International Code Council Board acts to resolve conflicting codes on maximum plumbing fixture flow rate

The International Code Council's (ICC) Board of Directors recently took action to resolve a conflict in the upcoming 2018 International Codes (I-Codes) related to maximum plumbing fixture flow rates that resulted from the 2016 code change process. The board's action affirmed ICC's commitment to ensuring that all codes are comprehensive and coordinated.

Last year, during the 2016 Group B cycle, six code change proposals were submitted to add maximum plumbing fixture flow rates to the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). The code changes were: RE114 & CE247 (residential lavatory faucet); RE115 (residential shower head); CE170 (commercial shower head); CE175 Part I (commercial shower head); CE175 Part II (residential shower head). Details of each of the proposals can be found here.

Following the 2016 Committee Action Hearing during which the proposals were reviewed and approved, ICC received comments that similar proposals had been disapproved in the 2015 Group A cycle to the International Plumbing Code (IPC), and therefore the new proposals should be removed from the 2016 cycle.

Potentially conflicting codes are a matter of code scoping, which falls under the purview of the board. The board directed staff to allow the proposals to move through the 2016 cycle and to add the following note in the Report of the Committee Action Hearing and the Public Comment Agenda:

This code change proposal addresses the scope and application of the International Energy Conservation Code and the International Plumbing Code. The action taken by the Residential (Commercial) Energy Conservation Code Committee on this proposal, coupled with the final action taken at the 2016 Public Comment Hearings and subsequent Online Governmental Consensus Vote, will be limited to an advisory recommendation to the ICC Board of Directors who will determine the final disposition on this proposed change in accordance with Section 1.3 of CP28, which stipulates that the ICC Board of Directors determines the scope of the I-Codes.

Five of the six proposals were disapproved in the 2016 final action, and one (CE175 Part I) was approved. The issue was then taken up by the Code Correlation Committee for review and recommendation to the board.

The board reviewed the history and the details of the process and considered the recommendation of the Code Correlation Committee. After much serious deliberation, the board concurred with the committee's recommendation and took the following action:

  • Set aside the action taken CE175 Part I as it would modify the scope of the IECC, and would result in a conflict with the IPC since the IPC comprehensively addresses fixture flow rates. In taking this action, the board also noted that similar code changes in the 2015 cycle to the IPC were disapproved.
  • Further consideration of fixture flow requirements in subsequent cycles will continue to be scoped to the IPC and so noted in the Code Scoping Coordination Matrix (Section 1.3.1 of CP28).
The International Code Council is dedicated to ensuring that the code development process is as open, balanced and inclusive as possible. A critical component of the process is avoiding conflicting codes that could cause discrepancies in safety and efficiency standards. The action taken by the board on this matter reinforces ICC's mission to provide a comprehensive and coordinated set of I-Codes with the highest level of building safety in the world.

If you have any questions, please contact Mike Pfeiffer, P.E., at email