Owner installed boiler to support cleaning services without a plumbing permit. In March 2019, the New York City Department of Buildings approved Wassoff Plumbing & Utility Co.’s application to replace a boiler that supported dry cleaning services in a building located at 280 Park Avenue in Manhattan. After the contractor performed the work, a Buildings inspector issued the contractor a summons for replacing the boiler without a plumbing permit. The inspector alleged that the new classic tubeless steam boiler with backflow prevention had been connected to a new water line without the required plumber’s permit.
At a hearing before the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearing, Buildings argued that the contractor required a permit to install a new water line to the boiler because the boiler receives potable water.
The contractor defended by claiming that the boiler is not used for heating or hot water, does not receive potable water, and is used to make steam for dry cleaning. The contractor argued that Buildings approved the work application without issue. The contractor’s architect, who is experienced at replacing high-pressure boilers for the dry cleaning industry, testified that the contractor did not install a new water line and that the boiler did not receive potable water. Instead, the contractor connected the boiler to an existing water line and condensate tank that were not affected by the installation. The contractor supported its argument with photographic evidence.
The Hearings officer ruled in favor of Buildings, and the contractor appealed.
The OATH Appeals Unit reversed the hearing officer’s decision and dismissed the summons, finding that Buildings failed to refute the contractor’s evidence that the work did not require a plumbing permit.
DOB v. Wassoff Plbg & Utility Co., OATH Appeal No. 2002105 (May 20, 2021).
By: Nicholas Negron (Nicholas is a New York Law School student, Class of 2022.)