Written by 4:29 pm IAPMO R&T - WaterSense, Product Certification, Product Testing & Certification

What Makes the UPC Mark of Conformity Stand Apart ?

Being red tagged on a job site due to use of uncertified products or those that do not satisfy code requirements is definitely a nightmare for all contractors, homeowners, designers, and manufacturers. Believe it or not, even the inspectors from the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) do not like to deal with this type of situation. Isn’t it easier for everybody involved when everything goes smoothly at a job site? With that situation in mind, it is important to understand why not all certification marks are the same.

There are several different types of certification programs administered by third-party certification agencies for the myriad products utilized when building a structure in the United States. Some of these agencies are accredited and others are not. Certification programs bestow a mark of conformity that demonstrates compliance to applicable
standards.

When it comes to plumbing products, IAPMO R&T’s Uniform Plumbing Code (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.

The UPC, which is the most widely used plumbing code in the world, is published by IAPMO. Being the publisher of the UPC, we have first-hand knowledge of the code and our in-house experts help assure its marks are being applied correctly. IAPMO R&T often goes a step further than other agencies by evaluating products to the UPC in addition to their applicable performance standard. This extra step involves a review and approval by IAPMO R&T’s Product Certification Committee (PCC). The PCC consists of chief plumbing/mechanical inspectors from different jurisdictions, volunteering their time and expertise in evaluating products’ UPC compliance; they have the final authority to grant certification. This is a unique process that IAPMO R&T implements and it has been in place for decades.

Some people ask us why we include this extra step involving a PCC when we can simply make the decision in-house like other certification agencies. The answer is quite simple for us — It’s beyond just credibility, but it’s for the health and safety of the people. Over the years, we have encountered many instances where products were denied a UPC listing by our PCC because they did not satisfy the code requirements according to our criteria, but soon after were listed by another agency claiming the products meet the UPC. This is why the UPC shield certification mark is the mark most trusted by AHJs and the reason why not all certification marks are created equal.

Lastly, it should also be noted that 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.

Ohannes Dembekjian

Last modified: December 29, 2022

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