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The Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia, creating our nation’s democracy. A little more than 240 years later, Philadelphia will again be the backdrop for a discussion that could shape an industry landscape in years to come.
The 2018 IAPMO Conference will run from Oct. 1-4. A major focus will be on the codes that will impact the 2021 Uniform Plumbing Code and the Uniform Mechanical Code, thanks to an accelerated code cycle.
Normally, this year would have been a quiet one in terms of getting the 2021 UPC and UMC codes organized. However, a decision was made last July by the IAPMO Board of Directors to start the cycle a year earlier than originally planned.
This accelerated cycle had made getting the proposals in sooner than before. When codes were published in years past, it took a year for state and local code bodies to form committees, review the codes and then propose local amendments. This cycle has also changed those hearings from the last two years of the code cycle to the first two years.
“By changing the timeline in this manner,” says DJ Nunez, IAPMO president,” we will be able to publish the 2021 Uniform Codes in the first quarter of 2020, which we believe will prove extremely beneficial to states, counties, and cities seeking to adopt them.”
The cycle began last October with a Call for Proposals. It will be at the Assembly Consideration Session on Oct. 1 that attendees will get their chance to hear and discuss the codes that could impact them in the future.
Typically, the Assembly Consideration can last between three to four hours per code. However, according to Hugo Augilar, vice president of codes and standards for IAPMO, the session is expected to last six to eight hours. What will exactly be discussed is not yet known.
“It is difficult to foresee what the discussions will be mostly about during the conference,” Aquilar adds. “However, during the May 15-18 proposal hearings, the topics generating the most debate for the UPC included rehabilitation of existing building sewers, Legionella risks, circuit venting, sizing guidance and what combination of fixtures are most applicable. For the UMC, A2L systems and duct systems were hotly debated, with numerous A2L refrigerant and duct system proposals submitted. The committee expressed concern about the amount of research still needed for such systems. More specifically on duct systems, heavy debate ensued on plastic piping within plenums, combustibles within plenums, fiberglass reinforced plastics, and thermoplastics.”
If attendees wish to raise an objection to the Technical Committee actions, they can raise a motion to:
“A successful main motion shall be by majority vote of all members present and eligible to vote at the meeting,” Augilar adds. “Assembly actions will be forwarded to the UPC or UMC TC as a comment to consider during the Technical Committee meeting in Denver on April 29-May 2.”
Code changes will kick off the conference, but afterward, there will be plenty of educational seminars to learn about trends and information.
This year, attendees will get to learn about the Peak Water Demand Calculator on Oct. 1, from the man who created it, Don Cole. The seminar will teach inspectors and plan checkers the advanced math plumbing engineers use, while making it practical for their professions.
“Sizing water piping, according to Peak Water Demand Calculator, is very different from the sizing calculations that have been traditionally used,” says Duane Huisken, senior vice president of marketing and communications. “Inspectors and plan reviewers need to have an understanding of the calculator and what it does so they are not surprised by pipe sizing shown on the construction drawings and reject systems that are, in fact, appropriately sized.”
The session will be taught by Cole, whose creation of the calculator goes back to when he began looking at traditional pipe sizing methods found in various plumbing codes, out of personal interest.
Cole is a former plumbing inspector and plumber whose dedication towards pipe sizing resulted in creating the peak water demand calculator. Attendees can download the calculator online before attending the event.
For those looking for a different learning experience, also on Oct. 1, presenter Jeff Hutcher will host the seminar Code Considerations For Grow Houses. This session was created due to states around the country legalizing the use and sale of marijuana, resulting in marijuana facilities being constructed. From a code and design perspective, these facilities have special needs when being constructed.
The seminar will focus on those needs and help teach attendees about the correct growing environments and what the facilities and building systems needs to be safe for its workers and the public health.
“The idea and need for a seminar on this topic was mostly inspired by what IAPMO instructors and committee members were reporting they were seeing in the field,” Huisken adds. “In some areas, the number of grow facilities are rising so much that individual inspectors are inspecting several of these facilities each day.”
In some cases, Huisken says they inspect highly sophisticated systems that are well planned and designed, meet all code requirements, and “look like something from the future.”
In many other cases, Huisken says these facilities are being designed an operated by individuals who simply do not have the requisite knowledge to design, build, and maintain safe growing facilities.
“Often, these shortcomings can lead to series issues such as black mold, backflow conditions, and fire hazards,” Huisken explains.
All educational sessions, such as the Peak Water Demand Calculator and Code Considerations For Grow Houses, come with Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits for those who attend.
Education will be spread throughout the three-day event. Even on the final day of the conference, attendees will be given the opportunity to attend a series of seminars hosted by the National Standard of Plumbing Codes. These sessions will feature talks on chimney venting, sizing and issues, a brief history of the national plumbing code, and substantive changes to the 2018 National Standard. The first session starts at 9 a.m., with sessions running one after the other into the afternoon.
IAPMO is not just about learning and setting codes for the future. As always, the event will feature networking opportunities for attendees to connect over business and seminars.
“The level of code expertise gathered at one spot allows peers to learn from each other outside the classroom,” Huisken says. “Many of these professionals develop life-long friendships with others from around the country who are as passionate as they are about health and safety of these systems.”
The conference also features a golf outing, a welcome dinner with a 1776 theme and a closing event at Howl at the Moon. A full schedule of events and seminars is posted on IAPMO websites.
Plenty of codes, friendships and cheese stakes will be made in the city of brotherly love this fall. But once plumbing professionals depart this year’s IAPMO Conference, the groundwork for the future should be paved.