Legislature(1995 - 1996)
01/16/1996 01:30 PM L&C
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SL&C - 1/16/96 HB 224 STATE PLUMBING CODE CHAIRMAN KELLY called the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee meeting to order at 1:30 p.m. and announced HB 224 to be up for discussion. REPRESENTATIVE KOHRING, sponsor of HB 224, said that basically the bill implements and adopts the current version of the uniform plumbing code. Currently, the 1991 code is on the books, he said. This is the last code to be enacted upon by the legislature regarding major construction building codes, including the Electrical Code, the Uniform Building Code, and the Mechanical Code. He said that he filed this bill at the request of the plumbing industry. Last year there was an issue of the single wall vs. double wall heat exchanger requirement. Old models of heat exchangers have single wall coils in them. The revised code of '94 requires a double wall heat exchanger. After concerns rose about the potential cost for the double wall, an exemption was put in the bill that allows use of single wall, if it done in a safe way, stipulating the conditions for safe operation. The Mechanical Contractors Association of Fairbanks, the Plumbers and Steamfitters Union of Fairbanks, the Department of Labor, and the Anchorage Plumbers and Steamfitters Union, and numerous independent plumbing and mechanical contractors have expressed their support for this bill, he said. Number 91 DWIGHT PERKINS, Special Assistant, Department of Labor, explained there were concerns with the single wall/double wall coil that are addressed in the proposed CS on page 2. The other concern last year was whether the Department should adopt the code by statute rather than regulation. The Department of Labor thinks an updated code is necessary and the proposed language adopts it by statute. SENATOR KELLY asked if the national standard required a double wall coil. MR. PERKINS answered that HB 224 does change the national code from double wall to single wall. He explained that this is a minimum standard and, if municipalities or boroughs want to enforce only double, they have the right to do that. Number 147 SENATOR DUNCAN asked for the difference between double wall and single wall coils. MR. PERKINS explained that in the interior, because of lower freezing temperatures, people use a liquid called polypropylene glycol which is not hazardous to health, if it accidentally gets mixed and used with potable water. SENATOR DUNCAN asked for the cost difference in both types. MR. PERKINS replied that double wall is physically much bigger and does not fit into single wall boilers. So one would need to purchase a new boiler which would cost several thousand dollars. REPRESENTATIVE KOHRING said that was the primary reason the exemption was put in. He added that the exemption would not be in there, if it wasn't absolutely safe. Number 201 SENATOR DUNCAN noted that other liquids could be used by the owner that would be hazardous. MR. PERKINS said they can't prevent anyone from adding what they want, but they hope cover the situation with a sticker permanently afixed to the boiler with distinct instructions saying to use polypropylene glycol. SENATOR DUNCAN noted that a licensed plumbing contractor would certainly use the glycol. MR. PERKINS reiterated that municipalities could have more stringent standards than the State. Number 242 GERALD WASSON, United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters, said they supported the 1994 version of the Uniform Plumbing Code. SENATOR KELLY asked if plastic pipe was allowed in Alaska. MR. PERKINS answered that it wasn't allowed. It can only be used for drain pipes. Number 288 SENATOR TORGERSON moved to adopt the proposed SCS to HB 224. There were no objections and it was so ordered. REPRESENTATIVE KOHRING stated that Representative Jeanette James worked very hard last session trying to come up with a reasonable compromise that would meet her constituent's needs. SENATOR TORGERSON moved to pass SCS for HB 224 from committee with individual recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered.