New ASPE and IAPMO collaboration aims to improve roof drain performance

CHICAGO, ILL. -- The American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE) is pleased to announce that the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) has signed an agreement to help sponsor the testing portion of a roof drain performance project developed by the ASPE Research Foundation.

“IAPMO recognizes that there is a major public safety concern with the improper design and installation of roof drains,” says Ken Wijaya, Senior Laboratory Director at IAPMO R&T Lab. “Therefore, IAPMO looks forward to co-supporting this research with the ASPE RF.”

Robust design of storm drainage systems is of paramount importance to the structural integrity and stability of a roof. This research project is designed to analyze the operational performance of various storm drainage systems under steady-state conditions. Factors such as pipe size, drain characteristics, pipe length, flow patterns, and head losses will be examined in detail.

“This project will change the way we size storm drainage systems as plumbing engineers,” says ASPE Research Foundation President Julius A. Ballanco, PE, CPD, FASPE. “Sizing of a storm drainage system has always been done using the pipe size of the system. However, initial test results have shown that the sizing must be based on the roof drain and head height of water around the roof drain.”

The goal of this project is to help improve existing codes related to storm drainage design and promulgate new standards. “IAPMO supports ASPE’s effort to draw attention to concerns related to the proper sizing of roof drain systems,” says IAPMO Chief Executive Officer Russ Chaney. “Given that this issue results in potential major public health and structural failures, it is imperative that research provides the data to underpin code and standard requirements.”

The storm drains will be tested in IAPMO R&T Lab, a trusted name for independent testing, research, and technical services in the plumbing and mechanical industries. “It is our goal to validate that the total system functions adequately and safely,” Wijaya says. “We expect to achieve updated information with respect to these roof drains, and we are hopeful that the engineering community will have a better understanding of how these fittings should be designed and installed to function properly.”

Under the guidance of ASPE Research Foundation board members, ASPE research engineers will analyze the test results and examine the impact of extreme weather events on drain performance. “I am extremely excited about this research project and thank IAPMO for their financial and technical support,” says ASPE Executive Director/CEO Jim Kendzel, CAE. “Collaborations such as this can only further the goals of both organizations and the plumbing industry as a whole: to protect the public’s health by developing building codes and standards based on accurate and up-to-date technical information.”

Eleven drain manufacturers have donated their drains to be tested, in sizes varying from 2 inches through 8 inches. The testing will begin this month and will be completed by June.

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