Cornegy Legislation Gives Property Owners Gas Piping Inspection Extension

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The City Council in their stated meeting on Oct. 21 gave an extension to certain owners of buildings with gas piping systems and gas service to apply for a 180-day extension of the deadline by which they must conduct gas piping system inspections and submit certifications as required by Local Law 152 of 2016. 

The extension is for owners of buildings, except one- or two-family homes known as R3 occupancy groups. It includes places of worship or religious institutions, and requires the inspection of exposed gas piping, not including gas piping above a drop ceiling or behind an access door.

It comes after owners of these buildings complained the city’s Department of Buildings (DOB) has seemingly forgotten to inform the neighborhoods about mandated inspections of gas pipes. 

The legislation was prompted by a major gas explosion in 2015 in Manhattan, said a Consolidated Edison Inc (ConEd) spokesperson. 

“I do not accept that buildings should explode every few months,” said City Council Member Robert Cornegy (D-Brooklyn), who sponsored the legislation. “We must strive for safety through thoughtful legislation that incorporates the input from a wide range of stakeholders. Local Law 152 provided for more gas inspections, but it created new responsibilities for owners which were especially burdensome because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The bills we are passing today provide reasonable accommodation to owners, so that we can have a safer city that works in cooperation with all New Yorkers.”

The present legislation would take effect 120 days after becoming law, and the sections related to the extension of time to certify corrections and to the inspection of buildings without gas service would be retroactive to January 1, 2020.

Cornegy’s legislation comes after Community Board 3 Chairperson Richard Flateau and District Manager Henry Butler sounded the alarm in Cornegy’s district last year for Bedford-Stuyvesant residents unaware of the upcoming enactment of Local Law 152 (LL152) of 2016.

“About a month ago, plumbers were sending notices to households saying, ‘Hey, you better get this inspection done or you’re going to get fined $10,000 by the city.’ So residents started calling the community board, wanting to know if this was a scam,” said Butler about how this was brought to their attention. 

Butler said the inspections came in the middle of a pandemic making the situation equivalent to the tax and water lien sale in the Black community, and there’s been no outreach from the city about the issue. 

Under the initial law, gas piping systems in most buildings must be inspected by a Licensed Master Plumber (LMP) at least once every four years and property owners who don’t comply to file for an Inspection Certification before December 31, 2020 in Community Districts 1, 3 and 10 in all boroughs could face a fine of $10,000.

The City Council also expanded Cornegy’s companion legislation extending the deadline by which owners of buildings in community districts (CD) 2, 5, 7, 13, and 18 in all boroughs must have building gas piping systems inspected and, where applicable, certify that hazardous conditions have been corrected, from December 31, 2021 until June 30, 2022.

This bill would also require DOB to conduct targeted outreach regarding the requirements of Local Law 152 by December 1, 2021.

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