February 2017

Refrigeration License Legislation Re-filed

The legislation to require that HVAC contractors obtain a refrigeration license has been re-filed for the 2017-18 session. The bill was filed by Rep. Nick Collins (D-Boston) as House docket # 3065.

Last session the legislation was sent to a study committee, effectively killing the bill. To kill the bill this session ACA/NE has again retained the services of Delaney & Associates, Inc.

ACA/NE is concerned that if the refrigeration bill passes, many HVAC contractors will no longer be able to do what they presently do every day and have done for many years without an additional license. Most residential and small commercial systems are limited to 5 tons or less and an exemption exists for work under 10 tons.



Governor Charlie Baker Files Article 87 - Reorganization - Department of Public Safety

Governor Charlie Baker has filed "An Act to Reorganize the Department of Public Safety."

The Article 87 plan will transfer the functions currently within the Department of Public Safety to the Division of Professional Licensure and to the Department of Fire Services.  According to a letter written by Governor Baker to the Massachusetts Legislature, "This will enable the Commonwealth to consolidate licensing functions currently split across several secretariats, thereby increasing efficiencies, eliminating redundancies, and improving customer service by creating one-stop shopping for the vast majority of license approvals.  It should also save the Commonwealth approximately $800,000 in FY2018.

Specifically, this bill establishes an Office of Public Safety and Inspections to be housed within the Division of Professional Licensure, within the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.  It then transfers all of the non-fire-related functions of the Department of Public Safety to the Office of Public Safety and Inspections and the fire-related functions to the Department of Fire Services. 

This bill would also change the distribution of agencies under the undersecretaries within the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to more closely align with their areas of expertise."

In addition, the bill makes technical changes to reflect the transfer of functions, removes outdated references, and updates antiquated language. 

Click here for the full text of Governor Baker's Letter.

Click here to read Article 87.


Ninth Edition of the State Building Code

The Department of Public Safety (DPS) has announce that it has received approval pursuant to Executive Order 562 to convene public hearings to elicit testimony on a proposed new, Ninth Edition of the State Building Code (780 CMR).  

The new code will be based on amended versions the following 2015 codes as published by the International Code Council (ICC).

The Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) anticipates holding two (2) public hearings on the Ninth Edition in order to accommodate interested parties.  Hearings are scheduled for:

March 7, 2017 @ the Saltonstall Building, beginning @ 10:00 a.m. 

March 14, 2017 @ Springfield Technical Community College (STCC), beginning @ 10:00 a.m.

Click here for more information.


Boston Hot Work Safety Program Overview

Effective January 1, 2017, a National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) certificate number will be required when obtaining a Hot Work permit within the City of Boston and must be available onsite during hot work operations.

The Boston Hot Work Safety Certificate Program is part of a universal approach to reach all disciplines in the construction industry. The goal of the certificate program is to train all persons who are involved in any type of hot work on the safety procedures needed and the dangers involved while conducting or working around hot work. Each person involved in hot work operations will be required to complete training and earn a certificate number.

The Boston Fire Department (BFD) in partnership with the NFPA developed a curriculum that will help construction workers and all persons engaged in hot work operations, describe the various types of hot work; identify common fuel and ignition sources; cite relevant standards, regulations and ordinances that are applicable to hot work; define the duties and responsibilities of each person on the hot work team, and ensure that workers can read and understand a hot work permit.

As a result of the March 26, 2014 tragic fire on Beacon Street in Boston's Back Bay, which took the lives of Firefighter Lieutenant Ed Walsh and Firefighter Michael Kennedy, there has been a concerted effort to increase fire safety awareness and construction worker practices on job sites where hot work operations are being conducted.

Click here for more information.