ECC, IAPMO at ASPE in Chicago
The 2014 ASPE Expo will be held Sept. 20-24 in Chicago and is the largest plumbing engineer event of the year. Photo credit: Richard Albrecht/American Society of Plumbing Engineers.

September is gearing up to be a very busy month. It starts with the 85th Annual IAPMO Education and Business Conferencein Minneapolis and is immediately followed by the 50th Anniversary 2014 ASPE Convention & Exposition in Chicago. The following week is the 2014 ICC Annual Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

Three weeks of excitement in plumbing and mechanical engineering.

The ASPE expo in Chicago will be the best the organization has ever hosted. If you had to pick one of these three events to attend, it has to be the ASPE expo. Not only is it the largest plumbing engineering show, but the educational programs are outstanding. I can fulfill half my biannual educational requirements at this show to maintain my P.E. licenses. Furthermore, you cannot beat the depth and broad-based educational offerings the expo has to offer.

Plus, it is September in Chicago. Speaking as a local, Chicago is a great place to visit that time of year. I promise you’ll have a great time.

The ASPE expo also is where ICC and IAPMO can come to a meeting of the minds. Both organizations are present at the event. It would be a great opportunity for ASPE to help forge a merger of the ICC International Plumbing Code and the IAPMO Uniform Plumbing Code. The codes are so close in their requirements that it does not make sense to not begin talks about merging the codes. ASPE can provide the independent voice to help orchestrate such a merger.

Another good reason to start the process of merging the two plumbing codes now is that both organizations have completed their 2015 editions with the next editions scheduled for 2018. Hence, there is plenty of time to work together to coordinate the two documents.

A committee composed of representatives of both organizations could begin the process of merging the documents while, at the same time, they could consider changes to update the codes.

Along the same lines, the ICC convention in Fort Lauderdale is set for Sept. 28-Oct. 5. At this convention, Guy Tomberlin will be elected ICC’s new president. Tomberlin is one of the top plumbing code experts in the country. During Tomberlin’s presidency, it would be great to see the merger of the plumbing codes. He is the perfect individual to have in charge of ICC to oversee the merger.

Each organization is at the point where it realizes it makes no sense to keep developing two plumbing codes. For the good of the United States, there must be a single plumbing code. I don’t foresee the few technical differences as being that difficult to overcome. If everyone comes to the talks with an open mind, the differences can be readily resolved.


Last call

The ICC conference also will include the final hearing of the Green Code where a number of plumbing, mechanical and energy provisions will be proposed. The only changes that will be discussed are proposals that received a public comment, which are posted on the ICC’s website at

If you cannot attend the hearings in Ft. Lauderdale, you can view them live on the ICC website. If you have never attended a code hearing, you should at least experience the thrill by watching via the website. OK, some don’t consider hearings to be thrilling, but you may be surprised when you listen to all the discussions. It also will give you a good idea as to why certain requirements are in the code.

The Green Code has some of the wildest discussions as everyone continues to try and wrap their heads around what is “green.” The ICC membership has the final say in determining whether a requirement is green or not. I find it easier to determine if a code requirement protects public health, safety or welfare. That is the apex of every code except the Green Code.


Don’t be shy

IAPMO’s conference will include the final action on code changes to the 2015 Uniform Plumbing Code and 2015 Uniform Mechanical Code. Any IAPMO member is entitled to vote on the code changes at the conference.

IAPMO has a unique process whereby anyone can stand up to speak on any proposed code change. Prior to the meeting, you have no idea what subject matters may be discussed. As a result, when attending the meeting, you have to be prepared to address any code-change proposal at any given moment. Typically, there are a few dozen code changes out of the more than 500 total changes to the plumbing and mechanical codes discussed. Of course, the code changes addressed are normally the hot subjects that always evoke controversy.

After the IAPMO annual meeting, the Plumbing Technical Committee has the opportunity to review decisions made by the members. The committee can either agree with the decisions or oppose them. When the Technical Committee and membership do not agree, the code change is sent to the Standards Council for a final decision.


Wedding bells

My September gets even busier with my baby’s wedding the weekend before all these conferences and conventions begin. I still call her my baby, but Keriann is 25 years old and will be marrying Dan Creigh on September 13 at Purdue University. Keri keeps reminding me that Dan is an Eagle Scout. She knows that her father also is an Eagle Scout, so that reminder has a lot of meaning. Dan is a good kid and they make a very happy, loving couple.

I guess it is good that I will have to immediately travel to these code hearings after the wedding festivities come to an end. I can’t dwell on the fact all three of my children will be married and out of the house. My lovely wife, Judie, and I have done our job of raising our children. Now it is time to spoil the grandchildren.

Congratulations Keri and Dan!

I hope to see all of you in September, perhaps in Chicago for the ASPE expo. Be sure to say hello.