ICC Facilitates Historic Landscape Irrigation Industry Roundtable to Begin Standards Development
The International Code Council conducted a standing-room only roundtable discussion with landscape irrigation industry experts on October 6th at the 2010 WaterSmart Innovations Conference and Expo to kick off the development of several key ANSI consensus standards addressing landscape irrigation products. Participants included a full range of industry experts, manufacturers, installers, contractors, design professionals, academia, U.S. EPA WaterSense, water efficiency organizations and water utilities.
With the development of Public Versions 1.0 and 2.0 of the International Green Construction Code (IGCC), which include provisions for efficient outdoor landscape irrigation systems, it was revealed there is a current lack of ANSI consensus standards for these systems or products. This led ICC’s Plumbing Mechanical and Fuel Gas (PMG) representatives to reach out to key industry organizations such as the Irrigation Association early in 2010 to begin building relationships to meet this need.
As an ANSI-accredited standards developer, ICC initiated projects to develop new ANSI consensus standards for landscape irrigation controllers, rainfall sensors and sprinklers in May 2010, through the ANSI Project Initiation Notification System (PINS). A 30-day comment period revealed no competing or conflicting ANSI standards or development efforts, clearing the way for the development of new standards. By unanimous votes, the ICC Standards Council and ICC Board of Directors approved the development of the standards and allocated resources to begin the project.
According to Shawn Martin, Director of ICC’s PMG Industry Relations, and the project leader for this high-profile initiative, “the importance of this initiative became crystal clear when the calls and emails began pouring in from experts wanting to be involved in any way possible before we had even made any real efforts to announce the project. The diversity of experts that have lent their support has been amazing, and will assure that these standards will be practical, pertinent and widely accepted.”
ICC facilitated the roundtable at the WaterSmart Innovations Conference to obtain feedback on the proposed consensus standards and provide an overview of the development process and procedure for stakeholders. Participants were introduced to the hallmarks of ICC standards developed using the ANSI process: transparency, openness, balance, consensus and due process. During the discussion period that followed, the industry experts brainstormed the technical needs to be addressed and potential topics within the standards. During the course of the meeting the need for consensus standards, and the benefits of standardizing test procedures and performance requirements was heavily emphasized.
John Koeller, a key participant and representative from the Alliance for Water Efficiency said, “the development of consensus-based ANSI standards for irrigation equipment and devices is long overdue. ICC has taken the lead in this effort and they must be commended for their foresight. Standards will benefit the irrigation industry, design professionals, consumers, and building managers. By having access to ANSI standards, water use efficiency initiatives, such as the U.S. EPA’s WaterSense Program, will be able to reference a set of carefully developed performance metrics as well. This is a ‘win’ for all parties.”
Another participant, Larry Rohlfes, CAE, Assistant Executive Director of the California Landscape Contractors Association echoed that view. “CLCA members are state-licensed contractors who design, install and maintain landscapes in California, should be major beneficiaries of a consensus effort to set standards for irrigation products, in addition to our clients, who are the ultimate consumers of these products. At the roundtable discussion, the ICC representatives convinced me that the ANSI process is sound and exceedingly fair. Moreover, the ICC appears to have a great deal of experience and credibility when it comes to acting as stewards of a building standards process.”
During the ANSI notifications process, it became apparent there were additional organizations that played a key role in developing similar irrigation standards for agricultural applications. ICC reached out to one such organization, the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) to seek their expertise and involvement in the development of the new standards.
Travis Tsunemori, representing the ASABE, participated in the event at WaterSmart and remarked that “ASABE is pleased to collaborate with the ICC and participate in the development of standards for turf and landscape irrigation. The roundtable at WaterSmart Innovations 2010 was an excellent venue for teaching several stakeholders the ANSI standards development process, and illustrating the value of openness and balance for standards development.”
The development process for the standards will begin with a call for committee member applications for the first standard in late 2010, and the committee is expected to be seated and begin work in early 2011. For more information or to be added to the interested party mailing list, contact the PMG Resource Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The International Code Council, a membership association dedicated to building safety, fire prevention and energy efficiency, develops the codes used to construct residential and commercial buildings, including homes and schools. Most U.S. cities, counties and states choose the International Codes, building safety codes developed by the International Code Council. The International Codes also serve as the basis for construction of federal properties around the world, and as a reference for many nations outside the United States.