New Construction Codes Effective 2022: Mechanical Code Changes

As Pennsylvania begins enforcement of 2018 International Mechanical Code, it’s important to understand what, if any changes could affect your project.  This is particularly important if you’ve had a project shelved due to the pandemic and are planning to dust it off this year.  Whether it was a funding issue, price of materials, or just a lack of need, if your project can be submitted for permit in the next several months, it may be worthwhile to expedite that process.

Among the notable changes in the code are a revised definition of a commercial kitchen appliance, which may necessitate the installation of a commercial hood where no hood was required before, ventilation rates have been changed or added, boiler and pressure vessel individual relief vents are now required, and there’s a brand-new section on Solar Thermal systems.

Specifically, the following statement could mean that the panini maker that just used to sit on the counter, now needs to be treated as a cooking appliance, which could have an effect on your ventilation system: “Appliances used in a commercial food service establishment for heating or cooking food. For the purpose of this definition, a commercial food service establishment is where food is prepared for sale or is prepared on a scale that is by volume and frequency not representative of domestic household cooking.”

As you delve into other specific applications, there have also been changes to the design and construction of stationary battery storage systems, and flammability limits in these spaces, additional refrigeration system requirements, and updated references.  Specifically, the following references are now part of the code:  American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning (ASHRAE) Handbook of Fundamentals 2017, ASHRAE Standards 15-2016, 34-2016, 62.1-2016, 170-2017,180-2012, and 90.1-2016.  These changes in references can have far-reaching effects in the design, construction, and operation of your facility.

Barton Associates has the up-to-date information on codes, market trends, and construction practices to help you navigate the current volatile market and help decide if the change in the referenced code should be a driving factor in expediting a project, or if you should consider holding off until the market volatility subsides.  Feel free to contact Stephen E. Oskin, PE, LEED AP at 814-231-2180 or with questions on the upcoming code cycle. Previous Insight Articles can be found here.

Leave a Comment