Reflections and Fundamentals
I’ve been reflecting on a whole bunch stuff related to the NYS Family of Codes and what’s happening in our industry. Plumbing designers are aging out. I understand the average age of all ASPE members is about 55 years old. I’ve been thinking about how we could use more folks involved at the chapter level, especially willing to run on the chapter board. Several seats on the Board will be open in the next election. When you see Jeff, Gary, and Keith please express how much you appreciate their service to ASPE and the Chapter.
I’ve been thinking about how some of the fundamentals of our industry get forgotten in favor of heuristics. Last month I passed the ICC Commercial Plumbing Inspector exam (I previously become an ICC Plumbing Plans Examiner). If you are interested in taking an ICC exam, see me or view at www.iccsafe.org. When studying for the exam, it had me reflect on how much our Code has changed over the years.
Recently, I accepted the invitation from the NYS DOS to participate as a member of the NYS Plumbing, Mechanical, and Fuel Gas Codes Technical Subcommittee. A couple of items that may require consideration is clarifying the NYS requirements for disinfection of potable water systems (section 602), and the 100’ rule for maintaining hot water (section 607.2). With ultra-low flow fixtures, it may be time to change the 100’ rule to a time measurement.
Well, OK, if we take a 100 feet of a ½” supply line with a 2.2 gpm faucet (aka, minimum of what the Code requires) , we get just over 1 gallon of water to be ‘expelled’ out of the faucet before we get hot water. Let’s just call it 30 seconds time. If we take a 0.5 gpm faucet, we would get over two minutes to get hot water. I’m not suggesting we spend five million dollars in a process/protocol to update the Hunter Curves (although it’s a good idea), just not wasting thousands of gallons of potable water every day to get hot water to fixtures - at a marginal cost of extending the hot water return system. One of my favorite quotes is from a manufacturers’ representative in Buffalo. Namely, “Experience is what you get, when you didn’t get what you wanted.”
This leads me to a recent project issue. The architect properly detailed the ‘typical’ bathroom dimensions of the fixtures, but the dimensions on the floor plans did not add up. The Engineer of Record did not verify the dimensions of the architectural sheets. The Code Plan Examiner just verified the typical dimension detail. So what’s the fundamental here? Verifying dimensions of the architect and actual field dimensions prior to the start of construction, is not a bad idea. We’ll chalk it up to experience. For illustrative purposes, the fixture
dimensions to the wall, and the dimension between fixtures did not conform to 405.3 of the Code as seen below:
If you have some issues with fundamentals, please share them with the chapter.
Keep up the good work –