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ABS and PVC Drain, Waste and Vent Piping

December 2023

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The purpose of this technical bulletin is to establish the requirements for the installation of acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) or polyvinyl-chloride (PVC) piping used for drain, waste and vent (DWV) systems in residential buildings classified as Residential Group R-2 and R-3 occupancies, such as single-family residences, duplexes, high rise buildings and townhouses. 

I. General

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has amended California Plumbing Code (CPC) Sections 701.2(2)(a), 903.1.1 and 1101.4 to limit the use of ABS and PVC piping to not more than two stories of residential use when used for DWV piping systems.

The City of San Diego allows use of ABS or PVC piping for DWV systems within new and existing residential buildings when in compliance with the conditions listed in Section II of this bulletin.

II. Conditions of Approval

DWV systems constructed of ABS or PVC piping are permitted within the City of San Diego provided all of the following conditions are satisfied:

  1. Provide 5/8” thick type X gypsum board at all walls or enclosures where the ABS or PVC piping is installed.
  2. Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms shall be installed in locations within residential dwelling units in accordance with the requirements of the current CBC or California Residential Code (CRC), as applicable.
  3. Fire-blocking shall be provided at vertical floor-to-floor penetrations concealed within wall cavities. Through penetration fire stop systems shall be provided. Vertical and through penetrations shall comply with CBC Section 714 and CRC Section R302.11, as applicable.
  4. The system installations must be performed by proficient plumbers competent in installing ABS or PVC pipes. Installation, storage, handling and protection of the ABS or PVC piping shall be per the manufacturer’s installation and handling instructions.
  5. Form DS-104, “Application – Alternate Materials, Design, or Construction Methods or Code Modification” shall be submitted for review and approval.

Documents referenced in this Technical Bulletin

· 2022 California Building Code (CBC)

· 2022 California Plumbing Code (CPC)

· 2022 California Residential Code (CRC)