Legislature(1995 - 1996)
04/10/1995 03:10 PM L&C
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= 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CODE CHAIRMAN PETE KOTT went on to say HB 224 had previously been passed out of committee; however, the committee had rescinded the previous action.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 report. 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 teleconference. 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.