After months of negotiation between residential builders and the plumbers union, Philadelphia is poised to allow the use of plastic pipes in high-rise residential construction.
A memorandum of understanding hammered out by the Plumbing Advisory Board will be incorporated into the new building code next year. The City of Brotherly Love is one of only six major U.S. cities that still require the use of metal pipes in such projects.
One construction industry professional estimates that the cost reduction from making the switch from metal to plastic would be about 20%. Plastic infrastructure is now the norm for builders installing pipes for waste disposal, fresh water, and stormwater drainage in most places.
The existing code encourages construction of single-family homes, which don’t require metal piping, or expensive luxury towers that can offset higher construction costs with higher prices. Construction industry representatives expect more high-rise and mid-rise residential projects to go forward due to the code change.