Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/10/1995 03:10 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 HB 224 - STATE PLUMBING CODE                                                
 CHAIRMAN PETE KOTT went on to say HB 224 had previously been                  
 passed out of committee; however, the committee had rescinded the             
 previous action.                                                              
 CHAIRMAN KOTT explained that problems were brought to the                    
 committee's attention after the bill passed from committee.  The              
 bill was given back to the subcommittee chair, and he remedied                
 the problems and was prepared to give the committee an updated                
 Number 059                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE NORMAN ROKEBERG explained to the committee that                
 the new changes dealt with Section 4.  The subcommittee                       
 previously recommended to the full committee to allow the single              
 wall heat exchangers without a sunset provision as an exception               
 to the Universal Plumbing Code (UPC).  Representative Rokeberg                
 said, with further review and testimony from people in the                    
 industry, it was decided the use of the single wall coil systems              
 would be allowed only in the replacement of existing boilers and              
 units.  He also stated new construction would require the use of              
 a double wall system.  The primary reason for that change is for              
 public safety.                                                                
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG stated that Version U, Section 4, allows              
 municipalities, or any code making entity under the state's                   
 jurisdiction, to make a waiver for single wall exchangers between             
 now and the previous effective date of 1991.  This would allow a              
 period of three years in which the single wall exchanger could be             
 retrofitted with replacement boilers.  He said the reason they                
 are doing this is as follows:  If they were to require a double               
 wall exchanger installation in an existing condition, it may be               
 necessary to add an adjacent tank of as much as 40 gallons next               
 to the boiler.  Representative Rokeberg stated in many cases,                 
 given the area of installation, this would be a physical                      
 impossibility.  This would create substantial hardship in                     
 existing conditions.                                                          
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG stated that, in essence, this would allow             
 for the continued use of single wall boilers in existing                      
 conditions.  However, new construction would require double wall              
 boilers because of safety conditions and the need to meet the                 
 requirements of the code.  He said the subcommittee added the                 
 three-year sunset provision in order to allow the Department of               
 Labor to promulgate regulations, and for this committee to come               
 back in the future and make the statutory change in the entire                
 state building code.                                                          
 Number 147                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN KOTT stated the committee had before them the proposed               
 work draft Version U, Banister, dated 4-7-95.                                 
 REPRESENTATIVE JERRY SANDERS made a motion to adopt the proposed              
 CSHB 224(L&C) Version U, Banister, dated 4-7-95.                              
 Number 157                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN KOTT asked if there was an objection.  Hearing none,                 
 CSHB 224(L&C) Version U, Banister, dated 4-7-95 was before them.              
 Number 171                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE BEVERLY MASEK asked if the proposed amendment by               
 Representative Jeannette James was part of the packet.                        
 CHAIRMAN KOTT responded that this particular amendment was added              
 into the original HB 224.                                                     
 Number 187                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG explained the subcommittee incorporated               
 Representative James' amendment but had made certain changes.                 
 CHAIRMAN KOTT stated for the record that Representative Gene                  
 Kubina had joined the meeting at 3:18 p.m.                                    
 CHAIRMAN KOTT told the committee the substantive changes were to              
 allow the single wall heat exchangers in existing units.                      
 However, in new construction the exchangers would be required to              
 be double walled.                                                             
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG interjected this was the subcommittee's               
 second revision.  He said the main change is in requiring single              
 wall exchangers with new construction.  Also, it would add back               
 the sunset provision to meet the code cycle, along with the                   
 committee's desire to rewrite the regulatory provision of the                 
 building code in the future.                                                  
 CHAIRMAN KOTT asked if there was further discussion by the                    
 committee.  Hearing none, he said there was someone to testify on             
 Number 199                                                                    
 JOHN BUTLER, JOHN'S HEATING, testified via teleconference from                
 Kodiak.  He said he had hoped HB 224 would have passed out of                 
 committee without any changes to any part of the code.  He                    
 explained it was his desire to have several contractors get                   
 together with the state and address the changes, rather than                  
 locking themselves into having standardized double wall coils.                
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG made a motion to adopt the work draft,                
 Banister, LS0740/O, with individual recommendations and                       
 accompanying fiscal notes.                                                    
 CHAIRMAN KOTT said they had already adopted the work draft.  What             
 they needed was a motion to move CSHB 224, Version U, from                    
 committee.  Before they did that, he asked if there was anyone in             
 Juneau wishing to testify.                                                    
 Number 214                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE JEANNETTE JAMES stated the people of Fairbanks                 
 were still not happy with this legislation for several reasons.               
 For instance, it specifically says that municipalities can grant              
 waivers for single wall heat exchangers installed from 1991 until             
 passage of HB 224.  Fairbanks consists of two municipalities:                 
 the city of Fairbanks and the Fairbanks North Star Borough                    
 (FNSB).  She said the FNSB does not have building code authority;             
 it yields authority to the state.  Only the city of Fairbanks                 
 will get the benefit of the waiver.                                           
 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES continued that at this point in time, they               
 have no ability to do anything for the FNSB; the bill leaves them             
 out in the cold.  She said that in talking with the Department of             
 Labor, they have assured her they will try to make some                       
 provisions for them.  People in Kodiak and Valdez have also                   
 voiced their concerns because they also use the single wall                   
 exchangers.  She agreed with Mr. Earl Jantz, an architect in                  
 Fairbanks, that Fairbanks had never had a problem with single                 
 wall exchangers.  She offered to give specifics on the pressures              
 if there happened to be a leak and what happens before the                    
 poisonous liquid could even get into potable water.                           
 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES stressed that HB 224 was a "make work job"               
 because you would have another $1,500 per unit plus the reduction             
 in the energy capabilities of double wall exchangers.  If the                 
 Department of Labor does not come to their rescue, home owners                
 down the road are going to have a real struggle with this.  She               
 said historically, they have seen evidence of `government knows               
 best' and if there is anything that `just might happen,' even                 
 though it never has, they have had to be sure to take care of all             
 those kinds of things that `just might happen' and we all end up              
 paying.  For the record, she reiterated her opposition to HB 224.             
 Number 262                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE KIM ELTON observed from what Representative James              
 said, that under the provisions of Section 4 there would be the               
 possibility the city of Fairbanks would have a different                      
 requirement than the FNSB.  He asked if that was correct.                     
 Number 270                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN KOTT answered yes.                                                   
 Number 273                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG confirmed that Representative James' and              
 Representative Elton's analysis was correct.  He said the                     
 rationale behind this is that this is a not only a statewide                  
 code, but also a national code, and it is here for public safety.             
 The state assumes its obligation and risk to administer public                
 safety under that particular code provision.  Representative                  
 Rokeberg also said the exceptions are made for areas that have                
 their own administrative building code process.  Therefore, you               
 could suggest, as a matter of public policy, that this                        
 legislation is encouraging areas to adopt codes and                           
 (indiscernible) of building safety principle.                                 
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG pointed out that, like the FNSB, Eagle                
 River, Chugiak and Girdwood do not fall under the jurisdiction of             
 the building code authority or the building code official of the              
 municipality of Anchorage.  He said it would be imprudent to pass             
 any type of building code that would obligate the state of Alaska             
 to take positive action created by not adopting the code without              
 a building authority to administer it.  He stated there isn't a               
 building authority or building official in the state; it has to               
 rely on the Department of Labor and its limited resources to                  
 enforce the code.                                                             
 Number 303                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES pointed out that there are three different               
 codes:  The Uniform Building Code; the National Code; and the                 
 International Code.  The National and International codes allow               
 for single wall exchangers.                                                   
 Number 308                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN KOTT said this had been brought to their attention.                  
 Number 309                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG suggested if Representative James and her             
 colleagues could make a case, they wouldn't have exposure and the             
 jurisdiction of this provision should be expanded beyond the                  
 municipalities, they could do so on the floor.  He said these are             
 policy calls that should be given a hearing; however the                      
 committee should move the bill now.                                           
 Number 321                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE GENE KUBINA asked what the other committees of                 
 referral were.                                                                
 CHAIRMAN KOTT stated the Labor & Commerce Committee was the only              
 committee of referral.                                                        
 Number 328                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG stressed the bill was not about single                
 coil or double coil heat exchangers.  He said HB 224 was about                
 adopting a plumbing code.                                                     
 Number 337                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN KOTT requested Representative Rokeberg withdraw his                  
 earlier motion and restate it.                                                
 Number 339                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG withdrew his previous motion.  He made a              
 motion to move CSHB 224(L&C), Banister, Version U, from committee             
 with individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes.                
 CHAIRMAN KOTT asked if there was any objection.  Hearing none,                
 CSHB 224(L&C), Banister, Version U, was moved out of the Labor &              
 Commerce Committee.                                                           

Document Name Date/Time Subjects