The International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo), which began in 1931, has grown into the event of the year for the HVACR industry. AHR 2019 was just held in Atlanta, Georgia. A lot has changed since the show was last held there 18 years ago. This years expo drew more than 70,000 attendees and more than 2,100 exhibitors, and hosted industry professionals from every state in America and 165 countries worldwide.
The AHR Expo provides a unique forum for the entire HVACR community to come together and share new products, technologies, and ideas. Everyone from major manufacturers to innovative new start-ups attended, and exhibitors showcased and demonstrated a variety of the latest HVACR-related products. More than 70 free, one- and two-hour sessions were presented by experts from prominent industry-leading organizations. Sessions were designed to allow for easy integration of valuable education time into attendees’ overall Show agendas.
DOB NOW is the Department’s new public facing web interface that allows customers to conduct transactions online. DOB NOW provides customers with the ability to manage more robust online accounts, making it easier to submit applications, make payments, schedule appointments, check the status of an application or inspection, pull permits, make renewals, and have virtual interactions with Agency staff. The DOB has released several Service Updates for end-of-year Elevator filings.
New functionality in DOB NOW: Safety to allow for the filing of Category 5 Inspection/Test Reports if it has been more than six years since the last filing. These Category 5 Inspection/Test Report filings are required to be submitted in DOB NOW: Safety at www.nyc.gov/dobnow by March 31, 2019
DOB NOW: Safety will not accept an inspection date that is older than one year of the filing date. For example, if a filing is submitted on January 15, 2019, the oldest inspection date that can be entered is January 15, 2018.
If the required report is not filed by March 31, 2019, the device will be subject to a violation for failure to file as per 1 RCNY§103-02.
For issues submitting an elevator compliance filing in DOB NOW: Safety (including device not found) please use the DOB NOW Help Form at www.nyc.gov/dobnowhelp and provide the specific device number and the type of report you are attempting to file (CAT1, CAT5, or AOC).
Please also note that submitting reports is different than performing inspections – while reports can be submitted through the date as listed above, 2018 inspections cannot be performed in 2019.
To accommodate circumstances where Appendix K, Table N1 of the NYC Building Code allows for the completion of an Elevator Inspection/Test Report (ELV3) without a Witnessing Agency, the following question will be added to DOB NOW: Safety on November 21, 2018:
Does NYC Building Code Appendix K, Table N1 allow all of the inspection(s) and/or test(s) referenced in this submission to be completed without a witnessing agency? Yes No
−If ‘Yes’ is selected, the fields for Witnessing Agency Director and Witnessing Agency Inspector will not appear for completion or signature. −If ‘No’ is selected, the fields for Witnessing Agency Director and Witnessing Agency Inspector must be completed and electronically signed.
NOTE: The above question will apply to all Elevator Inspections/Tests in a particular filing. Elevator Inspections/Tests that include a Witnessing Agency cannot be filed in the same submission as Elevator Inspections/Tests that do not include a Witnessing Agency.
The deadline for resubmissions is extended to June 30, 2019 for ‘rejected’ Elevator Inspection/Test Reports (ELV3) and Affirmation of Correction (ELV29) filings for 2017 and prior year reporting cycles.
After this date, violations for Failure to File and Failure to File Affirmation of Correction for these cycles will not be dismissed upon resubmission.
It’s crunch time for the New York elevator industry as the deadline to comply with the Door Lock Monitor code is quickly approaching. The City of New York issued new guidelines for elevator door lock monitoring systems which requires completion of upgrades and changes by 2020..
The new law requires all elevators to be equipped with an electronic fix that accomplishes two things: it prevents the elevator from moving if the doors are not properly closed; and it prevents the doors from opening if the elevator cab is not present. The deadline for compliance is January 1, 2020. A second upgrade, due by January 1, 2027, requires installation of an emergency brake. The deadline for compliance leaves less than one year to apply this safety device to the elevators. As the deadline is less than a year away, elevator service companies need to advise their clients as to the rule and its implications for non-compliance.
Elevators installed since the 2009 building code most likely have this type of system in place. It already might be in the elevator control system but just not activated, or it may just need some software or type of hardware. Elevators – generally older ones – without such a door-monitoring system will be more expensive, since new equipment must be integrated with the existing elevator control system.
It’s important to note that there are several DOB requirements besides simply installing the Door Lock Monitor.
Even if the component is already in place, the elevator servicing company has to file a permit.
Next, they must get a set of electrical prints showing the DOB that it exists electrically within the control-board circuit and have it stamped by a professional engineer.
Finally, the DOB must come out and test the elevator.
Elevators deemed non-compliant by January 1, 2020 will be subject to steep fines and potential shut-downs. It is a time consuming process that shouldn’t be left to the last minute as it can take up to 6 weeks just to obtain the necessary city permits to proceed.
The good news is that FIELDBOSS can help manage the process and ensure that all your elevators are compliant before the deadline.
FIELDBOSS can be configured to:
Easily monitor which elevators require the door lock monitor device, which have already been installed and which have yet to be installed
Create drop down lists under each elevator to keep track of Door Lock Monitor device status
Create quotes in seconds and send to those customers in need of a Door Lock Monitor device
Create easy to read dashboard views of Active Door Lock Monitor quotes, Active Sites for Door Lock Monitor Installations, and Building Locations without Door Lock Monitors so you can easily stay on-top of what’s going on and keep your customers devices compliant.
Contact us for more information on how FIELDBOSS can help manage your Door Lock Monitoring device installation.
Skilled trades professionals continue to earn high wages, according to The National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) 2018 Construction Craft Salary Survey. More than 130 industrial and commercial construction companies across the U.S., representing over 350,000 employees, participated in the survey. The most significant pay increase was for HVAC technicians as HVAC salaries continue to rise.
Of the 32 construction positions surveyed, average annual salaries ranged from $47,700 to $92,500. Project supervisors and program managers topped the list, earning over $88,000 and $92,500 respectively. Professions earning more than $65,000 include boilermaker, mobile crane operator, tower crane operator, millwright, industrial electrician, power line worker, pipe welder, instrumentation technician, and combo welder. Additionally, seven more craft areas made more than $60,000 per year.
The most significant pay increase was for HVAC technician, up 20 percent from previous years. Since NCCER’s previous survey of 2015 salaries, the average annual pay for HVAC technicians has increased the most (20%), from $52,026 in 2015 to $62,472 in 2018.
The HVACR industry is stable and thriving, HVAC technician salaries continue to rise, there are jobs to be filled and HVACR companies are busy. This is truly an exciting time to be a part of the HVACR industry.
FIELDBOSS was built for the Microsoft Cloud and within Microsoft Dynamics 365. Dynamics 365 is the next generation of intelligent business applications that empowers your service organization to transform and evolve. This solution connects CRM and ERP capabilities with custom-made applications that work together seamlessly as one connected system. The result is a powerful tool that will increase productivity, cut costs, streamline processes, meet customer needs and capture new opportunities.
Here are 6 Ways Your Field Service Business is Stronger with Microsoft Dynamics 365 and FIELDBOSS:
1. End-to-End Field Service Management
An end-to-end field service software solution is vital to the success of any field service operation. Given the increased complexity of the field service industry and constantly evolving best-practices, field service operations that don’t use a comprehensive software solution are out-performed by competitors that do.
FIELDBOSS stands out because it is a complete end-to-end solution that allows our system to show important metrics such as profit on a work order in real-time. From customer relationship management, to field dispatch resources, to accounting, and enterprise resource planning (ERP) – our end-to-end, seamless integration provides an unprecedented level of clarity that, when combined with other FIELDBOSS tools, drives new opportunities and new levels of service.
2. Connected Interactions
FIELDBOSS empowers technicians with a 360-degree view of customers and real-time guidance to improve resolution time and earn customer trust. By using the common data model in Microsoft Dynamics 365, all core information such as customer and product data is saved in one central place. Access to this data is available in real-time across multiple applications within the Dynamics 365 suite.
3. Integration to Outlook and Other Microsoft Technologies
Since Microsoft has many common technologies that businesses already employ such as MS Outlook, Office and Exchange, they’re the clear winner in integrating those technologies with Dynamics 365. Even though some organizations choose to work with other platforms, most of them are still working with MS Outlook, Office and Exchange. These organizations will find integration to be more challenging and limiting in terms of functionality.
4. Development and Flexibility
One reason we chose to build FIELDBOSS within Microsoft Dynamics 365 is for development. The Microsoft Dynamics platform employs common, universal web standards such as Java, .Net and HTML. This means that field service businesses have the advantage of developing their own customizations based on their individual needs without having to rely on a single or specific type of programming language. And, if they don’t have the capabilities in-house to handle these customizations, there is an extensive network of trusted, experienced partners (like Rimrock Corporation) that can effectively handle their needs.
5. Real-time Customer Data
For an organization determined to create superior customer engagement, end-to-end integration offers another strong competitive advantage. Enhanced visibility and control of customer information to field technicians on site can ensure that warranty repairs are properly made, non-warranty repairs are invoiced, and new warranty upsell opportunities are taken advantage of. Dynamics 365 and FIELDBOSS will ensure that customer data is shared and synched in real-time across the organization to be of optimal use to sales, marketing, and customer service.
6. Future Proofing Your Business
No organization invests more in research and development than Microsoft. Our approach when developing FIELDBOSS was to leverage the best technology and functionality platform available . So while Microsoft’s focus is on R&D and innovation, we can focus on solving industry problems and staying ahead of industry trends. The result is that FIELDBOSS customers are always future proofing their businesses, reducing technological risk and protecting the company valuation.
FIELDBOSS and Microsoft Dynamics 365 deliver a powerful combination of business management software with field service management. Contact us to find out how FIELDBOSS can help boost productivity and profitability, as well as improve customer service.
The Rimrock Corporation team is made up of many hard working, talented individuals with interesting stories to tell. In our Employee Spotlight series, you’ll meet some of these people, learn what they do, and how they keep Rimrock exciting and fun.
This month we shine the light on Stuart Taub, our development tester. Stuart was born and raised in Toronto. Prior to working at Rimrock, Stuart worked as a Senior Buyer in the Automotive and Food Industries. He was also a procurement officer at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM).
Read on to learn more about Stuart.
What do you love most about working at Rimrock & how long have you been here?
I have been with Rimrock for about 4 years in the testing role. What I like most about my job is pointing out the errors in the program done by others (hey, it’s part of the job).
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I stay away from the computer as much as possible. I like reading, taking care of my dog, and watching the Toronto Maple Leafs.
What TV shows/music/apps/Podcasts are you currently obsessed with right now?
My favorite TV shows are Big Bang Theory, Survivor, and Brooklyn 99.
Tell us a “fun fact” about yourself or your “secret talent” that your colleagues might not already know.
I am a member of IPMS Toronto (International Plastic Modelers Society) and AMPS (Armor Military Preservation Society). These groups mainly assemble scale models and help restore recovered military equipment from the past. I also enter my completed build projects in competitions and have won several 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in show categories. The next show we are doing is March 24th at the Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton. We usually get about 700 entries amid the backdrop of WWII and modern jets in the Museums hanger. Next time you see me, ask me what I am working on and I will likely have a picture of it.
This might be the biggest New Years resolution ever as 197 countries around the world have resolved to scale back the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, a game-changing climate treaty, entered into force as the calendar turned to 2019 and with it, the global HFC phasedown begins on some of the most potent greenhouse gases on Earth.
Canada, having ratified the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol in 2017, started cutting HFC consumption as of January 1 by 10% and will move to 85% by 2036.
The Canadian plan also puts caps on the GWP of gases that can be used in specific applications. Starting on January 1, 2020, stand-alone commercial refrigeration systems will be limited to 1,400 and 1,500 GWPS for medium- and low-temperature units, respectively, while centralized refrigeration systems and condensing units will be held to a 2,200 GWP refrigerant.
Much of the Canadian regulation focuses on imports since HFCs are usually imported into Canada in bulk for use in the manufacturing, servicing and maintenance of refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment, and in the manufacturing of foam-blowing products.
Mexico voted to accept the Kigali Amendment in September 2018. As a developing country, it will freeze average production/consumption in 2024 at the baseline, which is the average production/consumption of HFCs in 2020, 2021 and 2022.
67 countries have ratified the Kigali Amendment, including the European Union, Japan, Canada, and Australia, as well many developing nations, and the United Nations said it expects more to join in the coming weeks. Notably absent are China and the U.S., the two biggest manufacturers and users of HFCs.
While China is expected to sign on, it doesn’t seem like the U.S. is in any rush to do the same despite widespread industry support for ratification. Just last year, 13 Republican senators asked the White House to send it to the Senate for ratification. The refrigerant industry supports ratification and even published a white paper showing it could result in an additional 33,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs and $12.5 billion in additional economic output to both replace HFCs and destroy the climate-warming chemicals. The industry has also suggested that China could get a leg up on the U.S. if it ratifies the treaty before the U.S. and begins manufacturing and distributing HFC-free refrigerators and air conditioners to the world.
Even if the amendment doesn’t make it to the US Senate for ratification, the U.S. still has some pathways forward to not fall totally behind. Individual states have begun to lead the way with California at the front of the pack. California has already banned HFCs in new air conditioners and refrigerators and a handful of other states, such as New York, Connecticut and Maryland, have followed suit. As well, 17 Governors from various states have formed the Climate Alliance. Aside from upholding the goals laid out in the now defunct Paris Climate Accord, they have targeted other climate and environmental changes and regulations including HFC refrigerants.
The U.S. may end up with a piecemeal of states that phase down HFCs but if enough states jump on board then manufacturers will be forced to use lower GWP alternative refrigerants.
The November midterm elections saw the Democrats take the House of Representatives and the Republicans maintain their majority in the Senate. How do the midterm election results effect the HVAC industry?
Several issues important to contractors and the HVAC industry will remain up for negotiation (or renegotiation) in the upcoming session of Congress. The 115th Congress brought some exciting gains that industry representatives are eager to lock-in through bipartisan legislation. New regulations are at an all-time low and for each new regulation created, 22 have been eliminated.
Legislatively, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that passed last December made huge improvements to policies affecting HVACR distributors, without which the industry would not be thriving the way it is. This year, the amount families can protect from the estate and gift tax was doubled to nearly $12 million per family and $24 million per couple. Additionally, individual tax rates were cut, a new small business deduction of 20 percent was created, 529 savings plans were expanded, the child tax credit was increased, and the standard deduction was doubled. The expensing of HVAC equipment became a first-year write-down versus the 39-year schedule that previously existed. With a new majority in the House, Democrats may want to revisit the particulars, which could involve the threshold’s dollar amount or its duration at this level. Industry representatives will encourage lawmakers to maintain the current version and extend its timeframe.
It is not expected that the HEAT Act — which allows immediate tax deduction expensing for commercial HVAC equipment purchases — will be revisited in the upcoming session. However, it would become a top priority for ACCA should it come under pressure.
TRADE & TARIFFS
Trade continues to be an important priority for the HVACR industry. The signing of USMCA, which keeps most of NAFTA intact, was a huge step to start the 116th Congress. Based on input from industry members, HARDI wrote to the US government with concern over tariffs and highlighted the importance of their trading relationships to the industry. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross responded that he had received the concerns and was working hard to solve the trade divide between Canada, Mexico and the US. HARDI, ACCA and the rest of the industry will continue to push Congress and the administration to support free trade.
DEPARTMENT OF LABOUR OVERTIME RULE
The Department of Labor overtime rule could be coming back into play next year. During the Obama Administration the Department of Labor increased the minimum salary threshold for overtime pay by over 100 percent. The wage increase was unsustainable for employers from across the nation. Thankfully, the regulation was struck down by the courts. DOL plans to reissue the regulation next year with a more realistic wage threshold.
EFFICIENCIES AND STANDARDS
Although the continued debate over equipment performance continues, the common interest continues to be better performance. Democrats are expected to pursue higher minimum efficiencies for HVAC equipment, some of which were established during the Obama administration and since rolled back. Meanwhile, ACCA maintains that it is equally effective and less expensive to pursue greater realized efficiencies and to “not focus on the box”.
Various interests could overlap legislatively in the form of increased funding for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Energy Star program. In particular, ACCA would like to see a boost in support for Energy Star’s Verified HVAC Installation (ESVI) program. Contractors who participate in the ESVI program earn accreditation from a third-party organization and can then offer customers added assurance with an ESVI certificate that verifies their new equipment was installed correctly.
AHR is hopeful that in the next Congress they will tackle reforms to modernize the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA). EPCA requires DOE to review and, when necessary, implement or revise minimum energy conservation standards. EPCA established a six-year review cycle. Many business leaders complain that the six-year cycle demands almost constant changes in plants and equipment because as managers prepare for the new standards, they quickly confront the next round of review, and, yet again, new investments that, over time, only yield smaller and smaller gains in efficiency.
Both parties agree on improving education in the trades. The Strengthening Career and Technical Education Act for the 21st Century Act was signed by the president this summer. One of the most pressing issues for the industry as a whole is having enough qualified professionals to install and service machines. This bill provided nearly $2 billion to high school and technical school programs across the country.
It will be interesting to see how much change can be affected with the change in House majority. The president will likely make deals with Democrats in the House where possible, which means that 2019 may yield some meaningful results for HVAC contractors and consumers alike. ACCA made this statement: “The HVAC industry is the backbone of our economy, responsible for keeping our food fresh, our IT and data centers operational, making modern medicine possible, providing essential comfort and healthy air to hundreds of millions of Americans, and employing millions of skilled workers. It is essential that policy makers understand the essential role that contractors play in our economy. ACCA looks forward to working with the new Congress, the Trump administration, and policy makers across the country on workforce development programs, reducing regulatory burdens, and expanding tax reform.”
During a time when the HVAC industry is struggling to find enough qualified service technicians and installers, women, without a doubt, represent the largest underutilized resource available to the industry. As of 2017, women made up nearly 47 percent of the U.S. labor force. In HVACR, however, that number is significantly lower. Of the 448,000 Americans employed in 2017 as HVACR mechanics and installers, just 2 percent of those were women, according to the U.S. BLS. However, while the HVACR industry has traditionally been male-dominated, women are starting to have their own successes as both owners and technicians.
Women in HVACR Trends
Just 10 years ago, it was fairly rare to see a female working on industrial air conditioning and exceedingly rare for one to own their own contracting business. But times are changing.
Today, more women are entering the field, thanks to advocacy, personal encouragement, and mentoring, and increasing numbers of girls pursuing the STEM fields early on in their academic career. Recruitment efforts within the industry are also gaining steam, thanks to organizations like Women in HVACR, a national organization dedicated to increasing the number of women in the industry. Women in HVACR provides support, mentorship, scholarships, and helps women break into the industry. Through the organization, they connect with schools and help to make the HVAC industry less of a mystery while encouraging women to consider it as a career choice.
Meanwhile, HVAC companies themselves are trying to assist women in making the transition by hosting career fairs, awarding scholarships, and helping to support women new to the field. Additionally, many trades schools, local and federal governments, and private institutions are helping to make it easier for women to train for jobs in AC maintenance, industrial air conditioning, and more.
Some other trends the industry is seeing is more daughters taking over family-owned HVACR businesses passed down from their fathers. Additionally, there is a growing rate of professional positions being filled by females; More women in every position, at every level, from manufacturing to service providers, and from wholesalers to educators. There has also been an increase in women in the HVACR programs at technical schools.
As more women take the helm of major HVAC contracting companies, they are presenting themselves as positive role models for other women and proving that the job isn’t “just for men.”
The Industry Needs Women
The HVAC industry is projected to grow significantly in the next few years. Continued industry growth combined with the estimated retirement of a large percentage of older HVAC employees means the industry needs women to survive. The industry will need about 115,000 new workers trained and ready to work by 2022 just to meet the expected demand of this aging industry. Attracting women into the industry will help fill the need for HVAC professionals. This starts at the high school level, informing students of the opportunities available with a two-year trade degree as opposed to a four-year college degree.
An Untapped Resource
One HVAC company said one of the biggest changes to her business was hiring female technicians. The majority of her customers are women because usually the men are gone and the moms are at home. Women relate to women and in some cases, feel safer having a female technician in the home. The company says that now a lot of their competitors are continuously trying to recruit the female techs.
Not every challenge of being a woman in a primarily male industry has been lifted, but the HVACR industry continues to further open its doors to women seeking a stable, well-paying career. With the increasing open-mindedness and equality, career opportunities, ownership abilities, and established support systems in place, more women are starting to take notice and consider the HVACR industry as a career. As the skilled trades shortage grows larger each day, it’s imperative to begin changing the perception of a woman’s ability to excel in the trade professions. For HVACR businesses to continue to grow they need to find enough quality employees for the future. Owners must look outside the industry’s preconceived idea of what a service technician looks like. It is exciting to see this transformation beginning to take place and to see more women getting involved and succeeding in the HVACR world.
The Canadian elevator industry has recently come under intense scrutiny, but many fail to realize the enormous economic and infrastructure benefits it provides us with. Elevators make life possible in our vertical city – and while they’re one of our most-used forms of transportation, they’re also one of the least understood. With so much negative press these days, we thought we’d extol the virtues of the Canadian elevator industry.
The keystone to our endless skyscrapers
Typically, unlike subway rides, streetcars or buses, the importance of elevators in our daily commute go unnoticed. For most city-dwellers, the elevator is an unremarkable machine that inspires none of the passion or interest that trains or jets do. However, without the elevator, there could be no downtown skyscrapers or residential high-rises, and city life as we know it would be impossible. In that sense, the elevator’s role in history has been no less transformative than that of the automobile. Our vertical trips come as footnotes, yet it’s those footnotes that make the Toronto skyline- and the modern city itself- possible. Just as the automobile unleashed the troubled geography of the North American suburbs, the elevator is the keystone to the endless skyscrapers that define our Downtown. Faster and more reliable elevators have played a key role in making supertall buildings in Toronto possible. The speed and reliability of elevators is crucial to making future projects like YSL Residences, Mirvish + Gehry, and The One habitable.
Job opportunities and above average wages
Elevator mechanic was ranked the 10th best job in Canada in 2017. There are many reasons for this, but one of them is the tremendous growth in the field. Over the last five years, the number of elevator mechanic jobs in Canada has grown 94%. The field is booming, which increases the amount of opportunities for elevator mechanics. The industry has seen a strong salary growth of 16% from 2010 to 2016. With an average yearly income of $84,000, elevator mechanics are making more than double the median individual income in Canada.
Aside from a higher-than-average salary, elevator technicians enjoy solving problems and working with their hands. One mechanic likens the work to solving puzzles, and says he enjoys the challenges of figuring out what is wrong with the elevator. Another elevator mechanic likes seeing the looks on people’s faces when they free them from an elevator entrapment.
Speaking of elevator entrapments……
When it comes to elevator entrapments, there has been a common misconception that the number of elevator entrapments in Toronto has risen dramatically. The important thing to note is that although there has been an increase in elevator entrapments, that number is not disproportionate to the rapid increase in high-rise buildings, and by the same token, elevators, being built in the city. When you have more elevators, you are going to have more entrapments.
The growth of the industry, above average salary, and increase in opportunities in the field, coupled with the benefits elevators provide our growing cities, make the Canadian elevator industry one that deserves a lot of respect.
FIELDBOSS stays current on industry trends to keep you informed on what’s happening in the elevator world. Contact us if you want to improve your elevator business and contribute to North America’s rapidly growing urban landscape.