We at IAPMO R&T fully understand the power of the UPC mark of conformity — the information and trust it conveys, its high recognition across the globe, and the integrity with which it is bestowed upon a product. But it’s far more satisfying when we hear it from the people who rely upon the mark every day to inform their decisions on the jobsite: inspectors.
Being the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) is a huge responsibility and no easy task when it comes to protecting the health and safety of residents in your state or municipality. These individuals look for every tool available to simplify their task without sacrificing an ounce of protection; that’s where the UPC mark comes in.
“If we see that shield, it means the product meets two things: it meets the standard and it meets the code,” says Bruce Pfeiffer, retired senior plumbing inspector for the city of Topeka, Kansas. “And it tells us real quick.”
When inspectors are squeezing 20-30 site visits into each work day, speed is of the essence. An instantly recognizable and unquestionably trustworthy mark of conformity isn’t just helpful, it’s a necessity. Without it, an AHJ is on its own.
“A jurisdiction at that point is going to be the testing and certification agency himself, so that means he’s going to be responsible,” says Tim Collings, senior building inspector specializing in plumbing, mechanical and fire protection systems for the Salt Lake City Corporation. “If something should happen, the product doesn’t do what it says it’s supposed to do, then the jurisdiction would be liable.
“When we see that UPC shield on there, it’s telling them it meets the standard, it meets the code, and you shouldn’t have any trouble. You should be able to just go ahead and put this thing in and not have to worry about it.”
Manufacturers, of course, have full confidence in their products and expect them to function exactly as designed, but an AHJ requires more than the manufacturer’s best intentions when it comes to signing off on a product’s installation in their jurisdiction.
“A lot of companies will say we meet this, we meet that,” Pfeiffer says. “Well, who agrees with you? We’re hearing your people say that you did this right, but show me a third party who agrees with you.”
When it comes to plumbing products, IAPMO R&T’s UPC shield certification mark stands on top; it is the most widely used certification mark in the plumbing industry. AHJs, manufacturers, plumbing contractors, and specifiers understand and know very well that when applying the UPC shield certification mark on a product, or presenting a certificate of listing from IAPMO R&T at a job site, it is an assurance that these plumbing products have been tested and evaluated to the UPC.
Manufacturers want the mark on their products because it carries the weight of 75-plus years’ experience certifying plumbing products. Contractors look for the mark because they don’t want delays at their job site; they want to be sure every product they use is approved with no questions or setbacks. AHJs appreciate the mark because it instantly identifies a product they know has satisfied every necessary standard for safe operation within their community. Consumers trust the mark because they know it means the plumbing in their home, school or office is safe and the water is healthy.
Furthermore, say the inspectors, a listing with IAPMO R&T ensures that an AHJ in the field can quickly confirm a product’s acceptance even if the mark isn’t immediately visible. “All listings are available on the IAPMO website,” Pfeiffer says. “Inspectors should utilize that tool because a lot of times that UPC shield is not on the product; it may be on the box . So, if they’re concerned whether it meets the code, well, they can jump online and find the listing for the product. A lot of times the listing for the product will include specifications on installation, too.”
We take great pride in knowing that our UPC mark of conformity performs in the field exactly as we intend for it to do. It is certainly one powerful shield. IAPMO R&T is the only accredited certification body in North America to certify plumbing products in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. To learn more about our services, please visit our website at www.iapmort.org
Last modified: July 14, 2023