When Local Law 152 of 2016 for periodic gas testing came out in 2016 all of us in the property management world were not sure how it would be set up, tracked and enforced by the city. Recently, we gained a lot more clarity to which buildings are subject to the testing in certain years and what the testing entails.
Throughout my entire portfolio, we have an internal tracking system (years in the making to be as large as it is now) for all major testing requirements in New York City and as soon as we learned how the testing would be sorted, we created a new database to track all of our New York City properties with gas piping to ensure compliance (note that this law does not apply to buildings without gas piping).
Originally we believed that each New York City borough would have its own year to test and file. For instance, Manhattan could be 2020, and the Bronx in 2021, but that’s not the way that this law is playing out. The lynchpin of this new law is the Community Board # for any particular building.
Below I have listed out the 4 categories of Community Board #’s and the years that they will need to test and file their gas leak reports (for those buildings classified in occupancy R-3).
Group 1: Community Board Numbers 1, 3, 10 (Filing in 2020, 2024, 2028, etc.)
Group 2: Community Board Numbers 2, 5, 7, 13, 18 (Filing in 2021, 2025, 2029, etc.)
Group 3: Community Board Numbers 4, 6, 8, 9, 16 (Filing in 2022, 2026, 2030, etc.)
Group 4: Community Board Numbers 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17 (Filing in 2023, 2027, 2031, etc.)
Now that we know the groupings, it is clear to us that buildings that fall within this Community Board Number, no matter their borough will be required to file in the year that is noted. Filings start in calendar year 2020 and are in 4-year groupings, as noted above.
Inspections of gas piping systems must be conducted by a qualified gas piping system inspector on behalf of the building owner, usually a licensed master plumber or an individual who is specifically certified for this testing and has taken the required education to do so.
The inspection report must be certified by the licensed master plumber who performed or exercised direct and continuing supervision over the inspection and, if applicable, by any individual who performed the inspection under such supervision. Such inspection report shall include, for each gas piping system inspected the following information:
(A) A list of conditions requiring correction, including instances where one or more parts of such system is worn to an extent that the safe and reliable operation of the system may be affected:
(B) Gas leaks;
(C) Observed non-code compliant installations or illegal connections;
(D) Observed conditions described in Section 28-318.3.4 of the Administrative Code; and.
(E) Any additional information required by the Department.
At each inspection all exposed gas lines from point of entry of gas piping into a building, including building service meters, up to individual tenant spaces shall be inspected for evidence of excessive atmospheric corrosion or piping deterioration that has resulted in a dangerous condition, illegal connections, and non-code compliant installations.
The inspection entity shall also test public spaces, hallways, corridors, and mechanical and boiler rooms with a portable combustible gas detector to determine if there is any gas leak, provided that such testing need only include public spaces, hallways and corridors on floors that contain gas piping or gas utilization equipment.
A positive to the way that this law is written is that it is not requiring a pressure test in common areas, which would likely fail most older buildings due to the age of the pipes and number of painted pipes in New York City. We have routinely seen buildings that are required to pressure test due to a gas issue spend north of $130,000 when they are as small as 20-units (not counting the downtime for heat and hot water that will be experienced by residents).
If you would like more information on this issue or anything else related to New York City real estate, contact Mark B. Levine, RAM of EBMG directly at [email protected] or directly at 212-335-2723 x.201. Also, SUBSCRIBE to Mark’s original podcast, the “NYC Real Estate Podcast” which offers a unique insight into the NYC real estate world.