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The

Voice

of the Licensed Master Plumber

Vol. 13, Issue 1 Winter 2013 In this Edition: Illegal Plumbing - Part 3 Pipe Lining Making a Comeback? OP-128 Reminders DOB Rapid Repair

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

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Illegal Plumbing - Part 3

n the last edition of The VOICE of the Licensed Master Plumber we presented the second installment of our three part series on illegal plumbing activities in New York City. In this issue we will complete the series with a segment on how legitimate plumbers need to stay within the law, what happens to code violators and why illegal plumbing is so prevalent.

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How to stay within the law

icensed plumbers should be aware of the requirements of their license to avoid any violation of the Administrative Code. Providing great customer service is one of the most important goals of the New York City Department of Buildings (“DOB”). They expect their staff to provide you with a professional environment but it requires your cooperation as well. They expect licensed plumbers to follow professional standards and all regulations. If you do not conduct yourself in a professional manner the Buildings Special Investigative Unit (“BSIU”) may be notified and they could prepare an official warning regarding your inappropriate conduct. BSIU will maintain a record of any reported incidents and any additional reports could subject you to disciplinary proceedings.

Some of the sections of the code that plumbers run afoul of are: 28-401.18 NYC location required. “…established place of business with an address within the city of New York at which such person can be contacted by mail, telephone or other modes of communication…” The licensing division responds to complaints from associations such as the Master Plumbers Council which provides them with a list of plumbers whose actual business address does not match the address listed on Buildings Information System

(“BIS”). Violation of this provision could cause the LMP to be subject to anything from a warning to a violation and requirement to sign a stipulation.

28-401.10 issuance of License, plate and /or seal. The license, seal and/or plate are the property of the DOB and are not transferable. DO NOT duplicate your license, plate or seal for any reason. The loss of any of the above must be reported to the department within five business days. You may be required to provide a police report for the lost or stolen items.

28-408.6(4) Direct Employ. The persons actually performing the work are in the direct employ of such master plumber business. Plumbers can not sub-out any portions of the plumbing work to non-employees. This includes persons with special skill sets such as welding or medical gas brazing. An individual is in the direct employ of a licensee or business when such individual is on the payroll of such licensee or business and under the usual common law rules applicable in determining the employer-employee relationship has the status of an employee… Important Note: Employees cannot be paid as subcontractors.

28-408.6.2 Identification. This is the section of the code that is most commonly violated. This section pertains to all business vehicles, advertising, websites and stationary used in connection with the master plumber business. Plumbers should read continued on page 4 and understand this section.

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

* (718) 793-6300


A Message from the President of the Master Plumbers Council Dear fellow Licensed Master Plumbers: As the newly elected President of the Master Plumbers Council, I would like to thank all for your vote of confidence, but mostly, I would like to thank my Executive Board, Board Members and Chapter Chairmen for the hard work and time they committed to put in, for the betterment of our industry. We all need to take a moment to reflect on the two major catastrophes we have endured during the past few months; the hurricane, which ripped through the East Coast, the aftermath which we are still dealing with today, and the horrific tragedy taking the lives of 26 people in Newtown, CT, twenty (20) of which were young children. Let us all take a moment to pray and reflect. Let us hope all those, who suffered through these events, find peace with our support. On a business note, this is an exciting time in our industry. We have seen a major influx of work throughout the city and surrounding areas. Our members and all licensed plumbers have seen opportunities that we have not experienced in the recent past. With the new business, expect new problems. You can all rest assure that the Master Plumbers Council will work diligently to help make all of the licensed master plumbers’ concerns less. We have committed ourselves to become more involved on the political front, with the hiring of our lobbyist, Mr. Arthur Goldstein. With his guidance, we have seen many new venues to help our industry. As I said, this is going to be an exciting time for the Master Plumber in NYC and I am proud and happy to help lead our organization with the support of all our members to make the future bright for all. 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, is published 10 times per year. 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 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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DEP and American Water Resources Offer Homeowner Service Line Protection Programs

n January 10, 2013, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) and American Water Resources announced the launch of 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. American Water Resources has been providing similar service for many years in other parts of the state. Part of the program implementation was to send a mailing to all eligible customers. A copy of the terms of agreement and frequently asked questions are available on our website at the following link: http://www.nycmpc.org/dep-faq/ Prior to release of this issue, the Comptroller of the City of New York, John C. Liu, has determined that work performed under this contract is subject to New York State Labor Law §220. That determination should require all licensed plumbers that participate in this

program to pay prevailing wages for all applicable trades and be subject to a payroll reporting system. The exact classifications and wage rates have yet to be determined. We would suggest that plumbers entering into any agreements to do this work ensure that they are in compliance with all city and state requirements.

FAQ http://www.awrusa.com/american-water-resources/awr/ page19280.html

Water service agreement http://www.awrusa.com/files/AWR%20NYCDEP%20 WLPP%201212_122712_letter.pdf

Sewer service agreement http://www.awrusa.com/files/AWR%20NYCDEP%20 SLPP%201212_122712_letter.pdf

Casella & Casella, LLP 1200 South Avenue, Suite 201 Staten Island, New York 10314 www.CasellaAndCasellaLaw.com

Ralph P. Casella, Esq. has been representing plumbers since 1971 in the following: Applications for Licensing, Buildings Department and OATH Investigations, Disciplinary Matters, Challenging License Application Denials in Court, Appeals, and Appearances before Licensing Board. Ralph P. Casella is the former attorney for the Richmond County Plumbing Contractor’s Association, Plumbers Union Local 371; Plumbers Union Local 1, Brooklyn and Queens; Plumbers Union Local 1 for the City of New York.

Contact Ralph Casella at (718) 979-1137 “Ralph Casella is the most knowledgeable attorney I’ve met regarding the plumbing industry, licensing, disciplinary matters and general plumbing business practices” Emmanuel A. Troise, Jr. Master Plumbers Council of the City of New York, Inc.

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Illegal Plumbing - Part 3. Continued All business vehicles, advertising, websites and stationery used in conjunction with a master plumbers business shall display prominently the full name of the licensee, the words “N.Y.C licensed plumber” the licensee’s number and the licensee’s business address. Violations of this provision can cause the LMP to be subject to anything from a warning to a violation and requirement to sign a stipulation.

28-408.6.5 Joint Ventures. Licensed plumbers are not permitted to legally subcontract work to another licensed plumber when that work requires permitting under the administrative code. Plumbers can work together under a joint venture and must obtain permission PRIOR to issuance of the work permit. The DOB will review the request and, if granted, the joint venture can move forward. Once a joint venture is in place either plumber may conduct the inspections for the work. Violations of this provision can cause the LMP to be subject to a work without a permit violation.

Article 213 Work without a Permit: 28-213.1 In addition to any penalties otherwise authorized by law pursuant to Article 202 and the rules of the department, whenever any work for which a permit is required pursuant to the code has been performed without a permit, a penalty shall be imposed by the department as provided in this article. If you are caught doing work that requires a permit and no permit is in effect, you will be issued a violation for that work. The violations will be issued in your personal name and will be both DOB and ECB violations. Please pay special attention to work defined as ordinary repairs under section 28-105.4.4 (Ordinary plumbing work is work that does not require a permit). If a plumber exceeds the defined work scope they may be subject to a “work without a permit” fine.

SPECIAL NOTE: All too often a licensed plumber

receives a call to file for work that has already been completed. It is a violation of the code to file for a “new” installation when the work is already completed. If you are caught you can receive a minimum of a “work without a permit” violation and could be referred to BSIU for further investigation. The same holds true for a registered Architect or Engineer who may have filed for a project that is already completed. The proper way to file for work that has already been completed is to file the project as legalization.

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

Article 211 False Statements: 28-211.1 False statements in certificates, forms, written statements, applications, reports or certificates of correction. It shall be unlawful for any person to make a materials false statement in any certificate, professional certification, form, signed statement, application, report or certification of the correction of a violation required under the provisions of the code or any rule of any agency promulgated thereunder that such person knew or should have known to be false. Under 28-201.2.1.2 any violation of 28-211.1 (False Statement) shall be classified as an immediately hazardous violation. Violations of this provision can cause the licensed plumber to be subject to a “work without a permit” violation. Under 28-401.19 the commissioner shall have the right to suspend or revoke a license or certificate for making a false statement.

What happens to code violators?

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epending on what type of violation occurred several things can happen. If someone without a plumbing license advertises plumbing work or installs plumbing work without a license, then Investigation, Audits & Discipline (“IAD”) would be the investigative branch that handles the case. IAD has the power to issue ECB violations for both of these types of violations. If during the course of an investigation IAD finds a person without a license being covered by a licensed plumber they would refer that case to BSIU. After the cases are prosecuted the guilty parties are listed on the DOB website. The official list of violators can be found at: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dob/html/safety/ulelpl.shtml. It is disappointing to find that when unlicensed individuals are fined for being unlicensed the fines are mitigated below the code mandated amount of $2,500.00. Very few individuals are fined for illegal advertising and when they are the fine can be as little as $800.00. Licensed master plumbers who do not follow code section 28-408.6.2 can be fined as much as $1,500 and be asked to sign stipulations. Cover-up plumbers are investigated and disciplined by BSIU, and sometimes may also be investigated by DOI and prosecuted by the NYC District Attorney’s office. BSIU has been instrumental in making many cases The Voice of the Licensed Master Plumber

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Illegal Plumbing - Part 3. Continued against cover-up plumbers. They work closely with the industry in an attempt to identify and prosecute licensed plumbers who violate the code. BSIU receives tips from plumbers and associations. One of the biggest problems BSIU faces is to convince a judge to revoke a plumber’s license even when there is overwhelming evidence. Unfortunately even the good guys sometimes run afoul of the code. When that happens, beside the embarrassment, you may have to face a BSIU investigation. If that happens we recommend that you do so only with competent legal representation. By now everyone reading this has already checked their office, trucks, websites and business cards for proper verbiage. If your stationery or offices are not in compliance and you are investigated you may be issued a warning letter or given a fine. In the past licensed plumbers were generally brought before the Master Plumbers and Licensed Fire Suppression Contractor Board. This is a Board of their peers that was assembled to assist the DOB in their investigation of illegal practices and general misconduct. Unfortunately the role of this board has been relegated to the role of investigating potential licensees only. This topic will be the subject of a future article. The official list of plumbers who have been disciplined can be found at: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dob/html/safety/lplum.shtml. If through an oversight you are issued a work without a permit you need to know that prior to going to court you must pay the DOB fine, obtain a permit and file a certificate of correction for the work. Future articles will delve further into this topic. We provided this section on code violations for a reason. We cannot overemphasize how important it is for every licensed plumber to carefully read all documents you sign and present to the DOB. Every LAA, OP-128, OP98’s, etc. all contain statements that by signing you agree to abide by or certify that they are true.

Why is unlicensed and cover-up work so prevalent?

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s you read on you are probably thinking of how unfair it is that you have to be subject to all of the rules and regulations of the Code while your business is slowly being decimated by illegal contractors who operate seemingly with impunity. When asked,

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

some plumbers will say that unlicensed/cover-up work appears to be so prevalent because the code provisions that prohibit these activities are not being enforced. The more cynical among us say this perceived lack of enforcement has eroded the Department of Buildings’ ability to function in its chief role as a Code enforcement agency. The more we look in to these activities the more we ask why: • Why can cover-up plumbers operate with little or no risk of having their licenses revoked? • Why can building owners allow their employees to do repair work in their buildings without having the proper qualifications or insurances as required by the code? • Why can a plumber “front” a business that he has no financial interest in and often does not work not work in? • Why can unlicensed plumbers operate businesses and have less exposure to the DOB than a legitimate business? • Why can’t more be done to stop this? This series on unlicensed and cover-up plumbing was written to bring attention to the single biggest threat to our existence. As plumbers we share a common bond in that we all obtained our licenses after years of apprenticeship and personal sacrifice. We spent thousands of dollars and spent time away from our families studying and practicing for our exam. We passed both a written and practical test. We all were investigated and subject to going into the licensing division for the first time to receive our certificate and plates. At this point many of us took the leap and crossed over from being plumbers to being businessmen. As such we are required to follow a strict code of conduct and exhibit professionalism every day. We should expect the same of the agencies that regulate us. More than expect it, we should demand it, and the sooner we do the sooner this menace can be stopped. To view the complete article and some additional reports dating back over seventeen years please visit our website at the following link: www.nycmpc.org/illegal-plumbing. While you’re there please consider joining our association. Our members are on the front lines of the fight to save our industry. The Voice of the Licensed Master Plumber

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Department of Buildings Updates: OP-128 Reminders

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any licensed plumbers who replaced boilers damaged during Hurricane Sandy utilized the OP-128 report form to comply with the administrative code requirements. The complete requirements for utilizing the OP-128 can be found in section 28-105.44. Key points licensed plumbers need to remember when using an OP-128 are as follows: • For fewer than six families replacement of gas-fired boilers with a capacity of less than 350 cfh. • For fewer than six families replacement of gas-fired hot water heater with a capacity of less than 350 cfh. • Certify the chimney is in good condition as per FGC 503.5.6

• Certify the gas cock was not replaced and no gas piping was replaced or installed.

Let us know what you think

• File the report by the 15th day of At this time the administrative code is the month after the month which being updated and amended. the work was completed. Do you think that the OP-128 should • Filing of the report does not be amended, expanded or changed in relieve the applicant of the any way? obligation to comply with the NYC DEP with regards to For example: The plumbing code asbestos abatement and Article does not require a report or permit 106 of the Administrative Code. for the replacement of a gas stove under any occupancy category. There • Filing this report with false is no published rule stating that only information subjects the LMP a licensed master plumber can replace to penalties as outlined in 28a stove. Why potentially risk public 201.2.1.2 and 28.211.1 safety when a subtle change to mandate reporting of a stove installation would Important Note: Licensed master be so easy? plumbers who file the form where work exceeds what is allowed by This is just one example of some Code can be subject to a work possible changes that can be made to without a permit violation. The improve the OP-128. OP-128 is considered a report and not defined as a permit under the We want to hear from you, let us Administrative Code. know what you think. Contact us at op128@nycmpc.org

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Con Edison Updates You are invited to attend: Con Edson Energy Services Forum

n February 27, 2013, the Masters Plumbers Council Utility Committee met with Con Edison staff at their learning center in Long Island City.

Wednesday April 03, 2013, from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm The Learning Center

4382 Vernon Blvd, long Island City, NY 11101 Con Edison and the industry meet regularly to discuss new policies RSVP to Khanomf@coned.com and procedures that Con Edison Discussion will include: may be implementing. They also • GPS Photo sleeve inspection discuss issues that are important • Gas trouble self-service certification to the industry such as consistent • Large district process update application of all of those policies and • Questions and answers procedures. We will provide a complete report in the next addition of the Voice. In the interim you can check for updates on our website at: www.nycmpc.org Master Plumbers Council of the City of New York, Inc.

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

The Voice of the Licensed Master Plumber

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Is Pipe Lining Making a Comeback?

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t a previous DOB Plumbing Sub-Operations committee meeting there was a presentation by Alan Price from OTCR. Mr. Price’s presentation touted the benefits of utilizing epoxy liners in drainage and potable water systems. This was not the first time such a presentation had been made at an Operations meeting. To be honest most of the members of the committee were taken back since the Department after extensive research had issued BUILDINGS BULLETIN 2011-022 (www.nycmpc.org/b-2011-022) on November 10, 2011, stating the use of these products was not acceptable in NYC. Part of the bulletin stated the following: Uses: The Office of Technical Certification and Research has reviewed the use of CIPP or epoxy spray lining for the repair of water supply and distribution systems, sanitary drainage systems, and storm drainage systems and has concluded that such use of pipe lining repair is not considered equivalent in quality, strength, effectiveness and durability pursuant to section AC 28-113.2.2, and

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

therefore, pipe lining repair for any of the above systems shall not be permitted in New York City. When questioned why the DOB was suddenly changing their longstanding position on this non-code-compliant practice they offered that the main reason the bulletin was initially presented was that the NYC DEP had originally objected to the use of this product but had since reversed that position. The members present took issue with this answer on two points. First, no written documentation had been provided by the DEP that they had in fact reversed their opposition to this non-code-compliant product. Secondly, the DEP rules and regulations only pertain to sewers and water mains as defined by Code. For water services that includes up to the meter outlet control valve for water services and for sewers up until the connection with the building house drain. The NYC Plumbing Code governs all plumbing work installed within the buildings and within the property line. DEP jurisdiction within existing buildings is generally limited to grease trap

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Department of Buildings Rapid Repairs vs. Hurricane Sandy installations. During the meeting it was disclosed that several projects have been completed within the city and they have been reported to the DOB. To date the DOB has not taken any action against the Code violators. In addition to having non-code-compliant materials inserted into the existing piping systems, these projects have not had any plumbing permits pulled even though the basin traps and basin supply valves were allegedly changed. There will be another presentation of this system at a future sub-operations meeting. We at the MPC welcome new technologies that will lower costs for consumers providing the new process is considered equivalent in quality, strength, effectiveness and durability to the material or methods being replaced. Once these requirements are demonstrated we would gladly consider accepting theses new materials or processes. Until that time we would expect the DOB will carry out their mission statement of …“ensuring the safe and lawful use of buildings and properties by enforcing the Building Code and the Zoning Resolution. We facilitate compliant development with integrity, efficiency and professionalism.”

Rapid Repairs Program

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ince early November of 2012 licensed master plumbers have been working to restore heat and hot water to city residents affected by Super Storm Sandy. In response to the crisis, Mayor Bloomberg issued several executive orders and created the Rapid Repairs Program. We applaud the mayor for taking the initiative and starting this program. To date many thousands of jobs have been completed.

In order to participate in this program a licensed plumber must have been signed with one of the general contractors that were contracted through the mayor’s office. There have been some rumors with regards to unlicensed plumbers potentially doing some of the work. Since this was a prevailing wage program with certified payrolls, we are confident that upon audit any cover-up plumbers will be identified and properly disciplined. Other potential issues related to whether oil to gas conversions and direct vent equipment were to be allowed as well as deviance from ACM investigation procedures. This project is for the most part being operated outside of the purview of the DOB and we assume all of these details have been worked out. We would remind licensed plumbers that unless they receive official (DOB) authority to deviate from any code requirements they could potentially be held accountable for any non- code compliance issues at a later date. Please visit our website to review published documents that referenced this program.

Hurricane Sandy Rules

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n response to the crisis, Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner LiMandri issued several service bulletins and executive orders that provided for this work to be fee exempt and to waive any penalties that may have prevented a plumber from obtaining a permit. When the program first started

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

in early November plumbers were instructed to utilize the emergency work procedure already in place to restore gas and or replace existing equipment. Other than being fee exempt plumbers were mandated to follow all of the regular codes and procedures governing this work. All emergency work was required to be completed as per 28-105.4.1 All work was required to comply with Article 106 (Asbestos Investigation) Where applicable equipment was to be replaced as per 28-105.4.4 (Ordinary plumbing work) Where equipment and piping were replaced plumber to follow the requirements of 28-105.2 Oil to gas conversions were not fee exempt and required all inspections. Direct vent equipment must follow 1RCNY $101-02 (see website for full details) When this disaster occurred plumbers responded immediately and started the process of restoring gas, heat and hot water to city residents. In the early stages of the crisis, city officials urged plumbers to “get it done” and rules and parameters were somewhat unclear. Since that time, updated service bulletins and notices have been published. As a licensed plumber you are required to follow them. Some of this work may eventually be audited by the DOB enforcement division. Hopefully if they find work that is not in compliance they will issue a warning notice and provide plumbers with the opportunity to comply. If you have done work that you think may not be in compliance we suggest you make the required corrections immediately. Please visit our website to review published documents that referenced the Hurricane Sandy procedures. The Voice of the Licensed Master Plumber

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Upcoming Events: City mandated continuing edustion for 3-year renewal of all Licensed Master Plumbers and/or Licesned Fire Suppression Piping Contractor licenses within NYC. Date:

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Time:

7:30 AM - 8:30 AM: Registration & Breakfast 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM: Program (Lunch will be served)

Place:

LaGuardia Marriott Hotel 102-05 Ditmars Blvd, East Elmhurst, NY (Across from the airport/free parking)

Cost:

$225

Advanced registration required: www.nyconstructiontrades.org

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

Tuesday, April 9 NYCMPC Membership Meeting Cascarino’s, College Point 6:30 pm Wednesday, May 1 NYCMPC Membership Meeting Vetro’s Restaurant & Lounge, Howard Beach 6:30 pm Tuesday, June 4 MPC Annual Meeting Location TBD

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

The Voice of the Licensed Master Plumber

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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 Winter 2013 Edition  

VOL. 13, Issue 1. Winter 2013 Edition of the Voice of the LIcensed Master Plumber, a newsletter publication of the Master Plumbers Council o...

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