Greater Boston Plumbing Contractors Association • 5 Elm Street, Suite 8 • Danvers, MA 01923 • 978-777-8764 • f: 978-777-8768 • Email

Formerly the PHCC of Greater Boston

Hugh Kelleher

Executive Director
Greater Boston Plumbing Contractors Association

Email Hugh

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Medical Gas: A Matter of Life and Death



“When they put the mask on you before you go under for surgery, it would be comforting to know that the medical gas system had been properly installed. I would sure want to know that a trained, certified plumber did the work.”
That's what my colleague, Local 12 Business Manager Harry Brett, said recently in an article, "Medical Gas: A Matter of Life and Death," published in "The Pipeline," a newsletter for the Eastern Massachusetts Plumbing Industry. It's something to which we can all relate.
And yet, because of a lapse in the Commonwealth’s laws, there are no regulations that govern the installation of medical gas piping systems in Massachusetts. A bill currently before the state legislature would establish regulations and bring medical gas piping systems under the control of the Massachusetts Board of Examiners of Plumbers and Gasfitters. The board would set standards to ensure that licensed, trained plumbers would perform the critical work.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Protecting Consumers and Licensees

There is a classic poster from the 1930s that proclaims, “The Plumber Protects the Health of the Nation.” As Wayne Thomas sees it, the role of the Mass. Board of State Examiners of Plumbers and Gas Fitters is to protect Massachusetts’ consumers from all things related to plumbing. Among other important considerations, the health and safety of the Commonwealth’s citizens are at stake.

But, its executive director says, the Board also provides protection for licensees. It monitors unlicensed practice, for example. It’s a delicate balancing act. The Board stands at the juncture between the public and the plumbers who keep the water flowing in the state.

The Massachusetts Plumbing Code serves as the Board’s platform on which it balances. Its regulations and state laws light the way for licensees and provide a uniform path for compliance. The code helps insure the safety and integrity of the state’s plumbing infrastructure all the way to the consumers who rely on it. The Board spends a lot of time focused on the code — especially lately as it is in the middle of a major overhaul, the first in 11 years.

Read more about the Massachusetts Plumbing Board and its executive director in The Pipeline, the newsletter about the Eastern Massachusetts plumbing industry.

Helping to Make Housing Affordable

Riding a wave of robust growth, the Boston area has an urgent need for additional housing — particularly affordable housing. In the city of Boston alone, Mayor Martin J. Walsh has called for building 53,000 more units, including subsidized moderate- and low-income housing, by 2030. The Greater Boston Plumbing Contractors Association (GBPCA) and Local 12 want to be part of the solution.

To fill the need, developers are building many mid-rise wood frame apartment buildings throughout the region. AvalonBay, for example, is developing a 400-unit project in Quincy. It includes five buildings, each five stories tall, with studio as well as one- and two-bedroom apartments for rent. Thanks to the creation of a new residential division, Local 12 plumbers are on the job at Avalon Quincy working for GBPCA contractor, Patriot Plumbing.

They are making a strong first impression. Read the full article in The Pipeline, the newsletter about the Eastern Massachusetts plumbing industry.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

What Will be Happening in Boston in 2016?

Barring a major downturn in the economy, construction in Boston will continue to be very strong. Examples… 
  • - The Huge Millenium Tower ...Will open this summer. Tallest residential building north of New York City – 60 stories, 685 feet high – on the site of the old Filenes. Many units are already sold. 1-bedrooms started at $1.6 million.
    Cheapest units now available: $3.3 million. Total sales by last fall were already at $1.5 billion…There will also be a hotel, and commercial businesses located on
    lower floors. LATEST NEWS: Someone is purchasing the full-floor penthouse on the 60th floor – supposedly a local family. Asking price was $37.5 million.
  • - Boston Redevelopment Authority took control of the Winthrop Square Garage in December. The garage had been condemned in 2013, and sits on one of the most visible plots in the financial district. Some recent legal glitches will be overcome. Proposals are in the works for a building as tall as 780 feet. That would make it several stories taller than the Prudential tower.
  • - Mayor Marty Walsh: In the second year of the Walsh administration 1,022 new affordable rate housing units came on line – the most in Boston’s history. But finding an affordable unit in Boston is still difficult. Walsh is working with large developers, colleges and universities to increase funding for constructing affordable units. His goal: 53,000 units by 2030 – including new dorm rooms.
  • - Seaport District….According to the Boston Globe: 12 vacant acres there were purchased for $359 million late last year. Two smaller parcels were sold to Chinese investors for $100 million.
  • - The NorthPoint area near Lechmere will benefit from spillover from Kendall Square, where commercial rents are the 10th highest in the country MIT is working on a proposed major redevelopment project adjacent to its campus.
  • - John Hancock will build a new 26 story tower along Stuart Street in the Back Bay. Construction starts this year.
  • - Along Washington Street at Downtown Crossing, a developer is proposing a 30 story building on a lot that is 1/10 of an acre. It would have a frontage of 38 feet.
  • - Harvard is starting up its long-delayed development in Allston-Brighton. Will include new graduate housing, and science buildings. According to Harvard Magazine: “The long-range goal of redeveloping the vast acreage further east (beneath and beyond elevated roadways, a former rail yard, and other less visible properties), once thought far off in the future, now appears a realistic prospect.”
  • - Amazon has purchased land in Fall River for a new 1 million-square-foot fulfillment center that will employ 500 people. Construction starts this year.
  • - Boston rents are up nearly 6% over the last year – about three times the rate of inflation. Average Boston rent is now above $2,000. Boston has become the 4th
    most expensive rental area in the country – trailing only San Francisco, New York City and Silicon Valley.
For more plumbing and construction industry news, see my February 2016 update.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Plumbing Contractors Can Now Say, "Show Me the Money"

If you put in a day’s work, you expect to get a day’s pay — and you expect to get paid promptly, right?

Those expectations are at the core of our free enterprise system. For decades however, plumbing contractors have been putting in a day’s work, but not getting paid in full until many weeks — or more typically, many months — later. Thanks to a recent Massachusetts law, that’s no longer the case.

Associated general contractors had been using a long-held practice known as “retainage” to routinely withhold payment to subcontractors such as plumbers. Incorporated into most contracts, GCs would customarily hold back 10 percent of a subcontractor’s pay until they determined that the work was completed to their satisfaction. Although construction projects would, in fact, be successfully completed, GCs wouldn’t release the funds until much later.

The Mass. retainage law, however, changes the dynamics by specifying a payment schedule as well as the amount that can be withheld. Read more in The Pipeline, the industry newsletter jointly produced by the GBPCA and Plumbers Boston Local 12.

For Joe Cannistraro, Education Is the Key

We may be in the midst of winnowing candidates to nominate for president of the United States, but the presidency of the Greater Boston Plumbing Contractors Association was decided last spring. Members voted Joseph C. Cannistraro, the CFO of J.C. Cannistraro in Watertown, to head the organization’s executive board.

Cannistraro brings years of experience to the leadership role. He also brings an abiding interest in education and learning to the position.

He plans to leverage the resources of the GBPCA and encourage other member contractors to take advantage of the organization’s educational opportunities. Through its affiliation with the Mechanical Contractors Association of America and the Plumbing Contractors of America, the GBPCA offers training and best practice models in areas such as project management. Cannistraro is hopeful that by pursuing education and working together, GBPCA members can help themselves, help one another, and make the organization stronger.

Read more about Cannistraro in a profile published in The Pipeline, the industry newsletter jointly produced by the GBPCA and Plumbers Boston Local 12.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Affordable Housing on the Rise

About half of the apartments, homes, and condos permitted through June 2015 in Boston -- about 1,200 units -- are either low-income housing or market-rate properties to be priced for middle-income wage earners. According to the Boston Globe, Mayor Martin J. Walsh considers the surge in affordable housing to be a welcome trend.

The uptick in new construction is helping to create a more diverse housing mix, but there is still great demand for affordable housing. Walsh and others are urging developers to move forward with projects. The city's Inspectional Services Department has streamlined the building permit process and reduced the amount of time it takes to issue approvals.

Walsh has established a goal of adding 53,000 new units to the city's housing stock by 2030. In the midst of Boston's red-hot real estate market, that goal would be easily met.
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