North Carolina Adopts Code Council IgCC Rainwater Harvest Provisions

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With water shortages looming in many parts of the U.S., building departments both at the state and local levels are leading the sustainability curve by enacting myriad water conservation measures. North Carolina, for example, is amending their codes to include the ICC’s rainwater collection and distribution provisions. Captured rainwater can be used for many purposes and offsets millions of gallons of what would otherwise be runoff water use each year.

The need for greater water conservation is undisputed. The ICC’s rainwater provisions will help to optimize North Carolina’s conservation goals.

Understanding the need for greater water conservation, the North Carolina Building Code Council recently voted to adopt an appendix to the North Carolina Plumbing Code to include an amended version of the Rainwater Collection and Distribution Systems (Section 707) of the International Green Construction Code Public Version 1.0 (IgCC), developed by the International Code Council and its cooperating sponsors. The IgCC’s comprehensive section on rainwater harvest will dramatically enhance the North Carolina Plumbing Code (the International Plumbing Code with North Carolina amendments) already in use throughout the state.

“Building departments, private industry and residents are embracing various rainwater harvesting technologies more and more,” ICC’s CEO Richard P. Weiland said. “North Carolina joins several other states that are updating code provisions to include rainwater systems.” Many other states are in the process of reviewing the ICC’s IgCC’s rainwater capture provisions for adoption.

“After months of review, the decision to base the newly adopted rainwater harvest provisions on the ICC’s International Green Construction Code was overwhelmingly positive,” G. Edward Van Giesen policy coordinator of BRAE Rainwater Systems, and member of the ad-hoc committee said. “The need for greater water conservation is undisputed. The ICC’s rainwater provisions will help to optimize North Carolina’s conservation goals while providing the appropriate guidance to code officials as well as the public.”

While water conservation is a critical factor in deciding whether to institute rainwater capture initiatives, the benefits of rainwater harvesting extend beyond sustainability. Capturing and reusing rainwater offer a readily available free water source, but it also offsets the use of millions of gallons of potable water each year. Since builders, site developers and municipalities spend considerable time, effort and money to safely redirect storm water away from buildings, cost savings and design flexibility benefits of rainwater harvesting are other potential benefits.

The rainwater collection and distribution systems in the IgCC are so comprehensive and effective that the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the ICC in 2010. The rainwater catchment provisions of the IgCC were developed with significant input from ARCSA. This collaboration will identify and promote new and existing sustainability opportunities and services, along with the development of cooperative standards and codes that will benefit the building industry and water conservation measures in general.

“The building industry is leading change by embracing rainwater capture and harvesting, and the ICC is proud to help implement these innovative sustainable applications” ICC Vice President of State Government Relations Vaughn Wicker said. “It has been a pleasure to work with the North Carolina Building Code Council and I look forward to providing support as needed in the future.”

Because freshwater is becoming scarcer in the U.S. and globally, rainwater harvest will be a more important water conservation method than ever before. Section 707 of the IgCC covering Rainwater Collection and Distribution Systems includes comprehensive provisions for the safe installation, maintenance, collection and distribution of rainwater collection systems for use indoors or out. Some of the key provisions beyond the overall systems themselves include potable and non-potable water connections, components, storage, filtration, disinfection, permissible uses for treated and untreated water.

Contact Vaughn Wicker for more information about this adoption or the PMG Resource Center at for technical information about the ICC’s Plumbing, Mechanical and Fuel Gas Codes. Be sure to visit for details about the IgCC, including a downloadable copy.

The International Code Council (ICC) publishes building safety, fire prevention and energy efficiency codes that are used in the construction of residential and commercial buildings. Most U.S. cities, counties and states choose the I-Codes based on their outstanding quality. The ICC’s Plumbing, Mechanical and Fuel Gas (PMG) Group is devoted exclusively to providing PMG products and support to jurisdictions and construction industry professionals across the country and around the globe, with one or more PMG codes adopted in all 50 states. The more than 200 superior products and related services were developed specifically by and for plumbing and mechanical professionals. Contact the PMG Group for additional information at 1-888-ICC-SAFE, x4PMG,, or visit


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