Uniform Plumbing Code

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Designated as an American National Standard, the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) is a model code developed by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) to govern the installation and inspection of plumbing systems as a means of promoting the public's health, safety and welfare.

The UPC is developed using the American National Standards Institute's consensus development procedures. This process brings together volunteers representing a variety of viewpoints and interests to achieve consensus on plumbing practices.

The UPC is designed to provide consumers with safe and sanitary plumbing systems while, at the same time, allowing latitude for innovation and new technologies. The public at large is encouraged and invited to participate in IAPMO’s open consensus code development process. This code is updated every three years. A code development timeline and other relevant information are available at IAPMO’s Website.


  • In 1926, a group of Los Angeles plumbing inspectors recognized that there were no uniform requirements for the installation and maintenance of plumbing systems, and at that point in time disease was rampant, a lot of it spread through improper sanitation. Disorder in the industry was the result of widely divergent plumbing practices and the use of many different, often conflicting, plumbing codes by local jurisdictions. It was these plumbing inspectors that understood the necessity of developing a model code that could be uniformly applied across jurisdictions.
  • In 1928, the city adopted the first incarnation of a uniform plumbing code developed by the Los Angeles City Plumbing Inspectors Association (LACPIA) and based on the input from a committee of plumbing inspectors, master and journeyman plumbers, and sanitary and mechanical engineers, assisted by public utility companies and the plumbing industry.
  • The product of this effort, the first edition of the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) was officially adopted by the Western Plumbing Officials Association in 1945, which later changed its name to IAPMO in 1966 when the scope of the association’s work increased. The code has been widely used over the past five decades by jurisdictions throughout the United States and internationally.
  • With the publication of the 2003 Edition of the Uniform Plumbing Code, another significant milestone was reached. For the first time in the history of the United States, a plumbing code was developed through a true consensus process.
  • The 2012 edition represents the most current approaches in the plumbing field and is the fourth edition developed under the ANSI consensus process. Contributions to the content of the code were made by every segment of the built industry, including such diverse interests as consumers, enforcing authorities, installers/maintainers, insurance, labor, manufacturers, research/standards/testing laboratories, special experts and users.
  • The 2012 Uniform Plumbing Code[1] is supported by the American Society of Sanitary Engineering (ASSE), the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA), the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors National Association (PHCC-NA), the United Association (UA) and the World Plumbing Council (WPC). These associations support IAPMO’s open consensus process being used to develop IAPMO’s codes and standards.

2012 Edition[edit]

The fourth edition to be designated as an American National Standard, the latest UPC includes the following key changes:

  • New alternate water sources for nonpotable applications and nonpotable rainwater catchment systems

(Chapters 16, 17) based upon IAPMO’s Green Plumbing and Mechanical Code Supplement

  • New Appendix L (sustainable practices)
  • New minimum plumbing facilities table (Chapter 4)
  • Water supply and drainage joint connection requirements (Chapters 6, 7)[1]


Chapter 1 — Administration

Chapter 2 — Definitions

Chapter 3 — General Regulations

Chapter 4 — Plumbing Fixtures anid Fixture Fittings

Chapter 5 — Water Heaters

Chapter 6 — Water Supply and Distribution

Chapter 7 — Sanitary Drainage

Chapter 8 — Indirect Wastes

Chapter 9 — Vents

Chapter 10 — Traps and Interceptors

Chapter 11 — Storm Drainage

Chapter 12 — Fuel Piping

Chapter 13 — Health Care Facilities and Medical Gas and Vacuum Systems

Chapter 14 — Referenced Standards

Chapter 15 — Firestop Protection

Chapter 16 — Alternate Water Sources for Nonpotable Applications

Chapter 17 — Nonpotable Rainwater Catchment (Rainwater Harvesting) Systems


  1. ^ IAPMO to Release 2012 Uniform Codes on March 1, Feb. 21, 2012, http://www.iapmo.org/Pages/PressReleases.aspx

See also[edit]