical Meeting Convention

October 2, 2017 - Ballot of Technical Committees on membership amendments from floor; two-thirds vote of approval required from the Technical Committee

October 9, 2017 - Receipt of initial ballots, Re-circulate comments to Technical

Committee members

October 16, 2017 - Final closing date of ballots and receipt of vote changes based on re-circulated comments

November 15-17, 2017 - Standards Council Meeting

December 11, 2017 - Deadline for notification of intent to file written petition to the Board of Directors

January 26, 2018 - Board of Directors meet to address petitions

IAPMO is also calling for technical experts to serve on task groups relating to hydronic piping systems that that will deal with heating, cooling, ventilation, and air conditioning systems issues in the codes to make the UMC more user friendly. In addition, IAPMO is looking for task group members to serve as technical experts to participate on a task group relating to ammonia refrigeration systems. They will review of the ammonia provisions in Chapter 11 (Refrigeration) to identify and review issues that have been brought forth by membership and industry, in regards to the 2015 Uniform Mechanical Ammonia Refrigerant code committee.   

IAPMO is also looking for technical experts on ducts and plenums that are portions of a heating, cooling, absorption or evaporative cooling, or exhaust systems. The scope of the task group includes the review of the provisions in Chapter 6 (Ducts) to identify and review issues that have been brought forth by membership and industry, in regards to the 2015 Uniform Mechanical Code (UMC), in an attempt to make the code more user-friendly. Refer to the IAPMO website for more information.

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Update

Underwriters Laboratories has amended UL 1738 Standard for Venting Systems for Gas-Burning Appliances, Categories II, III, and IV. The standard previously only included metal flue pipes and recently the standard was revised to include plastic piping systems for venting gas-burning appliances. This was because there was no standard addressing plastic flue pipe systems. The new standard was submitted in a code change for approval at the International Fuel Gas code hearings this spring in Memphis, Tenn., and the code change proposal was rejected by the International Fuel Gas Code (IFGC) committee.  

The testimony at the code hearings revealed that currently there is an exception that allows manufacturers that certify their Fuel Gas-burning equipment for use with plastic flue gas piping can use plastic flue piping if the manufacturer certifies their equipment with plastic piping. If the code change went through, any listed pipe could be installed on any category II, III or IV appliances even if the appliance manufacturer does not recommend it. For example some manufacturers are OK with CPVC or Polypropylene piping for venting combustible gases, but not PVC because it has such a low temperature rating. Not all manufacturers of gas-burning appliances allow plastic pipe to be used for venting their appliances.  If the code change would have gone through, manufacturers would no longer be liable for plastic flue pipe failures if a contractor chose to install a listed PVC pipe on the outlet of their equipment. Manufacturers would still have a say if it was acceptable or not, but inspectors would then have the burden of reading through the manufacturers literature to see if the equipment accepts PVC flue pipes.  

Some manufacturers of fuel burning equipment understand the added liability of venting with plastic flue pipes because the pipe can melt and fittings can become brittle and crack causing fires or carbon monoxide asphyxiation. Flue pipes can fail if they become overheated from fouled heat exchanger surfaces from hard water or dirty air filters associated with poor water quality or poor maintenance.  Until there are requirements for fuel burning appliances to have flue gas temperature sensors in the flue outlet to sense the flue discharge temperatures shut down the equipment in an over-temperature situation, some manufacturers do not want to take on that liability. 

Ron George, CPD, is president of Plumb-Tech Design & Consulting Services LLC. The offices of Ron George, CPD, have relocated to 303 N. Monroe Street, Monroe, Mich., 48162. The phone numbers and website will remain the same: Office 734-322-0225; Cell Phone: 755-1908; and Website:

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