The Sedgwick County, Kansas, Board of Commissioners has unanimously voted to end the adoption of a dual plumbing code and adopt only the 2021 Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC®), with county-specific amendments. Soon after the action by the Board of Commissioners, the city of Wichita also unanimously voted to adopt the 2021 UPC and align its plumbing code with the surrounding county.
For years Sedgwick County adopted the UPC, but in October 2016 the board wanted to see if adopting two plumbing codes would be better for the plumbing contractors, home builders, plumbing installers and ultimately residents of unincorporated Sedgwick County and other smaller jurisdictions (the city of Wichita was not included). As part of this dual code adoption, the Board of Appeals of Plumbers and Gas Fitters and the Code Review Subcommittee examined which code was being used throughout the region over the past five years.
By reviewing permit applications submitted and tracked by the Metropolitan Area Building and Construction Department, it was found that the UPC was chosen 92% of the time. Given this overwhelming evidence in favor of the UPC, the Board of Appeals of Plumbers and Gas Fitters unanimously voted to return to a single plumbing code, and only adopt the UPC.
The county commissioners heard testimony from their trusted officials, reviewed all the data before them, and on Nov. 10 decided to end the practice of a dual plumbing code and adopt only the 2021 UPC. A week later, the Wichita City Council held a hearing in which it voted 7-0 to also adopt only the 2021 UPC.
“After careful review of the plumbing code, amendments were drafted to fit the needs of the industry and citizens the code serves. This code with amendments embodies the provisions, guidelines, and innovative methods that will best serve our residents,” said Chris Labrum, director of the Metropolitan Area Building and Construction Department. “We recognized that the majority of our industry prefers using the UPC and feel this code, as adopted, brings the greatest benefits for residential and commercial buildings. I’m very grateful for the hard work and cooperative effort our dedicated advisory board members and industry representatives displayed throughout the process.”
“Over the past five years it has been a pleasure to work with county officials from the building department, plumbing board, and the review committee to ensure that the plumbing code was amended to meet their specific needs,” said Brian Rogers, vice president of Field Services for IAPMO. “We are grateful that the county commissioners and Wichita City Council carefully examined all the facts and voted in favor of using the UPC. IAPMO remains a committed partner and will continue to provide the industry’s best codes and services to maintain the public health and safety. With the adoption of the 2021 UPC, Sedgwick County and the city of Wichita can provide the highest standard of protection for their drinking water and sanitation systems.”