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New city law to affect boiler repairs.

The days of building superintendents and fly-by-night repairmen tinkering with boilers are over. Now, because of a new City law which took effect July 1st, boiler repairs can only be performed by companies with a certified stamp number and certified welders, ensuring the integrity of their work.

"This law will have a dramatic effect on the quality of boiler work in New York City," said Richard Blaser, president of Atlas Welding and Boiler Repair, Inc.

A major component of the regulations (already in place throughout New York State and most of the country) is that all low pressure boiler welding repairs must be performed by certified welders. In New York City, such repairs are also required to have a metal tag attached to the weld. This tag lists the name and certified stamp number of the welder, along with the date of the repair. The certified stamp number comes from what is called an R stamp, which is issued by the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors to each qualified repair company.

Obtaining an R stamp from the Board has never been easy. Currently, there are only 12 repair companies in New York City that have them. To receive an R stamp, a company must prove it has a quality control manual in place that is being enforced. It must also employ certified welders exclusively for boiler repairs. If a certified welder leaves a company to work for a non-certified company, he loses his certification.

While the new law holds insurance companies more accountable, they have traditionally been on-site for many boiler repairs, depending on the nature and complexity of the job.

"We integrate ourselves into the R stamp program," said Dennis Palmer, regional manager of Engineering Services for The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Co., adding that a repair firm is obligated to initiate a relationship with an insurance carrier before an R stamp is obtained. Once the R stamp is in place, the firm must submit to a review by the National Board every three years and an annual audit by an authorized insurance company such as Hartford Steam Boiler.

"You want to make sure whoever is working on your boiler is qualified. Otherwise, the consequences could be severe," Blaser said. "The devastation that can happen when a pressure vessel explodes is incredible."

Building Owners More Accountable

The new law also extends the safety net by holding boiler owners, i.e building owners, and authorized insurance companies more accountable. Under the regulations, the owners are required to file with the Department of Buildings before any repair or replacement work is done on a boiler. Additionally, the boiler must be clearly identified with its Department of Buildings number. Owners must also tell the Department when a new or replacement boiler is purchased and whether they want it to be inspected by an authorized insurance company or the Department.

Insurance Companies to Comply

In order for the Department of Buildings to better track boilers, insurance companies are required to use the boiler number in all correspondence with the Department. The number must also be affixed to the boiler on a non-combustible tag, painted on the wall near the boiler or painted on the boiler in a readable fashion. Insurance companies must notify the Department of Buildings when the owner's address changes and/or when there is a new building owner. If insurance is canceled, the Department must be notified within 30 days and told whether the last inspection of the boiler was satisfactory.

Although the requirements of the law may be new to many companies in the New York area, the law itself is not. The National Board Inspection Code has established rules and regulations for boilers nationwide and many of them, including the State of New York's, have been in place for a number of years. Each city in the state is required to at least adhere to those standards, although major cities are allowed to do their own, more stringent regulations. The New York City regulations follow those of the state.
COPYRIGHT 1996 Hagedorn Publication
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:New York City requires boiler repairs to be undertaken by certified workers
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Oct 23, 1996
Words:676
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