The Business Council of New York State opposes this legislation that would restrict the use of plastic piping in non-residential building, or in residential building four or more stories high, effective January 1, 2002.
The Business Council finds that this bill is inconsistent with widely accepted practice in the United States, and fails to provide any significant public health or safety benefits. Instead, its primary effect would be to require the use piping materials with more labor intensive installation requirements.
This plastic piping restrictions in this bill are contrary to the building codes currently in place in 49 other states.
Equally important, it is also contrary to New York's ongoing effort to modernize its building code. The state's draft code amendments - adopted with input from several, diverse public advisory committees - will adopt the International Plumbing Code, which allows for the use of plastic pipe in all residential and commercial applications.
Plumbing codes are the basis for acceptance of materials for specific plumbing installations and for the methods of installation. The IPC, and other model plumbing codes sponsored by associations of building and plumbing code officials or other industry groups, serve as the basis for most of the more than 14,000 local codes in this country, and set standards for the acceptance of materials for specific plumbing installations and for their methods of installation. Many of the most widely recognized of these codes also accept the use of plastic for piping applications. Proponents of S.5717/A.9331 have suggested this legislation addresses public health concerns regarding the use of plastic piping. To the contrary, plastic piping has many physical characteristics that make it both a safe and effective building material:
- Installed PVC pipe does not emit chemicals into the environment.
- Plastic piping is leak resistant, so it will not release pollutants to the ground or into the various building environments through which it passes.
- Under typical fire conditions, vinyl will resist ignition much longer than other materials, and will often self-extinguish when a flame source is removed. This can help to slow or even stop the spread of a fire. When a vinyl product does catch fire, it burns very slowly and produces relatively little smoke.
- The combination of fire gases released when vinyl burns are very similar to burning wood, fabric and other materials commonly found in a building, and fires involving vinyl are no more toxic than any other fire.
In summary, this legislation represents the first of what will likely be many efforts to un-do the work of the state's building code advisory committee. It is contrary to most widely accepted building codes, and fails to provide any meaningful public health or safety benefits. For these reasons, The Business Council recommends against approval of S.5717/A.9331.