Copyright (c) 2011 Gerry Stringer
Anyone who has ever built or remodeled a home or those who own commercial property know that plumbing systems are subject to municipal and local codes that mandate certain plumbing practices are followed on the job.
However, these codes are actually derived from a much broader effort to unify plumbing practices that had its genesis in Los Angeles in 1926 with the development of what is now known as the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC). While local plumbing codes do vary by jurisdiction throughout the United States, plumbers and contractors who are members of various professional associations adhere to the often more stringent UPC requirements that govern the installation and inspection of plumbing systems, and homeowners and commercial property owners would be well advised to make certain their plumbing contractors are members of these groups to ensure the very highest standards are being met on their systems.
The Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors National Association, the United Association and the World Plumbing Council, the Mechanical Contractors Association of America and the American Society of Sanity Engineers are among associations that have pledged to uphold the UPC standards.
The UPC is a model code developed and regularly updated by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO). The process all began in the mid-1920s when a group of Los Angeles plumbing inspectors sought to unify plumbing practices because it was known that disease was being spread through improper sanitation, and plumbing and water distribution system standards varied widely in the area. The city of Los Angeles adopted the first set of standards in 1928. In 1945, the Western Plumbing Officials Association (which became the IAPMO in 1966) published to first edition of the UPC, and since that time is adoption as the standard for plumbing practices has spread throughout the country and even internationally.
Most recently, the UPC was issued in 2009 and was developed using the American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) consensus development procedures, a process used throughout the country to set high standards for a variety of systems, processes, personnel, services and products. ANSI standards regulate everything from plumbing and electrical work, to architectural purposes, mechanical systems, safety, protective eyewear and clothing, mining, water storage systems, bridges and even the standardization of paper sizes used for “legal” and “letter”.
The UPC details plumbing procedures and standards for fixtures and fittings, water heaters, sanitary drainage, water supply and distribution, storm drainage, systems for health care facilities and medical gas distribution, and much more.
Licensed plumbers who are members of their professional association adhere to UPC standards, and these standards meet and exceed whatever codes are in place in any jurisdiction. Not every American jurisdiction, however, has plumbing codes, and a lot of plumbing work even in coded jurisdictions is handled by handymen, remodeling contractors and even homeowners who may not be aware of the procedures and standards developed through a painstaking collaborative using the ANSI methodology. Experts advise that improper plumbing installation can lead to a system breakdown, and even jeopardize the safety and health of the people living and working within a structure.
Real estate professional Gerry Stringer only works with denver plumbers who follow ANSI plumbing services that comply to the uniform plumbing code, which is why he recommends Ben Franklin Plumbers