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Porters, Handymen, and Doorman, or PHD's Blog

Questions For Supers - 200 to 249


last update on Thursday January 31, 2008 09:49 PM PT


"Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information on it."  -- Samuel Johnson


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  The information given on these question and answer pages has been carefully checked and is believed to be accurate; however, no responsibility is assumed for inaccuracies. All answers sent in and published on these pages are the sole opinions of the authors and do not represent any legal, medical, or professional advice.

The Supers Technical Association reserves the right to make changes to any and all content without notice, and to edit all questions and answers received for accuracy or clarity, or for any other purpose.

Although the Supers Technical Association believes the content to be accurate, complete, and current, the Supers Technical Association makes no warranty as to its accuracy or completeness of the content. It is your responsibility to verify any information before relying on it. The content of this site may also include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. From time to time changes will be made, without prior notice, to the content herein.



  Question #249: How frequently should steam system trap maintenance be performed, and what would you say about a super who has done no such maintenance in over 20 years? Post your answer

Answer: Steam Trap Maintenance should be on a preventive maintenance schedule. Every Heating season, the RISER traps should be checked by temperature differential to make sure they are holding. Any traps in the apartment should be on a 5 yr automatic replacement on the thermostatic diaphragms. As for what I would say about the super who is not doing this, he should belong to our Association so that he knows these things. Pgrech

Answer: If something that should have been done wasn't done for 20 years, your building manager is as much at fault as, if not more than, your super. Normally the super answers to the manager, and it is the manager's job to oversee the super. If that oversight by the manager isn't happening adequately, things like this often fall through the cracks. Your manager needs to know what needs to be done -- as well as the super, so that he/she knows how to supervise the work of the super.

  Question #248: Where is the best place to look for a superintendent job, besides the New York Times? Post your answer

Answer: Check these pages at least once a week, especially here and here, and also read the job sections in the New York Post and the New York Daily News. Also (and this is probably the best way to find a job), ask people who are on the job, we often find out "through the grapevine" about upcoming available jobs. And, if you don't do so already, it would be good for you to come to the monthly meetings, acquaint yourself with other supers and building maintenance personnel, and "network" with them - exchange phone numbers and email addresses and stay in touch. Lots of information of this type is exchanged through relationships made at meetings among members, their guests and visitors. Further information on this subject is also available on the FAQs page.

  Question #247: I am going to an interview later today for the position as a super, I would like to know what the wages are, also the benefits. Post your answer

Answer: The wages are not set. Many factors go into what the wages will be, such as what work you will be doing, how many on staff, location of building, union or non-union. Health care varies also, from major medical only to including dental and eye care. This also depends if the building is union or not, so if you can give more specifics it will help.

Peter Grech

Answer: Wages and benefits vary a lot, except when it's a union building. Then it's a bit more uniform, but there are still variations for supers. Without knowing more about the building and management company in question, it's impossible to give you even a good ballpark figure. To get a better idea of it all, read the questions and answers on the Supers & Management page.

  Question #246: How do you become insured and bonded as a maintenance person? Post your answer

Answer: Don't know about bonding, but for liability insurance you can call this number: 914 963 7800, ask for Carla, tell her Peter Grech sent you. You can ask her about bonding, she may know. This is an insurance broker who may be able to get liability insurance for you. Pgrech

  Question #245: Are landlords required to provide radiator guards in apartments with steam heat occupied by tenants with small children? Post your answer

Answer: No, landlords are not required to provide radiator guards. Pgrech

  Question #244: What do I have to do to get a refrigeration license? Post your answer

Answer: You will need the following: 1. You must have a high school diploma, 2. Take a refrigeration course, 3. Acquire a universal certification, 4. Take a refrigeration license course, 5. Go to 9 Metrotech in Brooklyn and take a 100 question written test, 6. When you pass the written test you set a date to take your practical exam, where you will be quizzed by two engineers. Roberto Cardona

  Question #243: What is the best way to find and hire a new super? Post your answer

Answer: There are many "best" ways, depending on your personal style. Many people like to use only word of mouth, depending on those they know to steer qualified people their way, then making a selection from among those. There are those who would never use a personal relationship in this way, always using newspaper advertisements to qualify new hires. Still others use some of both, to varying extents, and make it work for their purposes. All avenues can result in successfully hiring the best candidate for the job in question. I think it largely depends on your optimum individual mode of operation.

  Question #242: I am a 32BJ superintendent for a 12 floor building, the building will change hands in June this year. The company I work for owns many buildings in the city. Is my job secure with the company? Post your answer

Answer: Who can predict the future and say what will happen when a building changes ownership or management. We all know that we work at the pleasure of the landlords, managements or boards for which we spend our time daily, and no job is guaranteed. Instead of "Is my job secure?", the question you may want to ask yourself is "Are my skills up to date?" Most supers have at least decent repair skills, and if that's ALL they have, they're a dime a dozen. A super with good computer skills (and thus good organizational skills, presumably), and even more importantly, good communication skills, along with at least adequate repair and cleaning abilities, is highly sought after everywhere. Moving on to a new job is not such a bad thing, and you should always be preparing yourself for that eventuality. You should think seriously about becoming a member of this Association, taking our workshops and networking with other building maintenance workers at our monthly meetings, learning all you can from others in the business - and writing your resume - and you will have a leg up on the competition.

  Question #241: We have recently bought a co-op in NYC on the top floor of a 21 floor building. When we looked at the apartment all ventilation fans were broken so we didn't hear any noise. But as soon as we moved in we realized that the fans on the roof make a lot of noise and vibration in our apartment, which is completely intolerable. Do you know what can be done about this problem and whether it's common in New York City?  Post your answer

Answer:  Dial 311 and ask for Department of Environmental Protection. DEP will set up an appointment and come in to your apartment to measure the noise level with their special equipments. If they find the noise is excessive (currently the law is 45 dB), they will issue a violation to the Building and the paper will be sent to the management company. Most likely the building won't do anything until they receive two or three violations on the same ventilation equipment. Therefore, keep calling DEP and be patient, it will be resolved. Just don't expect it to be resolved overnight.

Answer: Yes, it is common for roof fans to vibrate and make noise. However in most cases the noise level and vibration levels are under required City Code levels. You may call DEP and file a complaint and they will test the noise level. The cure can be simple or complex depending on what is causing the excessive noise/vibration. Usually RUBBER pads can be installed under the units to eliminate that problem. If it is the tops that are creating the noise, then rubber washers should be installed with screws that make for a tight fitting. Pgrech

  Question #240: How can I obtain an HVAC Certificate of Fitness? Post your answer

Answer: To the best of my knowledge there is NO HVAC Certificate of Fitness. There are certificates of fitness for #6 oil burners, and the refrigeration license - these two separate certificates are the only ones that pertain to HVAC. Pgrech

Answer: Start your inquiry at

  Question #239: My general contractor is redoing my co-op bathroom. His licensed plumber is using PVC to connect the new toilet, sink, bath to the old pipes instead of black iron. Is PVC legal in 36 unit 6 story buildings in Brooklyn? Post your answer

Answer: See the answer to Question 225.

  Question #238: Does it make sense to replace a #6 fuel oil boiler with a #2 fuel oil boiler and separate the heating of the hot water from the steam heat? Post your answer

Answer: Which came first the egg or the chicken? The question you ask is one that is always debated. I will keep my answer succinct.

  • #6 oil is cheaper per gallon
  • #6 oil requires more maintenance
  • #6 oil has 25% more BTUs per gallon
  • #6 oil requires a permit and Certificates of Fitness to operate
  • #6 oil generates more pollution
  • #6 oil requires more equipment, ie, electric preheat, smoke guard, fuel transfer pump.

When asked which do I like, I love #6 oil. Pgrech

  Question #237: What is required by the electrical code for installation of hard-wired smoke detectors in new and/or completely renovated NYC apartments? Where should they be and what, if any, are the placement requirements with regard to nearby walls, etc.? Post your answer

Answer: Any building undergoing a total renovation is required to have hard wired smoke detectors. As for the codes, if your building is going through such renovations, then the professional building engineer as well as the professional licensed electrician who have been hired will know what codes must be complied with. All work must be filed with the Department of Buildings. If you want to know the exact code requirements, go to the NYC and NYS electrical codes as they are too long to quote here. Pgrech

  Question #236: I live in an apartment building with 18 units. Are we required by law to have a super? We have a porter who comes and clean and take out the garbage. But none that we know of that stays on the premises. Where should this notice be kept on how to locate the super. What should we do if it is after hours and management offices are closed, and the porter is no longer on the premises. And to whom and how to file a complaint if you suspect that we don't have adequate help maintaining our residence. Post your answer

Answer: The NYC and state codes require either a superintendent, a janitor or an owner of the building to live in the building or within two hundred feet of the building. A notice in the vestibule of the building must be posted with the persons name, address and phone number. The other option is to have 24 hour janitorial service. All complaints should be made with the New York City Department of Housing, Preservation & Development (HPD). Pgrech

  Question #235: I live on the top floor of a walk-up. This winter season there has been a harsh, burnt, petroleum-like, chemical smell coming from all my radiators, especially when the heat first comes on. I think the landlord has been doing unlicensed work in the basement, so he is reluctant to acknowledge any problem. What could it be? Is it dangerous? Post your answer

Answer: Why do you suspect a link between the smell and unlicensed work (if any has been going on), and why do you think unlicensed work HAS been going on? Living in the building it is incumbent on you, if you suspect anything shady going on, to investigate. Most problems between landlords and tenants are the result of miscommunication or no communication. Ask, keep on asking and demand answers, with the premise in mind that you DO have a right to know most of what goes on in the building in which you live. This is your home, and you have a right to know what the super, management and/or landlord does in the building that may adversely impact on you, other tenants, and especially children in the building. Don't just expect your landlord to do the right thing - some will, some won't unless they're forced to do so.

Answer: I wish I had the answer. I live on the top floor of a walkup too and the same thing is happening to us. It happened only recently and its only in the rooms with the tall radiator pipes that exit within that room, not the squat radiator pipes that curl around and around if that makes any sense. I live in NYC too, it is scary and it smells horrible like mold but worse. I am going to ask and ask but what I'd really like is to know what it is.

  Question #234: The PSI gauge on our booster pump (we have a 6 storey 75 unit co-op) when turned on reads zero and the pipes start to shake. I have been told there may be air in the pipes. How do I correct this? Post your answer

Answer: Your gauge is broken or malfunctioning, depending on where the gauge is located on the pump. If the gauge is on the suction line of the pump, then it should read the street pressure. If the gauge is located on the discharge side, then it should read the pressure being discharged when the pumps are on. If the pumps are off, then it should read the head pressure of the column of water in the pipe. The noise, if the noise is heard in the pump itself, and it is a centrifugal pump then yes it may be air. If the noise is heard in the discharge pipes, then the noise is due to NOT ENOUGH VOLUME of water. Pgrech

  Question #233: There is a strange chemical smell, sort of like the smell when you burn plastic but a little different, that is somehow related to the radiator heat system in my apartment. I don't always smell it, not even when the radiators are on, but quite often the whole kitchen takes on a strong chemical smell - I open the window, but I'm worried about what it might be doing to my health. The interesting thing is that you can sometimes smell the same chemical odor in the second floor landing of the stairway leading up to my apartment (on the third floor). I told the Super, but when he come by it seems like the smell is gone. It often smells worse at night. Any ideas? I have not recently painted anything in my apartment. Post your answer

Answer: Your description is much too vague to allow anyone to make a definite pronouncement as to the problem and solution. From what you describe it is probably related to someone painting a radiator, but if you didn't paint any radiators in your apartment recently, then it may be someone else, even on another floor, having painted their radiator(s). IF that's all it is, the smell will go away in a few days or weeks as the paint gets "baked" onto the radiator surface by the heat - and cured, and you're doing the right thing in opening a window when you encounter the smell. If however, it's something else and the smell keeps returning, get other tenants and the super or management involved in trying to discover the source, and whether or not it's toxic.

  Question #232: I live in a building that has 5 units. I'd like to know if landlord is supposed to live next door to property in reference to tenants privacy? Post your answer

Answer: There is no law prohibiting the landlord/building owner from living next door or even in the building where his/her tenants live. Pgrech

  Question #231: I am a shareholder in a Queens co-op, and was wondering if there is any legal limit or Code to how many people can occupy a studio or 1-bedroom apartment? Post your answer

Answer: If remembered correctly, the limit is 1 adult and one child under age of 4 in 80 square feet, but of course you are allowed to have a roommate. The Housing Code, in Sec. 27-2075 Maximum permitted occupancy states the particulars, which depend on the type of dwelling.

Answer: There is NO legal limit (in the City codes) on how many people can live in an apartment as to NUMBERS. The lease, or in a co-op/condo the proprietary lease, however would govern how many occupants are allowed. Pgrech

  Question #230: I'm a newly hired super in a building with a Heat-Timer device on the heating system. I'm not familiar with how to program a heat timer, and there is no manual. How can I get a users manual for it? Post your answer

Answer: First, find out which heat timer model you have, then go to the Heat-Timer website. You will have to register with them (it's free) giving them your name, address, management company name, etc., and choose a username and password. After that you can go to the portion of their website that has the user manuals. Choose your model from their list, and download the appropriate PDF file to your computer. Then if you want to, you can print it. You can also call them to inquire about their training schedule.

  Question #229: Where can I find a sample of a contract for a working building superintendent. Post your answer

Answer: Unless you are a union member there is no such thing as a preprinted general superintendents contract. Even the Union contract is vague in nature and does NOT set out a job description. Superintendents are on their own when it comes to these things. That is one of the reasons this Club/Association was formed: to help union and non union members who work in multifamily buildings find answers to these types of questions. If you are not a member then you ARE missing out, as we constantly talk about this subject. Pgrech

  Question #228: When we moved into our house the 2nd floor was unfinished. Now that we are in the process of finishing the 2nd floor, what are our options for heating the upstairs? Post your answer

Answer: WHATEVER heat you use on the first floor can be extended to the 2nd. Call several good heating contractors, who will come out, take a look, and give you a free proposal/estimate to do the work. You might start with the plumbing/heating contractors who advertise with us.

Answer: You will have to supply a lot more information for ANYONE to give you advice, like details of the system that is heating the first floor. Steam heat? Hot water heat? Warm air heat? Is there piping or ductwork going to the 2nd floor?

  Question #227: I am an electrician who has been in the Union for 6 years, I am looking to become a Super. I would like to know are there any requirements to become a Super?  Are there classes that have to be taken, or dues to be paid. How much if any experience is needed. Post your answer

Answer: The answers to your questions depend totally on the job to which you are applying, or more accurately, for which you get hired. Some building superintendent jobs are union jobs, so you would have to pay Union dues.  Some jobs have requirements of 10 or more years experience, some 2, or 3 - 5, some management firms like to train their personnel, and have no requirements as to length of experience -all depending largely on the building in question, and on the management in question. It would be very good for you to start coming to our monthly meetings and sign up for our free newsletter, start networking with other members, learn the lingo and find out what you need to learn. Networking at meetings is how you will hear about most available jobs: from other supers, handymen, porters, and others in the field, and by checking this website at least weekly on the jobs pages, then applying to those you think you could handle. Supers should always be willing to take more classes to improve themselves and their skills, and we also hold many workshops where you could improve on the skills that supers need and that most supers use everyday, and that will look good on a resume (members can list their resume on our website, and those who do, get many calls from interested parties).

  Question #226: Can you refer a union locksmith? Post your answer

Answer: In New York City there are NO unions for locksmiths. Pgrech

  Question #225: Can I use bristol pvc pipes to do the drain of my wash machine in New York City? Post your answer

Answer: To the best of my knowledge, NO PVC piping can be used in NYC legally. Pgrech

  Question #224: We just got a new boiler installed in our 16 unit co-op. What, if any, are the requirements for obtaining a license or approval of the installation? Does the job have to be approved by the City? Post your answer

Answer: The answer is YES. But your installer should know this, as well as the engineer if you hired one as well. There may be other permits required also, depending on the fuel type used. Pgrech

  Question #223: I'm a Super and I would like to know where can I subscribe to a magazine about Building Maintenance fields. Post your answer

Answer: Try these: The Cooperator, Habitat Magazine, the Family Handyman magazine, Handyman magazine, Super!, (our newsletter). Pgrech

Answer: Depending on what specifically you're looking for in building maintenance, put into Google search a keyword like either 'building maintenance magazine' or 'handyman' or something else close to that, and you'll come up with lots of links and ideas.

  Question #222: I have a question that I feel is going to be nearly impossible to resolve. Allow me to give you a bit of background first regarding the house. It is a 1056 square foot home with 2 full bathrooms, a laundry room and of course a kitchen. The house is about 60 years old and the 2nd (master bath) and the laundry room were added on, I am guessing, within the past 20 years or maybe less. The laundry room and the master bath share a common wall, where all the plumbing is.

The hot water tank is actually inside its own enclosure, a closet like space, within the first (not master bath) bathroom. It has a sink and a tub. We live in the Pacific Northwest where the average daily temp in winter is just above freezing. There are 2 teenagers in the home. Now to the problem. Approximately 2 months ago, after one child would shower in the morning, (always in the master bath as the other had no shower) the second would complain that the first had used all the hot water.... (this was a bit unusual, as the tank is I believe 52 gallons and usually quite sufficient for 2 showers).

Over a period of a month, the problem began to worsen, until one day there was no hot water at all in the master bath. We began testing all the water faucets within the home and discovered that there was no hot water all the sudden now, in the shower of the master bath, nor in the sink in that room. There was also no hot water in the sink of the other, older bathroom, but there is plenty of hot water in the tub in that bathroom. There is also no hot water in the laundry room but there is plenty in the kitchen. Very curious, you think. First we tried to reset the hot water heater. No change. We experimented. Thinking there was some sort of blockage between the hot water heater and those certain faucets, we shut the valve at the out put of the hot water tank. Then we proceeded to turn on the faucets, that are affected, one by one.... no water comes out when that valve is shut closed.

When the valve is opened, the water flows and you can feel that it warms up maybe a degree or two warmer than the cold water. We checked under the house for any signs of any leaks or flooding. Its dry under the house. We went to the local plumbing supply store and asked... they were all stumped. A handyman happened to be there at that moment, and overheard the conversation, he was fascinated but is also stumped. The hot water problem has not changed since the water stopped coming out hot in the two bathroom sinks, the master bath shower and the laundry room. There remains plenty of hot water to the other outlets. I am a single parent and I do most of the home repairs myself. I have asked everyone and anyone that I can think of if they have any clues or suggestions. Nobody has been able to help.

That is why I am sending you this e-mail. I am hoping that you have some ideas or have actually seen such a strange problem and can tell me how to fix it. We have hooked up a temporary hand held hose type shower head in the original bathroom so the kids can shower, however this bathroom has no vent or heat, and has an unfinished wood framed window that is about 4 feet above the level of the top of the tub and moisture is collecting very rapidly and if I don't figure out this problem soon, the wood is going to begin to rot. I would so appreciate any suggestions that you might offer on what to do or what to look for. Post your answer

Answer: Click here for the posted answers to this question.

  Question #221: I am a shareholder and Board President of a 157 unit apartment complex (co-op). We have an on-site super who is living rent free and also is paid a salary of approx. $40,000 a year. This to me is an exorbitant amount, especially since he also gets full medical benefits. The super does not feel he should do anything other than supervise his staff, which at times it is apparently not done since work orders are not filled, and when asked to do something he complains about various medical problems (at the age of just recently reaching 40) that do not seem to have been documented. What are our options? He has been spoken to by the management agent but it appears he thinks he is untouchable. This is a non-union job. Please help! Post your answer

Answer: I have been a super for 7 years. I would contact the management company and discuss with them what the supers responsibility is. It also may help to  you invite the super to your board meetings. My guess is that the management company is not a good one. The super probably doesn't have guidelines in place. Its like a baseball team: You own it; the management company is the general manager and the super is your field manager. If your team is not winning (your building is not up to par) then make a change. Chris Christensen

Answer: Your building is not alone in this matter. In most cases it is one of management's function to supervise and discipline a superintendent. However, some management companies either don't have the experience in this matter or just don't have time. Your problem is not as difficult to cure as it may seem, keeping termination as a last resort. I have consulted a few buildings with this and other operation problems. Feel free to email me if you are interested. Peter Grech

Answer: $40,000 per year plus benefits is nowhere near an exorbitant amount to pay a super in a 157 unit co-op. And with the amount of personnel it takes to tend to a building of this size, it's understandable if he does little more than supervise the staff. Having said that, if the board is dissatisfied with his work, and with his failure to adequately supervise his staff, he is NOT untouchable - even IF he were in the union. But since he is not, it should be even easier, unless your co-op board rules concerning disciplining or firing employees are difficult. Also, it appears that your management may be at fault as much as anyone: it is usually the job of management to supervise the super, inform the super about what is expected of him, and then hold him or her responsible to the board's expectations.

  Question #220: I would like to know what does this mean: NFPA, JCAHO, DOH and LSC, because a lot of job ads ask for it. Post your answer


  Question #219: The apartment was redone a month ago and the contractor/landlord forgot to connect the heaters, so when the boiler was turned on, hot rusty water came out of the heaters onto my apartment. Is the landlord liable for my personal damage? The apartment was uninhabitable for 4 weeks and I had to clean up. Post your answer

Answer: We're not lawyers, so we don't answer specific questions of liability. Still, the person(s) who did the work should be responsible for any damage resulting from mistakes made by them or by those employed by them. Try discussing it with the "contractor/landlord" first. Then, depending on the outcome of that discussion, think about any further action you may want to take.

  Question #218: In a 100 unit apartment building with a #6 fuel oil boiler, what causes banging of the heating pipes as the heat cycles on, and what can be done to eradicate it? Post your answer

Answer: In a steam system, banging is caused by water in the pipes. You should drain the traps in the basement and check that the return line is pitched down. If the banging is in individual apartments it is the radiator. On a one pipe system it is caused by the tenant shutting off the radiator while the heat is up, trapping steam which turns to water. The next time the steam comes up and hits the closed valve it bangs. On a 2 pipe system you need to replace the trap.

  Question #217: What do we do about a super who does private work during the hours the co-op is paying him? Post your answer

Answer: This can develop into a big problem if unchecked and unsupervised. For example, if the Super does any plumbing or electrical for which he is not licensed, you could be liable in a big way for damages (for instance, fire). Better spell out to him in writing exactly what sort of private jobs he is allowed to do, and also notify the residents of same (and how they also could be liable). Best not to let him do it during working hours, because it could become a priority for him. Keep a paper trail of any violations and you can fire him fairly easily. Also you should ask tenants to contact the managing agent before the Super does any private jobs so that there is a specific record. Tell them it is in their own best interest - and also that of the building - to do things this way.

Answer: It really depends greatly on the contract - or mutual understanding in lieu of a written contract - between management and the super in question. If the contract allows for no private work during regular work hours (some do - some don't), then he's breaking the contract and you can take all disciplinary measures available to you. Possibly a written warning(s) first, followed by progressively stronger measures and ending in firing if his behavior isn't altered to the board's satisfaction. It is NOT impossible to fire a super, even one who is a union member, although it can be costly on several levels, and difficult.

  Question #216:  I checked the Fire Department website for certificates of fitness. There are many kinds of exams and I have no idea which one is for maintaining a boiler in a building. I would like to know what kind of boiler license is required for a super to maintain a building. Post your answer

Answer: There is homework involved in finding your answer, homework that you -and only you - can do. We don't have access to your building; you do. YOU need to check on the type of boiler you have and on the type of fuel it burns, then go to the FDNY website and READ it, study it, and figure out, first, whether or not you need a Certificate of Fitness. When you determine the answer to that question, you will also know what type of fuel your heating system burns. It'll be a short step from there to determining which Certificate you'll need. ALL THE INFORMATION you need (after knowing what type of fuel your boiler burns) is on the FDNY website. If you still have questions after carefully doing all of the above, call the Department directly; the phone number is also on the website. Also, see the answer to Question #177, and read ALL the questions and answers on the Certificates of Fitness & Exams questions page on this website.

  Question #215: There are 3 boilers in the basement generating hot water for heating. They vibrate. In the unit directly above, there are cracks and fissures in the ceiling. What's the best way to repair them? (They open up in every heating season.) How can the boiler vibrations be dampened? Post your answer

Answer: If cracks in the ceiling are not due to structural problems, they can best be repaired by caulking them using a good paintable silicone caulk. A good caulk will stretch a little with slight building shifts, and will cover a multitude of cosmetic problems. After the cracks are filled in and smoothed over, paint as usual. An experienced painting contractor will be able to advise you specifically.

  Question #214: When I was younger I worked for Local 32 B&J many summers. Now I have a co-worker's son looking for a summer job. Can anyone tell me if there is a way to apply with 32 B&J or one of the management companies for a summer position. Post your answer

Answer: It's unclear whether you're speaking about working at the union or in a temporary union job in building maintenance. If your co-worker's son wants to work at Union headquarters, he would call or go to union headquarters to find out about job availability. If he wants to apply for a temp building maintenance job, such as porter, doorman, or handyman, he would apply to the management company responsible for the building. He would not apply through the union for a job which a management company is hiring for.

  Question #213: I have recently purchased a co-op apartment and would like to do a bit of work (painting, carpet installation, and bathroom "facelift" - new tile and floor, toilet, vanity, fixtures, etc.) Who is the best type of person to complete this job and is there a ball park range I can expect to pay? The apt. is about 1200 sq. ft. with two VERY small bathrooms. Thanks. Post your answer

Answer: I started a small Referral Agency before so many hit New York City. I am very careful with anyone referred, and more times than not people will get excellent pricing because I am careful to locate General Contractors that charge very reasonably. The fee I receive is small and the GC's I work with consider it part of any business expense and do not add on. I can understand the misunderstanding some people may have. Colleen Barry

Answer: There are many good contractors. But beware of "referral companies". All they do is get a few contractors, have them give you inflated estimates, and they get a nice cut of the profits. Just call some contractors directly, and have them give you free estimates. A little research will save you thousands. Fred Blood

Answer: A licensed and experienced contractor, who has worked extensively in New York City, is your best bet. He will also give you a free written estimate/proposal, which will give you the answer you're looking for.

  Question #212: I received my boiler #6 certification in 1986. I have since lost my card and need to obtain another copy. Does anyone know who keeps these records and how I can obtain another copy? Post your answer

Answer: Like most Certificates of Fitness issued by the Fire Department, the #6 boiler certificate must be renewed every few years. The Fire Department allows a holder to renew the certificate up to 12 months past the expiration date. So if you have not renewed your certificate lately, then you will have to retake the exam. If your certificate is still current, then contact the Fire Dept at 718 999 2000 - Department of Fire Prevention. Pgrech

  Question #211: Do the tenants have to pay for painting the hallways in the building? We didn't ask him to do it - its 10 years or longer since he did anything. Every year he gets a 7.50% rent increase from 6 families that are rent controlled. Post your answer

Answer: All approved MCI (Major Capital Improvements) are passed on to the tenants. However, I believe there is something NOT right in the picture your question has painted (no pun intended). You need to call the NYC Rent Stabilization Board. They keep an eye out for rent stabilized tenants and will be the best source for answers to this question. Pgrech

  Question #210: Where do I go to find a job as a doorman or porter in apartment buildings? Post your answer

Answer:  Another way is the old fashioned way: Hit the pavement with resume in hand. Especially hit buildings that are still under construction. Find out who the owner or the management company is. These buildings usually start hiring about the time the windows have been installed. Pgrech

Answer: All of the big local papers (NY Times, NY Post, Daily News) run ads from time to time for doormen and other building support personnel, especially in the Sunday editions. But the best way, as always, is to get a referral from someone in the business - either another doorman, or a super or manager. Get your resume up to date. Become a member of this Association and network with others - attend meetings and make friends and acquaintances of other members, you WILL hear of upcoming or existing openings to which you can apply.

  Question #209: I would like to know how does a person go about getting their license for superintendent in New York. Post your answer

Answer: Please see the answer to this question on the Frequently Asked Questions Page, and the answer to Question # 194.

  Question #208: Is there a list of property management companies and their agents that I may obtain for the purpose of seeking employment? Post your answer

Answer: Yes, we have such a list, and when you become a member of our Association we will share it with you. It's a members-only item. Non-members may try the phone book under property management. Pgrech

  Question #207: When going on an interview, and the base salary question comes up, what should I be asking for a 200 unit luxury co-op pre-war building? Post your answer

Answer: The unknown variables (number of staff, expectations of management, and on and on) are too many to give you even a good ballpark figure. If you could give the specifics of the job, we could arrive at a negotiable base salary range with you.

  Question #206: Is the Universal Air Conditioning Certification the same as an Air Conditioning License? Post your answer

Answer: A universal certification allows you to work on a/c package units. With the a/c license you have to take an additional written test as well as a practical exam to qualify for the license. Roberto Cardona

  Question #205: In the NY Times one of the preferred requirements for a superintendent was to have RSA experience. What does RSA stand for, and involve? Post your answer


  Question #204: If it is too hot in the apartments, what law governs this? Post your answer

Answer: There is no "maximum heat law" governing too much heat, only minimum heat requirements, when there is too little heat.

  Question #203: Where do I go to learn and get certified in elevator repairs in New York? Post your answer

Answer: See the answer to question #110.

  Question #202: Is it legal for a super of a 180 unit rental building to be moved from his own apartment (within the building) to a professional apartment (certificate of occupancy proven) within the same building? Post your answer

Answer: Yes. Keep in mind that the owners of the building dictate where you will live as compensation. As long as the apartment meets code standards and Building Department regulations, you can be moved. One exception would be if you had an agreement (on the type and location of the apartment) prior to being hired . Pgrech

  Question #201: What obligations does a Super have to the landlord, especially regarding maintenance and repairs? Post your answer

Answer: The super's obligations to the landlord regarding maintenance and repairs, whether in a union or nonunion job, vary as much as buildings do. It is YOUR obligation to find out as much as possible what is expected of you before you take the job, since the possible job description of each one varies so much. Lacking that, it may be possible and helpful, depending on the kind of person your landlord is, to ask for a sit down with him or her and try come to an understanding and agreement on what you must do and what can be done by other employees - or contracted out: a job description. It may be a good time to put your agreement in writing, so there are no misunderstandings or negatively unmet expectations on either side in the future. Also, take some time to read the Frequently Asked Questions page, as well as the page in the Supers & Management category.

  Question #200: I currently work as the lead Building Superintendent / Buildings Manager for a large firm in Manhattan, and would like to further my education and maybe add a title to my name such as C.P.M. or C.F.M. I am having trouble locating schools or training in my area. Could you please help point me in the right direction? I am looking for correspondence courses - night classes, things of that nature. Post your answer

Answer: NYU also conducts certification courses on becoming a certified property manager and or a certified facility manager. Give them a call, or visit them, they are located at 11 West 42 St.

Answer: Check out Environmental Control Tech Department of NYC College of Technology. End up with baccalaureate on Facilities Management; courses run day and night.

Answer: Call IREM - Institute of Real Estate Management, for details on getting your CPM title (Certified Property Manager) Shelia Still at 212 944 9445. For CFM (Certified Facilities Manager) call BOMA or ABO. Pgrech