Sep 24, 2010

California Building Standards Reinforce Importance of NSF Plumbing Standard

Latest California plumbing code requires brass fittings to meet NSF/ANSI Standard 14

The California Building Standards Commission now references NSF International’s plumbing standard in the latest version of the California Plumbing Code for water piping systems. NSF/ANSI Standard 14: Plastics Piping System Components and Related Materials is recognized by code and regulatory officials, manufacturers and plumbers to verify the performance and safety of plastics piping system components and related materials.

As announced in an 8/18/10 Building Standards Bulletin, the California Building Standards Commission removed the state’s amendment that excludes the use of cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) for water piping systems from the California Plumbing Code. PEX is now permitted for use in all occupancies, including commercial, residential and institutional building construction, rehabilitation and repair under the jurisdiction of the California Building Standards Commission and responsible agencies in all areas of California.

Another significant change in the California Plumbing Code includes requiring all brass fittings used with PEX tubing to meet NSF/ANSI Standard 14 - 2009: Plastics Piping System Components and Related Materials requirements. The effective date to comply was Aug. 18, 2010, for the 2007 California Plumbing Code, and is Jan. 1, 2011, for the 2010 California Plumbing Code.

The regulations include mitigation measures identified in the commission’s Second Revised Draft Environmental Impact Report (SRDEIR) and compliance with NSF/ANSI Standard 14, which defines health and performance requirements for plumbing system products, materials, and ingredients. All PEX tubing installed in California must provide at least 30-day UV protection, and brass fittings used with PEX tubing must meet NSF/ANSI Standard 14 requirements to prevent dezincification (corrosion of brass) and stress corrosion cracking (cracking due to mechanical stress and exposure to a corrosive environment).

NSF/ANSI Standard 61: Drinking Water System Components-Health Effects is already required in the California Plumbing Code for drinking water products and was heavily relied upon in the SRDEIR to address health concerns. NSF/ANSI Standard 61 is the nationally recognized health effects standard for all devices, components and materials, which contact drinking water, and is referenced in NSF/ANSI Standard 14.

“The recent adoption of regulations related to the use of PEX represents a statewide regulatory change,” said California Building Standards Commission Executive Director Dave Walls. “We believe that we have developed responsible standards that incorporate the California Environmental Quality Act measures while integrating additional provisions that we believe will not only satisfy the court’s ruling but all parties involved.”

“We are happy that NSF standards are once again accepted as the solution to issues brought before the California Building Standards Commission,” said Nasrin Kashefi, general manager of NSF International’s Plumbing Programs.