Houston adopts updated Uniform Plumbing Code

Nov. 30, 2023
The Houston City Council has voted to update from the 2015 editions of the Uniform Plumbing Code and Uniform Mechanical Code to their new 2021 editions, effective January 2024.

The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) announced that the Houston City Council has voted to adopt the 2021 editions of the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) and Uniform Mechanical Code (UMC).

The vote follows an extensive review conducted as part of the city’s Construction Code Modernization Project, which involved more than 200 community stakeholders representing more than 50 construction and industry associations.

The adoption is an update from the 2015 editions of these codes and will go into effect Jan. 2, 2024. The City of Houston has utilized the Uniform Codes since 1985.

“Our commitment to ensuring the health, safety, and welfare of our residents is unwavering,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “Advancing from the 2015 to the 2021 base codes reaffirms that commitment and furthers our Resilient Houston plan.”

The UPC includes significant resilient provisions, such as specifications to address the impact of water temperature on the potential for scalding and Legionella growth. The UPC also includes provisions for storm piping materials and sizing methodologies, along with domestic water right-sizing through the addition of the Water Demand Calculator.

Other updates in the 2021 editions include:

  • Alternate Water Sources for Nonpotable Applications
  • Nonpotable Rainwater Catchment Systems
  • Alternate Plumbing Systems
  • Potable Rainwater Catchment Systems
  • Sustainable Practices
  • Hydronic provisions for radiant heating and cooling
  • Geothermal energy systems

“It has been a pleasure to work alongside the local plumbing industry, city staff, and city council as they deliberated this important action,” said John Mata, IAPMO Field Services representative.

Introduced in Los Angeles in 1928 and formally published as the Uniform Plumbing Code in 1945, the UPC is developed to govern the installation and inspection of plumbing systems as a means of promoting the public’s health, safety and welfare. Later published by IAPMO in 1967, the UMC provides the same governance for mechanical (HVAC, combustion, exhaust, refrigeration) systems. Developed and subsequently republished at the conclusion of each three-year code cycle, the UPC and UMC are designed to provide consumers with plumbing, heating, and mechanical systems that meet all applicable standards while, at the same time, allowing latitude for innovation and new technologies.

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