Whether you are in the nascent stages of your plumbing career or you have worked in the field for a long time, knowing the International Plumbing Code is essential. In order to put the practices into play, you must understand how to use the code. In fact, knowing its proper usage is so important that the International Code Council has an entire page entitled “Effective Use of the International Plumbing Code.”

international plumbing code printscreen

8 Tips for Using the International Plumbing Code

No matter how advanced you are in your plumbing career, actually sitting down to read a manual can seem overwhelming, especially when you haven’t done some reading for awhile. Pull up the website on your laptop, take a look on your tablet or print out a copy and get ready to explore what you need to know for success in your career.

1. Grab a Dictionary

Although you’ll find useful definitions in the book itself, you may stumble across some language that is unfamiliar to you. Using context clues is a helpful tool for test-taking; however, you have the ability to actually define the word here. A printed copy of the International Plumbing Code is a good idea so that you can write the definitions of the words right next to them or on top of them.

2. Read Chapters One and Two

a table with all the chapters of the international plumbing code

This step may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people skip over the preliminary introductory sections. Chapters one and two are dubbed “Administration and Definitions.” Without the language of the discipline, understanding the material will likely prove a challenge.

Therefore, you should thoroughly read these sections first. As you move through the book, you may discover that you struggle to remember some of the vocabulary; you can always flip back to this section. While you’re reviewing the definitions, writing down ones you think you will forget later is a smart idea. Instead of going back through the whole book, you can just take a look at your vocabulary list.

3. Get Your Bearings

While you should read the entire book so that you know what to do in an array of situations, you may need specific information right now. For example, chapter nine will discuss vents, and chapter 11 will tell you about storm drainage. Taking a look at the table of contents before you begin to read is a good idea. You may also decide to prioritize the order in which you read the chapters to correlate with how soon you must perform certain types of jobs. You can also read the summary of each chapter on the International Code Council’s website for previews.

4. Write Down Questions

While you are reading the International Plumbing Code, you may discover that you have questions about the material. Sometimes, interrupting the reading is necessary in order to proceed with the document. In other cases, you are better off leaving the questions until the end.

By doing so, you can have a smoother read of the rest of the material. When you are finished, you can bring your questions to the head of your company to discuss further. You can also contact the International Code Council if your company cannot provide answers.

5. Read Actively

Active reading is not something that you should forget about once you’re done with school. You’ve probably had the experience of reading something and then suddenly not knowing how you got from page five to page nine. When you read actively, you jot down questions and note definitions.

On top of that, you write responses to the material. For example, you may read some compelling information that is the opposite of what you’ve done in the past. Therefore, you can highlight it or put a star next to it so that you do not forget for the future.

6. Integrate with Policy

If you work for yourself, then you likely do not need to share the information from this guide with others. However, you may own a plumbing company. In that event, you must make your employees aware of the information in this guide.

Failure to do so could mean that your business continues to violate codes. One of the best ways to integrate these codes into the day-to-day happenings is to require a reading of it by policy. Make sure that your policy clearly states that all employees are responsible for knowing the material in the book. When you hire new employees, require them to read it before they take on any jobs.

7. Place the Code in a Central Space

Even when your employees study the International Plumbing Code with dedication and integrity to your business, that doesn’t mean they will remember all of the information. They will very likely need to look up information, especially as they are just integrating some of the strategies into their practices.

As a result of this need, you must ensure that the code is accessible. You should print out a copy of the document and place it somewhere easy to get to in the company. Also, sending a link to the International Plumbing Code to your employees is a smart decision. That way, they can pull up the email and access it on their phones if needed during a call.

8. Stay Updated

As professionals in the field, staying up-to-date on new developments is part of your job. When new technology comes into play or improved strategies are developed and discovered, the International Plumbing Code may go through some emendations. If the code is updated, you must require your employees to read through it again so that they too are aware of the new material.

Attempting to work in the plumbing field without reading the International Plumbing Code is a bad idea that can end up with your facing serious consequences. Instead, take the time to properly read through the code and to find answers to the questions that it raises.

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