Calif. Adds PEX Plastic Pipe to Plumbing Code

In a unanimous vote, the California Building Standards Commission (CBSC) has approved the addition of PEX plastic pipe and tubing to the California Plumbing Code, allowing its use in hospitals, clinics, residential and commercial construction throughout the state, according to a Jan. 27 press release.

The commission’s approval took place following certification of an Environmental Impact Report on the use of PEX, indicating that it meets the rigorous standards of the California Environmental Quality Act .

PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) will be officially added to the code when the new code is formally adopted on Aug. 1. In the meantime, cities, counties, and other local jurisdictions may approve the use of PEX, effective immediately.

The commission acted during its meeting in Sacramento on Jan. 22.

“This is a great day for consumers and a great day for the building industry in California,” said Richard Church, executive director of the Plastic Pipe and Fittings Association.

“PEX has probably been studied, scrutinized, and analyzed more than any non-metal building material in history,” said Church. “The result is a win-win for consumers and the environment.”

The 296-page Environmental Impact Report took more than two years to produce and was prepared by the California Department of General Services working with EDAW, a leading planning and environmental design firm headquartered in San Francisco.

PPFA and PEX manufacturers were required to pay for the report, but to guarantee its impartiality, had no role in its preparation and development.

“One of great ironies of the environmental review PEX went through is best reflected in a question one [commission] member asked state officials during the approval process,” observed Church. “He wanted to know if non-plastic materials had ever been subjected to the same public health and safety analysis PEX had just gone through.

“Amazingly the answer is ‘no.’ No other non-plastic building or plumbing material has ever been subjected to—or passed—such scrutiny,” said Church. “California builders and homeowners are finally able to utilize the well studied material in their projects, saving them both time and money.”

The report is available at http://www.documents.dgs.ca.gov/bsc/pex/2009/PEX%20FEIR_01-08-09.pdf.

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