Still a Need to Clear the Language Between U.S. and Canandian Codes

Editor's Note: To wrap up Ron George's analysis of recent changes to the International Plumbing Code, we're including a letter we received regarding Mr. George's analysis and his response. The letter is from Lynne Simnick, senior technical staff, ICC Codes & Standards Development. I read your article "U.


I read your article U.S. and Canadian Plumbing Code Snafu: A Need to Speak , and your perspective on the [International Codes Council] staff analysis is incorrectly stated. A direct quote from Abraham Murra at CSA [Canadian Standards Assn.] states, "Products manufactured in accordance with CSA standard are only meant to be used with products 'referenced' in the CSA standards and are not meant to be commingled with products manufactured in accordance with other standards."

Every code change submitted by Mr. Murra contains this quote. This is exactly what the staff analysis states in the code changes that were to delete or add CSA standards. Canadian standards were "not" developed only for Canadian products as you stated. ICC recognizes all standard writing organizations and is designed to be used as an International Code, including Canada.

Ron George responds:

The quote referring to the ICC staff comment was misstated. The bottom line is that the standards are different and the code committee seemed to feel adding this standard would add confusion for inspectors if there are two different products installed in a system and both are listed as approved in the code. The staff comment clearly indicates the products manufactured to the two standards should not be commingled. The problem is the ICC staff analysis or wording stating that the products manufactured to the two standards should not be commingled would not be part of the code language, because it was a staff comment and not part of the proposed language in the code change. If there is not some language printed in the code book stating that products meeting the two standards cannot be commingled in the same system, then inspectors have no choice but to approve the installation if both standards are listed in the code. I feel that until this is addressed there will be a real concern with approving two standards with different dimensions and performance characteristics.

WTC Study Basis for Safety Guidelines

The International Code Council plans to use findings from a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) investigation into the Sept. 11, 2001 World Trade Center attacks to develop construction guidelines to better protect lives and property.

"NIST has done an important public service by conducting this comprehensive study," said ICC CEO James Lee Witt. "The International Code Council intends to fully review its findings as it strives to continue to improve building safety and protect lives and property."

Last year, ICC members approved a change to the International Building Code (IBC) that was related to the World Trade Center collapse, requiring buildings 420 ft. and higher to have a minimum three-hour structural fire-resistance rating. The previous requirement was two hours. The change not only provides increased fire resistance for the structural system, but also provides firefighters with additional protection when fighting a fire.

ICC, responding to the World Trade Center attacks and proposed code changes addressing terrorism issues in buildings, formed an Ad Hoc Committee on Terrorism Resistant Buildings. This committee, consisting of code officials, engineers, architects and other building professionals, will review the NIST report and recommendations, as well as other research.

Take a Load Off

When looking for a quick code reference, it's nice to have quick access to your codebooks, but not always convenient to lug them around.

In order to alleviate this burden, the International Code Council has made its I-Codes easily accessible online via Premium eCodes, allowing users to access them anywhere the Internet is available. While the codes have previously been available online as downloadable PDFs, eCodes lets users search for key words and phrases, copy and print text into documents and bookmark pages for future reference. Additionally, this new online format has the most up-to-date versions of the codes, including errata. Visit

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