Compliance with Executive Order 562
Back in March of 2015, Governor Baker issued the Executive Order which required all state regulations to be reviewed to ensure they were mandated by law or essential to the health, safety, environment, or welfare of the citizens of the Commonwealth. The Board of State Examiners of Plumbers and Gas Fitters were in the midst of regulatory changes when this Order took place, and therefore had to review 248 CMR prior to their adoption.
Public Hearing and Promulgation
The Executive Order review process was commenced in August of 2015, and after the approval process, new amendments were released for public hearing in July of 2016. The public hearing was held on October 5, 2016 during which public comment was accepted by the Board. The Board finalized these changes during the October 28th meeting and the new amendments were promulgated on January 27, 2017.
Code Changes of Note
The following code changes were reviewed and have been deemed to be of potential significance to ongoing design projects:
- Increased allowances for single user toilet rooms in Restaurants and Commercial/Business areas
- Architectural features to limit the requirement of interceptors, separators, or holding tanks at overhead doors
- Use of Gender Neutral toilet fixtures in lieu of separate male/female toilet fixtures
Single User Toilet Room Allowances
The Board increased the allowances for single user toilet rooms as follows:
- Restaurants previously required separate male and female toilet fixtures when the square footage of the space was greater than 1,200 sf or the combined occupants served (employees and patrons) was 20 or more individuals. The limit has now been increased to 2,000 sf and a maximum of 20 individuals.
- Business and commercial buildings previously required separate male and female toilet fixtures when the square footage of the space was greater than 1,2000 sf. The limit has now been increased to 2,000 sf and a maximum of 20 individuals.
Eliminating the Use of Interceptors, Separators, or Holding Tanks
The board previously required a variance to omit the requirement for floor drains connected to interceptors, separators, or holding tanks where overhead doors were provided in a commercial building but were not intended to be used by motor vehicles. This variance typically required bollards (or similar architectural features) which prevented motor vehicles to enter the space. 248 CMR 10.09 now permits the use of architectural features such as bollards to omit the requirement without the need to file a variance.
Gender Neutral Bathroom Allowance
Gender Neutral Bathrooms are now permitted to be utilized in lieu of separate male/female toilet fixtures in certain instances. In order to be utilized as a Gender Neutral, or unisex bathroom, the bathroom is required to be a single user bathroom, and either (1) all of the required toilet fixtures serving the space are required to be placed in single user, gender neutral bathrooms, or (2) an equal number of the required fixtures for each gender are placed in single user bathrooms. For example, if four male and four female toilets and sinks were required, if a single female toilet and sink were placed in a gender neutral bathroom, a single male toilet and sink would also be required to be placed in a gender neutral bathroom. For the purpose of determining the required number of fixtures, each of the single user bathrooms would be counted towards a gender. Signage designating the bathrooms as Gender Neutral, or as Unisex (depending on the owner’s preference) is permitted.
Refer the following link for a full list of the amendments as well as Frequently Asked Questions: http://www.mass.gov/ocabr/licensee/dpl-boards/pl/