Articles by Chet Vogel

New York City Council Committee on Housing and Buildings



Chairwoman Provenzano and Council Members of the Committee on Housing and Buildings:

My name is Chet Vogel, P.E., a Fellow of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), a Fellow of the American Society of Heating Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Engineers, a Principal and stock holder of M-E Engineers, a consulting engineering company with more than 200 employees worldwide, the Chairman of the Mechanical/HVAC/Boiler Committee of the New York City Model Code Program, and the Chairman of the ACECNY Mechanical Code Committee. I have practiced in the NYC Construction Industry for more than 45 years, for several years in construction activities, and for the past 40 years as a member of the engineering consulting and design community. My company is currently providing consulting engineering services for several major new sports facilities in New York City, including two professional major league baseball stadia and arenas for professional NBA/NHL sports, along with healthcare and science and technology projects.

Shortly after my start in consulting, and coincident with becoming a professional engineer, the current NYC Building Code was introduced to the industry in 1968. Although I did not participate in the development of this Code, I took a great interest in its interpretation and application, and soon thereafter took an active role in Code Committee activities, in concert with the NYC Dept. of Buildings (DOB). During the past 10 years, I have assisted the NYCDOB with the preparation of Technical Policy & Procedural Notices (TPPN’s) clarifying mechanical fire and safety requirements, I participated on the World Trade Center Sub-Committee for Ventilation, culminating in 2002 with the current New York City Code Reference Standard 13-1 for the Installation of Air Conditioning and Ventilating Systems, and I assisted with the implementation of the World Trade Center Building Code Task Force recommendations for fuel oil piping and air intake locations included in Local Law 26 of 2004.

Approximately 30 months ago, and shortly after the Mayor’s Advisory Commission issued it’s recommendation to adopt a Model Building Code based upon the International Building Code (IBC), I was asked to assist the NYCDOB in forming the Mechanical/HVAC/Boiler Committee that would be needed to review the International Mechanical Code (IMC), and the related Subchapters, Reference Standards and TPPN’s of the NYC Building Code, as well as mechanical portions of the International Fuel Gas Code (IFGC). Representing Labor, Industry, Engineering Design, Real Estate and Construction, as well as NYC Government Agencies, 35 leaders with interest and expertise in Mechanical, HVAC, and Boilers were selected, and agreed to participate on the six Panels required to review this material.

These six Panels – General Requirements, Ventilation, Boilers and Chimneys, Equipment, Refrigeration, and Piping, including Fuel Oil Piping and Storage, have, during these past 2 years, met as a group once a month, and in addition, met as Panel sub-committees once or twice a month, to reach consensus on the acceptability of, or recommended changes to, each and every section and sub-section if the IMC, as well as Chapters 2, 5 and 6 of the IFGC. More than 200 amendments have been written to these ICC Codes, to include important safety and “good design practice” requirements that the Committee determined were important to include in the Model Code for NYC. Our Committee has completed its work and submitted all of the recommended text to the NYCDOB and the Model Code Management Committee for approval.

We believe we have helped the NYCDOB to meet its Short Term Goal of a comprehensive Mechanical/HVAC/Boiler Code, with the required modifications necessary to enhance public safety and encourage economic growth, through the use of national building standards and technology. The IMC and IFGC, and their amendments, which will be part of a future bill, are extensive and written in code language, with reference to national standards, such as those currently and commonly in use in NYC from ASHRAE and NFPA, when appropriate. The new code will help to reduce construction costs by eliminating red tape and allowing the utilization of modern technology. By adopting an easy to reference national format, it will also save valuable time and eliminate costly confusion.

Therefore, for the reasons stated above, and in order to acknowledge the extraordinary efforts to date of the more than 400 volunteers involved in the development of a Model Code, and the City’s commitment to meet its Long Term Goal of a completed Model Code by the year 2006, I strongly recommend your support and the adoption of Intro 478A, so that the remainder of the Code work can proceed forward. New York City deserves a 21st century code - not an extensively modified 1960's code. We, along with the major labor unions, construction companies, engineering firms, professional associations and community groups, ask that you act now - there is no reason to delay!

Thank you.

Respectfully submitted,

Chet Vogel, P.E.
417 Fifth Avenue - 5th Floor
New York, NY 10016-2204
(212) 725-6800 - ext.179
C.T. Vogel, PE Consulting Engineer

cc: Patricia J. Lancaster, Commissioner - NYC DOB
Sam Marcovici, Mechanical Code Committee Coordinator, NYCDOB