Best Practices - above code, or "in my house"?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by macleod, Jul 19, 2009.

  1. macleod

    macleod New Member

    Jan 22, 2005
    pasadena, ca

    I have learned a lot from this forum and I want to thank all of the people that contribute. I've finished remodeling one of my bathrooms, rebuilding the shower and converting the dwv pipe from galvanized/cast iron to abs - it never would have been done without the advice and pictures on this forum - especially the 'search' function.

    One thing I found was sometimes plumbers would offer advice on best practices - when the code allowed for different materials or approaches to a problem, there were ways that were better than others. Other books I have read refer to this as 'best practices' or 'above code'. I found two forum posts that relate to this topic, which I find invaluable.

    I'm sure there are more.

    As a homeowner and engineer by training, I always want to do the best job I can on my house. If I need to hire someone to do work I can't, it's nice to be able to discuss material choices knowledgeably.

    A lot of times, the best sentences on this topic contain the words "in my house, I would...".

    Is there a collection of posts that talks about best practices - like "prefer full port ball valves to gate valves" - or "use stainless steel screws and brass bolts for toilet flange installation"? I looked through the FAQ section to see if there was a sticky post like this. I know most things won't simplify to a rule of thumb or 'good, better, best' but it's this kind of advice that I value the most.


    Jason MacLeod
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Aug 31, 2004
    San Diego, CA
    I don't like to use the phrase "above code". Something either meets code, or it doesn't. The code more often specifies the design and manner of installation, rather than some "quality" issue. For example, sanitary tees are wonderful fittings....but must be installed only where and how allowed. The UPC allows just about anything you can think of for water pipe. Not all cities, states, accept all types. You can get a bottle trap with an IAPMO rating, and within limits, the UPC accepts that.

    One section of most codes will require (1) that material and fixtures be installed in accordance with the instructions of the manufacturer, and (2) that they be installed in a workmanlike manner.

    SO there is a lot of wiggle room out there. This debate and discussion could go on forever.

    I will mention a few things that are not universally "favored" by plumbers, for many reasons....some logical and some stubborn!

    bottle trap
    One piece combo angle stop and corrugated supply.

    All of the above have IAPMO rating, and are accepted in some manner by one or more codes.

    And just to put in a little dig here.....the three people I always shied away from working for: doctors, lawyers, and engineers. Too much trouble.
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  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    "Codes" are a minimum standard which cover the standards for situations at the least cost or effort, while maintaining the required safety. "Above code", is merely taking that minimum to the next level, based on experience with the minimum, to give a more satisfactory experience. The difference between the two is often whether the installer is trying to do the least expensive installation, trying to make the highest level of profit, or trying to make a long term trouble free installation. As far as I can remember, I have NEVER had to return to the houses I have installed the plumbing in because of clogged drains or anything else other than common maintenance, such as faucet repairs or water heater service.
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