Gas Operator Qualification Membership
UPDATE: Please be advised that we have been informed by both Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. (“Con Ed”) and the Brooklyn Union Gas Company d/b/a National Grid (“Nat Grid”) that commencing April 15, 2019 both Utility Companies will be enforcing Operator Qualification in Covered Task 87 (conducting interior jurisdictional piping construction and maintenance activities). Only New York City licensed master plumbers (LMPs) and those working under NYC LMPs holding Operator Qualification in CT87 (i.e. they are in the Plumbing Foundation’s GOQ membership program and have obtained the e-Wallet Photo ID Card) will be accepted by the Utility Companies for certain construction and maintenance functions.
As a reminder, Task 87 covers: “…isolation of piping systems (with approval from the Operator); purging of interior piping systems; making piping connections between interior deenergized piping systems and isolated, engerized piping systems, and constructing meter header assemblies, meter bars, and pressure regulator vent piping assemblies.”
The Utilities are in the process of updating their instruction manuals (Yellow Book and Blue Book) and training their inspectors on how verification will occur in the field.
NOTE: This is DIFFERENT than Local Law 150 of 2016 Department of Buildings gas qualification.
Any further questions on GOQ please email GOQmembership@plumbingfoundation.nyc.
UPDATE: Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. (“Con Ed”) and the Brooklyn Union Gas Company d/b/a National Grid (“Nat Grid”) announced at the beginning of February that the original effective date of January 1, 2019 for enforcement of operator qualification in Covered Task 87 (conducting interior jurisdictional piping construction and maintenance activities) is being extended to a later date, likely early this spring. We anticipate that enforcement will official begin in April 2019.
If you are already in the Plumbing Foundation’s Gas Operator Qualification (“GOQ”) membership program, you are on your way to becoming operator qualified and you should continue to complete the required program components as to not delay obtaining your OQ card. The enforcement date extension by the Utility Companies merely provides you more time to comply with the program components but in no way do we recommend you delay your completion of such program components.
NOTE: The extension of the OQ requirement for Covered Task 87 does not impact the federally mandated (US DOT) random drug testing which is currently underway as part of the Plumbing Foundation’s GOQ Program. You and/or your employees MUST comply with the random drug testing since the original effective date of Covered Task 87 enforcement was January 1, 2019 and the program was enacted based on that original commencement date.
We will advise the industry of the new effective date as soon as possible.
The Utility companies (Con Edison & National Grid), by virtue of the U.S. Department of Transportation (“USDOT”) and the New York State Public Service Commission (“PSC”), will be requiring licensed master plumbers (“LMPs”) and LMPs’ employees to be operator qualified in Covered Task 86 (Inspections) and/or Covered Task 87 (Maintenance/Repairs) to do such inspections and/or maintenance on USDOT jurisdictional gas piping. Operator Qualification entails a 7-hour course and a written and practical examination. This also will require anyone doing such inspections and/or maintenance to take a baseline (“pre-employment”) drug and alcohol test and to be part of a drug testing pool; per USDOT requirements, 50% of such pool will be drug tested at random per year. The Utilities will be making such requirements effective in their respective operating manuals by January 1, 2019. The Plumbing Foundation has been working closely with the Northeast Gas Association (“NGA”), Con Edison, National Grid, the Master Plumbers Council and other industry experts and stakeholders (the “Gas Working Group”) on the requirement for operator qualification in Covered Tasks 86 and 87, as described above. The Gas Working Group decided the most beneficial means for the industry to become operator qualified and comply with the drug and alcohol component is to have the Plumbing Foundation administer the program and act as the drug testing pool representative for the entire NYC licensed plumbing community. Therefore, the Plumbing Foundation has issued its “Gas Operator Qualification Membership” or “GOQ Membership” application package, open to current members of the Foundation and non-members alike.
The GOQ Membership is applied to by an NYC-licensed plumbing firm on behalf of those employees the LMP wishes to enroll in the operator qualification program. Cost is per employee. LMPs and their employees must have prior experience with gas work to enroll. Once members, employees will first receive a baseline (or “pre-employment”) drug and alcohol test, and if they pass they will be placed in the drug testing pool. The USDOT requires 50% of this pool to be tested at random annually. Once in the pool, employees will be scheduled for the 7-hour training course with authorized instructors. Following confirmation that employees completed the training with the authorized instructors, employees will be scheduled for the written and practical examinations, which will take place at an approved testing facility. The written examination consists of approximately 100 questions on general knowledge and specific knowledge relevant to Covered Tasks 86 and 87. The practical examination requires an individual to identify corrosion on gas piping. Once the Plumbing Foundation receives confirmation of passing grades for both the written and practical examinations, those employees will receive a “QR” card and can engage in Covered Task 86 and/or 87 work. The QR card requires a photograph of the individual and will contain the individual’s operator qualification status and drug testing pool status. The QR card can be scanned by Utilities for compliance purposes.
Application Documents (now fillable!)
(1) The LMP Firm must fill out the application, please use the attached checklist to ensure you fill out all required paperwork. We will not accept incomplete applications.
(2) Please send application via email to GOQmembership@plumbingfoundation.nyc (preferred!) -OR- fax to 212-481-7185. DO NOT MAIL OR DELIVER IN PERSON.
(3) In your email or fax, please indicate whether you are a union (Plumbers Union Local #1) firm or a non-union firm. This matters for where we send you for training. NOTE: Persons employed by a signatory firm with Local #1 and even those licensees that are Plumbers Local #1 signatory contractors are not necessarily eligible for training at Local 1 Trade Education Facility. Only persons who contribute a certain number of hours into the “U.A. Plumbers Local No. 1 Trade Education Fund” and are covered employees under the CBA are permitted to be trained there. If you are a civil service employee and a licensed plumber, you would have to be sponsored and paid for by your employer to be eligible for training.
(4) For payment, we will send you an invoice. Once you receive the invoice, you will be asked to either pay through PayPal -OR- send a check via regular mail to: The Plumbing Foundation City of New York, Inc., 535 8th Ave, 17th Floor, New York, NY 10018
(5) IMPORTANT REMINDERS:
- The Utility companies reviewed and approved Attachment B so it MUST be filled out. The LMP signs Addendum I on page 26 and all employees seeking operator qualification must be given Attachment B and sign page 25.
- Attachment C must be filled out for EACH participating employee and they MUST include a unique and accessible email address and phone number.
- Do not forget Step 7 in Attachment C — photos must be a clear, digital head shot. Send that via email and make sure you indicate who the photo is of.
- Signing the Application itself is agreeing to Attachment A, no need to sign Attachment A.
- PLEASE LOOK AT FAQs BEFORE ASKING QUESTIONS, MOST OF YOUR QUESTIONS CAN BE ANSWERED IN THE FAQS BELOW. THANK YOU.
(6) Once your information and payment are processed, we will contact you to coordinate all training and testing. You do not need to follow up via email or phone. We are processing the applications on a rolling basis and do ask for your patience.
- Click Here for FAQs on the Gas Operator Qualification Membership Program
- Click Here for Utility FAQs on CT87
- Click Here for FAQs on LL152/2016 (Periodic Inspections of Building Gas Piping)
- Click here for access to Con Ed’s Yellow Book
- Click here for access to National Grid’s Gas Specifications (including Blue Book)
Please click here to download a PDF version of the Plumbers Gas Law Requirements Flow Chart above.