2017 Green Roof Memo in Opposition

Memorandum in Opposition (submitted May 18, 2017)

Re:S5652 /A2843/S5652 (Senator Klein/Assemblyman Dinowitz)

 An Act respecting design, installation and certification of green roofs and providing for a tax credit related thereto

On behalf of the New York State Society of Professional Engineers (NYSSPE), in furtherance of public health, safety and welfare, we are writing in OPPOSITION to the above referenced bill. NYSSPE is a professional trade association representing the interests of its members and more generally the interests of all professional engineers (totaling more than 25,000 licensees in New York State) practicing in all disciplines (civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, geological, environmental, etc.) and practicing in all practice settings (private sector consulting, industry, government, and education).
This legislation raises substantial public safety concerns. If enacted, without clarify amendments, the bill, under specified circumstances, permits building code officials to, inter alia, design, inspect, test and review green roof plans and installations and issue certifications for purposes of permitting the construction and operation of green roofs and qualifying for tax credits.

While there is no dispute that building code officials play an important role in assuring that basic building code requirements are met, building code officials are not design professionals. Building code officials simply are not equipped by virtue of their education or experience to make the determinations needed to insure public health and safety in the circumstances.

NYS Education Law (Title VIII), in authorizing the practice of professional engineering and architecture in relevant part, sets forth strict education, experience and examination requirements pertaining to the design and inspection of buildings and related structures when public safety requires the proper application of scientific data and principles. The incorporation of green roofs in the design and construction of residential and commercial structures addressed in this legislation clearly falls within the definition of the practice professional engineering and architecture. This legislation fails to recognize that it is the role of the professional engineer or architect to insure that the installation of a green roof will not compromise the structural integrity of the building.

Accordingly, the Society urges that this bill be held in the absence of amendments which will insure that the public health and safety concerns raised herein are properly addressed.

Respectfully submitted,

Mark C. Kriss, Esq.
NYSSPE Legislative Counsel

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Note: NYSSPE facilitates posting on this blog, but the views and accounts expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not the views or accounts of NYSSPE, its officers or directors whose views and accounts may or may not be similar or identical. NYSSPE, its officers and directors do not express any opinion regarding any product or service by virtue of reference to such product or service in this blog.

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