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The

VOICE

of the Licensed Master Plumber

Vol. 13, Issue 2 May 2013 In this Edition: Con Edison Presentation Recap AWR Important Update DOB: B-SCAN Information, LAA Issues and Journeyman Registration DEP: Informational Video

A NEWSLETTER PUBLICATION OF THE MASTER PLUMBERS COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, INC.

CON EDISON UPDATES

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n April 09, 2013, Con Edison held a forum for the plumbing industry at the Learning Center in Queens. The forum was presented by David DeSanti, Con Edison General Manager of Energy Services. Despite being well publicized to the industry, the event was poorly attended by licensed plumbers. This was surprising since many plumbers complain they do not understand the Con Edison procedures or have a hard time communicating with them. Con Edison presented a Power Point presentation detailing some important new changes. The full presentation can be viewed on our website at the following link:

www.nycmpc.org/coned-presentation-april-9-2013 The agenda presented was as follows: • Regional status • Review of large district job processing • The escalation process

All Contractor Work Requests filed after these dates will be handled by this group. The large district job processing concept has been active for over six months. This concept was set-up to improve work flow and resource balance. The new concept lessens the impact of training and vacations in each zone. Now everyone in the zone shares the same email, phone numbers and calendars. This also allows for simplified standardization of the processes and requirements. The Districts have the following responsibilities: Assessment Group: • Complete the preliminary service determinations and layouts. • Answer the phone and district email Planning Group:

• GPS photo inspection

• Schedules appointments, issues work requests and updates/tracks case progress.

• Trouble gas restoration process

• Answer the phone and district e mail

• Specification highlights

• Open discussion (contractor issues) The regional status report illustrated the district maps for all of the Con Edison territories. In each district it showed how many Customer Service Representative’s (“CSR’s”) are allocated and the current staffing levels. The newly created Oil-to-Gas Conversion Group (“OTG”) was also represented at the forum (full details of this division will be detailed in a separate article). The OTG group will be taking over all new gas conversion work on the following dates: Bronx: April 15th

Manhattan: Feb 1st Queens: April 1st

Field Group • Inspectors and coordinators between contractors and field forces. The escalation process was created to enable contractors to escalate requests for service from the CSR’s. It can be viewed in this newsletter on page 6. The main benefit of this process is the ease of escalation of a case issue or question. It is a streamlined procedure that should get you an answer within 2-6 working days.

Master Plumbers Council of the City of New York, Inc. * 104-09 Metropolitan Avenue, Forest Hills, NY 11375

continued on page 4

* (718) 793-6300


A Message from the President of the Master Plumbers Council Dear fellow Licensed Master Plumbers and colleagues, We are one third of the way through our 2013 calendar year and after only 4 meetings, we have seen our membership attendance and participation be as strong as ever, with a steady growth in new members. The speakers and topics discussed at our meetings have continued to enhance the value of membership to all. As most members are aware, the NYCMPC Board recently voted to increase the number of Chapter Chairmen on the Board of Directors. Two of our youngest members (and new LMPs), Mr. Alex Lewis of Stanley Lewis Plumbing & Heating Corp and Mr. Jonathan Clark of Sanitary Plumbing & Heating, began their term of office at the last Board meeting. This was an aggressive and positive move to bring youth into our governing body, and we look forward to their input and involvement. The NYCMPC has been on the forefront of many issues regarding the DOB, DEP and all governing agencies for our industry. With guidance from our lobbyist, Arthur Goldstein, the NYCMPC Political Action Committee monitors several key issues that have caused us all much grief. One example is the recent notice issued by the NYC Comptroller’s Office on the prevailing wage judgment on the water main and sewer service contract for homeowners, run by American Water Resources, a national company working in conjunction with the DEP. SAVE THE DATE(S): We are preparing for our 17th Annual Golf Outing for the benefit of United Cerebral Palsy. The June 10, 2013, event will again be hosted by Vincent and Barbara Tavella and the NYCMPC. For more information, look for the ad in this issue. We expect to see full participation. We are also proud to announce that we will be having our Annual Trade Show on October 8, 2013. Visit our website for more details. Last, but not least, please take a moment of prayer for all those killed, injured and affected, as are we all, over the recent tragedy in Boston. This reminds us all, as Americans, to stay strong for each other and stand together as a nation. With Warm Regards,

Michael Loise

NYCMPC President Master Plumbers Council of the City of New York, Inc.

Master Plumbers Council of the City of New York, Inc. 104-09 Metropolitan Avenue, Forest Hills, NY 11375 Phone: 718-793-6300 * Fax: 718-793-6190 www.nycmpc.org The Voice of the Licensed Master Plumber, a membership publication of the NYCMPC. All text for articles is due by the 1st day of the month prior to publication. We welcome your suggestions and contributions. NYCMPC Board President Michael Loise Executive Director Angela Cappiello, CMP, CAE angelac@nycmpc.org Editor George Bassolino Angela Cappiello Graphics Janene Meyerowitz JM Image Management, LLC info@jmimagemgmt.com GENERAL DISCLAIMER STATEMENT: The information provided in this newsletter is to be used only to educate businesses and the general public on plumbing and related construction issues that may affect their daily business or personal lives. All opinions expressed herein are those of the individual authors only and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the NYCMPC, its officers, Board of Directors, the NYCMPC newsletter or its editors. The NYCMPC does not guarantee the accuracy or the correctness of advertising, articles or references to information sources herein, nor does the NYCMPC intend to endorse, rate, or otherwise officially comment on products available. Therefore, the readers are cautioned to rely on information contained herein at their own risk. All information that is available to you through this newsletter is provided “as is” without warranty or condition of any kind, either expressed or implied, including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. The information contained in the newsletter is believed to be correct and accurate. However, the NYCMPC cannot and will not assume responsibility for the consequences of errors contained in the articles or misapplication of any information provided. NYCMPC expressly disclaims any liability for any special, incidental, or consequential damages, including without limitation, lost revenues, or lost profits, resulting from the use or misuse.

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IMPORTANT AMERICAN WATER RESOURCES UPDATE

n January 10, 2013 the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) and American Water Resources (“AWR”) announced the launch of the new water and sewer service line protection programs for residential properties throughout the five boroughs. Property owners in New York City are responsible for maintaining their water and sewer service lines. AWR has been providing similar service for many years in other parts of the state. The program is now in effect and AWR has entered into agreements with licensed plumbing contractors to perform the required repairs. As mentioned in the last edition of this publication, prior to release of this issue, the Comptroller of the City of New York, John C. Liu, determined that work performed under this contract is subject to New York State Labor Law §220. We understand that a lawsuit had been filed to challenge

this determination and that in the interim that ruling was not going to be enforced. This has changed. As of April 12, 2013, the Comptroller’s office sent a letter to the Chief Financial Officer of AWR. The letter effectively put AWR on notice stating the City would in fact conduct compliance investigations for any complaints received about this program. Any licensed plumbers that participate in this program are now required to pay prevailing wages for all applicable trades and may be subject to a payroll reporting system. Since there is a lawsuit this issue may not be settled for some time. It is also possible that this determination could be overturned. We strongly suggest that any licensed plumbers entering into any agreements to do this work ensure that they are in compliance with all city and state requirements. Also please note that complaints about potential violators can be received from many different sources. We will continue to report on this matter as information becomes available.

17TH ANNUAL GOLF OUTING Sponsored by: NYC Master Plumbers Council to benefit...

UNITED CEREBRAL PALSY MONDAY, JUNE 10, 2013 AT VILLAGE CLUB AT LAKE SUCCESS GOLF PACKAGE INCLUDES:

NON-GOLFERS:

Green fees, carts, breakfast, barbeque lunch, snacks, refreshments, cocktail hour, open bar, dinner & awards

Please come and enjoy the cocktail hour, open bar and dinner.

Donation: $325 per golfer

Donation: $100 per person

***TEE SPONSORSHIPS & DONATED GIFTS FOR OUR RAFFLE PRIZES ARE GREATLY APPRECIATED***

For more information or to receive a reservation form please contact Barbara Tavella Email: Barbaratav@aol.com Tel.:

516-487-0831

Fax:

516-487-3408

Master Plumbers Council of the City of New York, Inc.

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CON EDISON UPDATES. Continued Please note that this escalation process should be used from the bottom-up. Con Edison discussed some important specification changes. Some contractors are not fabricating properly sized spool pieces for rotary meters. When rotary meters are bolted with incorrect dimensions, excessive stress is put on the meter. Con Edison meter bureau personnel will refuse to set meters where incorrect spacing is provided. The forum also addressed the New York City Fuel Gas Code (“NYC FGC”) requirements. One disturbing part of the presentation was the new decision to possibly require having all meter piping that is butt welded radio-graphed regardless of whether the piping is inside or outside of the building. This is contrary to NYC FGC 406.1.1.2 which only requires radio-graphs on all butts-welds in gas meter and gas distribution piping operating at a pressure in excess of 3 psig within a building. The NYCMPC has sent a letter to request that this major change not be implemented until it has been reviewed. Welders working for licensed plumbers are qualified on an annual basis for all sizes and positions under ASME Section IX. These qualifications exceed the requirements of American Petroleum Institute (“API”) for gas meter piping as set forth in the Con Edison Blue Book. Con Edison has also determined that any gas service piping between the head of a service valve, in excess of three feet, must be sized with a pressure drop of no more than 1” WC. The Blue Book further goes on to state that all gas distribution piping shall be sized with a pressure drop of no greater than .03” WC. The NYC FGC 402.3 provides for several options to size gas distribution piping. It is either the engineer or plumber’s responsibility to size the piping and ensure that there is adequate pressure available at the appliances. The NYCMPC Utility Committee is reviewing other changes and will list some of them in a future article. One exciting announcement made at this presentation was the upcoming GPS photo inspection of sleeves. Under this new procedure a licensed plumber will be able to take a photo of the sleeve and email it to Con Edison for approval. This will eliminate sleeve inspections and will release work to construction based on GPS Master Plumbers Council of the City of New York, Inc.

verification. The key points required may utilize this new system will be a phone with the GPS (tag) locater activated, the seven-digit case number and the email address that will be set-up to receive the photos. There will be email boxes set-up for each borough. In addition, this service will be available to electricians as well. The forum also announced the retail goals for Con Edison’s Energy Services Division. One is to fully staff and train the division before the end of the year. Updating and streamlining procedures and selfcertification for gas turns for minor repairs are other goals. This process may utilize the existing emergency procedure and allow for electronic submission of paperwork, eliminating the requirements for a field inspector to review the site work prior to releasing the job to the meter bureau. After the presentation, Con Edison personnel were available to answer questions about general issues and specific jobs. It was a great opportunity for plumbers to meet face-to-face with the people they interact with on a daily basis.

CON EDISON’S ISSUES WITH CONTRACTORS • Plumbers who file a Customer Work Request (“CWR”) after the work was completed. • Request for non-standard delivery pressures after the job has been started or completed. • Only Con Edison is authorized to restore gas to any premises. Prior to commencement of any new work or repairs, the contractor is to file a CWR. It should be noted on a CWR if a contractor needs pressure in excess of 4” WC on low-pressure or 7” WC on high-pressure. You will be required to submit detailed equipment specifications from the manufacturer detailing the requirement for any elevated pressures. This must be approved before you proceed with the project. Pressures delivered shall be as follows: Low pressure: 4” WC at the inlet to the gas meter. Medium or high pressure: 5 ½”-7” WC. With prior approval: 14” WC, 1 psi, and 1 psi increThe Voice of the Licensed Master Plumber

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CON EDISON UPDATES. Continued ments thereafter. No hybrid preasures will be permitted. A licensed plumber can shut any gas service for one of the following: • In the case of an emergency • For any 1-3 family services In a non-emergency condition, a plumber is not permitted to shut off service in the event of the following: • To close any service head valve > 3 families • A high pressure service head valve in any premises • Operate any curb valves Under NO circumstances is a contractor permitted to restore gas to a premises.

The NYC FGC 406.6.2.2 requires licensed plumbers to notify the utility when an alteration, extension or repair is to be completed and requires the shut off of flow to a premise.

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on Edison has stated they intend to conduct another forum later this year. We will publish information as it becomes available.

On behalf of the NYCMPC Utility Committee, we would like to thank Mr. DeSanti and the Energy Services personnel for taking the time to create the presentation and inviting the plumbing industry. It was a great effort on their part to reach out and seek commentary on how things are working and what changes need to be made. Plumbers who attended were afforded the opportunity to ask questions and receive answers.

DEPARTMENT OF BUILDINGS UPDATES: B-SCAN STICKERS WHAT ARE B-SCAN STICKERS? The Buildings Scan and Capture Application Network (“B-SCAN”) captures the content of job folders to enable electronic processing, storage and online retrieval of documents associated with New Building and Alteration job filing applications.

WHAT DO PLUMBERS NEED THE STICKER FOR? Plumbers need to attach a B-SCAN sticker on all documents submitted to the DOB (i.e. OP-98’s, any letters of supporting documentation, etc). When the item is scanned it is automatically routed to the virtual folder for the job.

WHERE DO I GET THEM? When the B-SCAN stickers first appeared a plumber could pick-up stickers for any job in any borough. Now they are limited to picking up labels for each job in the borough in which the job is located. In Queens the service desk personnel refuses to provide labels to plumbers and requires that the personnel in the plumbing division print and attach the label to any paperwork a plumber submits.

WHY IS THIS THE POLICY OF DOB? No one really knows why this is occurring or who is responsible for it. Does it make any sense for plumbers to Master Plumbers Council of the City of New York, Inc.

be able to obtain an LAA permit electronically in about five-minutes and then have to spend three hours, gas, tolls and parking expenses to go to an outer borough and pick up labels? The only other alternative is to hire an expediter and pay to have labels picked up. Either way the current process adds time and expense to every project. That expense is ultimately passed on to the public. This policy is contrary to the Department’s vision of developing streamlined procedures.

SOLUTIONS? After researching we have found that there is no legal or technical basis for not being able to print labels for any job in any borough. It is simply a policy decision. The perfect solution to this issue would be to allow for printing of labels in the plumbers office. That should be possible with a few computer programing changes. Presently, electronically filed ALT2 permits are now issued with labels automatically printed on them. This is something that should be made available as soon as possible. It would greatly streamline the process of document submissions. In the interim we ask that the policy be changed and plumbers be permitted to pick-up labels for any job in any borough. Either of these solutions meets with the Department’s stated vision of being “committed to improving our performance and developing procedures that are streamlined, understandable and transparent.” The Voice of the Licensed Master Plumber

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CON EDISON ESCALATION PROCESS FOR ENERGY SERVICES FIRST STEP: Contact Energy Services District in accordance with the applicable contacts available via the following link: www.coned.com/es/contact • District contact information is located at www.coned.com via Project Center • Quick links – Building/Remodeling or Energy Services • Resources – Energy Services Contacts for grid map of territory • Information is also included on the acknowledgement letter Note: The following information should be provided on emails pertaining to active cases. • Subject Field: WR #, Address, CSR/CPM District number • Body of email: Contact Name, Contact Phone Number and Question *** Please check project center (www.coned.com) for updated information related to your case, it may have the information you are looking for. SECOND STEP: If no response received after 2 work days, send email to a management distribution list (dl) Manhattan: dl-manhretailquestions@coned.com; dl-manhmajorservicesquestions@coned.com Westchester/Bronx: dl-bronxwestretailquestions@coned.com; dl-bronxwestmajorservicesquestions@coned.com Brooklyn/Queens: dl-brooklynqueensretailquestions@coned.com; dl-brooklynqueensmajorservicesquestions@coned.com Staten Island: dl-siretailquestions@coned.com; dl-simajorservicesquestions@coned.com THIRD STEP: If no response received after 2 work days, contact Department Manager Manhattan/Staten Island Joseph Somma sommaj@coned.com 212-460-3086 Westchester/Bronx Patrick Reilly reillyp@coned.com 914-925-6036 Brooklyn/Queens

Peter L. Mladinich

mladinchp@coned.com

718-802-6393

SAVE THE DATE

2013 EDUCATIONAL & ENERGY EFFICIENCY TRADE EXPO Wednesday, October 8, 2013 at Russo’s on the Bay, Howard Beach, NY Master Plumbers Council of the City of New York, Inc.

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Master Plumbers Council of the City of New York, Inc.

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COULD THERE BE A LICENSED MASTER PLUMBER SHORTAGE?

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s part of the recent changes to the Administrative Chapter of the 2008 New York City Building Code (“Code”), candidates for a master plumber’s license will have to obtain a Journeyman Registration Certificate prior to being eligible to take the exam (Article 409 of the Administrative Code lists all of the criteria for this registration). As of July 1, 2011, at least two (2) years of the required practical experience to obtain a plumbing or fire suppression license must be obtained as a Departmentregistered Journeyman Plumber. One year of experience in NYC is required to obtain a Journeyman registration. Qualifying experience must be specifically Plumbing or Fire Suppression. Plumbing experience cannot be used to qualify for the Journeyman Fire Suppression registration and Fire Suppression experience cannot be used to qualify for the plumbing license. Why is this so important and how could it cause a licensed plumber shortage? To date, very few people have registered as journeymen. This fact will limit the number of persons eligible to take the exam. That could have the potential to further decrease the number of active master plumbers operating within New York City. There is a fee of $50 for the registration. The actual

Master Plumbers Council of the City of New York, Inc.

process to register is relatively easy. Go to www.nyc.gov/ html/dob/downloads/pdf/journeyman_guide.pdf or view it on our website at www.nycmpc.org/journeyman/. To register, applicants simply fill out a form online at: https://a810-efiling.nyc.gov/eRenewal/ JourneymanRegistration. After the form is submitted, applicants will be called for an interview. They will be expected to provide documentation of their work experience. As a licensed master plumber you are obligated to provide a letter and detailed documentation about employment for all current and past employees. The letter must be on your company letterhead, signed and embossed with your license seal. Please note that if any false information is provided you may be subject to the penalties listed in Section 28-401.19 of the Administrative Code. Once an applicant successfully completes the process they will be issued a Journeyman registration card. This registration is NOT A LICENSE and the holder is NOT AUTHORIZED to perform plumbing or fire suppression piping work in New York City except under the direct and continuing supervision of a Licensed Master Plumber/Master Fire Suppression Piping Contractor.

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JOURNEYMAN REGISTRATION COMMENTARY

ased on the previous article, there is a possibility that there could be a short-term drop in the number of active master plumber licenses in NYC. After reading the article some of the older NYC licensed plumbers may even consider postponing their retirement. to take advantage of any perceived plumber shortage. This new procedure could have many unintended consequences. As part of this new process when an applicant for the licensed master plumber test actually applies for the exam, they may have already proved five years of experience through attaining the journeyman registration. If they successfully complete the testing phase of the license process they may only have to prove two additional years’ experience. This leads to the question of how thorough the investigation for the Journeyman registration will be for an applicant’s five years of experience. In past, members of the DOB License Board reviewed the entire work experience for all applications for the plumber’s license. Will the Board now be limited to a two-year evaluation? Should the License Board be included in the Journeyman registration process? Is this mandated by Section 28417.1 of the Code that defines the requirements of the Board? One path for a candidate to qualify for the Journeyman’s registration is through employer affirmation of his time and experience. As an employer you are legally obligated

to maintain payroll records for the job classifications to which that person is employed. The employee should be listed on your workers’ compensation policy and classified under the proper code (5183). If you are requested by a current or former employee to provide a letter, make sure all statements listed are factual. You are obligated to provide them with a letter. It is the employee’s responsibility to fulfill all of the requirements for the registration and the license. They must also keep accurate records and realize they need to be accepted as a registered Journeyman and work for two full years before applying for the exam. They must realize that if they complete an approved apprenticeship program that is less than five-years they may have to work an additional year before qualifying for the Journeyman registration. As an individual you may be happy about the possibility of less competition. As a trade association we tend to worry more about the big picture. In the short-term a few less applicants for the exam should not be an issue. If this is to become a long-term trend it may actually hurt the licensed contractor. As it stands now, the unlicensed and cover-up plumbers account for too great a percentage of the total market share of our work. We worry that any perceived shortage in licensed plumbers will further encourage this illicit activity. This would not be good for anyone.

ISSUES WITH LAA FILINGS As our readers are aware, the NYCMPC DOB committee meets with the DOB on a regular basis to discuss various industry issues. One of the topics that often comes up is the LAA filing process. Our committee is reviewing the complete process including the requirements for ACM investigation and L2 form submissions. During our research we have found that some plumbers may not be complying with all of the required instructions and procedures when submitting these applications. The following is a list of some potential issues: • Installing work that exceeds LAA work scope

• Filing for multiple premises on an electronic LAA

• Not providing equipment specifications

• Submission of incorrect meter/riser information

• Incomplete work scopes listed on the application

• Estimated cost of work is undervalued

• Not providing information on venting of unit

• Electronically filing jobs that have permits in effect

• Testing gas to unregistered equipment

• L/2 Forms not submitted with LAA applications

• Failure to include work detail in restoring gas to a premises Stay tuned for next month’s issue of the Voice where we will discuss these issues and more. Think you may have a problem with one of your jobs? Email laa-pr@buildings.nyc.gov Master Plumbers Council of the City of New York, Inc.

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DEP NEWS

he New York City DEP has produced an informational video on backflow prevention device requirements.  The video is aimed at instructing property owners, managers and business owners on the need for the devices and how they protect the City’s water supply from contamination.   All properties and businesses that have a potential to release contaminated water or chemicals into the City’s water supply must have a device installed on all water service lines serving their properties.  The video was developed in conjunction with the inform NYC Business video series, were produced by NYC Media.

The video can be viewed at this link :

UPCOMING EVENTS: WEDNESDAY, MAY 1

NYCMPC Membership Meeting www.nyc.gov/html/dep/html/ Vetro’s Restaurant & Lounge, businesses/how_to_videos.shtml     Howard Beach 6:30 pm NOTE: Filing of primary backflow devices can be done with an LAA application.The cost of the filing is not counted against the building’s alloted cap for the year. The LAA Unit requires that for jobs over $25,000 you file multiple LAA’s in increments of $25,000 to cover the entire job cost. Failure to file for the true cost of the work can subject the applicant to penalties as listed in Section 28-211.1 of the NYC Administrative code.

Master Plumbers Council of the City of New York, Inc.

TUESDAY, JUNE 4 NYCMPC Annual Meeting Location TBD TUESDAY, JUNE 10 NYCMPC 17th Annual Golf Outing Lake Success Golf Club

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Master Plumbers Council of the City of New York, Inc.

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PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID FLUSHING, NY PERMIT No. 1045

Master Plumbers Council of the City of New York, Inc. 104-09 Metropolitan Avenue Forest Hills, NY 11375 (718) 793-6300

Gregory T. Chillino Attorney at Law

Former Director of Prosecutions and Investigative Attorney for NYC Department of Buildings Administrative Hearings, Licensing Matters and Disciplinary Proceedings, Article 78’s, ECB Violations, Civil Litigation. 315 Madison Avenue Suite 901 New York, NY 10017

646.415.7951 GC@GClicensinglaw.com


The Voice of the Licensed Master Plumber May 2013 Edition