Plumbing, Electrical, and Other Codes

IRC (International Residential Code) plumbing codes regulate the types of materials and structural makeup for components used in the house plumbing system and the methods for installing them. Although some codes may vary by area of the country, one water conservation code that has been mandated nationwide in the United States is the 1.6-gallon (6-liter) single flush on toilets. Be aware that some states or local jurisdictions may have adopted codes requiring even a lower water usage.

For new construction, complying with the codes is just a matter of your plumbing contractor select­ing the materials and methods allowed for your area. For remodeling projects, however, it may take a little more planning to evaluate the situation, decide what is feasible, and make certain the changes reflect the current plumbing codes.

Electrical code considerations are discussed in chapter 7, "Mechanical Planning."

If you are remodeling a fairly old bathroom, you may find that codes require other updates to your bathroom materials and structure. Some other common code upgrades for safety and health re­quire the use of a vent fan or operable window (covered in chapter 7, "Mechanical Planning"), safety glass, and scald prevention systems like pressure balanced or thermostatic shower valves. Accessibility codes are also important to make the space easy to use. These codes are covered in chapter 4, "Human Factors and Universal Design Foundation."