IAPMO Celebrates 90 Years of Health and Safety

Formed in 1926, international plumbing association works to improve sanitation methods around the world.
IAPMO Celebrates 90 Years of Health and Safety

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Formally founded 90 years ago on May 17 as the Los Angeles City Plumbing Inspectors Association, the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) — and the global influence it represents — owes its existence to a group of plumbing inspectors who got to talking during a coffee break in 1926. These 39 city workers concluded that forming an association to deal with the city’s plumbing issues would be beneficial. Would they believe just how beneficial their brainchild has grown to be? The cornerstone of their work, the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC), now protects the health and safety of about half the Earth’s 7.1 billion people.

Undergoing numerous name changes that reflected its steadily expanding influence — from the Pacific Coast Plumbing Inspectors Association (1934) to the Western Plumbing Officials Association (1945) to the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (1966) and ultimately The IAPMO Group (1996) — IAPMO was founded upon a mission that still governs its work today:

To advance the latest and most improved methods of sanitation; to promote the welfare of and the harmony between the owner, builder, and the craftsman; to accomplish uniformity in the application of the provisions of the ordinances.

These principles apply wherever the provisions of the UPC are followed, whether it’s Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Mumbai or Jakarta.

The IAPMO Group today represents a multinational operation with offices in 13 nations, offering services spanning from code development, training and education to product testing and certification. In addition to the UPC, IAPMO publishes the Uniform Mechanical Code (UMC), Uniform Solar Energy and Hydronics Code (USEHC), and Uniform Swimming Pool, Spa and Hot Tube Code (USPSHTC) — each of which has been designated an American National Standard by the American National Standards Institute — as well as the environmentally conscious Water Efficiency and Sanitation Standard (WE-Stand).

“In the book about IAPMO’s history, there’s a quote by Stephen Smoot, one of IAPMO’s founders, saying, ‘From small acorns, great trees grow.’ I wonder if Mr. Smoot envisioned IAPMO Group offices in multiple countries, delivering clean water and assisting others in the implementation of sound plumbing codes and systems in an effort to protect their health and safety,” says IAPMO Group CEO GP Russ Chaney from Indonesia, where he is overseeing the opening of a new IAPMO plumbing product testing laboratory in Bekasi.

IAPMO’s success is due to its many supporters around the globe who believe in a mission that is as true today as it was in 1926.

“Though we cannot predict what the future holds for our association, if we continue to use the tools that have served us so well in the past — integrity, honesty, loyalty and determination — we will undoubtedly preserve and enhance our position not only in the industry, but in the world,” says IAPMO’s 61st president, Bruce Pfeiffer.

IAPMO’s codes are developed using the ANSI consensus development procedures, a process that brings together subject matter experts and volunteers representing a variety of viewpoints and interests to achieve consensus on industry practices. Developed and subsequently republished at the conclusion of each three-year code cycle, the Uniform Codes are designed to provide consumers with safe and sanitary plumbing, mechanical, solar and swimming pool systems while, at the same time, allowing latitude for innovation and new technologies.



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