Plumbing design professionals know that third-party product standards and professional qualifications (PQs) are a vital effectiveness enhancer. Construction documents, especially written specifications, are filled with references to product certifications. The reason for this is simple: as plumbing engineers, we are chiefly concerned with minimizing risk or failure of our design and doing so in the most efficient way possible.

In my conversations with thousands of engineers, this is why new innovations often are so slow to be utilized by U.S.-based engineers; the concern of “Will it work?” is always present. Additionally, professional credentials also play an important role for design professionals, both in maximizing their own abilities, but also in providing additional items for inclusion in engineering specifications. Engineers can require workers with demonstrated competence by listing professional qualifications in their specifications.

Worth noting here is that the 2024 Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) includes more than 500 references to ASME, IAPMO, IAPMO Guide Criteria (IGC) and ASSE product standards/certifications throughout the code. IGC references particularly indicate innovative new products and this kind of third-party validation allows for response and utilization of new technologies more quickly. The 2024 UPC includes about 50 references to IGC standards. In the 2024 UPC Appendix P, there are almost three dozen references to different professional qualifications that engineers could consider including in their specifications. Some PQs are likely already included in most master specifications as they are codified (e.g. ASSE 6000 series for medical gas), while others are being recommended for inclusion in specifications via design guides (e.g. the ASPE Engineering Methodologies to Reduce the Risk of Legionella in Premise Plumbing Systems notes the inclusion of the ASSE 12000 series, which includes the ASSE 12061 Qualification for Water Quality Program, Plumbing and 12080 Legionella Water Safety and Management Specialists).

Every month, IAPMO Codes and Standards shares its newsletter with the latest information on upcoming IAPMO and ASSE standards in development. It is well worth subscribing in order to stay up-to-date, which you can do in the link above.

Past newsletters can be found by clicking here.

IAPMO and ASSE International play pivotal roles in shaping and maintaining national standards vital for public health, safety and welfare. Their collaborative efforts, adhering to stringent consensus development processes, ensure the integrity and efficacy of standards crucial for the plumbing and mechanical industries. Both organizations operate under comprehensive policies and procedures outlined by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), reflecting their commitment to transparency and inclusivity in standard development.

Both organizations actively encourage industry professionals to engage in the development of new standards and serve on technical committees. Opportunities abound for individuals to contribute to shaping the future of plumbing and mechanical systems, with calls for participation in various projects such as the development of supply stops, bathroom vanity assemblies and recirculating shower systems. Such involvement not only enriches standards but also empowers stakeholders to influence industry practices and innovation.

IAPMO and ASSE International play pivotal roles in shaping and maintaining national standards vital for public health, safety and welfare. Their collaborative efforts, adhering to stringent consensus development processes, ensure the integrity and efficacy of standards crucial for the plumbing and mechanical industries.

The importance of robust product and personnel standards cannot be overstated in ensuring the safety and functionality of products entering the market. IAPMO's rigorous development and review procedures instill confidence among manufacturers and consumers alike, facilitating timely introduction of new products while upholding safety standards. Recent publications covering a wide range of products, from oil/water separators to digital mixing valves, highlight the breadth and depth of standards governing diverse industry segments.


A summary of recent ongoing IAPMO work:

  • Professional Qualifications Standard: ASSE/IAPMO Series 12000 just underwent a public review comment period — stay tuned for updates.
  • Open Projects in Hot Water Systems: There are a number of standards that are ongoing and looking for technical committee members, especially impacting hot water systems: IAPMO Z1388, Supply Stops with Integral Water Hammer Arrester; IAPMO Z1398, Recirculating Shower Systems; IAPMO Z1399, The Design, Construction, Commissioning, and Maintenance of Domestic Hot Water Recirculation Systems.
  • Recent Publications: ASSE/ANSI and IAPMO publications recently completed a number of standards with which you may want to consider updating your specifications: ASSE/ANSI 1019-2023, Wall Hydrant with Backflow Protection and Freeze Resistance; ASSE/ANSI 1052-2023, Hose Connection Backflow Preventers; ASSE/ANSI 1057-2023, Freeze Resistant Sanitary Yard Hydrants with Backflow Protection; IAPMO Z601-2018 (R2023), Scale Reduction Devices; ASSE/ANSI 1024-2023, Dual Check Backflow Preventers; ASSE/ANSI 1032-2023, Dual Check Valve Type Backflow Preventers for Carbonated Beverage Dispensers, Post Mix Type, and Non- Carbonated Beverage Dispensers.
  • Canadian Standards Development: IAPMO Standards seeks Canadian representation on the Plumbing Standards Committee, ensuring inclusivity and relevance of standards in the Canadian context. These include ASSE 1086, Performance Requirements for Reverse Osmosis Water Efficiency-Drinking Water; ASSE 1115, Performance Requirements for Hot Water Balancing Valves; ASSE 1379, Performance Requirements for Proportional Flow Controller, with Protection from Cross Contamination, for use in Drinking Water Installations; ASSE Series 28000, Qualification for Inspectors of Cured in Place Pipe (CIPP) rehabilitation; ASSE Series 6000, Professional Qualifications Standard for Medical Gas Systems Personnel.
  • Recent Industry Standards Publications: Recent publications include standards for oil/water separators, compression fittings, and digital mixing valves, reflecting ongoing efforts to address evolving industry needs and technological advancements.
  • Upcoming Events: A number of opportunities for engagement with IAPMO and ASSE, including technical committee memberships and participation in industry events like ASSE’s International Mid-Year Meeting and the UPC/UMC Technical Committee Meetings, serve as avenues for professionals to stay informed and contribute to shaping industry best practices. The forthcoming Emerging Water Technologies Symposium offers platforms for dialogue and knowledge exchange, furthering the collective pursuit of excellence in plumbing and mechanical standards.

Future Outlook and Engagement

Looking ahead, the industry landscape continues to evolve, necessitating ongoing collaboration and innovation in standard development.

The importance of IAPMO and ASSE national standards lies in their unwavering commitment to safeguarding public health and safety through robust and inclusive standard-setting processes. By fostering collaboration, innovation, and stakeholder engagement, these organizations ensure that standards remain relevant, responsive, and effective in addressing the evolving needs of the plumbing and mechanical industries. As industry dynamics continue to evolve, the role of product and professional qualification standards in promoting safety, efficiency, and sustainability remains paramount, underpinning the foundation of a resilient and thriving built environment.