Legislature(1995 - 1996)

01/16/1996 01:30 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
 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.                                                                      

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