Joint standard a major step towards Canada-U.S. code harmonization


The first-ever joint Canada-U.S. standard for plumbing is a major step towards harmonizing codes between Canada and the U.S., reports the Standards Council of Canada (SCC).

After several years of collaboration, ULC Standards, Underwriters Laboratories and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) have developed a new standard for balloon type ball backwater valves.

The standard – ANSI/CAN/UL/ULC 1201:2016 Sensor Operated Backwater Prevention Systems – is the first of its kind in the plumbing and heating sector, reports SCC, because it applies to both countries.  It will provide significant savings in cost and time because manufacturers will not have to make different products for the two markets.

“Our ultimate goal is ‘one standard, one test, accepted everywhere’ and joint Canada-U.S. standards like this are essential to meeting this goal and improving the lives of Canadians,” remarked SCC CEO John Walter.

A panel of Canada-U.S. industry representatives, including members of the Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating (CIPH), and several U.S. organizations, determined that standards development for sensor-operated backwater prevention systems would benefit the greatest number of Canadian and American stakeholders.

“This standard is based on the needs from both the Canadian and American industry and will benefit not only the industry but also consumers. This achievement also supports North American alignment of the standards development process, paving the way for future collaboration. Making the standards development process easier and more cost effective will benefit all stakeholders,” said Ralph Suppa, president and general manager of CIPH.

CIPH and the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) have been pushing governments to harmonize standards, not just between countries, but also between provinces and municipalities as a patchwork of regulations is adding considerably to the cost of manufacturing.

Balloon-type ball backwater valves prevent sewer backup. When the unit’s sensor detects a problem, a balloon inflates to seal the drain. They can be installed in existing sanitary waste piping without excavating a home’s concrete floor.

The new standard can be downloaded at no charge from


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