Thank you for visiting our site to find out why the people who would be most directly affected by the decision to add another code oppose the measure.
In 1972, a statute standardizing codes that we use in Washington State was adopted. The statue was proposed by the people whose job was indirectly and directly affected by the code system and the choice to adopt it streamlined and simplified the process, saving time and money. Before then, Plumbers and contractors had to deal with a different set of code in just about every jurisdiction across the state. This made training, administrating, and working in the industry more complicated than it had to be. Adopting one standard code cleaned up the mess, everyone was on the same page.
That is 44 years of your plumbers being trained on and operating on our current code set, the UPC. The UPC is administrated by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO); a non profit, membership organization that tests materials and equipment our plumbers use everyday, ensuring that both the folks that work with the equipment and the public that it serves are healthy and safe. IAPMO sustains itself primarily through the selling of their seal to manufactures whose products maintain this industry standard. Their membership includes a broad base of constituents, including plumbers and contractors, code officials, engineers, and the general public and the process to expand and grow the code as the industry changes hinges on the consensus of this membership. This means that the folks that must deal with the consequences of installation standards have a say in its content. It means that Washington plumbers have a say in what their job entails every day, which in turn produces a clear, consistent code that leaves little to interpretation, reducing the rate of failure and eliminating the need for an engineer to come in a figure out how a particular system works before the plumber can come in and fix your toilet properly. Your plumbers know and trust this code and its process, and though you may not realize it as much, simple fixes to the piping system in your homes and office buildings rely on it as well.
The company behind the addition of another code in Washington is the ICC, or International Code Council. Their voting membership is mainly “Building Officials”, so their code is developed without as much input from the people that work with it directly. This leads to a more subjective code, one that does not standardize the methods used to obtain desired results. This complicates the jobs of plumbers, contractors, engineers and inspectors alike. [click here to learn a little more about Prescriptive (UPC) and performance based (IPC) codes]
Having two approved codes means that plumbers will have to carry both set of codes. Each jurisdiction would choose which code, plus their individual specifications, to use; causing plumbers to have to switch back and forth which specific codes they follow (sometimes multiple times a day) to properly do their job. Imagine if your workplace had two different sets of rules on how you do your job, and they switched back and forth at random intervals depending on the day, sounds kind of frustrating, right? Adding another code to Washington State is not only opening the door to go back to the complicated system we already fixed in 1972, but forcing plumbers and consumers to foot the bill for retraining current plumbers and apprentices, adapting curriculum and certification processes for future plumbers, and over $500 more every three years plumbers will have to pay in code books. A multi-code system didn’t work before, and it won’t work now.