View Full Version : BOCA Code

10-28-2004, 03:12 PM
I have a small project in Manheim Township, just outside of Hanover, Pa. Single story home w/ 2 baths.

The builder called for an under slab plumbing inspection and was told by the inspector that the drainage needs to be tested with 5 PSI of air.

In this particular municipality, the inspections are done by independent, private, inspection company hired by the municipality to enforce their adopted code.

The inspector cited the BOCA code as his source for this testing requirement.

I have been a professional plumber for 25 years, working in about a dozen counties surrounding this area, ALL of which use BOCA as a basis for their own individual codes and have NEVER been asked to air test drain pipe.


Is this a BOCA requirement for the residential plumbing industry?

10-28-2004, 03:22 PM
I have only a limited knowledge of the BOCA code, but typically the air test was a secondary way of testing, for cases where no water was available or freezing weather would preclude leaving water in the system for any length of time.

10-28-2004, 05:37 PM
Even so, in the Baltimore metro area, to my knowledge there is only one municipality (WSSC) that requires ANY formal testing of the sanitary lines in residential plumbing. They require a hydronic head test.

As a thought, the piping I have used is PVC foam core ("not for pressure").....I wonder if this independent inspector guy is willing to shoulder the liability of me pressurizing pipe not meant to be pressurized.

Any thoughts??????

10-28-2004, 05:42 PM
The other discussion the builder and I had was the oxymoronic principle of testing sewer pipe under ground 20' from a septic tank. I challenge anyone here to make that tank hold 5#'s of air under ANY conditions.

On top of THAT.....the whole principle behind a septic system is for it to "leak".

Don't get me wrong....I want to do a first class job. I think, however, pressure testing sanitary lines below grade, or exposed in a "ranchhouse" application is a waste of time, money, and manpower.

10-28-2004, 08:07 PM
Don't know what brand of pipe you are using, but I happen to have a copy of the "Charlotte Pipe and Foundary Company Plastics Technical and Installation Manual" (Updated June 2003, part # TM-ABS-PVC-CPVC) handy here. I believe you can download a PDF copy from their web site if you need it now, or they will send you a copy for free in about a week.

I'm sure other vendors would specify the same type of recommendations.

In their general recommendations Charlotte Pipe specifically says they do not recommend air or gas testing for any of their plastic DWV or supply piping systems. They highly recommend the hydrostatic test citing safety concerns. If you must test with air pressure they recommend no more than 6 psi for no longer than 15 minutes.

Under the specific section for each type of plastic piping system (including Sch 40 foam core) they have a "Special Considerations" section which lists "Do NOT air test." as the first bullet item.

If the inspector is uncooperative maybe you can gain some ground with the manufacturer's recommendations.

Hope this helps you out.

10-29-2004, 05:33 AM
Testing or not testing is not the question. Prudence requires that those lines be tested at least to the exterior of the building, since they are going to be covered with a concrete slab. There has been more than one connection that was not glued in the process of assembling the system, and testing is the only way to verify that there are no leaks. Otherwise you, or someone, may be coming to this site years from now complaning that they have a leak under the floor and do not know what to do to fix it.

10-29-2004, 07:28 AM
I'm not familiar with the BOCA code either. We test under slab but not exterior piping. The manufacturers do say don't air test and the 2003 UPC now clearly says "712.1...except that plastic pipe shall not be tested with air." We allow it as an amendment in support of new construction projects.