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Spring 2020 RPA NEWS

Coronavirus and Permitting/Inspection
As the effects of COVID-19 (Corona Virus Disease 2019) spread across the country, one of the most significant impacts on the radiant heating and cooling businesses is the effect that facility closures and “social distancing” measures have had on construction permitting and inspections.

Many Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) including towns, cities, and counties around the nation have determined to close their public walk-up functions for permitting activities, sometimes by cancelling the activity altogether until the situation improves at some impossible-to-define future date.

The same can be said for construction inspections – many jurisdictions have curtailed or ended in-person site inspections for some or all trades, essentially grinding projects to a halt, especially where progress inspections are required by code or by law, despite the fact that construction industry operations in general, and plumbing professionals in particular, have been categorized by many jurisdictions as “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” as defined in the Department of Homeland Security advisory in Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce: Ensuring Community and National Resilience in COVID-19 Response. This designation is based on the acknowledged need to continue these operations during otherwise “stay at home” directives in order to protect the health and safety of the public.  However, this still leaves the dilemma for AHJs of how to permit and inspect projects in these circumstances.

“No Touch” Permitting and Inspections
In recent years, some AHJs have determined to transition their building department operations to an on-line format. In general, this can consist of the following:

Remote Permitting

  • Permit applications can be accepted via email or a web portal – this function already exists in a substantial number of jurisdictions around the country.
  • Plan checkers can work remotely to review applications.
  • Corrections can be issued via email, or via plan changes via electronic plan document markups.
  • Fees paid electronically or via mail.

Virtual Inspections

  • Inspections via live video (see Los Angeles County Department of Public Works flyer, for example).
  • Each project type must have an inspection checklist – in-floor, staple-up, chilled beam, wall radiant, etc.
  • Inspection authority must have formally adopted the process and trained inspectors in the procedure.
  • Project site must have internet streaming access with adequate bandwidth.

How Could This be Accomplished?
Given the gravity of the current COVID-19 situation, and the recognition that similar events might well happen in the future, it could be the case that AHJs will recognize the need for transition to an on-line format for their permitting and inspection activities, sooner rather than later.  Will an AHJ make the transition in the coming weeks or months, during the current situation? Seems unlikely to expect.  Will it move to a front burner issue in the next few years?  More than likely.  Bottom line: Virtual permitting and inspection programs are here to stay, and will only increase in number in the future.

RPA at AHR 2020

The Radiant Professionals Alliance attended the AHR 2020 EXPO in Orlando, FL, February 3-5, 2020, and in conjunction hosted the RPA Reception at the Cuba Libre Restaurant and Rum Bar, where the semi-annual transfer of the 2020 Carlson-Holohan Industry Award of Excellence took place.

Bob “Hot Rod” Rohr, Caleffi was this year's recipient (pictured at left).

Pictured below are past Carlson-Holohan Awardees: Dan Holohan, HeatingHelp.com; Mark Eatherton, Advanced Hydronics; Dave Yates, F.W. Behler (retired), Ingrid Mattsson, Uponor; John Goshulak, Weil-McLain; Robert Bean, Indoor Climate Consultants; John Siegenthaler, Appropriate Designs. Not pictured, past recipients include John Barba, Taco Comfort Solutions, and Ken Webster, Viessman Canada (retired).

The RPA also hosted a radiant/hydronics education track. Over 450 people attended the five sessions. Below is a list of classes that were offered.

Key Factors for a Successful Snowmelt Design
Speaker: Kolyn Marshall, Systems Engineering Manager, Watts

Comfort, Health, and Energy Efficiency with Low Mass Radiant Panels and Active Chilled Beams
Speaker: Giancarlo Tosi, Regional Sales Manager at Dadanco

Radiant Heating Do's and Don'ts
Speaker: Steve Swanson, National Trainer at Uponor

Separation Anxiety in The Hydronic World
Speaker: Bob "Hot Rod" Rohr, Training & Education Manager at Caleffi Hydronic Solutions

Advantages of Hydraulic Separators in Design, Installation, and Performance
Speaker: William Werthman, Hydronics Business Development Manager-West at Legend Valve

The BEST Way to Compare HVAC Systems in the Early Project Design Phase
Speakers: Greg Cunniff, Director Application Solutions at Wailiams Comfort Porducts, and Mark Chaffee, V.P. Government Relations and Sustainability at Taco

RPA Contractor Members

Since the coronavirus pandemic is impacting businesses across the country, we think the following article published in Contractor Magazine by Informa may have some useful insights regarding contracting and construction contracts in the age of COVID-19: Coronavirus and Construction Contracts

Additionally, IAPMO recently published a guidance for plumbing professionals working under the threat of COVID-19 authored by Peter DeMarco, Executive Vice President of Advocacy and Research for The IAPMO Group. That white paper may be viewed at https://www.iapmo.org/media/23453/coronavirus_guidance_for_plumbers.pdf.

White House Updates ‘Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce’ List to Encompass Full Supply Chain of the Plumbing and Mechanical Industry

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has updated its “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce” advisory list to more accurately define the plumbing and mechanical industry, a list that now includes language for which IAPMO advocated.

"Workers who support the supply chain of building materials from production through application/installation, including cabinetry, fixtures, doors, cement, hardware, plumbing, electrical, heating/cooling, refrigeration, appliances, paint/coatings, and employees who provide services that enable repair materials and equipment for essential functions” have been added to the list, which may be read at: www.iapmo.org/media/23610/dhs_critical_workforce_20.pdf.

Workers such as builders, contractors, HVAC technicians and landscapers were added to the Public Works sector heading, which was changed to “Public Works and Infrastructure Support Services,” and the list has been expanded to include “... workers at distribution facilities, workers who transport basic raw chemical materials to the producers of industrial and consumer goods, including hand sanitizers, food and food additives, pharmaceuticals, paintings and coatings, textiles, building materials, plumbing, electrical, and paper products.”

IAPMO recently published a guidance for plumbing professionals working under the threat of COVID-19 authored by Peter DeMarco, Executive Vice President of Advocacy and Research for The IAPMO Group. That white paper may be viewed at www.iapmo.org/media/23453/coronavirus_guidance_for_plumbers.pdf.

“This is big news not only for IAPMO, but the entire plumbing and mechanical industry,” IAPMO CEO GP Russ Chaney said. “By explicitly citing the entire supply chain for plumbing products as essential, the federal government has clarified how important each facet of the industry is, from manufacturer to distributor to plumber.”

For more information on IAPMO and its proactive initiatives in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, direct your web browser to https://www.iapmo.org/ibu/whats-new/coronavirus-resources.

Just Released - Check out BEST 2.2

The Hydronics Industry Alliance – Commercial (HIA-C) Committee of the Radiant Professionals Alliance (RPA) has released Version 2.2 of the BEST (Building Efficiency System Tool)™ software.

  • BEST is a quick, easy and reliable way to compare the energy and life cycle costs of up to four HVAC systems at one time. It allows one to evaluate and compare various HVAC system candidates early in the conceptual design phase, before final design and construction, in order to save time and money and complete projects more efficiently.
  • Convenient drop-down menus make it easy to select equipment and distribution systems to model a system. A Predefined System Wizard with 30 preconfigured systems is available to save time in configuring a system.
  • Use the Simple Building Types Wizard to allow configuring of predefined systems for 11 different building types.
  • Newest Improvements:
    • Updated re-rate of the heating and cooling efficiencies of refrigerant systems based on the results of the DOE ASRAC VRF Working Group investigations of the published AHRI Standard 1230 cooling efficiency IEER ratings for VRF systems. Backup documentation here.
    • Added ability to define different settings or parameters for each of the 4 different systems modelled at a time, rather than using the same global default for all the systems.  This includes being able to model different efficiencies, head, and static pressures for pumps and fans, different calculated flow rates, and different energy costs for each of the 4 different systems.
    • Updated system first costs based on inflation for the 30 different predefined systems.
    • Incorporated export feature of the analysis data to an Excel spreadsheet.

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We’d also appreciate your feedback – take the short survey here: BEST Survey

Technically-Oriented Project Articles Needed (Showcase Your Project!)

If you would like to showcase your radiant project in the Radiant Comfort Report, we need to hear from you. This publications is bundled with Plumbing & Mechanical with a circulation of 49,000. A great way to show off your project. Please send your submissions to les.nelson@radiantpros.org.

View recent member projects in the publications below.

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FaceBook: www.facebook.com/radiantprofessionalsalliance/
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As always, we value your feedback. Please let us know what you would like to see in the monthly newsletters. Are they too long or too short for your liking? Any and all comments are welcome. Please send them to les.nelson@radiantpros.org.


Important Rules for Employers to Know in The Wake of COVID-19

Coping with the outbreak of COVID-19 will require most employers and employees to make significant changes at work. Businesses depending on large gatherings may also be forced to consider reductions in force. As changes are made, employers should be mindful of the following existing laws and new laws on the horizon.

Read more (PDF)

Families First Coronavirus Response Act: What Employers Need to Know

On Wednesday night, following a 363-40 vote in the House and a 90-8 vote in the Senate, President Trump signed a multi-billion dollar emergency economic relief bill – H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “Act”) – into law to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic which ensures free testing, provides paid sick leave, enhances unemployment insurance, increases spending on health insurance for the poor and adds over $1 billion in food aid.

Read more (PDF)

Frequently Asked Questions From Employers Amid the Covid-19 Pandemic

With many schools and businesses closed across the country, employers and employees are not sure how to handle this new reality. It is important that employers continue to follow existing laws and keep track of new laws in motion. Here are the common questions we’ve been asked, and what to do.

Read more (PDF)

The Blended Approach to Life Insurance

As a business owner you may have multiple people who depend on you.

In the event of your death, life insurance proceeds can help ease the burden left on your business and your family. The death benefit can be used to cover business loans or the mortgage on your family’s home. Having the proper amount of coverage can provide financial stability to those who rely on you most.

Read more

Create an Enduring Risk Management Culture

If you aren’t committed to incorporating risk management into the culture of your business, a seemingly small change can make it all crumble, leaving you without a solid foundation to help you prioritize the safety of your workers. If you intend to make risk management a core value of your business, your risk management culture needs to be strong enough to withstand any obstacle.

Read more

Join the RPA

More to offer than ever! Joining the Radiant Professionals Alliance (RPA) is one of the best business moves you can make. If you're looking to grow, gain new customers, solve heating problems more quickly than ever before, tap into some of the brightest minds in the hydronic-heating business, and have a great time along the way, the RPA is for you.

Find out some of what we have waiting for you!

THANK YOU for supporting our industry initiatives with your ongoing support.

NEW MEMBERS (since last newsletter)
Lowell’s Plumbing Inc.
Mingde Beishi Tec (Tianjin) Co., Ltd.
Sound Geothermal Corp.
William Roth


Advanced Comfort Systems Inc.
ATI Systems, Inc.
Brandywine Valley Htg. & AC
ClimateMaster, Inc.
David G. Woycio
Dutch Lane Heating
G&S Sales
Heat Link Group Inc.
Illinois Association of Plumbing, Heating, Cooling Contractors
Lowell’s Plumbing Inc.
Mechanical Hub
MICO Plumbing & Heating
Mitsair/Aermec North America
Patterson Pump Company
Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI)
Sound Geothermal Corp.
TempTek Systems LLC
The Heat Exchange
Uponor Inc.
WaterFurnace International, Inc.