​Chicago Plumbing Code Pilot Program - CPVC for Water & DWV

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Chicago Plumbing Code Pilot Program - Use of CPVC for Domestic Water and Drainage/Vent Systems

Chicago is known for having very stringent construction code requirements. Some are very archaic, like the use of hub and spigot cast iron piping with lead and oakum joints in waste and vent systems. Chicago is the only city in the Nation that has this requirement.

The information below describes a recent pilot program that allows the use of CPVC piping on New construction residential buildings, no more than four stories in height; or any existing building (pre 2010) no more than four stories in height, including additions.

This is an interesting opportunity to save on materials and installation costs in Chicago.

The pilot program will accept requests form October 11, 2017 through March 31, 2018. Requests can be submitted in person or through email.  The associated information is below.

Alternative Code Approval


Code Memorandum


Alternative Code Approval Request: CPVC for Water Distribution Pipe - Pilot Program


Alternative Code Approval Request: Drainage and Vent Pipe and Fittings - Pilot Program


Good luck and happy savings!


@Frank Sanchez this is very interesting information! I own apartment buildings in Berwyn, which is just outside Chicago, as well as in South Bend Indiana. The Indiana contractors are constantly making fun of the Chicago codes since we have to follow construction codes that are 100 years old. Interestingly enough, the plumbers and electricians in Indiana are not passing the time and material savings on to the consumer in my experience! They are charging rates like they are using iron pipe for plumbing and conduit for electrical, but then they are installing the same flex stuff you can buy at the hardware store!

No one is doing it bc of the approval time and special requests.  The underground is one of the major holdups on new construction bc once the walls are poured it’s a race to get the underground in so the floor can be poured and framing commence.  

@John Warren ,  They should be passing the savings.  Perhaps, consider having an outline specification indicating a Base Bid and Additive or Deductive Alternate price to reflect different products.   Without a specification, the contractor is given freedom to select anything they want.  They will assume and bid the most expensive and cut all possible corners at the end. 

2" CU, Type L, DW: $100

2" CPVC, Sch. 80:     $40

@John Weidner ,   I hear your pain.  The code review process can be painful.   On my W2 job, we typically send the underground package ahead of schedule to obtain permits.   Later on, some modifications take place, but we have already obtained a permit.  Then, we submit the remaining floors.   However, this is for healthcare projects.  

I think this pilot program could help people who already own a building and are planning on a renovation.  It may work on new construction depending on the volume and schedule.   I hope this is a proactive response to the need to use different materials, like PEX. 

We are a licenced GC in Chicago and we own a sewer & water company - this pilot program is in force but not getting rave reviews. A recent (long) conversation with a Chicago plumbing inspector indicated less than enthusiastic response and less than anticipated cost savings. A case of trying to teach old dogs new tricks? Quite possibly. But I do not expect wide spread changes any time soon. We can all keep hoping!

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