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Your State Plumbing Code – UPC or IPC

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Today we have two dominant model plumbing codes in the United States;

  • the International Plumbing Code (IPC)
  • the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC).

The International Plumbing Code (IPC) is a proven, comprehensive model plumbing code that works seamlessly with ICC’s family of building codes. It sets minimum regulations for plumbing systems and components to protect life, health and safety of building occupants and the public. The IPC is available for adoption by jurisdictions ranging from states to towns, and is currently adopted on the state or local level in 35 states in the U.S, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico.

Find the family of ICC codes for purchase HERE.

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.

IAPMO has made the UPC code references available online online HERE. Other UPC links are listed below:

Brief History

In many countries, Canada for example, there exists a single non-governmental agency that writes the standards for building products and their installation.

In the USA, we have several competing and sometimes contradicting agencies that also write standards. Model codes and and in some cases local jurisdictions (permit offices) decide which standards to follow.

Model codes refer to standards such as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). There can be numerous referenced standards, i.e. American Society of Engineers (ASME), American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), American Water Works Association (AWWA) are some of the more predominate organizations.

Model codes are independent, not-for-profit organizations that serve their sponsoring memberships. Individuals, corporations and governmental bodies (states, counties, municipalities & the Armed Services) can all be members of a model code organization.

Some jurisdictions will use one model code for building (International Code Council, ICC) and another for plumbing & mechanical (International Association of Plumbing & Mechanical Officials, IAPMO).

These model codes can be adopted in whole or in part by the governmental bodies (called amendments to the code). Once adopted, the model code becomes part of that jurisdiction’s administrative code or ordinance and then has the force of law.

Before the birth of the International Code Council (ICC), there existed a number of model code organizations. For building, the Standard Building Code (SBCCI), the Uniform Building Code (ICBO), the National Building Code (BOCA) model codes all competed for membership but were generally restricted to regions.

For plumbing & mechanical, IAPMO had the most influence in the west from California to Colorado and Montana to New Mexico, the Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI) dominated in the southeast and the Building Officials and Code Administrators International (BOCA) prevailed in the Midwest and northeast.

In the 1970s, the American Institute of Architects and the construction industry proposed the development of a single code.

In 1994, the three building model codes (BOCA, ICBO, & SBCCI) merged into the International Code Council (ICC).

Talks are ongoing about merging these two plumbing codes under the ICC umbrella. In order to determine which plumbing code your jurisdiction has adopted, you should contact your local Building & Planning Department.

See a more detailed history of the UPC HERE.

The IPC sets minimum regulations for plumbing systems. The rules use both prescriptive and performance related provisions.

Prescriptive requires that each component be built to a certain standard: “wall insulation R-value at least R-14”.

Performance-related requires that the building, as a whole, perform to a certain standard: “uses less energy than the same building built to prescriptive code”.

The IPC minimum plumbing regulations “generally” cover:

  • Backflow prevention
  • Fixtures & fittings
  • Water supply and distribution piping
  • Water heaters
  • Sanitary drainage and venting
  • Traps, grease interceptors & separators
  • Storm drainage
  • Nonpotable water systems

IPC is also known for:

  • Safety – It has a proven track record of providing safe, sanitary plumbing installations.
  • Ease of Use – The IPC follows an easy-to-use format
  • Embrace of New Technology – The IPC has a tradition of innovation while protecting the health and safety of the public.
  • Correlation – The IPC is designed to work with ICC’s family of codes.
  • Open and Honest Code Development Process – The IPC is revised on a three year cycle through ICC’s highly-respected consensus code development process that draws upon the expertise of hundreds of plumbing, building and safety experts from across North America.

Listed By State

The adopted plumbing codes vary by state – see the list below. 

  • Alabama uses the International Plumbing Code (IPC) established by the International Code Council.
  • Alaska uses the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) established by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials.
  • Arizona has adopted the International Plumbing Code (IPC) developed by the International Code Council.
  • Arkansas uses the International Plumbing Code (IPC) established by the International Code Council.
  • The California Plumbing Code is based on the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) developed by the international Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials.
  • Colorado uses the International Plumbing Code (IPC) established by the International Code Council.
  • Connecticut uses the International Plumbing Code (IPC) established by the International Code Council.
  • Delaware uses the International Plumbing Code (IPC) established by the International Code Council.
  • Florida has adopted the International Plumbing Code (IPC) developed by the International Code Council.
  • Georgia has adopted the International Plumbing Code (IPC) developed by the International Code Council.
  • Hawaii uses the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC).
  • Idaho uses the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC).
  • Illinois uses the Illinois Plumbing Code.
  • Indiana uses the Indiana Plumbing Code and adopted the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) developed by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials.
  • Iowa has adopted the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) and some local governments use the International Plumbing Code (IPC).
  • Kansas has adopted the International Plumbing Code (IPC) established by the International Code Council.
  • Kentucky uses the Kentucky State Plumbing Code using as minimum standards the basic principles of the National Plumbing Code Coordinating Committee.
  • Louisiana uses the Louisiana State Plumbing Code.
  • Maine has adopted the Maine Internal Plumbing Code.
  • Maryland has adopted the International Plumbing Code (IPC) developed by the International Code Council and local municipalities may use different editions.
  • Massachusetts uses the Uniform State Plumbing Code, 248 CMR 10.00.
  • Michigan has adopted the International Plumbing Code (IPC) developed by the International Code Council.
  • Minnesota uses the Minnesota Plumbing Code.
  • Mississippi uses the International Plumbing Code (IPC) established by the International Code Council.
  • Missouri has adopted the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) developed by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials.
  • Montana uses the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) established by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials.
  • Nebraska‘s local municipalities have adopted the International Plumbing Code established by the International Code Council.
  • Nevada‘s local municipalities have adopted the International Plumbing Code (IPC) or the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC).
  • New Hampshire uses the International Plumbing Code (IPC) established by the International Code Council.
  • New Jersey uses the National Standard Plumbing Code (NSPC).
  • New Mexico uses the New Mexico Plumbing Code based on the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) published by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials.
  • New York has adopted the International Plumbing Code (IPC) developed by the International Code Council.
  • North Carolina has adopted the International Plumbing Code (IPC) developed by the International Code Council.
  • North Dakota‘s local municipalities have adopted the International Plumbing Code (IPC) established by the International Code Council.
  • Ohio has adopted the International Plumbing Code (IPC) developed by the International Code Council.
  • Oklahoma uses the International Plumbing Code (IPC) established by the International Code Council.
  • Oregon uses the Oregon Specialty Plumbing Code based on the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) of the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials.
  • Pennsylvania has adopted the International Plumbing Code (IPC) developed by the International Code Council.
  • Rhode Island uses the International Plumbing Code (IPC) established by the International Code Council.
  • South Carolina has adopted the International Plumbing Code (IPC) developed by the International Code Council.
  • South Dakota uses the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) of the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials.
  • Tennessee uses the International Plumbing Code (IPC) established by the International Code Council as adopted by local municipalities.
  • Texas has adopted the International Plumbing Code (IPC) developed by the International Code Council.
  • Utah has adopted the International Plumbing Code (IPC) established by the International Code Council.
  • Vermont uses the International Plumbing Code (IPC) established by the International Code Council.
  • Virginia has adopted the International Plumbing Code (IPC) developed by the International Code Council.
  • Washington uses the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) of the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials.
  • West Virginia has adopted the International Plumbing Code (IPC) developed by the International Code Council.
  • Wisconsin uses Wisconsin Statues, Comm 81-87, Plumbing Code.
  • Wyoming‘s local municipalities have adopted the International Plumbing Code (IPC) developed by the International Code Council.

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