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California PEX Exclusion Removed

PEX tubing is back in the California Plumbing Code.

PEX is back in the California Plumbing Code. The California Building Standards Commission has removed the state’s exclusion of PEX tubing from the code.

The action removes the state’s amendment that excluded the use of PEX for water piping systems from the 2007 CPC and amends the 2010 CPC. The regulations include mitigation measures identified in the commission’s Second Revised Draft Environmental Impact Report (SRDEIR) and additional conditions and restrictions on the use of PEX.            

The commission’s action allows the use of PEX in all occupancies, including commercial, residential and institutional building construction, rehabilitation and repair under the jurisdiction of the CBSC and responsible agencies in all areas of California. The effective date of the action was Aug. 18 for the 2007 CPC and Jan. 1, 2011, for the 2010 CPC.

PEX became part of the California Plumbing Code in August 2009, following CBSC’s January 2009 certification of an Environmental Impact Report on PEX and the commission’s ensuing unanimous adoption of regulations approving PEX water distribution systems. However, CBSC was compelled to repeal the inclusion of PEX in the state code effective July 1, 2010, to comply with a court order. During the litigation, the court ordered that the PEX regulations must be “vacate(d) and set aside…” pending the commission’s preparation and certification of the SRDEIR. The commission complied with the court’s order by repealing the previous action taken by the commission in January 2009.

“The recent adoption of regulations related to the use of PEX represents a statewide regulatory change,” California Building Standards Commission Executive Director Dave Walls said. “We believe that we have developed responsible standards that incorporate the California Environmental Quality Act measures while integrating additional provisions that will not only satisfy the court’s ruling but all parties involved.”            

The tentative settlement agreement reflects the mitigation measures identified in the SRDEIR and additional conditions and restrictions on the use of PEX that address concerns raised after the release of the SRDEIR. The commission action implements the terms of the settlement agreement.            

California law allows local jurisdictions to make modifications to Title 24 (which includes PEX tubing) for reasons of local conditions, namely climate, topography and/or geology. This provision may have an impact on the use of PEX in any particular local jurisdiction.

“We are very excited about the reinstatement of PEX tubing into the California Plumbing Code,” said Rich Houle, associate product manager, commercial, for PEX manufacturer Uponor. “We have been involved with the process since the beginning and are pleased with the final outcome, culminating a decade of work.”  


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