NYC DOB Continues DOB NOW Rollout

The Department of Buildings continues to roll out DOB NOW, an interactive, web-based portal that will enable LMFSCs, owners, and other professionals to do all business with DOB online saving time and improving access to information.

Available Now:

  • DOB NOW Public Portal for searching building characteristics and DOB NOW job filings
  • DOB NOW: Safety for Facades for compliance
  • DOB NOW: Build for Plumbing, Sprinklers, and Standpipe job filings

As of January 17th, applicants are able to submit Standpipe job filings in DOB NOW: Build. Later this Spring, supporting document functionality and waiver or deferral requests for supporting documents will be made available in DOB NOW: Build for Standpipe. FAQs are available for more information on DOB NOW: Build for Plumbing, Sprinkler, and Standpipe job filings, and the DOB NOW: Public Portal. Questions or comments can be sent to dobnowsupport@buildings.nyc.gov.


Mechanical Contractors Credit Team Work For Record Drop In Fire Deaths

The following article is courtesy rew-online.com.

2016 was the Big Apple’s safest year in terms of fire fatalities, according to the FDNY.Sprinklers Prevent Fire Deaths

The world’s busiest fire department reported 48 fire-related deaths, the lowest number since the city began recordkeeping in 1916.

It represents a 19 percent decline over the 2015 numbers, and a 17 percent drop from the previous record low of 58 fire-related deaths in 2012. The FDNY also reported a nine percent reduction in “serious fires.”

“We pushed ourselves to save even more lives in 2016 – embarking on a life-saving citywide smoke alarm program that has reached tens of thousands of homes – and we’ve seen the outstanding results with a historic 100-year low for fire fatalities in our city,” said Fire Department of New York Commissioner Daniel Nigro.

“I’m very proud of all our fire and EMS members who worked hard this year to achieve this historic milestone, and – as we enter a new year – we commit again to doing all we can to protect, serve and educate New Yorkers to keep them safe from fire.”

In addition to the significant and commendable work of the FDNY, fire sprinkler systems have also had a tremendous life and property savings impact in New York City. According to the National Fire Protection Association, water-based fire protection systems reduce fire deaths by 82 percent and property damage by 68 percent.

“The co-ordinated efforts among the FDNY, its inspection unit and the unionized fire suppression contracting industry have succeeded in achieving life-saving results,ˮ said Anthony Saporito, executive vice president of Mechanical Contractors Association of New York.

“Aggressive improvements to fire code and public safety laws following the Happy Land Social Club fire in 1990, two deadly high-rise fires in 1998 and the Deutsche Bank fire in 2007 have collectively led to landmark changes which continue to save lives today.”

Passed in 1973, New York City Local Law 5 mandated that all high-rise office buildings in New York City that exceed 100 feet tall have a sprinkler system or pressurized and compartmentalized stairwells.

This legislation followed two fatal 1970 office building fires which resulted in five fatalities and dozens of injuries. That year, the city had 310 fire related deaths. Since then, there has been a gradual and significant 85 percent reduction in fire fatalities leading to this year’s record numbers.

In 1999, Local Law 10 was passed, mandating the installation of fire sprinklers in all newly constructed multifamily dwellings with three or more units.

It also applied to existing buildings undergoing alterations or renovations with costs totaling more than 50% of its value, and established stricter inspection and maintenance standards.

“Sprinklers have repeatedly proved to save lives and reduce property damage, even before the Fire Department arrives on the scene. If trapped in a fire today, a victim has only about three minutes to get out because modern fires grow incredibly toxic and hot in just a matter of minutes,” said Patrick Dolan, Steamfitters Local 638 President.

According to Underwriters Laboratories, fires today are more toxic and burn 800 percent faster because of petroleum-based synthetics in newer furnishings.

This illustrates how important close coordination between New York City property owners, the unionized mechanical contracting industry and the FDNY now more than ever. “The record low number of fire fatalities indicates that New York City has continually worked to improve conditions for every generation. That’s what makes the Big Apple a national leader in fire safety,” said Robert Bartels, Jr., Steamfitters Local 638 Business Agent at Large.


The Nassau County Fire Marshal’s Office Certificate of Fitness Testing

As a reminder, Section of the Nassau County Fire Marshal’s Office requires that all tests shall be performed in the presence of the Fire Marshal by the RME of the firm, however the Nassau County Fire Marshal will allow a Type 1 Certificate of Fitness holder to request permission to be represented by other person familiar with the project, but acceptance of the request is up to the discretion of the individual Fire Marshal witnessing the test. The request must be per job, in writing, identifying the representative he/she requests to be present at the inspection. A ‘blanket’ permission will not be issued, and it will be more difficult to obtain future substitution approvals following an inspection failure. In most cases, the testing should be scheduled for a date and time when the RME is available.

Certificate of Fitness Testing is held on the first Thursday of each month at the Nassau County Public Safety Center located at 1194 Prospect Avenue, Westbury, in room 103 on the first floor.

Download the Certificate of Fitness Testing for 2017 PDF.

The Fire Marshal’s Office does not  have a dedicated telephone line to update contractors on weather conditions that preclude FDC functionality testing. If a contractor believes the weather will present a freezing or safety hazard, they may contact Paul Hartje at (516) 573-9913 to postpone the test to another date.


N.Y. University Hospital Fire Extinguished Via FDNY and Operative Fire Suppression Equipment

NYU Medical CenterNew York, USA (January 5th 2017) FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

From: New York Fire Sprinkler Council, a division of the Mechanical Contractors Association of New York, Inc.

A two-alarm fire requiring over 100 New York City Firefighters erupted through a construction site at a NYU Langone Medical Center building in Manhattan on First Avenue & East 30th St. on Dec. 14. The fire was controlled in under an hour by FDNY Firefighters who were able to tap into the water supply because of a functioning temporary standpipe installed by Sirina Fire Protection Corp., a member of the New York Fire Sprinkler Council.

There were no patients or offices currently located inside what will be dedicated as the Kimmel Pavilion, a new 830,000-square-foot wing set to open in 2018. A video shot from an adjoining building shows how significant the fire was.

Sirina Fire Protection Corp. employs Steamfitters Local 638 union labor, which has been working at the construction site to install the Kimmel Pavilion’s fire suppression system in early stages of construction.

“The standpipe at NYU’s Kimmel Pavilion wing was activated and in working condition, otherwise the consequences could have been fatal for our workers, responding New York City Firefighters, as well as hospital patients and staff in neighboring buildings,” said Dennis Delgandio, Steamfitters Local 638 Foreman for Sirina Fire Protection Corp. at the worksite. “Life-or-death instances such as this are perfect examples of how crucial it is for New York’s construction workforce to be significantly trained when installing life-saving fire equipment.”

Local 638 members complete a five-year apprentice program to learn how to design, install and maintain fire sprinklers, piping, heating and cooling systems for tens of thousands of buildings across New York.

A fatal 2007 Deutsche Bank fire bares similarities to the NYU blaze, and is a reminder of the importance of having a properly installed standpipe. That building was under demolition when it caught fire, and more than 100 firefighters were trapped inside, including two who died of cardiac arrest from smoke inhalation.

At the Deutsche Bank Building, investigators and fire marshals found numerous safety violations, including that the standpipe had been cut, resulting in an inability to deliver water to FDNY members on or near the fire floor. The tragedy resulted in the passing of four new laws in New York City that strengthened requirements for the inspection and maintenance of standpipes and sprinklers in buildings under construction.

“Following the Deutsche Bank Building fire, members of the Mechanical Contractors Association of New York served on a committee to make recommendations that would change the way the city looked at future construction, alterations and demolition sites. Today, the strengthened inspection, testing and maintenance standards can be largely credited for saving lives and reducing property damage, and the NYU Kimmel Pavilion fire is a significant example,” said Tony Saporito, Executive Vice President at the Mechanical Contractors Association of New York.

About the New York Fire Sprinkler Council

The Council is dedicated to educating and informing our New York City and Long Island communities and public officials regarding the vital role fire sprinklers play in protecting lives and property. Our mission is to increase awareness regarding the benefits of installing and maintaining fire sprinkler systems and to promote the fire sprinkler trade as a specialty within the mechanical contracting industry.

Photos courtesy of Twitter users @Caro, @Juggiefresh845 & @GitaMcCheetah 

Media Contact: Butler Associates Public Relations

Tom Butler 646-213-1802 / TButler@ButlerAssociates.com

Kaylyn Alexander 646-213-1366 / KAlexander@ButlerAssociates.com

STORY SOURCE: https://www.prbuzz.com/business-entrepreneur/401111-n-y-university-hospital-fire-extinguished-via-fdny-and-operative-fire-suppression-equipment.html

IMAGE SOURCE: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:NYU_Medical_Center,_entrance.jpg


Standpipe Seminar A Success

On November 14th, the Steamfitting Industry Promotion Fund sponsored a one day seminar on Standpipes at the Chubb Institute. Twenty attendees spent the day learning the ins and outs of standpipes. NFPA 25 and testing of standpipe systems were reviewed. Hands on activities included dry pipe trip testing, and a flow test of standpipe valves as required by NFPA 14 and 25.

Standpipe Seminar Success



DOB NYCPlease be advised that beginning December 5th, all requests for Department of Buildings After-Hours Variances in New York City must be submitted online only. This notice provides more information.

The Department of Buildings has issued a Buildings Bulletin that establishes acceptance criteria for retractable-type horizontal cold aisle containment systems installed in information technology equipment areas. A copy of the Bulletin can be accessed here.

NYC DOB has developed Project Guidelines for Skilled Trades as a collaborative effort between the Department and industry partners for the purpose of highlighting the Construction Codes, Zoning and other regulatory requirements for project planning, execution and completion. The Guidelines provide information on tasks and responsibilities for the compliance of the construction project. While the Guidelines can be used for any stage of the project, it is suggested that using the Guidelines before the start of the project. The Project Guidelines contain general operational, administrative, and technical requirements related to construction project type. Specific and detailed technical aspects of each and every requirement for the design and execution of the proposed work are not included.


Fire Sparks Demand For Sprinklers

Following the September SUNY Purchase Campus fire, there has been an increased focus on college campus housing that lacks fire sprinkler protection. MCA Executive Vice President Anthony Saporito was quoted in a recent Real Estate Weekly article stating, “Laws requiring New York colleges to simply notify students of whether fire sprinklers are installed will not stop an actual fire from happening. It is time for the state to go further and require that all student housing in New York State have fire sprinklers that will protect our young people, who are the next generation being groomed to lead our nation.” The story was also picked up by the New York Real Estate Journal.


John Prodramakis of Evolution Piping, speaking on behalf of the New York Fire Sprinkler Council, interviewed with the MidHudsonNews about the need for fire sprinklers in all college housing. MidHudsonNews is part of the radio broadcast that goes out to about 16 stations in the Hudson Valley and sometimes used by WAMC, which broadcasts many areas upstate. The story aired on, WNKY in Kingston, WHVW in Poughkeepsie, WALL in Middletown (7 transmitters across the Mid-Hudson), WJZZ in Montgomery (with 7 transmitters across the region) and ELV in Poughkeepsie and Ellenville.


Purchase College’s close call: Editorial

A recent editorial in USA Today “Purchase College’s close call: Editorial” shows just how close a call students had at Purchase College when a fire ripped through several buildings. Fire sprinkler systems in college dorms help prevent the loss of life and property. It’s time for New York State to revise its’ campus housing fire sprinkler requirements.

First of all, we are all grateful that everyone is safe and sound. While some Purchase College students lost all their belongings in a fire that ripped through apartment-style dorms at the school, there were no injuries. But  some students lost all of their belongings.

But many questions remain, including: What steps can Purchase and other campuses in the state take to prevent future fire losses?

Classes started Aug. 29 at Purchase College, a SUNY school that’s known for its suburban Westchester campus and arts flair. On Sunday night, a kitchen fire erupted, quickly spread and destroyed two units in The Commons, a residential building also called “The New.”

The apartments on the campus’ K Street don’t have fire sprinklers. According to New York law, the building doesn’t have to. New York began mandating fire suppression sprinklers in 1984, and then only in newly constructed college dormitories; older residential facilities have to add fire sprinklers only if they undergo major renovations approved by the state’s Dormitory Authority.

More than 100 students were evacuated and won’t be able to return to their dorms for at least a week as power is restored. Displaced students are staying with friends on or off campus, or are being put up in nearby hotels, school officials say. But about 20 students lost everything they had brought with them as they settled back into college life; they will have to stay at a nearby hotel for the rest of the year.

New York weighed mandating a sprinkler retrofit following the 2000 fatal fire at a Seton Hall University residence hall in New Jersey. But the state ultimately decided that it would focus on stronger campus fire inspections and education programs. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in a statement just two weeks before the Purchase fire, said: “New York passed legislation that instituted the most vigorous fire inspection program in the country.”

The state added another layer after a 2012 fire at Marist College in Poughkeepsie killed three students — the 2013 Kerry Rose Fire Sprinkler Notification Act requires public and private colleges to at least inform students and their families whether college-owned and operated housing is protected with sprinklers.

Information may be power, but sprinklers are a powerful deterrent to spreading fire.

Retrofitting sprinklers into dorms is costly. Groups like the National Fire Sprinkler Association still encourage it, and have suggested added fees to cover the cost; but many colleges, already under the gun for rising tuition and steep housing costs, have balked. According to 2011 figures from the National Fire Protection Association, 3,780 fires were ignited in dormitories, Greek housing and student barracks. Campus-related fires have led to 170 deaths since 2000.

On Aug. 26, Cuomo’s office announced a series of impending safety visits to public and private universities, led by the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services and Office of Fire Prevention and Control. During the visits, officials would conduct inspections, education programs and training. Purchase, with dorms that earned a D+ on the popular college-rating website Niche, was not on the initial list.

The Purchase community has shown great support for the displaced students, launching a drive to collect sundry needs, from clothing to store gift cards to school supplies. By Sunday afternoon, the Red Room of the school’s Student Services Building was overtaken by piles of clothing and other items. Snack items sat on a table — some even nut-free and gluten-free — as fellow students rushed around, sorting the dropped-off bags and bins. Much more will be needed. Go to purchase.thankyou4caring.org to find out more.

Although Sunday’s fire was no doubt traumatic for many, and could serve as a serious setback for some, the Purchase College community was ultimately lucky. It may be time to revisit ways to get fire suppression sprinklers in New York colleges’ old dorms, too, to ensure future happy endings.


Remembering the Deutsche Bank Fire

In the August issue of Fire Protection Contractor Magazine, MCA Executive Vice President Tony Saporito reflects on the tragic events surrounding the Deutsche Bank Fire ten years ago and the landmark changes made to New York City codes with respect to building construction, demolition, and abatement procedures.


Filing Combination Systems DOB Now

DOB NYCThe DOB NOW Build launch on July 25th will only include sprinkler and plumbing filings, therefore the Department of Buildings offers the following information for the filing of combined systems:

For combined systems, the plumbing and/or sprinkler work type may be filed in DOB NOW and the associated standpipe work type could be filed in BIS. You should note in the comment section on the PW1 (Section 24) that you are filing a plumbing or sprinkler work type as part of DOB NOW. In addition, if you first file in eFiling or in the borough office, you can connect your job in DOB NOW to a recently filed job by entering the associated job number(s) in Section 8 (Additional Information) of the PW1 section in DOB NOW. You can enter up to five job numbers in this section. You may use the same set of plans in DOB NOW that you submit in eFiling or in the borough office. You will need to complete a PW3 for work that is filed in eFiling or in a borough office and a separate PW3 for the plumbing or sprinkler work that is filed in DOB NOW.

The Buildings Department is working to deploy standpipe applications next in DOB NOW. A launch date will be announced shortly.  They are tentatively targeting early fall this year.


New York Fire Sprinkler Council Raises Funds for Burn Victims

The Mechanical Contractors Association of New York (MCA) announced it has raised $34,000 for the New York Firefighters Burn Center Foundation, which provides crucial support for research, education, and prevention, as well as medical care for burn victims.

NYFSC Raises Funds

At its November membership meeting, MCA President Michael Russo, Board member Timothy Bowe, and Steamfitting Industry Promotion Fund Chairman James Botto presented a check to the Foundation on behalf of MCA’s New York Fire Sprinkler Council, which was recently created to further spread awareness of the importance of fire suppression systems in saving lives and protecting property. “The work of the Foundation has significantly improved the lives of bum survivors and we are honored to support their efforts,” said Bowe.

“When you find an organization like the Burn Center Foundation that does such incredible work and is so closely aligned with our industry’s mission„ they become the obvious choice for our Association to give back to,” added Russo.

Fire sprinkler contractors have been raising funds for the Foundation since 2000, and total industry contributions have now reached more than $667,000. The MCA’s Steamfitting Industry Promotion Fund alone has contributed $147,500 over the past 16 years, in addition to annual donations by individual MCA members and suppliers.

The Burn Center Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds and awareness for the advancement of quality burn care, research, prevention, and education. The primary beneficiary of the Foundation is the New YorkPresbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center’s William Randolph Hearst Burn Center, the largest and busiest center of burn care in the nation.

During the MCA meeting, New York Firefighters Burn Center Foundation Board members, firefighter Ralph Longo, and firefighter Andrew Marrotta gave a presentation about the outstanding work performed by both the Foundation and the staff of the William Randolph Hearst Burn Center. Following the presentation, nearly $5,000 additional funds were pledged by industry members in attendance.

Foundation Executive Director Gwen Curran, Associate Professor of Clinical Surgery and Director of the William Randolph Hearst Burn Center Dr. James Gallagher, MD, FACS, Burn Center Patient Care Director Jamie Heifernan, and Research Nurse Angela Rabbit were also on hand to accept the donation.

The New York Fire Sprinkler Council (NYFSC) is a newly created division of the MCA that is dedicated to educating communities and public officials of the vital role of fire sprinklers in protecting lives and property. Its mission is to increase awareness about the lifesaving benefits of fire sprinklers and provide advice to public agencies on technical matters related to the installation, inspection, testing, and maintenance of these The MCA is an organization of the union Mechanical and Fire Sprinkler Contracting industry in New York City and Long Island.

The MCA is designed to promote the welfare and development of the heating, piping, air conditioning, and fire suppression industry. Since 1885, the MCA has provided a place for contractors to come together and assist each other in identifying emerging technologies, addressing labor issues effectively, and improving business practices.