The 2015 Uniform Plumbing and Mechanical Codes are complete and are currently in the process of adoption by various states including California. The California Plumbing Code is based on the Uniform Plumbing code. The process will take about a year. The process for the 2018 will be getting under way shortly. The process starts with what is called a “Call for Proposals”. This will go out September 3, 2015 and last until January 4, 2016. This is an opportunity for PHCC members to submit a code change that they feel would improve or clarify the code. See the UPC Code Timeline here. The forms are downloadable from www.iapmo.org. I have been beating this drum for a long time but again, it is important for PHCC members to look at areas that they feel they can contribute and submit a code change. We are the ones who have to implement the provisions of the code. If we are not involved then the code will be developed by the builders, engineers and manufacturers and not the plumbers that live and die by it.
The proposals when they are received will be distributed to the Technical Committee members March 25, 2016 for preliminary review. On May 2-6, 2016 the Technical meetings will be held in Denver, Colorado at which point public testimony is taken on the technical merits of the code change. If you have the opportunity to attend a technical meeting you should do it. They are an eye opener as to what is considered and how the codes are developed. The Technical Committee votes on each proposed code change and states a technical reason why any approved code changes are necessary. After the technical meetings the technical committee members are letter balloted for final results. These results are then used for round two which I will discuss later.
If you were able to attend the PHCC West Convention in Maui and were able to attend the code update class you now have an idea of how important code changes can be. While the plumbing code and how it changes are critical to new construction contractors who actually build under its provisions, service and repair contractors are also bound by its provisions which are often overlooked. Many service and repair contractors have been sued over service techs that have failed to make installations that are code compliant. If you have a problem in the field you do not want one of the claims is that it did not meet code. I have seen instances where a simple failure to meet a code provision has cost a contractor hundreds of thousands of dollars. You may have been in business dozens of years but it only takes one time. As a side note, no, your insurance probably doesn’t cover it as most policies do not cover workmanship. Unless you have an error and admissions policy that cover you and your technicians you probably do not have coverage. Check with your insurance agent.
Send code questions and/or comments to Tracy Threlfall, EVP at email@example.com, and we will forward to Arnie Rodio for review.