Strong, Lasting Relationship with ANSI Separates our Codes

Beginning Jan. 1, several IAPMO staff began serving in different capacities on several American National Standards Institute (ANSI) committees. IAPMO’s former, and now retired, general counsel Neil Bogatz will be serving as the new chairperson of the ANSI Intellectual Property Rights Policy Advisory Group (IPRPAG). Monte Bogatz, IAPMO’s general counsel, serves as IAPMO’s voting member. The IPRPAG is the committee within ANSI where subject matter experts meet to discuss ANSI’s position on critical intellectual property rights for the standards development community, such as the use of standards essential patents and trademarks and copyrights in standards development and conformity assessment. All of ANSI’s standards developing organizations (SDOs) confront issues regarding use of essential patents at one point or another. Accordingly, every developer of an American National Standard has a policy for handling standard essential patents and obtaining a letter of assurance in accordance with ANSI’s patent policy or the developer’s own (ANSI compliant) patent policy.

For those of you who are intimately involved in our consensus codes and standards development process, know that it is rare for patents to be incorporated into IAPMO’s standards and codes. Therefore, IAPMO’s Board of Directors has determined that IAPMO’s patent policy is ANSI’s patent policy. This policy is part of ANSI’s Essential Requirements and provides the playbook in the event that a standard essential patent becomes incorporated into one of our model codes or candidate American National Standards.

I’m also pleased to report that Monte has been selected as chair of the ANSI Appeals Board. This board is made up of nine individuals who consider appeals by organizations, government agencies, individuals/consumers, and companies that believe they have been, or will be, adversely affected by a decision of ANSI. ANSI’s appeals board is a very crucial final step in the development of national standards or conformity assessment and lab recognition programs. Monte will also continue to serve as co-vice chair of ANSI’s Committee on Education. He has chaired this committee in the past and has remained an active participant since joining the committee in 2012, representing IAPMO in ANSI’s efforts in developing and nurturing relationships between academia, SDOs and the industry.

Carrying on, Gaby Davis, IAPMO’s executive vice president of Global Operations, has completed her chairmanship on the ANSI Board of Standards Review. Effective Jan. 1, she became a member of the ANSI Executive Standards Council (ExSC). In addition, she has served as recording secretary on the IAPMO Standards Council, which has oversight responsibilities of our consensus codes and standards development process.

Other IAPMO staff serving on ANSI’s committees include Hugo Aguilar, senior vice president of Codes and Standards, serving on the Board of Standards Review, which is the entity within ANSI that assesses candidate American National Standards; Heather Koffman, IAPMO associate general counsel, will take Neil’s place on the ANSI National Policy Advisory Group; and Pete DeMarco, IAPMO’s executive vice president of Advocacy, Research and Program Development, will serve on the ANSI International Policy Advisory Group. Over the years, Shirley Dewi, IAPMO senior vice president of Management Registration Programs, has represented IAPMO on the ANSI Conformity Assessment Policy Committee (CAPC). Given ANSI’s acquisition of ANAB, CAPC was disbanded on Dec. 31, but Shirley will continue to represent IAPMO on conformity assessment matters.

I’ll be serving my final year on the ANSI Board, having now served 11 years, four of which I served as an ANSI officer. This involvement has given me incredible insight into the ANSI process and the staff responsible for maintaining ANSI’s voluntary public-private partnership. IAPMO should be very proud that ANSI has chosen to invite numerous IAPMO staff members as essential contributors to the U.S. national standards and conformity assessment system programs.

Shifting subjects, many of you attended IAPMO’s 90th annual Education and Business Conference in Reno, Nevada. This was our first co-located conference with ASSE International. I am pleased to report that with more than 500 registered attendees and receiving positive feedback from members and guests in attendance, the IAPMO and the ASSE Boards of Directors have decided to co-locate our annual conferences biennially, intended to be on every odd year. This will allow for IAPMO and ASSE members and interested parties to jointly participate. The next co-located annual conferences will take place in San Antonio, Sept. 26-30, 2021.

During our annual conference, we presented the inaugural annual IWSH Award to two ardent IWSH supporters; Courtenay Eichhorst, business manager at UA Local 412 in Albuquerque, and Plumbers and Steamfitters UA Local 400 in Northeast Wisconsin, which was accepted by retiring Business Manager Jeff Knaus. The IWSH Board of Trustees wanted to recognize exemplary contributors to IWSH and, more specifically, the Community Plumbing Challenge. These recipients have provided not only financial support, but also sent volunteers from these two UA locals to help make these projects a success. I can’t tell you how valuable it is to have the support from UA business managers like Courtenay and Jeff.

P.T. IAPMO Group Indonesia, in cooperation with the Green Product Council Indonesia (GPCI) and the Indonesian Plumbing Association (APIN), completed a comprehensive three-day Indonesia Sustainable Construction and Plumbing (ISCOP) conference and exhibition at Jakarta International Expo on Nov. 6-8. On the last day of ISCOP conference, PT. IAPMO Group Indonesia, IWSH and BSN held a high-level industry roundtable discussion with the plumbing and construction stakeholders in Indonesia. The meeting is an important first step in identifying opportunities and challenges for Indonesia’s water and sanitation challenges. During this discussion, the new Community Plumbing Challenge project in the Untia Village, Makassar, Indonesia, was unveiled, providing opportunities for the local plumbing and construction industry stakeholders to collaborate for a good cause.

In December, IAPMO released our recently developed Codes App, which will provide industry and jurisdictions everywhere an additional tool to use in the field to implement code compliance provisions. This added a service that benefits inspectors, contractors, installers, consumers and/or any materially affected interests who will now receive direct access to the IAPMO technical team for code queries, as well as to be more engaged in the code development process. The IAPMO Codes App will allow users to view their purchased codes in “offline mode” while traveling in an airplane or in rural areas with poor Internet connection. The IAPMO Codes App fills the gap between the industry and codes development so that together we can improve the lives of many while preserving the health and welfare of everyone.

As I’m writing this article, we are in the final steps of finalizing the 2021 editions of the Uniform Plumbing and Mechanical Codes. The IAPMO Standards Council met on Nov. 14 to consider TIAs, as well as to adjudicate two appeals. As you may be aware, the IAPMO Standards Council is the apex body of IAPMO’s UPC and UMC code development process. The Standards Council is also charged with the duty to appoint/reappoint technical committee members, who are appointed at the beginning of each three-year code development cycle. At the end of the three-year cycle, the Standards Council disbands the technical committees and begins the process in January of the first year of the next code development cycle. All committee members and interested individuals are encouraged to apply or reapply.

The IAPMO Standards Council is made up of nine expert industry representatives who oversee the IAPMO/ANSI consensus code development process. In November 2019, three of those members concluded their terms of service on the IAPMO Standards Council. I’d like to thank Carl Crimmins, James Majerowicz and Rich Prospal for serving with great distinction; their expertise and knowledge will be missed. I’ve had the pleasure of serving with Rich on the World Plumbing Council Executive Board. Both Carl and Jim have also contributed in various capacities on several IAPMO committees. Three new Standards Council members were appointed by the IAPMO Board of Directors. In January, we welcomed Don Summers, Jim Imprescia and Rick Coffman. All three have served on the IAPMO Board of Directors, as well as other IAPMO committees. They are knowledgeable on IAPMO’s consensus code development process and we are excited and fortunate to have their expertise, experience and institutional knowledge.

I’d like to recognize and thank Linden Raimer, who rotated off as chair of the IAPMO Standards Council in early 2019. Linden continues to serve on the Council. Some may not recall that Linden served for many years with great distinction as a member of IAPMO staff, serving as head of IAPMO’s Field Services department. Bill Erickson, former IAPMO board member representing MCAA, was selected to serve as chair. Also continuing on the Council is IAPMO past-president Ron Rice, who is now serving as vice chair. We should also note that Kevin Tindall resigned from the Council given his recent election to the IAPMO Board of Directors. The fourth and final new member is Jim Stack of Washington, past-president of the PHCC-NA. Jim served for many years as a UPC Technical Committee member. I can’t overstate how important the IAPMO Standards Council is to ensuring that we have complied with our ANSI accredited consensus procedures while verifying that materially affected segments of our industry and of society are involved in our processes to ensure that IAPMO’s codes are properly developed and maintained.

Now switching to model code adoption, in my 24 years as CEO of The IAPMO Group I have never seen more competition in all areas of model codes and standards promotion than in the last two years. IAPMO is aggressively responding to activity at the regional and local levels, wherein efforts have been made to discredit the IAPMO consensus code development process. We continue to be committed to the ANSI consensus process, underpinned by ANSI’s Essential Requirements. Most importantly, the ANSI consensus process guarantees that all segments of our industry, as well as those who may not be directly engaged as a skilled practitioner, have the right and the ability to have their vote considered and counted throughout the code development process and, vitally, at the final step of our process.

This may appear to be a subtle difference between the ANSI consensus process, utilized by IAPMO, NFPA and approximately 240 other ANSI accredited standard developing organizations, and the so-called government “consensus” process, which falls far short of our democratic ideals and process of model codes and standards development. Simply put, much rides on the process that validates true consensus. This process ensures that ANSI designated American National Standards are as comprehensive, applicable and progressive as possible, therefore ensuring the safety of buildings and systems that are constructed and maintained by our industry. This process is critical in maintaining life safety while addressing emerging technologies providing access to potable water and safe sanitation systems.

The ANSI consensus process incorporates significant procedural requirements, such as balance, openness, transparency and an independent right of appeal (due process) These elements are the gold-standard for model codes and standards development. In fact, the aforementioned principles are the basis for international standards developed and maintained by the International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission. These principles are essential to ensure that subject matter experts and all materially affected interests, such as consumers, insurance industry representatives, and others, have a mechanism to have their concern addressed and their vote counted. This is the major distinction between the ANSI consensus process and what some call the government “consensus” process.

When one assesses the approximately 240 ANSI accredited SDOs, one quickly concludes that the ANSI process is the fairest, most respected and efficient process available to model code and standards developers today. As I’ve reported in prior articles, IAPMO is one of six SDOs upon which ANSI has bestowed what is known as “Audited Designator” status. With continuous successful audits over the years, in 2012 IAPMO became the sixth ANSI audited designator. We still undergo audits and we continue to meet the Essential Requirements of ANSI’s consensus codes and standards development principles, maintaining proper documentation and public access to our codes and standards development process.

As I close, I want to remind everyone that World Plumbing Day is coming up March 11, every year, everywhere. On May 12-13, IAPMO will co-convene the Seventh Emerging Water Technology Symposium. On May 14, IAPMO, together with ASPE and PMI, plus 15 other plumbing industry organizations, will convene the annual Plumbing Industry Leadership Coalition meeting. Both the EWTS and the PILC meetings will take place in San Antonio, Texas. I’d like to remind everyone that IAPMO’s 91st annual Education and Business Conference will take place in Charlotte, N.C., Sept. 13-17. Please visit our website for registration information.

I hope everyone is having a great start to 2020!