Philadelphia's city plumbing code to be modernized using the International Plumbing Code

On August 17, 2017, the mayor of Philadelphia, James F. Kenney, signed an executive order for the reestablishment of the Plumbing Advisory Board to propose substantial updates to the Philadelphia Plumbing Code. As one of the first plumbing codes in the country, the City of Philadelphia Plumbing Code, has not undergone significant change since 1995.

Mayor Kenney's executive order comes as an effort to "encourage standardization in construction by providing requirements for construction and construction materials consistent with nationally recognized standards and to permit to the fullest extent feasible the use of state-of-the-art technical methods, materials and devices consistent with reasonable requirements for the health, safety and welfare of occupants or users of buildings and structure in Philadelphia."

Through the executive order Mayor Kenney seeks to incorporate the formatting and modernity of the International Plumbing Code (IPC) into the Philadelphia Plumbing Code "as a blend to allow for the use of new materials, products or methods of construction as applicable."

The executive order calls for the reconstitution of the Philadelphia Plumbing Advisory Board. Per the order, "individuals with technical expertise in the design and installation of plumbing systems can provide the city with valuable assistance in updating code requirements." The seven members, appointed by the mayor, consist of the following: four registered master plumbers; one Pennsylvania licensed or registered design professional experienced in the design of plumbing systems; one development community representative; and one sustainability community representative.

The board also consists of three non-voting ex-officio members that include: one member from the Department of Licenses and Inspections; one member from the Streets Department; and one member from the Water Department; each appointed by their respective Commissioners.

The board will make its recommendations to the Commissioner of Licenses and Inspections and the Board of Building Standards regarding Philadelphia's adoption of an updated Philadelphia Plumbing Code based on the model plumbing code developed by the International Code Council that is consistent with the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code Act 45 of 1999.

"This executive order is a step in the right direction for Philadelphia," said Sara Yerkes, senior vice president of Government Relations at the International Code Council. She adds, "We are very pleased by the efforts of Mayor Kenney, and the Code Council pledges to serve as a resource to the plumbing board, mayor, city council and Philadelphia plumbing stakeholders as this initiative progresses. The use of the IPC to modernize Philadelphia's code is yet another reminder of the status of the IPC as the nation's preeminent plumbing code."