The Plumbing Foundation Testifies at Hearing on Code Revision

On Monday, June 14, 2021, Executive Director April McIver testified at the NYC Council Committee on Housing & Buildings Hearing on Intro. No. 2261, also known as the Administrative Code revision portion of the Building Code Revision. The Plumbing Foundation commends the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) for involving the stakeholder community in the code revision process and is generally in support of the bill, but spoke on two major points as well as submitted written testimony on several other important issues. Executive Director McIver explained that the DOB proposes to revise the Administrative Code to allow city-employed licensed plumbers to conduct and obtain permits for all plumbing work, including new buildings and major alterations. Currently, license holders of city agencies can repair and replace existing plumbing systems, which has been the law for decades. DOB stated that the reason for this change is that the qualifications are the same for city and private licensed plumbers, but what DOB did not mention is that city employees are not and cannot be held to the same standard as private business owners, i.e., insurance and employer-related requirements. City-employed license holders are not employers, therefore there is no accountability for work conducted by persons under that licensee. Another important reason for not adopting this is that the city should want to have major alterations and installations done via bid by contract in which the outside contractor is held to a timeframe and payment schedule based on that contract, whereas there is much less of an incentive for internal employees being paid a salary regardless of meeting deadlines. The Plumbing Foundation foresees that this will add to the already existing delays in getting important plumbing related work done on many public works jobs (e.g. NYCHA, Parks, etc.). DOB also proposes to remove the Master Plumber and Master Fire Suppression Contractor License Board, established decades ago, which comprises DOB personnel and appointed members of the industry to oversee new license applications and disciplinary actions. DOB testified that other similar trades do not have a similar board; however, master electricians do currently have a license board. Other trades (other than licensed master plumbers, licensed fire suppression contractors, and licensed electricians) are not licensed/regulated to the extent which are licensed master plumbers, licensed fire suppression contractors, and licensed electricians. As is the case in many professions, such as the legal and medical professions, peer review of persons seeking to obtain a license and disciplinary matters of existing licensees is extremely important for transparency and oversight reasons. The Master Plumber and Master Fire Suppression Contractor License Board provides a much needed function and the duties should not be removed but strengthened. Other points the Plumbing Foundation emphasized in its written testimony include:
  • That the legislation should contain provisions which make it easier for an individual to become both a Licensed Plumber and Licensed Fire Suppression Contractor, since most persons have the requisite knowledge and experience for both licenses.
  • That the Council should expand the DOB’s seizure and forfeiture abilities to allow DOB to seize vehicles and tools used in connection with unlicensed or unregistered activity at work sites other than new construction of 1-3 family homes. Alteration work of existing buildings, e.g., from single-family homes to 50-story commercial buildings, are more of a concern in the construction industry than just the activity on 1-3 family homes, which cannot legally occur if installed by non-licensees.
  • That the proposal to place a monetary cap of $50,000 on Category 1 Limited Plumbing Alterations, despite the work already being extremely limited under such definition, is completely arbitrary and sets barriers for homeowners, cooperatives, and others looking to have a licensed plumber complete limited plumbing work in a building in any 12-month period.
  • That the proposal to require a company licensed by the DOB to have its NYC office be “dedicated” to the licensee’s business be removed; Licensees have complied with the NYC office requirement for years but the additional mandate of having to make sure such space is dedicated to the business makes absolutely no sense given today’s commercial space costs and modern office arrangements.
The Plumbing Foundation is closely monitoring the progress of this legislation and will provide important updates to the industry.

NYS Senate Passes Modular Construction Legislation

On Thursday, March 25, 2021, the New York State Senate passed S.4738, which ensures that modular construction projects in New York City comply with licensing requirements.

High-rise modular construction in NYC cannot currently be forced to comply with the NYC Administrative Code requirements that traditional stick-built construction projects are required to follow: a NYC Department of Buildings (DOB)-licensed master plumber, NYC DOB-licensed master fire suppression contractor, and NYC DOB-licensed master electrician must conduct and oversee the work covered by such licenses. Licensing of these skilled trades ensures that experienced, qualified individuals are conducting complicated and dangerous work (e.g. gas piping, sprinkler, and electrical installations) and ensures that such work complies with the very stringent NYC Building Code. Work conducted by an unlicensed, unqualified, and inexperienced individual not familiar with NYC Building Code, regardless of whether that work is done in a factory or at a jobsite, can result in catastrophic consequences.

We commend Senator Jessica Ramos for her attention to this especially important matter and for the NYS Senate’s support of safe construction in New York City. We look forward to working with Assemblyman Erik Dilan on his same-as bill in the NYS Assembly.

Pipecaster Issue 1: Vol. 44

Plumbing Foundation Hosts Webinars on Gas Laws for Plumbers, Engineers, and Building Owners

In February, the Plumbing Foundation held a three-part legal and regulatory webinar series each focused on how New York City gas laws impact a particular sector of the industry: licensed plumbers, professional engineers, and building owners and managers. In 2016, a series of local laws established new regulatory oversight and mandatory inspections for natural gas systems across NYC. Since most of those laws have come into effect over the past year, the Plumbing Foundation is often asked about the new requirements. These webinars hosted panels of experts who discussed these requirements in detail and covered specific stakeholder obligations and risk of non-compliance to local laws specific to natural gas systems, obligations under the new laws, regulatory enforcement by the NYS Department of Public Service (DPS) and the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB), detailed information on staggered mandatory inspection due dates as determined by Community Board number across all five boroughs, roles and responsibilities of public utilities, and the responsibilities of Licensed Master Plumbers and Professional Engineers and knowing when each is required. Our expert panelists comprised representatives from the NYC DOB, Con Edison, National Grid, Northeast Gas Association, Clarity Testing Services, City Calibration, and Rudin Management, as well as experienced licensed plumbers and professional engineers, including from The PAR Group, Jaros Baum & Bolles, and the American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE) of NYC. Our webinars were recorded and placed on our website (plumbingfoundation.nyc) for a limited time, but if people would like free access to one or all three after the limited runs have expired, please email us at info@plumbingfoundation.nyc.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Minor Plan Changes Require a Post Approval Amendment

The NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) issued a notice that beginning March 15, 2021 any jobs with minor plan changes must be submitted as a Post Approval Amendment (PAA).
  • For BIS Jobs: an AI1 form for minor plan changes cannot be submitted in eFiling for jobs after approval unless it is submitted as a Post Approval Amendment (PAA). Submit a PW1 with an AI1 Additional Information form that specifies the submission is part of a PAA and identifies the plan changes. Upload the new plans in eFiling and select New PAA. Include in the comments section the reason for the PAA and circle the information that has changed on the plans. Include a description of the changes in the Comments section of the PW1. Once the PAA status is PAA Fee Due, pay the fee in eFiling using the Express Cashier Payments module. For professional certification jobs, upload a completed PW1 form that indicates Okay for Approval in eFiling and select Approval for PAA. For resubmission of a standard plan review job, submit in eFiling as Minor Plan Change/PAA.
  • For DOB NOW Jobs: an AI1 for minor plan changes cannot be submitted to the DOB help form for jobs after approval. Submit a Post Approval Amendment (PAA) in DOB NOW. Upload as a single PDF a full plan set and include an AI1: Additional Information form as the last page that specifies that the submission is part of a PAA and identifies the plan changes. Include a description of the changes in the Comments section of the Plans/Work tab (PW1).

For more information, please reference the NYC DOB service notice:

www1.nyc.gov/assets/buildings/pdf/minor_plan_changes_sn.pdf

NYC Buildings Bulletin 2021-001

What you need to know… Buildings Bulletin 2021-001 Issued: March 1, 2021

Highlights

The 2014 NYC Fuel Gas Code does not allow the use of any Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) pipe for gas venting appliances. However, Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride (CPVC) pipe that is listed is permitted for venting of Category IV appliances.

The Plumbing Foundation testifies in support of Intro No. 1576 at Committee on Environmental Protection Hearing

On Tuesday, February 16, 2021, Terence O’Brien, Senior Director of the Plumbing Foundation, testified virtually at the NYC Council Committee on Environmental Protection Hearing in support of Intro. No. 1576, which proposes to increase the penalties imposed on owners failing to comply with the mandatory installation of and reporting requirements for backflow prevention devices. “Backflow” occurs when drinking water is contaminated by hazardous substances. It happens when street pressure pushes water into buildings where dangerous materials and chemicals may exist, and no device prevents that now contaminated water from re-entering the drinking water supply. Sometimes water flow can be reversed due to a water main break or a mistaken or accidental cross connection between the building’s water distribution and drainage systems. Therefore, it is vital that buildings install and maintain backflow prevention devices to prevent the harmful results of contaminated water, which can contain bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella. Senior Director O’Brien urged the passage of Intro. No. 1576 to properly incentivize compliance with the law. The NYC Administrative Code currently allows first-time fines to be imposed anywhere from $50–$1,000 for violation of the requirement to install a backflow device. Such fines do not provide enough of an incentive for owners to comply with the law. In a former Council hearing, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) clarified that the Department fines building owners $500-$5,000.* In contrast, a backflow device itself can cost up to $20,000. This is why the industry believes fines should be increased, so that owners do not continue merely paying the lower fine but rather comply with the law and actually install the required devices. Mr. O’Brien testified that Intro. No. 1576 provides a real method to address the problem as outlined above for penalizing noncompliance. It would increase the monetary penalties to be imposed on a building owner or operator who fails to comply with installation and reporting requirements for backflow prevention devices. The installation of backflow prevention devices is a public health priority. It is apparent that the understanding of and compliance with backflow prevention is still an issue at large in the City. Steep fines must be imposed on owners who fail to comply with the law in order to property incentivize compliance. *Hearing on Intro. No. 821, Committee on Environmental Protection, The New York City Council (Oct. 30, 2017).

Site Safety Training 40-Hour Requirement in Full Effect

The NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) issued a reminder that beginning March 1, 2021 construction and demolition workers at job sites with a Construction Superintendent, Site Safety Coordinator, or Site Safety Manager must have a Site Safety Training (SST) Card issued by a DOB-approved course provider. In consideration of the additional time it may take between completion of the training and when the SST Card is printed and issued, a printout of the front of the SST Card, issued by a DOB-approved course provider, will be acceptable proof a worker is trained for a period of 60 days from issuance. Digital SST Cards connected to an interactive and secure application will also be acceptable. New entrants to the construction and demolition workforce can begin working at the above sites after obtaining a Temporary SST Card from a DOB-approved course provider. A Temporary SST Card can be obtained upon completion of an OSHA 10-Hour course and is valid for six months from the date of issuance while the worker obtains the remaining 30 hours of training.

For more information, please reference the NYC DOB service notice:

www1.nyc.gov/assets/buildings/pdf/ll_196_0321_sn.pdf

Local Law 152 of 2016: Extensions for CDs 1, 3, 10

As a reminder, the NYC Council adopted a law (Local Law 12 of 2021) extending the due date for compliance with Local Law 152/2016 building gas system inspections for buildings in Community Districts 1, 3, and 10 from December 31, 2020 to June 30, 2021.

For more information and the updated schedule of inspections, please visit the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) website:

www1.nyc.gov/assets/buildings/pdf/ll152_deadline_extension_sn.pdf

Gas Explosion in Bronx Likely Result of Illegal Plumbing Work

On Thursday, February 18, 2021, a gas explosion in the Bronx led to 10 injured people, 6 of whom were children, and forced a mother to throw her baby out of her second-story window to a neighbor. The incident occurred at 1522 Paulding Avenue. “This is another unfortunate reminder of how illegal gas connections can result in horrific consequences. Only licensed master plumbers are legally permitted to safely install natural gas connections. That is why we are aggressively educating building owners, managers, engineers and plumbers on how to inspect gas lines in compliance with current laws, and we are fully supportive of the city’s efforts to crack down on illegal connections” said April McIver, Executive Director. The Plumbing Foundation commends the first responders, the NYC Department of Buildings, and the utility company for responding to the explosion in a timely manner, as well as the Red Cross for relocating the families impacted by the explosion. The NYC DOB reported that gas lines, water pipes, and laundry equipment were illegally installed in a ground-floor garage of the building and that the work was performed without proper permits. The property owner has been issued violations for such illegal work.

THE PLUMBING FOUNDATION’S ENVIRONMENTAL STATEMENT

Since its establishment in 1986, the Plumbing Foundation has worked diligently to ensure the plumbing industry has as little a “carbon footprint” on New York City as possible. The plumbing industry has historically utilized environmentally friendly materials such as recycled cast-iron and copper piping/fittings. The Foundation will continue in its role of protecting New York City as well as being an advocate for the environment by strengthening its water/sanitary regulations and thereby reducing wasteful water consumption in the City.
THE PIPECASTER is published by the Plumbing Foundation City of New York, Inc. 535 Eighth Ave., Fl. 17, New York, NY 10018 | Phone (212) 481-9740 | Fax (212) 481-7185 | (E) info@plumbingfoundation.nyc
Lawrence J. Levine, Chairman; Louis J. Buttermark, Vice Chairman; Barr Rickman, Treasurer; April McIver, Executive Director; Terence O’Brien, Editor. Board of Directors: George Bassolino, Paul Belli, Marc Breslaw, Louis J. Buttermark, Harris Clark, Alex Greenberg, Nicholas Katragis, Angelo Lemodetis, Lawrence J. Levine, Scott Lyons, Barr Rickman, Richard Turchiano

The Plumbing Foundation testifies in support of Intro No. 1576 at Committee on Environmental Protection Hearing

On Tuesday, February 16, 2021, Terence O’Brien, Senior Director of the Plumbing Foundation, testified virtually at the NYC Council Committee on Environmental Protection Hearing in support of Intro. No. 1576, which proposes to increase the penalties imposed on owners failing to comply with the mandatory installation of and reporting requirements for backflow prevention devices.

“Backflow” occurs when drinking water is contaminated by hazardous substances. It happens when street pressure pushes water into buildings where dangerous materials and chemicals may exist, and no device prevents that now contaminated water from re-entering the drinking water supply. Sometimes water flow can be reversed due to a water main break or a mistaken or accidental cross connection between the building’s water distribution and drainage systems. Therefore, it is vital that buildings install and maintain backflow prevention devices to prevent the harmful results of contaminated water, which can contain bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella.

Senior Director O’Brien urged the passage of Intro. No. 1576 to properly incentivize compliance with the law. The NYC Administrative Code currently allows first-time fines to be imposed anywhere from $50–$1,000 for violation of the requirement to install a backflow device. Such fines do not provide enough of an incentive for owners to comply with the law. In a former Council hearing, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) clarified that the Department fines building owners $500-$5,000.* In contrast, a backflow device itself can cost up to $20,000. This is why the industry believes fines should be increased, so that owners do not continue merely paying the lower fine but rather comply with the law and actually install the required devices.

O’Brien testified that Intro. No. 1576 addresses the problem as outlined above. It would increase the monetary penalties to be imposed on a building owner or operator who fails to comply with installation and reporting requirements for backflow prevention devices.

The installation of backflow prevention devices is a public health priority. It is apparent that the understanding of and compliance with backflow prevention is still an issue at large in the City. Steep fines must be imposed on owners who fail to comply with the law in order to property incentivize compliance.

*Hearing on Intro. No. 821, Committee on Environmental Protection, The New York City Council (Oct. 30, 2017).

Pipecaster Issue 4: Vol. 43

NYC Council to Extend Local Law 152/2016 Compliance Deadline

The NYC Council introduced No. 2151-A to extend the compliance date for Local Law 152 gas piping system inspections for buildings in Community Boards 1, 3, and 10 in all boroughs from December 31, 2020 to June 30, 2021. The Housing & Buildings Committee held a hearing on December 2, 2020. According to the bill sponsor, Council Member Daniel Dromm, building owners in his district stated they are experiencing hardships with complying with the upcoming deadline. The Plumbing Foundation testified at the December 2nd Hearing urging the City Council to impose practical restrictions on the extension and to amend the Local Law to address several flaws, including redefining tenant space to mean only residential tenant space is excluded, requiring the leak survey report to be submitted to DOB, and aligning the inspections with the utility inspection schedule. We will update the industry on any revisions to the bill and if/when it is adopted by the Council.

Master Plumber & Master Fire Suppression Contractor License Renewal

Please be advised that the Construction Trades License Training Corporation will be holding virtual license renewal courses in the first quarter of 2021, dates to be determined. Please check our website for registration information: nyconstructiontrades.org Please also be advised that the license renewal process is through DOB NOW and you must submit your license renewal application 60 days prior to your renewal date (no earlier/no later) to ensure you renew your license on time. There is a 15-day turnaround for approval / rejection and if you have to correct your application, you must resubmit the entire application and another 15-day waiting period will begin. The NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) and the Plumbing Foundation strongly urge licensees to carefully review your application prior to submission to avoid having to correct any portion(s), extending the time until your license will be renewed. Please use the Department’s checklist to ensure all documentation is attached to your application. DOB is seeing a lot of issues with licensee business information that has changed since the last renewal period. If any of your business information has changed, you must take this into consideration when renewing and ensure you have the proper documentation (e.g. minutes) to submit to DOB. If you have further questions, please reach out to us at info@plumbingfoundation.nyc.

NYC DOB Seeks to Allow Unlicensed Entities to Conduct Appliance Hookups

The NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) has proposed to revise the Plumbing Code to remove the requirement that a Licensed Master Plumber has to conduct gas appliance hookups. Please see below the joint Association of Contracting Plumbers (ACP) and Plumbing Foundation letter submitted in response to such proposal.

See Following Letter:

October 20, 2020 Constadino (Gus) Sirakis, PE First Deputy Commissioner NYC Department of Buildings 280 Broadway, 7th Floor New York, NY 10007 Dear First Deputy Commissioner Sirakis: We issue this joint letter on behalf of the Plumbing Foundation City of New York, Inc. (a trade association representing NYC Licensed Master Plumbers, engineers, manufacturers, and supply houses whose mission is to ensure the enactment and enforcement of safe plumbing codes) and the Association of Contracting Plumbers of the City of New York (ACP), the bargaining party to Plumbers Local 1. We work with our members, industry stakeholders, and policy makers to ensure NYC adopts and enforces safe plumbing codes and rules in the interest of the public health. One of the most important topics to our industry is gas safety. The Plumbing Foundation works to combat unlicensed plumbing work as the industry is well aware of the deadly consequences from such work, especially gas work. As per the NYC Building Code, building owners must hire licensed, qualified plumbers to conduct any gas work, whether it is an inspection, repair, or replacement of a full gas system. We actively engage with state and city decision makers, utility companies, and other associations on the topic of gas safety since, as you are aware, NYC experienced catastrophic-and deadly-gas explosions in 2014 and 2015. In response, the NYC Council passed a package of gas safety bills in 2016 to tighten up the Code requirements surrounding gas work and inspections. As such, it seems counterintuitive and illogical that the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) proposes a new section 28 105.4.7 regarding the replacement of existing appliance and flexible gas tubing which allows unlicensed entities to perform gas work. It is for the reasons detailed below, which are not exhaustive, that our organizations are adamantly opposed to the Department’s proposal and will do everything within our power to prevent this degradation of the plumbing license and potential safety issue from occurring.

Experience and Training is a Public Policy and Safety Matter

It is counterintuitive that DOB would propose allowing unlicensed, untrained entities to hook up appliances since the current laws and regulations act ually require enhanced training and experience for licensed plumbers and their technicians working directly under them. This is true on several levels. First, the NYS Public Service Commission passed new changes to Title 16 of the New York Code of Rules and Regulations (“NYCRR”) Part 255 that require licensed master plumbers and their technicians conducting gas work and inspections on jurisdictional gas piping to be operator qualified in related covered tasks, which entails a 7-hour training, written and practical exam, and random drug and alcohol testing. The 7-hour training has often been referred to as enhanced safety training for already experienced plumbers and covers what must be identified as abnormal operating conditions during gas inspections, including corrosion, deterioration, illegal hookups, etc. Similarly, Local Laws 150 and 152 of 2016 require additional training and examinations of plumbing technicians to conduct gas work and inspections on building gas piping. The same 7-hour training applies to Local Law 152 periodic gas inspection qualification requirements, which is in addition to the 5-year experience requirement as set forth in rule by the Department. Therefore, it makes no logical sense why the Department would expect or allow an unlicensed, untrained entity or person to identify “corrosion or deterioration” as proposed in section 28-105.4.7.2. Only licensed, trained, and experienced individuals can make such a determination, the enforcement of which the Department plays a major role in. To suggest as a “fail safe” for unlicensed entities and persons installing gas appliances is that they cannot do so unless the condition of the gas cock and valve-which otherwise would be determined by LICENSED and TRAINED individuals—is “good,” is not a fail safe at all. It severely undermines the current training and qualification requirements set forth in the 2016 laws and ensuing rules, and is completely in contradiction to the public policy of improving gas safety.

DOB and Utility Oversight is Crucial

In addition, DOB’s proposal undermines the oversight functions of both the Department and the utility companies. This proposal would allow unlicensed entities to perform such appliance installations. Ultimately, this provides a green light for unregistered, untrackable entities and persons to engage in gas work and have no tangible accountability (i.e. a license and permit) for if and when the worst occurs—a gas leak and/or explosion. When a licensed plumber engages in gas work under a permit, he/she essentially puts his license—his/her livelihood-on the line. There is no perceived equitable standard set forth in the DOB’s proposal, which severely undermines the DOB and utility companies’ authorities to enforce the very crucial existing gas safety laws.

Safety Outweighs other Public Policies

Finally, DOB has claimed the current COVID-19 pandemic as a reason to introduce and expedite this proposal. Specifically, DOB states “[i]n light of the cur rent situation we are all faced with surrounding COVID-19, the Department has been asked to review current practices to see how we can safely improve our processes for the public” (emphasis added). While that is a commendable practice in theory, undermining gas safety laws is directly in contradiction to “safely improv[ing]” DOB’s processes. If DOB wishes to create new policies to ensure efficiency for the public and/or in the interest of adapting to new environments, whether that is due to a pandemic like COVID-19 or even based on technological advances, it needs to balance public safety concerns with whatever the proposal may be—and with the current perceived “necessity” of DOB’s proposal (i.e. COVID-19 pandemic), safety concerns most certainly outweigh the process changes as set forth in the proposal. As an aside, we are not going to address the additional practical and procedural problems, which there are many within this draft, since we fundamentally disagree with the concept. We appreciate the opportunity to comment on the DOB’s proposal but caution the Department that this proposal can and will only lead to gas safety disasters. Only licensed, trained persons should be authorized to conduct gas work, regardless of the perceived “simplicity” of a gas appliance connection or claim that a global health matter requires an overhaul of government processes. Please do not hesitate to contact us for any reason. Sincerely, April McIver, Esq. Executive Director The Plumbing Foundation 212-481-9740 a.mciver@plumbingfoundation.nyc Terence O’Brien Executive Vice President ACP 212-481-4580 t.obrien@acpcny.org

Plumbing Foundation Virtual Seminar Series Will Detail New Gas Inspection Laws:

Everything Plumbers, Engineers, and Landlords Need to Know Local Law 152 and Other Important Gas Regulations

A series of local laws that establish new regulatory oversight and mandatory inspections for natural gas systems across NYC, including Local Law 152 (2016), took effect in 2020. The Plumbing Foundation City of New York will host a seminar series in February that will cover everything LMPs, professional engineers, and buildings owners/managers need to know about the new gas system requirements. Plumbing Foundation Executive Director April McIver, explains: “These new laws include very specific responsibilities for plumbers, engineers, and landlords that go well beyond previous requirements. The Plumbing Foundation’s aim is to be a onestop resource when it comes to providing clear and accurate information pertaining to the new gas system inspection laws.” Seminar Series for Licensed Master Plumbers, Professional Engineers, Building Owners and Managers Covering New Mandatory Gas Inspections for Buildings Citywide. Topics include:
  • Obligations under the new laws
  • Regulatory enforcement by the NYS Department of Public Service & NYC Dept. of Buildings
  • Understanding risks of noncompliance
  • Detailed information on staggered mandatory inspection due dates as determined by community board number across all five boroughs
  • Roles and responsibilities of public utilities
  • Responsibilities of Licensed Master Plumbers and Professional Engineers – knowing when each are required. NOTE: All physical work and all compliance inspections related to natural gas piping systems in NYC must be performed by, or under the direct supervision of, a licensed master plumber

EVENT DETAILS AND REGISTRATION: More Information to Follow – Please visit our website!

  • Licensed Master Plumbers – Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 11:30 A.M.
  • Professional Engineers – Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 11 A.M.
  • Building Owners and Managers – Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 11 A.M.
Gas Laws Covered:
  • LL 150 – Establishes the qualifications required for individuals performing gas work
  • LL 151 – Requires that the final inspection for gas piping must be performed by the NYC DOB
  • LL 152 – Requires periodic inspection of existing gas piping systems in all buildings except for occupancy group R3 (mostly one and two family dwellings)
  • LL 153 – Requires the notification and posting of instructions related to what procedures residential tenants must follow in the event of a gas emergency
  • LL 154 – Requires that both the utility company and the property owner must notify the DOB within 24 hours of having the gas service shut off for a building due to a hazardous condition
  • LL 157 – Addresses the mandatory installation of carbon monoxide, smoke and natural gas alarms for residential occupancies
  • LL 159 – Designates violations for gas piping systems as immediately hazardous
  • Federal/State Operator Qualification Requirements (Covered Tasks 86/87)

NYC Licensed Plumbing Community Survey: How do you think the ConEdison Yellow Book can be improved?

Please complete the survey! https://forms.gle/nUeMYaMtibjrh2cQ9

! IMPORTANT NOTICE !

Gas Operator Qualification Members – 2021 Begins OQ (CT 86/87) Renewals

If you received your Gas Operator Qualification in Covered Tasks 86 and 87 in 2018, your OQ credentials will expire in 2021. You must retake the written and practical exams to renew your OQ card and to continue conducting work covered by CT 86/87!

PLEASE BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR A DETAILED EMAIL ON THE PROCESS AND REQUIREMENTS TO RENEW!

THE PLUMBING FOUNDATION’S ENVIRONMENTAL STATEMENT

Since its establishment in 1986, the Plumbing Foundation has worked diligently to ensure the plumbing industry has as little a “carbon footprint” on New York City as possible. The plumbing industry has historically utilized environmentally friendly materials such as recycled cast-iron and copper piping/fittings. The Foundation will continue in its role of protecting New York City as well as being an advocate for the environment by strengthening its water/sanitary regulations and thereby reducing wasteful water consumption in the City. Wealth Preservation Solutions LLC
THE PIPECASTER is published by the Plumbing Foundation City of New York, Inc. 535 Eighth Ave., Fl. 17, New York, NY 10018 | Phone (212) 481-9740 | Fax (212) 481-7185 | (E) info@plumbingfoundation.nyc
Lawrence J. Levine, Chairman; Louis J. Buttermark, Vice Chairman; Barr Rickman, Treasurer; April McIver, Executive Director; Terence O’Brien, Editor. Board of Directors: George Bassolino, Paul Belli, Marc Breslaw, Louis J. Buttermark, Harris Clark, Angelo Lemodetis, Lawrence J. Levine, Adam Levy, Scott Lyons, Andrew Moran, Barr Rickman, Richard Turchiano

Pipecaster Issue 3: Vol. 43

Plumbing Foundation Issues Public Health Guidelines To Combat Spread Of Covid-19

NEW YORK (originally released on Sept. 1, 2020) — As New York City continues its phased reopening aimed at containing the coronavirus pandemic, the Plumbing Foundation City of New York has issued important public health and safety guidelines intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. The safeguards apply to commercial property owners and leaseholders who may be who may be considering plumbing alterations and building water system upgrades to help businesses conform to new social distancing standards, as well as residential apartment and building owners conducting regular work and maintenance on plumbing fixtures that connect to sanitary water lines. “There are serious public health implications pertaining to potable water systems and sanitary drainage systems inside buildings,” cautions April McIver, Executive Director of the Plumbing Foundation. “Knowing that COVID-19 can be transmitted through human waste, and that other dangerous organisms such as Legionella can also be spread through building water systems, the message to our fellow New Yorkers is that only licensed master plumbers who are trained and certified can perform work and maintenance on building plumbing systems.”

Public Health Guidelines for Plumbing Work

  • Only licensed master plumbers are legally permitted to work on plumbing fixtures that connect to sanitary sewer lines in New York City.
  • Work on toilet fixtures requires a plumbing license and should only be performed by a master plumber.
  • If you question whether or not you are capable or qualified to perform plumbing fixture work, always hire a licensed master plumber.
  • Always ask to make sure your contractor is a licensed master plumber to ensure work is done safely and up to code, and ask if they are properly insured.
License and insurance information is publicly posted on the NYC Department of Buildings website, which can be accessed at: http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/bsqpm01.jsp Owners who perform unlicensed plumbing work on their own or who allow unlicensed handymen to perform plumbing work not only pose a danger to their inhabitants and customers, they may also pose a health and safety risk to neighbors in the same building. Known hazards of untrained, unlicensed plumbing work include: spread of viral or bacterial infection including COVID- 19, Legionaire’s Disease from improperly installed or maintained water heaters; uncapped fixtures that could expose toxic or noxious gases; improperly installed fixtures that fail to properly contain sewage and dangerous gases; and failure to prevent dangerous backflow and cross-contamination. Ms. McIver concluded, “There is an important value proposition when you hire a licensed master plumber. Not only are you ensuring the health and safety of those you live with and your neighbors, you’re also assured of the quality of work.” Established in 1986, the Plumbing Foundation City of New York, Inc. is a nonprofit association of licensed contracting firms, engineering associations, manufacturers and suppliers whose mission is to ensure public health through the enactment and enforcement of safe plumbing codes. Please visit the Plumbing Foundation’s online version of the Pipecaster to access relevant links: www.plumbingfoundation.nyc/pipecaster

NYC Council Extends Site Safety Training Compliance Date

The NYC Council passed Intro No. 2059-A which extends the date of full compliance with the Site Safety Training Law from September 1, 2020 to March 1, 2021. The NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) reminds the industry that the current requirement that workers on sites requiring a DOB-licensed safety professional have 30 hours of site safety training continues until March 1, 2021. In addition, DOB encourages all workers to receive the full 40 hours of this potentially life-saving training as soon as possible. NYC‘s Drinking Water

NYC Department of Buildings Reopening Guidance

The following notice has been issued by the NYC Department of Buildings: As a reminder, all active sites must continue to be in compliance with State and City Phase 1 restart requirements. To understand what is expected of your site, please refer to the following:
  • Interim Guidance for Construction Activities During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
  • “Do’s and Don’ts” Document
  • “What To Know” One-Pager.
If upon a visit from NYC Department of Buildings (DOB), a single Phase 1 restart violating condition is observed– your site will be assessed a violation that carries a financial penalty of $5,000. If your site does not have a Safety Plan and State Affirmation conspicuously posted and/or is lacking a proper hand hygiene station, your site will be issued a Stop Work Order in addition to the financial penalty. Continued noncompliance may result in additional summonses with accompanying civil penalties of up to $10,000 for each offense. If during DOB’s visit, any Construction Code and Electrical Code non-compliances are observed, Inspectors will take appropriate enforcement actions, including the potential issuance of violations with monetary penalties. The Safety Plan you must have on-site should be filled-out completely and posted for all to see. The Safety Plan’s intent is to outline how your workplace will prevent the spread of COVID-19. You should follow the Safety Plan template located on the State’s website, which you can access by clicking here. Your State Affirmation should be posted as well, you can fill-out your Affirmation by clicking here. All sites must also provide and maintain (at least one) hand hygiene station that is accessible for all personnel. This could include a handwashing station with soap, water, and paper towels, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing 60% or more alcohol for areas where handwashing is not feasible. If your site is assessed a COVID-19 Stop Work Order, a portal is available in DOB NOW: Safety to submit a rescind request. Additional information can be found in our Service Notice. Also please remember as City Employees performing essential regulatory duties, DOB Inspectors and other Field Staff with face coverings who visit construction sites are self-monitoring for any COVID-19 symptoms every day to ensure they do their work safely for themselves and the public. As such, Inspectors and Field Staff are not subject to screening and must be permitted access to a construction site. Failure to provide access will result in the issuance of a Stop Work Order. For additional information on the Phase 1 re-opening, please visit nyc.gov/buildings. On our Phase-1 re-opening webpage, you will find resources including DOB’s Phase 1 Re-Opening Guidance, FAQs, and the State’s Interim Guidelines. If you have any questions, please reach out via email to COVID19@buildings.nyc.gov. Finally, as New York City faces unprecedented challenges to rebuild and recover from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must also remember that there is a critical step each of us must take to help rebuild New York City into the future – and that is completing the 2020 Census. New York City needs a complete and accurate count in order to have the population data, billions in funding, means to invest in public works and infrastructure, and complete representation that it rightfully deserves. The census is completely confidential and there are no questions about immigration, citizenship, income, criminal history, or Social Security. The future of New York City is in your hands – fill out the 2020 Census now! Please visit the Plumbing Foundation’s online version of the Pipecaster to access the links in such notice: www.plumbingfoundation.nyc/pipecaster Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Company, The uniforms may change, but the courage to serve remains constant. At Charlotte Pipe, we honor all the brave men and women that have served in the United States Armed Forces.

Updated Deadlines for NYC DOB Licenses, Registrations, and Permits

In response to Mayor de Blasio’s Executive Order No. 134 and Local Law 57 of 2020, the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) is no longer allowing licenses and permits to be automatically extended. All licenses/registrations and permits issued by the DOB with an original expiration date on or after August 7, 2020 will expire on that original expiration date. Those licenses and permits which were automatically extended through August 6, 2020 will expire according to the below schedule:
Original (Pre-COVID 19) Expiration Dates Final Extension Date
March 12, 2020 – March 31, 2020 September 30, 2020
April 1, 2020 – April 30, 2020 October 31, 2020
May 1, 2020 – May 31, 2020 November 30, 2020
June 1, 2020 – June 30, 2020 December 31, 2020
July 1, 2020 – August 6, 2020 January 31, 2021
Please visit the Service Update here: www1.nyc.gov/assets/buildings/pdf/license_permit_expiration_no_extensions_sn.pdf
2020 Water Conservation and Reuse Grant Pilot Program

Download a PDF version of 2020 Water Conservation and Reuse Grant Pilot Program or click here for more information nyc.gov/dep/water-conservation-grant

Reminder: LL152 Inspection Requirements

The NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) was recently notified that certain NYC Licensed Master Plumbers were unaware of the requirement that a leak survey must be completed as part of the NYC Local Law 152 Inspection (periodic inspections of building gas piping). According to the Law:
§ 28-318.3.2 Scope. At each inspection, in addition to the requirements prescribed by this article or by the commis- sioner, all exposed gas lines from point of entry of gas piping into a building, including building service meters, up to individual tenant spaces shall be inspected for evidence of excessive atmospheric corrosion or piping deterioration that has resulted in a dangerous condition, illegal connections, and non-code compliant installations. The inspection entity shall also test public spaces, hallways, corridors, and mechanical and boiler rooms with a portable combustible gas detector to determine if there is any gas leak, provided that such testing need only include public spaces, hall- ways and corridors on floors that contain gas piping or gas utilization equipment.
In addition, the rules require either a Licensed Master Plumber, or someone working directly under a Licensed Master Plumber who also completed a 7-hour training, to conduct such inspections. The 7-hour course, according to NYC Rules 103-10, must cover, among other topics, interior piping leak survey and atmospheric corrosion and leak survey inspection procedure. Finally, the Plumbing Foundation reminds the industry that all buildings with gas piping must be inspected (and inspection re- ports submitted) by the end of the year if they fall in the following category:

Buildings within Community Boards 1, 3, and 10 in all Boroughs

Please visit the Plumbing Foundation’s website for additional FAQs on LL152/2016: www.plumbingfoundation.nyc/gas-operator-qualification

NYC DOB Notice: Denial of Permits for False Statements and Work Without a Permit

The NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) issued a notice in reference to Local Law 114 of 2019 that states beginning August 5, 2020, DOB will deny initial work permits for multiple dwellings where the Department has issued a summons for submitting a false statement on a Plan/Work Application (PW1) regarding the occupancy status of the building (Section 26 of the PW1), or performing Work Without a Permit while the building was occupied. The one-year permit restriction will apply if the summons was issued on or after December 5, 2019—the effective date of Local Law 114 of 2019. The restriction will remain in effect for one-year from the issuance of the summons. However, the permit restriction can be removed before the one-year timeframe if the summons is dismissed by OATH. Please visit the Service Update here: www1.nyc.gov/assets/buildings/pdf/ll114of19_sn.pdf

THE PLUMBING FOUNDATION’S ENVIRONMENTAL STATEMENT

Since its establishment in 1986, the Plumbing Foundation has worked diligently to ensure the plumbing industry has as little a “carbon footprint” on New York City as possible. The plumbing industry has historically utilized environmentally friendly materials such as recycled cast-iron and copper piping/fittings. The Foundation will continue in its role of protecting New York City as well as being an advocate for the environment by strengthening its water/sanitary regulations and thereby reducing wasteful water consumption in the City. Dependability you can lean on. It works as hard as you do. Advanced engineering and construction have earned InSinkErator® disposals their reputation for quality, durability and ease of installation. When you need performance, insist on a name you trust. Insist on InSinkErator™ Invented. Designed. Assembled. In USA
THE PIPECASTER is published by the Plumbing Foundation City of New York, Inc. 535 Eighth Ave., Fl. 17, New York, NY 10018 | Phone (212) 481-9740 | Fax (212) 481-7185 | (E) info@plumbingfoundation.nyc
Lawrence J. Levine, Chairman; Louis J. Buttermark, Vice Chairman; Barr Rickman, Treasurer; April McIver, Executive Director; Terence O’Brien, Editor. Board of Directors: George Bassolino, Paul Belli, Marc Breslaw, Louis J. Buttermark, Harris Clark, Angelo Lemodetis, Lawrence J. Levine, Adam Levy, Scott Lyons, Andrew Moran, Barr Rickman, Richard Turchiano