The International Plumbing Code (IPC) is a critical framework developed by the International Code Council (ICC) to ensure plumbing systems are safe, efficient, and reliable. 

Designed to protect public health and promote water efficiency, the IPC sets minimum regulations for water systems, which are essential for any residential construction. 

Key insights:

  1. The 2024 IPC incorporates substantial format changes to enhance usability and align both print and digital versions.
  2. Key updates focus on public health, sustainability, and accessibility, including new provisions for buried piping support and tracer wire requirements for sewer piping.
  3. Additional improvements include a new showerhead flow limit and standards for chemical waste piping materials.
  4. Integration of the updated ICC A117.1 Accessibility Standard makes the 2024 IPC the most comprehensive code to date.

Understanding the IPC is crucial for homeowners to ensure their plumbing systems align with the latest standards and technologies.

The 2024 International Plumbing Code (IPC) 

The 2024 International Plumbing Code was released in August 2023 by the International Code Council (ICC) and includes some of the most substantial format changes to the I-Codes in 25 years to improve user experience and align print and digital versions.

Key updates in the 2024 IPC aimed at improving public health, sustainability and accessibility include:

  • New provisions added for support of buried piping beneath buildings where expansive soil conditions exist
  • New tracer wire requirements for buried plastic sewer piping
  • A new option was added for vacuum testing of Drain Waste Vent (DWV) piping
  • Showerhead flow was limited to 2.0 gallons per minute with high-efficiency performance requirements
  • Standards added for chemical waste piping and fitting materials

Impact and Adoption of the International Plumbing Code

The 2024 IPC integrates the updated ICC A117.1 Accessibility Standard, making it the most comprehensive plumbing code available.

Notable enhancements include embedded QR codes next to revised sections for easy reference and a Near Field Communication (NFC) tag pilot program to improve access to code support and resources.

A 2019 study found that over a 12-year period, counties using the International Plumbing Code saved $38 billion in construction costs, had 166,000 additional jobs, and saw 1 million fewer tons of carbon dioxide emitted compared to counties using other plumbing codes.

Currently, the IPC is adopted at the state or local level in 37 states, Washington D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rico. Most U.S. jurisdictions are expected to adopt the 2024 IPC, though the process may trail the release by a few years.

Widespread Adoption of the International Plumbing Code Across the United States

The International Plumbing Code (IPC) is widely adopted across the United States, underscoring its importance and effectiveness in standardizing safe plumbing practices.

The states that currently use the IPC include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia.

IPC Adoption in Texas

In Texas, the adoption of the IPC is particularly significant. At least 500 cities in Texas use the IPC, representing over 80% of the state’s population. Major cities such as San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth, El Paso, Arlington, and Corpus Christi have adopted the IPC. 

Additionally, many cities surrounding Austin, including Georgetown, Leander, Round Rock, Cedar Park, San Marcos, Kyle, Manor, and New Braunfels, have also converted to the IPC. 

Austin remains one of only seven cities statewide that continues to use the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) and Uniform Mechanical Code (UMC).

Expanding IPC Influence: From Local Municipalities to Territorial Acceptance

Notably, some local municipalities in Nevada, North Dakota, and Wyoming also follow the IPC.

Additionally, Washington D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rico have adopted the IPC, further demonstrating its broad acceptance and implementation in various jurisdictions.

How the International Plumbing Code Affects Homeowners

The International Plumbing Code® (IPC) is a model code that plays a pivotal role in the health, safety, and economic well-being of homeowners. Developed through a rigorous code development process, the IPC establishes modern, up-to-date standards for plumbing systems using comprehensive regulations outlined by the International Code Council.

  • Health and Safety: The IPC provides guidelines that help prevent problems that could affect your home’s hygiene and safety, such as backflow prevention and proper sanitary drainage systems.
  • Compliance and Valuation: Ensuring that plumbing systems are in compliance with the IPC can affect the resale value of a home and facilitate smoother transactions in the real estate market.
  • Energy and Water Efficiency: The IPC includes provisions for water conservation, which help homeowners reduce water use and lower utility bills through efficient fixtures and appliances.

Chapter 1 of the IPC: What Homeowners Need to Know

Chapter 1 of the IPC outlines the scope and administration of the code, providing a fundamental understanding of how the code is structured and enforced:

  • Scope: It defines what aspects of plumbing are covered, including installations and alterations in residential buildings.
  • Purpose: The chapter explains the IPC’s goal to provide flexibility in water system design without compromising safety.
  • Administration: Details how the code is enforced and the role of plumbing inspectors, which is crucial for homeowners planning any significant renovations or repairs.

IPC Resources for Homeowners

For those looking to dive deeper into the specifics of the IPC, several resources can be frequently bought together:

  • International Plumbing Code Book: This manual provides detailed descriptions of code requirements, ideal for those building a new home or renovating.
  • Study Companion: A guide that helps homeowners understand complex plumbing standards and prepare for any related inspections.
  • Inspector’s Checklist: A useful tool for ensuring that all aspects of a home’s plumbing meet the IPC standards before official inspections.

The International Plumbing Code is more than just a set of rules; it is a vital tool that ensures the safety, efficiency, and longevity of sanitation infrastructure in homes across the U.S. By adhering to these standards, homeowners not only comply with regulations but also contribute to water conservation and energy efficiency, ensuring their homes are safe, functional, and future-proof.