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

Jeremy Ryan
Executive Director
Greater Boston Plumbing Contractors Association

Email Jeremy

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Hugh Kelleher’s Harvard-to-plumbing pipeline

After 34 years in the industry, the last 20 of which he served as the executive director of the Greater Boston Plumbing Contractors Association (previously known as the PHCC of Greater Boston), Hugh Kelleher retired at the end of 2017. The Pipeline sat down with him to learn how and why he chose to become a plumber in his early 30s, to find out what he was doing before then, and to ask him to reflect on his journey.

Kelleher's story, which includes attending Phillips Academy Andover and Harvard University and a stint as press secretary and speechwriter for Congressman Jim Shannon is fascinating. Read more about the curious path that led Kelleher to the plumbing trade.

New England's tallest residential tower take shape

At 61 stories and 742 feet, One Dalton in the Back Bay will be the third tallest building in Boston. Now under construction, it will house the city's second Four Seasons hotel as well as private residences. It is scheduled to be finished in spring 2019.

GBPCA contractor E.M. Duggan is installing 161,000 feet of plumbing—that's over 30 miles of pipe winding its way through the tower. Bob Jones, Duggan's general foreman, is overseeing the crew.

The massive building is being constructed on a postage stamp-sized lot, so the project poses logistical challenges. The highly efficient project is a model of "lean construction." Read more about One Dalton in The Pipeline.

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.

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