NYSSPE – FALL 2018 Select Legislative and Regulatory Update   

NYSSPE – FALL 2018 Select Legislative and Regulatory Update       

Parking Garage Inspections
NYSSPE commends the NYS Department of State and NYS Code Council for final adoption of regulations which are aimed at assuring public safety by requiring periodic inspections of public garages to be conducted by qualified professional engineers.  The new rule (Parts 1202, 1203, and 1204 of Title 19 of the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations) found at: https://www.dos.ny.gov/dcea/noticadopt.html has an effective date of August 29, 2018.  Inspections are required to be undertaken at least once every three years by properly credential professional engineers.  The Society had initially sought passage of legislation to address the absence of mandatory garage inspections in 2016 and thereafter worked with the Department of State and the Code Council to secure this important public safety measure.

Indemnification
Legislation addressing the issue of design professional contractual indemnification on public sector projects (state and local) was a top priority for the Society in 2018.  Unfortunately, after securing near unanimous passage the legislation (A8293-A Morelle / S6622-A Senator Ranzenhofer – 2018) in both houses of the legislature, Governor Cuomo veto the measure due to strong opposition from state agencies and local governments.  The legislation addresses public sector contracts wherein municipalities, state agencies and other governmental entities have inordinate leverage over the terms of indemnification.  Presently, governmental entities can and do unfairly shift the burden to design consulting firms for the cost of future contingent events such as property damage, personal injury and attorneys’ fees with liability arising solely from the terms of the contract and not wrongdoing on the part of the designer.  In many instances design professionals are unable to secure insurance to cover the scope of claims these provisions can generate.   The bill addressed indemnification inequity by voiding contractual provisions requiring defense and indemnification involving a public work to the extent that a design professional is required to defend and indemnify a municipality, state agency, and other governmental entity or other parties for damages that are not the result of the negligence, recklessness, or willful misconduct of the design professional.  Responsibility for loses related to the actions or failures of other parties that are unrelated to the design professional services rightfully rest with the at-fault party or parties.  Design professions simply should not be compelled to provide indemnification for such conduct.

Notwithstanding the design community’s efforts Governor Cuomo vetoed the bill on the ground that the statute would have unnecessarily restricted state and local government’s bargaining power and lead to potential higher costs to governmental units. Both the New York State Conference of Mayors and the New York State Association of Counties along with the general contractors opposed the legislation.  NYSSPE remains committed to adoption of remedial legislation in this area over the long term.  Similar laws are in place in more than 20 sister states.

In the interim the Governor directed that state agencies review current indemnification requirement with a view toward ameliorating the terms of indemnification where gaps in insurance coverages are found.  The Society will be working to insure that our voice is heard on the agency level.

Bachelors’ DegreeProfessional Engineering
 Both houses of the NYS legislature have passed legislation in previous sessions which would for the first time in New York required an applicant for a PE license to have post secondary education consisting of a bachelor’s degree or higher in engineering.  Unfortunately, the Society has not succeeded in passing the bill in both houses in the same year.  We are optimistic that 2019 may provide an opportunity to secure passage in the same year.    [Read more…]

Legislative Update: Indemnification Passed in Assembly

A.8293A /S.6622A INDEMNIFICATION

A.8293A /S.6622A yesterday passed the Assembly, giving it two-house passage. The bill, which passed the Senate last week, protects design professionals from broad form indemnity demands in public works contracts on both the state and local levels.  These indemnity provisions shift responsibility for damages from the government or third parties (who were at fault) to PEs and other design professionals.  In short, when something goes wrong on a project, though no fault of the design professional, the law should not permit contract terms to shift responsibility to the design professional or the professional design firm. This is precisely what this legislation prohibits.

To read NYSSPE’s entire memorandum in support CLICK HERE.

We extend a huge thank you to our members who have reached out to their legislators on this priority issue.  We would further like to thank other design professional organizations which have joined in the effort.  Governor Cuomo’s approval of this measure, now the focus of our attention, is the next step needed to put this law in place.

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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.

Legislative News: Suffolk Septic System Update

Mark Kriss, Esq, NYSSPE’s Legislative Counsel updated NYSSPE members at the Annual Conference meeting this past weekend on the Suffolk Septic System Plan.  He reported that currently we are hopeful that the bill will not be passed in the Assembly, which along with the Senate is expected to recess this week and not return until after the November 2018 elections.  All 213 state senators and members of the assembly, along with the Governor, are up for election and are focused on campaigning.

Currently the Suffolk County Division of Health Services (SCDHS) requires that a septic system for single family homes be designed by a design professional.  According to SCDHS protocols both a standard septic system and an Innovative/Alternative (IA) system, referred to as “nitrogen-reducing sewage disposal system” in the legislation must be designed by a “design professional”.

For standard septic systems, the SCDHS presently accepts plans prepared by a professional engineer or a land surveyor.  It is asserted by SCDHS that the county accepts plans from a land surveyor because in the County’s view the design of these systems is prescriptive based on their standards and requires little or no engineering.  In contrast, for an I/A system, the SCDHS requires plans to be prepared by a design professional (PE or RA).  The agency also require that the engineers be certified by the manufacturers of the system they are specifying so they understand the process design and installation requirements of the systems.   [Read more…]

Legislative Update: Procurement Guide

From Mark Kriss, Esq, NYSSPE Legislative Counsel:   The Society has been working collaborative with all of the other design professional organizations (AIA, ACEC etc.) to jointly lobby for legislation to address overreach by state and local governmental entities in the nature of mandatory indemnification clauses in design service contracts as a top priority.  We have also been focused on advocating for quality assurance safeguards in all design build contracts as the State’s 2018-2019 Budget negotiations move toward closure.

Read here: 2018 Plain Language Guide to Procurement Lobbying 

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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.

 

NYSSPE Official Ballot Results 2018-2020

The New York State Society of Professional Engineers is proud to announce the results of the Official Ballot for 2018-2020.  The following members were duly elected and will be installed in June 2018 for their terms, which will begin in July of this year. Joe Pasaturo, PE will serve as the NYSSPE 2020-2022 President.

OFFICERS
President-Elect : Joe Pasaturo, PE
Treasurer: Andrew Yarmus, PE
Assistant Treasurer: John Sucharski, PE

New York, Vice President: Rudi Sherbanksy, PE
Northeast, Vice President: Ernest Gailor, PE
Western, Vice President: William Klepser, PE

ELECTION OF AUDITORS
DeChants, Fuglein & Johnson, LLP

NOMINATING COMMITTEE CHAIR
Laura Pellizzi, PE

DELEGATES
Long Island Region Delegate
Jaclyn Peranteau, PE

Western Region Delegate
Ed Szpala, PE

New York City Region Delegate
Al Brand, PE

Northeast Region Delegate
Steve Moore, PE

The following positions were not up for election in this election cycle and the following incumbents will be re-installed into their current positions:
President- James Kuhn, PE

Immediate Past President
Laura Pellizzi, PE

Long Island, Vice President: David Macedonio, PE
Mid-Hudson, Vice President:
Andrew Yarmus, PE
Central NY, Vice President:
Peter Lautensack, PE

PEC Chair 
Richard “Rick” Miller, PE

PEPP Chair
Thomas J. Petracca, PE

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.

ICC April Government Relations Update

You can make the 2018 Building Safety Month a huge hit in your jurisdiction with a proclamation.  Scheduling a signing event with a mayor, a city council or a county commission is fairly simple. Just download a 2018 Building Safety Month proclamation (for free), and edit it with the name of the signer and the jurisdiction involved. Then, make the arrangement for a presentation on Building Safety Month, show this video and end it with the proclamation signing. For your office, you can also download (for free) the official 2018 Building Safety Month poster which you can copy and tape throughout the office. If you’d like to make a presentation to schools, you can download (for free) the official Building Safety Month Activity Book for Kids and hand them out. The activity book features color pages, crossword puzzle, word search, junior code official certificate and more.  Great to hand out from the building department counter or at school assemblies. For just $8, you can order a roll of 100 Junior ICC Building Safety Inspector badges. There are even two (free) downloads on how to conduct Building Safety Month events! Need a handout? Download the (free) Building Safety Month information brochure. There are other items for free or for purchase to help celebrate Building Safety Month in May and to raise the profile of code officials and the great service they provide to communities. Here’s the link.

Click here for the full ICC Report

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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.

 

 

Is PE Licensure Under Attack?

National Occupational Deregulation Trend Makes PEs a Target

Over the last few years, there has been a growing movement by some governors and legislators to target the regulation of occupations and professions under the guise of cutting government interference and boosting state economies. On January 10, NSPE Executive Director Mark Golden, NCEES CEO Jerry Carter, and Arizona Board of Technical Registration Executive Director Melissa Cornelius participated in a free webinar to discuss what appears to be a concerted national effort to undermine occupational licensure and how that effort is affecting professional engineering licensure. This national trend was highlighted in the “A Rising Threat Level” feature article in the January/February issue of PE.

In partnership with state societies, NSPE is actively monitoring and responding to those threats whenever and wherever they arise. So far, NSPE has mapped out 26 states where similar legislation, regulations, or executive orders have been introduced, signed, and/or passed. Although much of the legislation does not specifically target professional engineers, by opposing occupational licensure in general, the broad attacks sow confusion about the importance of engineering licensure and its role in protecting the public. [Read more…]

NYC DOB Invites NYSSPE to Industry Meeting to for DOB Progress Report Presentation

The office of New York City Department of Buildings (NYC DOB) Commissioner Rick Chandler, PE invited the New York State Society of Professional Engineers (NYSSPE) to attend an industry meeting held on Tuesday October 31st, 2017 which was intended to provide a presentation of DOB’s Progress Report highlighting their new online platform DOB NOW that continues to be improved.  Attending the meeting on behalf of NYSSPE were Anthony Fasano PE, Executive Director, Joseph Pasaturo PE, Treasurer, and Rudi O. Sherbansky PE, NYC Regional Vice President.

During the meeting, Mr. Chandler discussed the DOB’s improvements made in reducing the time for DOB to accept development filing (first response) and perform required DOB inspections throughout the City.  The slide presentation by Mr. Chandler showing DOB’s progress report will be available online on DOB’s websites within the next few weeks.

The presentation included statistical charts showing that the average time for a DOB plan examiner to respond with comments/objections to a New Building or Alt Type 1 filing was reduced from 11 days in 2015 to just 5.2 days in 2017.   Alt Type 3 average response time was reduced to about 1 day.  There were no statistics available regarding the total time it takes from initial filing to obtaining final plan approvals.

DOB Boiler inspections average response time in 2017 was about 3.1 days, Construction inspections average response time 2.3 days, cranes 2.2 days, electrical inspections 5.4 days, elevators 2 days, and plumbing 3.4 days.    DOB Complaints response time was about 0.4 days for an A-Type complaint (hazardous) and 19 days for B-Type Complaint (administrative complaints, e.g. work w/out work permit).  There were no statistics available regarding response time for Stop Work Orders and Site Safety Reviews.

The Presentation included an update on DOB Now filing system.  DOB Now is accepting filing of required self-inspection reports for plumbing, elevator, cranes, facades, emergency response and boilers (among others).  In 2017, about 10,000 boiler inspection reports and 6,000 facade inspection reports were filed through DOB Now.    Additionally, DOB Now is accepting filing of plan applications for plumbing, standpipes, antennas, curb cuts, sheds, fences, scaffolds and signs.    In or about December 2017, DOB Now will start accepting the filing of electrical and elevator work online.

[Read more…]

NYSSPE Holds Fourth Annual New York City Design Professionals Day

About 4 years ago, at the New York Society of Professional Engineers (NYSSPE), we decided that we needed to create a way for New York City design professionals to interact with the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB).   A way that would help these professionals stay up to date on the latest codes, and also meet and ask questions of DOB officials including Commissioner Rick Chandler, P.E.

Four years later, we just held our fourth annual Design Professionals Day and over 100 design professionals packed the room to learn and network. Topics presented included:

Chapter 17: Special Inspections by D. Eric Hoyt, PE;
Alterations in NYC: Common Pre-Construction, Construction & Inspection Issues by Matthew Millner, PE, LEED AP BD+C
Flood Protection & NYC Gas Work by Robert Holub and Joseph Ackroyd
Forensic Engineering: Existing Buildings, Alterations and New Construction by Anthony DeVito, PE & Yegal Shamash, PE

Commissioner Chandler also spoke for the fourth straight year at the event. The Commissioner focused his remarks on the importance of safety on construction sites. He mentioned legislation passed recently by the City Council mandating safety training for everyone who steps foot on a construction site. This is a message that we all need to hear repeatedly.

All of the technical presentations were very engaging, evidenced by the large number of comments and questions after each one of them. Once again this event achieved it’s goal of connecting design professionals with city officials to help both parties be able to do their jobs better. [Read more…]

NYSSPE Co-signs Letter to The Department of Buildings (DOB) with Respect to Proposed Fee Increases

The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) is proposing to add fees for variation of the Construction Codes, the 1968 or prior Building Code, or section 277.16 of the New York State Multiple Dwelling Law (MDL) for Article 7B buildings; predetermination requests with respect to the Zoning Resolution, Construction Codes or 1968 or prior Building Code; and appeals of objections that were affirmed (click here for information).

The New York State Society of Professional Engineers (NYSSPE) is in opposition of the proposed fee increases and recently co-signed a letter with several other organizations in an effort to meet and discuss our view with the DOB.  These other organizations include: The American Institute of Architects (AIA), Society of American Registered Architects NY (SARA), Architects Council of New York City, Inc., and the American Council of Engineering Companies of New York (ACEC).

Click here to read the letter. [Read more…]