It’s that fun time of year again when we in the plumbing industry can sit back, read some codes, and debate their merit. Here’s a breakdown of what, and when, to expect changes for the 2018 code cycle.
ICC Code Changes Due January 8, 2018
The 2018 International Codes are now available for purchase and many jurisdictions are in the process of reviewing them for adoption within the next year or so. Since it is still early in the code change cycle, most jurisdictions, inspectors, contractors and engineers are waiting to make the purchase.
The deadline for the proposed code changes to be submitted for the 2021 codes is fast approaching. By the time you receive this magazine, you should have just a few weeks before the Jan. 8, 2018 deadline to submit revisions to be considered for the three-year code change process. The plumbing codes are always included in the first round of changes to be heard in what is called group “A” code changes.
The placement of the plumbing code in group “A” has always bothered me, as it has others in the industry. It’s like we’re forced to purchase the new codes immediately after they are published, curl up next to a fire over the holidays and review them for differences from the last change code cycle, and then plan code change proposals.
I find it very inconvenient for the group “A” code changes to be due before any one starts using the actual codes. I would like to see International Code Council (ICC) switch the plumbing and mechanical, and the residential codes, to group “B” so that people have the opportunity to become familiar with them as they are used or enforced.
Until then, we must comply with the current schedule as it is published. You should be able to go online before the Jan. 8, 2018 deadline and register for the cdpACCESS software, which allows you to look up the current code language section-by-section and propose code changes to each one. The ICC’s cdpACCESS code change software went live online to allow revisions to the Group “A” codes on Oct. 2, 2017.
ICC offered free instructional webinars in October to assist with the cdpACCESS code change submittal process. These were just the initial webinars scheduled with the rollout of the latest version of the cdpACCESS software. There will be additional webinars scheduled as well. Refer to the ICC website for more information.
ICC will post the proposed code changes to the International Codes online around Feb. 28, 2018. The Committee Action Hearings, where the technical committee for each code will hear the changes, are scheduled sometime between April 15-25, 2018. The approximate dates of the code hearings will be published with the proposed code changes. They do not schedule the days for the code hearings until they know how many code changes there are, and then they adjust the hearing order and length of the hearings for each code based on the volume of changes submitted. The code changes usually average about 10 to 12 minutes per code change. Knowing this, if there are 150 plumbing code changes, you can assume about 5 percent to 10 percent will be withdrawn or combined into a discussion with similar code changes. So, assuming there are about 135 code changes, and each one takes about 10 minutes, the plumbing code hearings would need about 1,350 minutes, or 22.5 hours for the hearings. The code hearings might go from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. the first day with one-hour breaks for lunch and dinner, and then 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. the following day if needed. If the plumbing codes do not get completed, they decide whether to keep on going or continue the hearings on the third day, which would cause the following code hearings to be delayed for their start.
This can cause havoc on airline and hotel schedules. When the plumbing code hearings are completed, there is usually a break period to allow the plumbing code committee to pack up and move from the table in the front of the room and the next code committee settles in for their hearings. The code hearings go all day and when they fall behind schedule because of lots of debate on specific code changes, the staff may ask the committee to go later into the evening and sometimes start back as early as 7 a.m. the next morning to try and get the hearings back on schedule.
The complete schedule for the code cycle is published on the ICC website.
IAPMO Code Changes Due March 16, 2018
The Uniform Plumbing & Mechanical Code changes will be due soon after the code changes for the I-codes, on March 16, 2018.
The International Association of Plumbing & Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) issued its call for proposals on Oct. 2, 2017. IAPMO will distribute proposals to the technical committee, Report on Proposals (ROP), around April 13, 2018. Then it will hold its Technical Committee meetings in Ontario, California on May 15-18, 2018. Initial letter ballots to the Technical Committee go out around June 1, 2018. Any comments to the code changes are circulated on ballots on June 15, 2018. The final closing date for ballots is June 22, 2018. Then IAPMO will distribute the ROP around Aug. 20, 2018. It will issue a “call for comments” around Sept. 3, 2018, and hold hearings at the IAPMO annual assembly consideration session Oct. 2, 2018 (location T.B. D.).
The deadline for submission of comments is Jan. 3, 2019. IAPMO will distribute a ROC on March 22, 2019. The Technical Committee meetings are scheduled in Denver, Colorado on April 29 - May 2, 2019. Initial ballots will be distributed to the committee May 17, 2019. Any comments received will be circulated in comments on ballots May 31, 2019. The final closing date for ballots is June 7, 2019. The technical correlating committee will meet on July 3, 2019.
There will be a final distribution of the ROC on Aug. 21, 2019. IAPMO will hold code hearings at its association technical meeting convention on Sept. 24, 2019. (location T.B. D.).
Initial letter ballots, along with a circulation of comments, will be mailed to the Technical Committee on membership amendments on Oct. 2, 2019. The final closing date for ballots is Oct. 16, 2019. The IAPMO standards council will meet on Nov. 13-15, 2019 to finalize and approve the code change process. Any appeals will follow to the IAPMO Board of Directors.
See the IAPMO website for further information.