Even if you have nothing to do with toilets besides regularly using one, it’s important to read your local plumbing codes and know your rights when it comes to both public bathroom and commercial bathroom accessibility.
If you read part one of our blog, then you’re already caught up on why the varying plumbing codes should be important to you as a business owner. The short of it, is that the varying plumbing codes changes the mandate of what qualifies as a public restroom.
In the United States of America, the plumbing codes vary depending on the region of the nation that you live in. However, first we think it’s important to define the difference between a code of standards and laws.
Model Codes vs Laws
What is the difference between a model code and a law? Great question! In fact, model codes are most similar to uniform laws. Often, model codes become the basis for uniform laws but cannot be enforced in the same way that a law can. The idea of a uniform law is to create and regulate a standard for something (like public bathrooms) across a vast area of land.
Most of the states in the American West follow the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC), a collection of codes and mandates much less comprehensive than the IPC.
Maryland & New Jersey
The states of Maryland and New Jersey follow the National Standard Plumbing Code (NSPC). It’s a code developed by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials. This is also a great resource for researching state specific codes and other plumbing related codes. As far as the NSPC is concerned, it’s a collection of codes that evolves yearly and covers necessary materials, fixtures, and amenities to meet their standards.
It should be no surprise that Illinois does not adopt any type of national code. Instead, the state follows their own personal standards that are special to the land of Lincoln. We find this unsurprising because Illinois has a history of being the first to adopt laws and follow their own policies, regardless of what the rest of America is doing.
The Bay State developed their own code of standards for public restrooms called the Uniform State Plumbing Code (USPC). It’s a 152 page document that covers more than just plumbing. The most important part in relation to providing accessible bathroom amenities would be section 10.10 detailing plumbing fixtures.
New York City
As of right now, New York City has their own plumbing standards however there have been recent efforts by the state to coax the Big Apple into adopting the International Plumbing Code. Prospects look promising.
Enforcing The Codes
Given that model codes cannot be enforced in the same way that laws can, the organizations find these codes difficult to legally enforce. This is why it is often pushed for these codes to become the base in which the organizations lobby for the laws similar to their code to be passed. As of right now, this is the best the organizations can hope for in establishing a legally binding standard. For now, those who follow their code (whatever it might be depending on the state) are rewarded with prestige and other benefits.
If this article inspired you to begin research into your own state and its laws, that’s great! It’s also important to note that at Restroom Stalls and All we believe in accessibility and equality for all people seeking a commercial or public bathroom. We provide high quality materials and fixtures, as well as knowledgeable installation expertise that you need to take your bathroom to the next level. Provide your clients with the best instead of the bare minimum and elevate yourself from inferior bathrooms and businesses around you. Contact us today!