3RCNY 115-02 Issuance of Proof of Compliance to Company Certificate Holders

Proposed Rules: Open to Comments (View Public Comments Received:5)

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018
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Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

Existing Regulation of Commercial Cooking Exhaust Systems

The New York City Fire Code requires the periodic inspection and cleaning of exhaust systems for restaurant and other commercial cooking equipment that generate grease-laden vapors. Grease accumulations in exhaust systems are the source of numerous fires, which the exhaust ducts can spread throughout the building. The residue generated by wood-burning cooking equipment compounds the risk of a fire.
Restaurant owners and others have been targeted over the years by unscrupulous businesses that charge for cleaning the commercial cooking exhaust system but fail to perform a proper cleaning. To help prevent this, companies that clean commercial cooking exhaust systems must be licensed by the Fire Department, which requires businesses performing the cleaning to obtain a company certificate and their cleaning technicians a certificate of fitness.
The cleaning companies are required to attach a decal to the commercial cooking equipment to document that the exhaust system has been cleaned, as well as by what company and technician, and when the cleaning was performed. Currently, cleaning companies print their own decals as proof of compliance with Fire Code requirements. Recent investigations by the New York City Department of Investigation revealed that unlicensed businesses unlawfully conducting such cleanings fraudulently placed decals identifying other, licensed companies as having done the work.
Existing Regulation of Portable Fire Extinguishers
The New York City Fire Code requires the periodic inspection and servicing of portable fire extinguishers where such extinguishers are required. An annual inspection must be conducted by a licensed portable fire extinguisher servicing company to ensure that the portable fire extinguishers are functional and to repair or recharge them if necessary. A tag must be attached to the portable fire extinguisher to document the inspection and/or servicing.
It is difficult for business owners to assess whether the companies they have hired to service portable fire extinguishers are properly servicing them. The Fire Department itself may not be able to evaluate the adequacy of the services provided when it inspects the premises weeks or months later. There is a history of unscrupulous companies charging businesses inflated fees for these services, and then failing to perform necessary servicing. Most recently, the New York City Department of Investigation discovered several such companies attaching an inspection tag bearing the name of another company, jeopardizing the other company’s business reputation.
As a result, companies that sell or service portable fire extinguishers are required to be licensed by the Fire Department. The companies must obtain a company certificate and their technicians must obtain a Fire Department certificate of fitness.
Proposed Regulation of Proof of Compliance
The Fire Department proposes to regulate the decals and tags that serve as proof of compliance with Fire Code requirements.
The proposed rule would require commercial cooking exhaust system cleaning companies to use Fire Department-issued, numbered decals as proof of compliance with Fire Code inspection and cleaning requirements. It would also require portable fire extinguisher sales and servicing companies to use Fire Department-issued, numbered tags as proof of compliance with Fire Code inspection, testing and servicing requirements. Only licensed companies would be eligible to purchase the Fire Department-issued decals and tags, and only the Fire Department-issued decals and tags would be acceptable proof of the inspection, cleaning and/or servicing. The decals and tags would be designed with various security measures to prevent counterfeiting.
This would help ensure that only licensed businesses perform the required fire safety inspections, cleaning and servicing; promote proper performance by preventing misidentification of the company that performed the work; and make it more difficult for unqualified and unlicensed businesses to engage in fraudulent practices.
Unauthorized use of Fire Department-issued proof of compliance by an unlicensed company or individual, or misuse by a licensed company or one of its technicians, would constitute a violation of the applicable Fire Code requirements for commercial cooking exhaust systems or portable fire extinguishers and subject the violator to a civil or criminal penalty. It could also result in denial, suspension, revocation or non-renewal of a Fire Department certificate.
In accordance with existing Fire Code requirements (as set forth in FC107.7), records of all inspections, cleaning and/or servicing of equipment, and the names and Certificate of Fitness numbers of all company personnel who performed the work, must be maintained for a period not less than three (3) years.
Proposed Proof of Compliance Issuance Process
The Fire Department would coordinate the purchase of the proof of compliance from an approved City vendor. The Fire Department would retain the services of a vendor and order blank proof of compliance, which would be completed with the name of the company certificate holder at time of purchase. The price of the proof of compliance for company certificate holders would reflect the cost of its preparation and printing, as well as administrative processing costs. Minimum order sizes may apply. Price, order and payment arrangements would be published on the Fire Department’s website and would be subject to change. When possible, the Fire Department would offer company certificate holders the benefit of bulk discounts that are available for large print orders. The Fire Department anticipates publishing a bulk reorder schedule. If enough orders are received from the companies during the bulk reorder period, significant discounts may be obtained.
Related Amendments
The Fire Department also proposes to amend 3 RCNY §115-01, the rule addressing company certificates, to reference company certificates for commercial cooking system cleaning (currently set forth in Fire Code Section FC901.6.3.3), and incorporate the existing qualifications for the certificate (currently set forth on the Fire Department application form), including five years’ experience. Proposed Section 115-01(d) will also incorporate existing minimum company staffing requirements and indicate the types of tools, materials and equipment required to conduct commercial cooking exhaust system cleaning.
New material is underlined. Material to be deleted is in [brackets].
“Shall” and “must” denote mandatory requirements and may be used interchangeably in the rules of this department, unless otherwise specified or unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

Public Hearing
Subject: 

Proposed Rule 3RCNY 115-02 Issuance of Proof of Compliance to Company Certificate Holders

Public Hearing Date: 
Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - 11:00am
Contact: 

No contact

Location: 
Fire Department Auditorium
9 MetroTech Center
Brooklyn, NY 11201