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newtradesman
10-21-2004, 04:59 PM
I have been hearing the term "plant operator" used alot in many of the buildings I am visiting.

The guys with the title seem to walk around and look at stuff but I don't see any of them doing much labor type work.

What is a plant operator?

What do they do?

What qualifications do they need?

Is the pay good?

bobby7388
10-21-2004, 08:32 PM
A "Plant Operator" is a generic name given to anyone from a small maintenance shop employee to a large power house boiler operator.

The name in and by itself doesn't really mean anything as to qualifications.

orland25
10-21-2004, 11:21 PM
hi friend; the plant operator you can change setpoint in the computer example in cleanroom,in the farmaceutical indutrial some problem with the RH, PRESSURE,TEMP YOU USE THE COMPUTER.only you.

Control Man
10-22-2004, 08:39 AM
I have sites where the PLANT OPERATOR is a fully qualified / licensed multi trades person , co ordinates all outside contractors , has staff of tradesman on the payroll and does a great job and makes good $ to a guy who looks in the door of the mech room once a week if hes not buisy walking around talking to the tenants.

The term was from when most buildings had a GUARDED boiler operation and required stationary enginerers on duty 24/7, or large Central Heating & Refrigeration plants and self generating power plants like you would have found in large goverment facilities, airports, railyard / stations.

ozone drone
10-22-2004, 09:23 AM
I have that title "Central Plant Operator". When I was working out of a truck, I thought the definition was:
A Guy who reclines behind a desk with both feet on it with a playboy magazine in his lap who calls in contractors to fix his stuff.

Here I do it all except for centrifugal teardowns and boiler retubing. I do the yearly "stops" on the centrifugals. I punch or acidize the condenser tubes. I clean my towers,monitor water chemical treatment. I take care of the Metasys automation system. I change air filters and all the p.m. stuff. I have a plumber and a electrician for helpers.

Got called in at 11:00 p.m. Tuesday night ...One of the air handlers serving the galleries (Art Museum) tripped high static pressure....Reset it ...then the VFD would ramp it up to 30 hz. and trip on overcurrent and autoreset.Ramp to 30 hz. dropout over and over. Removed the belts from the unit, put it in bypass ...no problems. Checked the motor with a megger at the disconnect...showed all 3 legs bad ( less than 20 megs) Figured I needed a 30 h.p. fan motor. Left at 3:00 a.m. was back in at 7:30 calling around for a motor. Found one for $1,300.00. Said let me check one more thing. Disconnected wiring leads from the motor...motor read good...wiring from disconnect to motor read bad. So replaced 36' of 1/0 gauge wire.

Contractors? I don't need no stinkin contractors!

coolh2o
10-24-2004, 09:28 AM
Go to the "Wall of Pride" and look at the postings "Classic" and "Easy Operation" and see what real Plant Operators do. The plant in the "Easy Operation" posting could easily eat up "120,000 to $180,000 per month in electrical operating costs. The "Plant Operator" operates equipment and monitors control function that starts, stops, loads and unloads all mechanical equipment to maintain tenant comfort amd energy efficiency. A slight mistake such as allowing a 1000 ton chiller to come on-line and load up during the on-peak part of the day during the summer in Dallas, Texas can result in demand penalties of $50,000 to $100,000 per year.

My "Plant Operators" did not perform maintenance or repair, but were in charge of and held responsible for tenant comfort and energy cost. They were trained extensively in heat transfer, energy management, electrical operating cost, chiller plant operation, water treatment and anything else that could result in energy savings. I ran a large chilled water plant much like the Navy runs a submarine.

Granted... some people use the title loosely, but then they are not REAL plant operators.... just POSERS. Wearing the hat doen't make you a cowboy!

ozone drone
10-24-2004, 11:46 AM
coolh20
Poser?.....I am responsible for very tight temperature and
humidity control for an art museum. Human comfort takes a back seat to the preservation of Millions of dollars worth of paintings, photograghs and negatives. Before the art can be insured...dozens of hygrothermographic charts are scrutinied for stable temperature and relative humidity control. These charts are checked yearly before the policies are renewed. Art exhibitions travel about the world from museum to museum. Before any traveling exhibition can be shown at an institution, its records of temperature and humdity control are thouroughly examined to insure the art will be exhibited in a stable environment.

I have 32 years experience, having worked for Trane (10years), Honeywell(3 years) and Johnson Controls (4 1/2years)as well as a start-up technician for large mechanical contractors. I take pride in the fact that I can and do maintain my own equipment rather than having to contract it out. I wear both hats and can walk the walk as well as talk the talk.

I have 3, 220 ton Carrier XR centrifugals, 2, 125 h.p. 100 psi steam boilers, 8 air handlers of up to 100 horsepower supply fan motors,Reverse osmosis water treatment systems.

I've installed, programmed, debugged and repaired automation systems. I'm the kind of guy your "operators" call when the shit hits the fan.

coolh2o
10-24-2004, 12:23 PM
Whoa... Hoss! I wasn't pointing any fingers at anyone who diligently persues this field. There are many important plant operating positions. Having been an operator and/or chief engineer for many years I have had many applications that I have wanted responsibility for. Among them and I might add at the top of the list is a museum application. I completely understand the challenge and the ramifications of error or lack of responsibility, I have had responsibility for massive data centers and telephone switches as well as oil and gas lease archives for one of the largest oil exploration companies in the country.

I apologize if I lead you to believe that I had a lack of respect due to types of facility or system application. I do have a serious lack of respect for the ones that just look into the equipment room doors a couple of times a day. To do the job that the title represents requires the type of background that you described and a level of dedication that would piss you off when you think you have been slighted. So again... My sincere apology if I offended you.

I had plant engineers that were master electricians, master plumbers, journeyman mechanics, controls techs, ex-Navy nukes and many more quality individuals. We did ALL of our work in-house as well and took pride in the operating condition of our equipment. And I would add... We would have been seriously pissed if someone suggested otherwise.

We did not however call anyone when the shit hit the fan. My crews are always deep with talent and are fully capable of handling anything that should arise in that given facility. It sounds to me like you would be a worthy associate in any facility I have been in.



[Edited by coolh2o on 10-24-2004 at 12:31 PM]

ozone drone
10-24-2004, 12:49 PM
Apologies accepted and extended.....I do appreciate your pointing out that the plant operator label isn't very well respected because of its loose application to unskilled types who are 1/2 a step above a janitor. I guess your post located just below mine led me to wrongly believe that it was directed my way. Hats off to you and your professionalism. In my own way I was trying to show that not all of us are semi-skilled do-nothings.

Diceman
10-24-2004, 01:11 PM
How about stationary engineer?
Big word for a maint guy or what.
Sound important though.

bobby7388
10-24-2004, 02:29 PM
Originally posted by Diceman
How about stationary engineer?
Big word for a maint guy or what.
Sound important though.


Oh!!! dice, that cuts deep, yet funny in some ways.

There is a big difference between the two, and all depending on your industry and or location there is an extreme difference.
Even though both maintenance and stationary engineers may be part of "Plant Operations" their respective duties may or may not cross lines.
Up here in these parts a licensed engineer is required at any plant that runs hi pressure boilers, and then a certain class level is required depending on boiler HP. A testing process to advance is required to move up the class levels, A Chiefs test is difficult to say the least, you have to sleep, eat, dream boilers to attain the knowledge to pass.

Anyone can destroy a lo pressure boiler if they so desire, no license needed.
Try to tend to a 1500 psi watertube boiler that spans 3 stories and generates well over million pounds at full generating capacity, try to feed coal at the proper rates or set up the auto hopper feeder, sootblow the tubes without eating them up in quick time, I thought so.

I've seen some questionable guys who should not have been licensed to operate boilers, but on the other hand, I've seen some service techs who should not have been allowed to operate a screwdriver, it goes both ways.
Knowledge is power, but so is common sense.

coolh2o
10-24-2004, 02:40 PM
In Texas which is a right to work state, a stationary engineer license is not always required to be a plant operator in a building, but is a respected license as it is usually an indication of exposure to plant operations. I believe Houston requires a stationary engineers license. When I first got into the business I worked in Dallas for a company that was based in Houston and we were required to participate in a training program that they used in Houston to prepare for that license.

The most knowledgable plant operators I ever had as far as heat transfer and fluid flow, applied energy and equipment operations were ex-Navy nukes. Thermo, pressure laws, fan laws, they had it all.

coolh2o
10-24-2004, 02:44 PM
Bobby.... You are right about high pressure applications. A license is required to operate them down south also. Speaking of big boilers up north.... I saw one in downton St. Paul for the central heating loop that was freakin' huge. We only see something like that down here in a power plant.

snipe70e
10-24-2004, 05:49 PM
Anybody know why the term stationary engineer?
Len

bobby7388
10-24-2004, 06:38 PM
Originally posted by snipe70e
Anybody know why the term stationary engineer?
Len


Originally, a locomotive boiler was operated by an Engineer, then when licensure was deemed necessary for non-locomotive boilers due to the the large increase in boiler explosions we became known as stationary engineers.

Locomotive engine boilers are not to be confused with locomotive type stationary boilers, or known in some areas as porkchop style boilers.


Hey snipe, notice I said we?, this doesn't include you dice, so there!!!!

bobby7388
10-24-2004, 06:52 PM
Originally posted by coolh2o
Bobby.... You are right about high pressure applications. A license is required to operate them down south also. Speaking of big boilers up north.... I saw one in downton St. Paul for the central heating loop that was freakin' huge. We only see something like that down here in a power plant.

District Central Steam Heating was first used in America up here in Lockport, N.Y. Though a long forgotton fact we are proud to be known for something besides snow.

osiyo
10-24-2004, 10:18 PM
Originally posted by bobby7388

Originally posted by Diceman
How about stationary engineer?
Big word for a maint guy or what.
Sound important though.


Oh!!! dice, that cuts deep, yet funny in some ways.

There is a big difference between the two, and all depending on your industry and or location there is an extreme difference.
Even though both maintenance and stationary engineers may be part of "Plant Operations" their respective duties may or may not cross lines.
Up here in these parts a licensed engineer is required at any plant that runs hi pressure boilers, and then a certain class level is required depending on boiler HP. A testing process to advance is required to move up the class levels, A Chiefs test is difficult to say the least, you have to sleep, eat, dream boilers to attain the knowledge to pass.

Anyone can destroy a lo pressure boiler if they so desire, no license needed.
Try to tend to a 1500 psi watertube boiler that spans 3 stories and generates well over million pounds at full generating capacity, try to feed coal at the proper rates or set up the auto hopper feeder, sootblow the tubes without eating them up in quick time, I thought so.

I've seen some questionable guys who should not have been licensed to operate boilers, but on the other hand, I've seen some service techs who should not have been allowed to operate a screwdriver, it goes both ways.
Knowledge is power, but so is common sense.


Chuckle, agreed. There are no true, nationwide standardized use of the terms.

Even within one state, usage varies. And qualifications and job performance expectations vary. I'm in the automation and controls end of the business these days, as a contractor putting in new control systems. So meet a LOT of various guys and gals holding, variously, titles as Plant Operators or Stationary Engineers. Runs the gamut from being a janitor who has the added responsibility of checking water levels and doing a daily blowdown on a small, low pressure boiler. To the guys with own offices who spend most of the day with feet up on a desk. To some very highly qualified sorts, who're as knowledgeable as anyone.

Generally speaking, a stationary engineer around this part of the country (Minnesota)is gonna have at least a low pressure boiler license and some basic familiarity with other equipment. A few of the tech colleges even have certification courses. Teach low pressure boiler operation and -basic- maintenance and repair. Basic air handlers, how to tell if they're working right. Basic electricity. How to replace fuses and reset breakers. Etc.

Not the same as a full tech course in one of the specialties. A basic familiarization with most building utilities, however. Then they move up, with experience, to hopefully be a Building Engineer. (Head stationary engineer)

Plant Engineer tends to be (but not always) reserved for folks getting into operation and maintenance of major equipment facilities. The big boilers, big A/C plants, and so forth. For the most part, usually far more qualified types. And many, while they may not get hands on in repairs any more, used to be top notch techs.

Chuckle, know what yah mean about 3 story boilers, etc. Kind of a small one, tho, isn't it? <G>

Osiyo --- ex- MMCS, USN, retired.

osiyo
10-24-2004, 10:34 PM
Originally posted by osiyo

Chuckle, know what yah mean about 3 story boilers, etc. Kind of a small one, tho, isn't it? <G>

Osiyo --- ex- MMCS, USN, retired.


Oh, and BTW, licensed Chief-A (unlimited)Boiler Operator, Refrigerant license - unlimited, licensed electrician. Factory and/or formal tech training in fire alarms, door access systems, hydraulics, AC&R, industrial pneumatics; and Andover, Honeywell, TAC, and Automatrix DDC systems.

I left several things out, but the list gets long.

One of these days I'm gonna figure out what I want to be when I grow up. <G>

I still remember visiting an old friend, also an ex-MM and his showing me his power plant where he works since retiring from the Navy. He got my attention when he mentioned taking a look up at the top, then said we'd better take an elevator as it was some 11 floors up.

Oh my, that was a wonderful place for an old black shoe to visit. I was near slobbering all over myself.

Wild Leg
10-24-2004, 10:54 PM
A few years ago, my wife noticed the toilet didn't flush properly in a "nice" hotel we had just checked into.
I called the desk clerk.
She told me she would send up an engineer right away...
I was pretty sure all I needed was a maintenance guy with a plunger, but I didn't argue.

Sure enough, she sent a guy with a plunger, but his nametag said "engineer".

I wonder if he laughed when they gave him that title to go with his plunger?

TB
10-25-2004, 05:28 AM
A good plant operator dosen't look busy because he maintains his equipment, and schedules maintenance before it breaks down. Thats what he's paid for, and he earns his money. Same with a Stationery engineer.

Dowadudda
10-25-2004, 06:33 AM
Thats all good. I have met many a proffesional guy who has worked as an onsite dude in larger applications. But.

They don't make the coin you would expect they should. I might have been or even into my future be inclined to go for that kind of inside job. Because I am certain it has some advantages over working for an outside contractor as a service guru. But they don't make good money.

Before I went on my own I was trying to decide what to do. I was at the time doing light commercial. Resturaunts and small office buildings. I was going after a job that was for to be an in house guy. I did not have the skills needed but I tried to apply anyway. They were looking for a dude with deep deep knowledge of some 1000 tons of centrifical absorbers, JCI controls, VAV's, Towers, water treatment. The whole ball of wax. And they were serious about the fact that they were looking for someone who was very capable and not a gig where this fellow would be calling for help. All for like $21 bucks an hour. I was making like 80 a year doing nothing over 25 tons. I laughed at them.

Lots of jobs available for in house guys. And they need to know what there doing thats for sure. But I honestly can't see how these sorts of jobs attract the kind of talent really needed with what they seem to pay. So they always end up getting the kinds of guys who think they know, and tell you they know, but they still don't know.

ozone drone
10-25-2004, 09:26 AM
Originally posted by Dowadudda
So they always end up getting the kinds of guys who think they know, and tell you they know, but they still don't know. [/B]

Always?....So what's the proof that we do know? I've been here 3 years and never had to call in Carrier for my chillers or Johnson Controls for my automation system. I overhaul my own pumps (40 h.p. split case)You made 80 grand a year? How many hours overtime did that require?

Maybe some people don't see the almighty dollar as THE bottom line. Maybe not having to fight rush hour traffic and a 2 hour drive for 50 miles across the metroplex is worth something. Maybe getting health insurance for the whole family for $50 bucks a month total is worth something.
How about 11 holidays and your birthday off with pay and 12 sick days /year and 3 weeks paid vacation after only 2 years. How about when the company matches 5% to the 401k? Maybe spending some time with the family is worth something. I'm doing okay on my 55 grand and The next time you're in the Dallas/Ft Worth area I'll show you my facility and you can ask my bosses or co-workers...how much I've had to call in contractors.

coolh2o
10-25-2004, 10:36 AM
Drone....

I would like to know more about your operation. I spent 15 years in the Dallas market as a plant operator/chief engineer. Drop me an email if you don't mind.

Diceman
10-25-2004, 10:52 AM
An engineer with a plunger, yeah, that's what I mean, some carry mops and are knowledgeble in incadescant lighting maintenance as well. As if.
You hear engineer and ya think of someone that actually has a degree in engineering, knows physics or quantum mechanics, can design buildings or build bridges.
Like a guy who has a PHD in say English, and wants to be called Doctor.
Hey I am a CEO, CFO, and all kinds of FO's too.
Don't take it personal........well........only if it applies I mean.
:D

Diceman
10-25-2004, 11:05 AM
Don't take it wrong, some of you guys who post here put me to shame, like Bobby who possibly knows more about boilers than anyone I have ever met.
I learn a lot from yinz.
I am referring to the schmuck who thinks because his job title has engineer or some other big sounding term in it, he really is smart and important.

Wild Leg
10-25-2004, 11:09 AM
Originally posted by Diceman
...Like a guy who has a PHD in say English, and wants to be called Doctor.

Gotta love the English language.
We got 40 words that mean the same thing, and one word that we use for 40 different things.

No wonder immigrants have a hard time learning English.

ozone drone
10-25-2004, 11:53 AM
Originally posted by coolh2o
Drone....

I would like to know more about your operation. I spent 15 years in the Dallas market as a plant operator/chief engineer. Drop me an email if you don't mind.

Okay, I've asked Boss/Build Central for your e-mail address.
I'm at the Amon Carter Museum in Ft. Worth. 817-989-5129 is my direct line.

Diceman
10-25-2004, 01:07 PM
Originally posted by bwal2

Originally posted by Diceman
...Like a guy who has a PHD in say English, and wants to be called Doctor.

Gotta love the English language.
We got 40 words that mean the same thing, and one word that we use for 40 different things.

No wonder immigrants have a hard time learning English.
Did you know lawyers are technically doctors of law?
Scarey isn't it?

sysint
10-25-2004, 02:07 PM
....someone should start suing them for mal-practice...

Wild Leg
10-25-2004, 05:07 PM
[/B][/QUOTE]
Did you know lawyers are technically doctors of law?
Scarey isn't it? [/B][/QUOTE]

Two in law school at the same time!

Yes, I'd say I knew that.

snipe70e
10-25-2004, 05:45 PM
Originally posted by Diceman
An engineer with a plunger, yeah, that's what I mean, some carry mops and are knowledgeble in incadescant lighting maintenance as well. As if.
You hear engineer and ya think of someone that actually has a degree in engineering, knows physics or quantum mechanics, can design buildings or build bridges.
Like a guy who has a PHD in say English, and wants to be called Doctor.
Hey I am a CEO, CFO, and all kinds of FO's too.
Don't take it personal........well........only if it applies I mean.
:D

Dice,
Most of your degreed engineers are not really engineers, but drafts men. They can draw ok but they can't opperate.
If you can design a piece of machinery but not operate it in my opion yous not an engineer. some of the origional engineers could do it all. My example is Robert Fulton, he designed the ships, he built them, ;and he could stand watch in the engineroom and safely operate it. I seen most college graduates with ME degrees that if they had signed on a ship I was on I would have jumped ship. How many ex=Navy types here have had officers that scared them.

snipe70e
10-25-2004, 05:52 PM
Originally posted by bobby7388

Originally, a locomotive boiler was operated by an Engineer, then when licensure was deemed necessary for non-locomotive boilers due to the the large increase in boiler explosions we became known as stationary engineers.

Locomotive engine boilers are not to be confused with locomotive type stationary boilers, or known in some areas as porkchop style boilers.


Hey snipe, notice I said we?, this doesn't include you dice, so there!!!!


[/B]

Bobby,
Do not forget about the Marine Engineer.
I know the locomotive boilers as a Horizonal Return Tube boiler.
Stationary Engineer are in plants that do not move, some (like my wife) say stationary engineer's don't move.

snipe70e
10-25-2004, 05:57 PM
Originally posted by bwal2
A few years ago, my wife noticed the toilet didn't flush properly in a "nice" hotel we had just checked into.
I called the desk clerk.
She told me she would send up an engineer right away...
I was pretty sure all I needed was a maintenance guy with a plunger, but I didn't argue.

Sure enough, she sent a guy with a plunger, but his nametag said "engineer".

I wonder if he laughed when they gave him that title to go with his plunger?

A few years ago I worked in a hotel and I had to clear many a toilet. That is the thing that I like about this profession we can end up working on everything. From the simple toilet to complete teardowns on large equipment. If we do our jobs right we can save the company more than we cost, my goal if they will let me is two to three times the cost of my wages and bennies. My best year I estamated I saved Macy's over two million dollars in six months.
Len

coolh2o
10-25-2004, 06:07 PM
I am glad to see so many "Operators" and "Engineers" on this site. I was beginning to believe it was all service techs.

Wild Leg
10-25-2004, 06:45 PM
Did I forget to mention that I was glad to see they didn't send a card-carrying registered professional engineer?
He'd still be in there calculating gallons per flush.

I too, have enjoyed quite a wide range of experiences.
I just never got excited about a title. Still don't.
I can still see the title "president" on the door of the two-man shop I spent my first summer in.

Assistant manager just means you always work weekends & nights without ever being paid overtime.

harv
10-25-2004, 06:48 PM
The plant operator has usually earned that position . He's put in the time over the years doing all the maint in the place, he knows where every valve is and what it does. Disconnects ,Breakers,miles of piping, everything in his head . The ultimate total recall. While everyone else is digging for prints and diagrams he or she is fixin the problem. Every sound or thud says something to the operator,while most anyone else would never notices. While some would says the operator sits on his a$$ all day, I say you may not know what your talking about. Some operators are task according to the critical services of their machines. Their job is to run the machines, nothing else! Stopping and starting as needed, adjusting power factors, adjusting refer charges, shifting loads ,taking reading, etc. Someplaces that is exactly all you better be doing as the operator. If you are off doing some kind of envolved maint and all hell breaks lose in the plant,who is the first person they come to for an explanation? I worked a gov. base in Florida where maint guys did their thing and the operator was dedicated to just one task. Eventually as all places do, it went to hell one day. As they were investigating the events of that day it was the operator that sat in the little room with the FBI answering all the questions not the maint guys. Personnally I think my cheek marks are still in that chair where I was puckered up real tight. If you ask me if I thought I was special for what I did now and then . Why heck ya !! real special in fact. Just like all of us are. We sorta keep a nation eating good foods,alive in cool/warm homes, researchers doing their thing,Kids learning, preserving old thing for the future,etc. damn right ,,,special and it feels good.

bobby7388
10-25-2004, 07:47 PM
Originally posted by snipe70e

Originally posted by bobby7388

Originally, a locomotive boiler was operated by an Engineer, then when licensure was deemed necessary for non-locomotive boilers due to the the large increase in boiler explosions we became known as stationary engineers.

Locomotive engine boilers are not to be confused with locomotive type stationary boilers, or known in some areas as porkchop style boilers.


Hey snipe, notice I said we?, this doesn't include you dice, so there!!!!




Bobby,
Do not forget about the Marine Engineer.
I know the locomotive boilers as a Horizonal Return Tube boiler.
Stationary Engineer are in plants that do not move, some (like my wife) say stationary engineer's don't move.
[/B]


You know? that never crossed my mind when replying at first.
The story of how the name came to be was from a old teacher of mine, but marine operators are just as important to the history of boilers.

The HRT's were also used on marine vessels, they are the predecessor to the Scotch Marine, vertical fire tubes were also very commom if space was limited.
A HRT was hung over an external firebox.

A locomotive stationary boiler doesn't have much in commom with locomotive train boiler, just that the center has doors which mimics a trains boiler, the ones that I've seen were sectional.

snipe70e
10-25-2004, 09:28 PM
Originally posted by bobby7388
[QUOTE]Originally posted by snipe70e
[B][QUOTE]Originally posted by bobby7388


The HRT's were also used on marine vessels, they are the predecessor to the Scotch Marine, vertical fire tubes were also very commom if space was limited.
A HRT was hung over an external firebox.

A locomotive stationary boiler doesn't have much in commom with locomotive train boiler, just that the center has doors which mimics a trains boiler, the ones that I've seen were sectional.

Bobby,
The funny thing about the HRT's When I was going to the Maritime Academy I had to study and know everything about them, because who knows you might be asked about them on your third's exam. But I was told I would probably never see one. Ya right. My first stationary job was in a hospital with three of them, and I have worked with in more than one plant with them.
Len

TB
10-26-2004, 05:10 AM
Originally posted by harv
The plant operator has usually earned that position . He's put in the time over the years doing all the maint in the place, he knows where every valve is and what it does. Disconnects ,Breakers,miles of piping, everything in his head .

Why heck ya !! real special in fact. Just like all of us are. We sorta keep a nation eating good foods,alive in cool/warm homes, researchers doing their thing,Kids learning, preserving old thing for the future,etc. damn right ,,,special and it feels good.
Thanks harv, good post, and for the most part, true.

Originally posted by Diceman

I am referring to the schmuck who thinks because his job title has engineer or some other big sounding term in it, he really is smart and important.
Hope you guys don't consider me in that brush stroke. Sometimes I think so, cause the knowlege on this board dwarfs my own, but I know guys too, like harv refered to, that also know much less than they think they do, and I have to explain basic theory to them to get them to follow my thoughts. I think it depends on weather or not they love this trade. I hold nothing against those who don't know, only those who won't know.


Originally posted by Dowadudda
So they always end up getting the kinds of guys who think they know, and tell you they know, but they still don't know.
Yeah, I know. They got me when I didn't know what they needed, and still knew more than what they had. I'm amazed at what I know now considering the "mentors" I've had, but you guys have been the best mentors yet. Thank you. I've been thinking lately that I would like to get back into service work, and have had Svc. Mgrs. tell me they liked my resume, but they didn't want to pay what they guessed I was worth. Don't know if they were shining me or what. When I'm told to let my low psi boilers go witout chemical treatment, because there is a 100 gal/day condensate leak they wont fix, and the guy harv described recommends to, I get steamed.
Just frustrated I guess, but for now, I'll keep learning from you guys.

rubberduck
10-26-2004, 06:53 AM
Originally posted by newtradesman

I have been hearing the term "plant operator" used alot in many of the buildings I am visiting.

The guys with the title seem to walk around and look at stuff but I don't see any of them doing much labor type work.

What is a plant operator?

What do they do?

What qualifications do they need?

Is the pay good?



What does a plant operator do?

What do you do?

A plant operator runs things, and is usually a master electrician, or boilermaker. Knows how to monitor and troubleshoot complex systems, and gets paid well for it. Sorry guy but it isn't something that you can just apply for.

newtradesman
10-26-2004, 08:27 AM
I'm new. I admit I am new and I need to learn alot more.

I met a Plant operator at a building in down town Dallas who carries a clip board and calls contractors for everything he needs.
He does not get dirty. Nor does he want to.
I was sent in to change filters because they were required by the preventive maintenace schudule the plant operator guru had created.
I change out the first 140 filters which were all in great condition. I mean like almost new. I could not tell how long htey had been there but this time I wrote the dates on the side of the filter so the next guy does.
When I told the Plant operator about the lack of need he laughed and said that they change them weather they need them or not.
He said that he created the schudule and he got it right out of the Titus manufactures recommended specs.
When I looked on the Titus web site I did not find any requirement for filters to be changed every 8 weeks on a fan powered box or VAV.
I also did not push the issue because I figure it is making my company a butt load of money doing this guys crap.
I just can not understand how guys can throw money out the window. Is this a common standard?
As I type this I look forward to my next visit to grease motors on his AHU's. Maybe I could get enough know how to get a job like this. I should be able to make my own paycheck back in savings and still turn a profit for the company.

Diceman
10-26-2004, 09:22 AM
Welcome to corporate America, where many insecure people never change cause that means they were wrong in the first place. Nor will they seldom listen to those who are below them.....on the corporate ladder. I guess with your new boss, just shut up and do what he says for now.

lwarren
10-26-2004, 06:43 PM
Originally posted by Dowadudda
Thats all good. I have met many a proffesional guy who has worked as an onsite dude in larger applications. But.

They don't make the coin you would expect they should. I might have been or even into my future be inclined to go for that kind of inside job. Because I am certain it has some advantages over working for an outside contractor as a service guru. But they don't make good money.

Before I went on my own I was trying to decide what to do. I was at the time doing light commercial. Resturaunts and small office buildings. I was going after a job that was for to be an in house guy. I did not have the skills needed but I tried to apply anyway. They were looking for a dude with deep deep knowledge of some 1000 tons of centrifical absorbers, JCI controls, VAV's, Towers, water treatment. The whole ball of wax. And they were serious about the fact that they were looking for someone who was very capable and not a gig where this fellow would be calling for help. All for like $21 bucks an hour. I was making like 80 a year doing nothing over 25 tons. I laughed at them.

Lots of jobs available for in house guys. And they need to know what there doing thats for sure. But I honestly can't see how these sorts of jobs attract the kind of talent really needed with what they seem to pay. So they always end up getting the kinds of guys who think they know, and tell you they know, but they still don't know.

It mostly boils down to benifets. I was a maint man, bldg engineer, whaterever you want to call it for 15 years for the same company. And pay was always my big gripe.

Well I left 4 years ago and went to work for a Large machanical company doing all of there startup and warranty service making a significant more amount of money. But as the the old saying goes, all that glitters is not gold. For that increase in pay I lost 4 weeks paid vac, 6 months of sick leave at full pay and 6 months at half pay, A non contibutory retirement plan, and a thrift plan that put double of what I put in up to 3%.

You know at the time that grass sure looked greener across the fence, but it really is not.

I think alot depends on the person too. I know alot of guys who could not stand to work at the same place everyday.

Really, most of the larger management companies offer good benifits, which you have to weigh against the financial compensation.

sigma
10-27-2004, 12:35 AM
Most of plant operators these days have to have EPA universal and knowledge of HVAC. Many times they are expected to have a stationary engineer’s license also. Funny thing about this job is, that if they fixed someone’s A/C, heat pump, or heater, they’re employer
would not care about it at all. :)

motorboy1
10-27-2004, 10:34 AM
Originally posted by Diceman
Welcome to corporate America, where many insecure people never change cause that means they were wrong in the first place. Nor will they seldom listen to those who are below them.....on the corporate ladder. I guess with your new boss, just shut up and do what he says for now.

Hey, Dice. Replace the word corporate with the word republican and your statement becomes even more true!

snipe70e
10-27-2004, 08:38 PM
Originally posted by newtradesman


I'm new. I admit I am new and I need to learn alot more.

I met a Plant operator at a building in down town Dallas who carries a clip board and calls contractors for everything he needs.



The slang name for someone like is "Roledex Chief". And they give the trade a bad name. They are just hackers.

I like this profession. You have heard the expression, A jack of all trades and a master of none. A good stationary engineer has to be a jack of all trades and a master of most. It makes the job fun.
Len

Dowadudda
10-27-2004, 09:12 PM
Some of you need to reread my post.

My god I was not insulting any of you. I never meant that to be the intent of my post at all.

What I am saying is, that, given your expertise, that those sorts of jobs do not pay well. I don't care if your doing a trillion million btuh boilers with 7 zillions tons of asborber chillers. I am saying even if your doing that, those types of jobs do not pay that well. It's not a cut on you. It's a cut on the people who think it's not worth MORE than it is.

That was why I said I was doing pittilee a$$ $hit for more coin. Garunteed at that time, you could probably be 10 times smarter than I was at the time.

snipe70e
10-27-2004, 09:33 PM
Dowadubba,

I think the pay is OK. $32.29/ hr, Over $5.00/hr in retirement, Full medical and dental cost the company around $850 per month. 40 hours every week, and I do not have to be a salesman. This year I get 3 weeks paid vacation + holidays. No on call and if I do 1/2 time pay.
I have looked at traveling maintenance and I prefer to be stationary. It is my plant and I should be able to take pride in it's condition (bad employeer and chief not letting us do our job).

But like every trade there are those in it whho should not be.

TB
10-28-2004, 04:26 AM
Originally posted by snipe70e

It is my plant and I should be able to take pride in it's condition (bad employeer and chief not letting us do our job).

But like every trade there are those in it whho should not be.


Here Here! You found a decent way to deal with that? I could say oh well what the ---, but I don't want to have that attitude. Problem is if I try my best, I get frustrated. They're calling in a guy to look at a rumbling burner (only .5 million btuh) I'm saying "shi+ man, thats our job. I want to do it. I want to learn. Shoot, here I go again...

dapper
10-28-2004, 07:38 PM
My last experience with a stationary engineer was when I was called to check 'bad' low water cut-offs on boilers at a high rise apartment building. I was met by the recently hired engineer who boasted his credentials and experience as a plant operator at a local pharmecuetical company before it moved out of town. His problem was that when he blew down the low-water cut-offs EVERY morning and logged his activity he was concerned that the burners on 2 boilers were not shutting down. It seemed that every morning for several weeks he would blow down every control on the boilers.

I found that he was right, blowing down the controls had no effect on boiler operation....... except........ it took me about 10 seconds to realize that when I opened the valves on the controls no water ran out the pipes. Yup, the drain lines were plugged solid. Took half an hour to take them apart and punch them out with a length of rod.

I dont mean to knock on any of you guys but around here it seems that most of my experiences with plant operators or stationary engineers usually goes something like this.

bobby7388
10-28-2004, 09:46 PM
Originally posted by dapper
My last experience with a stationary engineer was when I was called to check 'bad' low water cut-offs on boilers at a high rise apartment building. I was met by the recently hired engineer who boasted his credentials and experience as a plant operator at a local pharmecuetical company before it moved out of town. His problem was that when he blew down the low-water cut-offs EVERY morning and logged his activity he was concerned that the burners on 2 boilers were not shutting down. It seemed that every morning for several weeks he would blow down every control on the boilers.

I found that he was right, blowing down the controls had no effect on boiler operation....... except........ it took me about 10 seconds to realize that when I opened the valves on the controls no water ran out the pipes. Yup, the drain lines were plugged solid. Took half an hour to take them apart and punch them out with a length of rod.

I dont mean to knock on any of you guys but around here it seems that most of my experiences with plant operators or stationary engineers usually goes something like this.



Why not just replace the blowoff lines, I don't see much sense in trying to punch out some piping when it would be wiser to replace out. Cleaning doesn't seem like a long term solution if they were that plugged.

Just out of curiosity, where were the lines draining to?

By the way, do you know the ASME code on proper spec'ing of blowoff lines? min pipe size, max pipe size? type of pipe required?

To each his own.

snipe70e
10-29-2004, 12:24 AM
Originally posted by dapper
My last experience with a stationary engineer was when I was called to check 'bad' low water cut-offs on boilers at a high rise apartment building. I was met by the recently hired engineer who boasted his credentials and experience as a plant operator at a local pharmecuetical company before it moved out of town. His problem was that when he blew down the low-water cut-offs EVERY morning and logged his activity he was concerned that the burners on 2 boilers were not shutting down. It seemed that every morning for several weeks he would blow down every control on the boilers.

I found that he was right, blowing down the controls had no effect on boiler operation....... except........ it took me about 10 seconds to realize that when I opened the valves on the controls no water ran out the pipes. Yup, the drain lines were plugged solid. Took half an hour to take them apart and punch them out with a length of rod.

I dont mean to knock on any of you guys but around here it seems that most of my experiences with plant operators or stationary engineers usually goes something like this.


Dapper,
No offence taken. We all know that there are "stationary engineers" who should get into another profession. He was blowing down the boilers for several weeks with the low water control not working. the first time the safety failed it should have been fixed that day, he was no engineer just a handyman. I hope it was a low pressure boiler, high pressure should be blown down at the begining of each watch.
The really sad and dangerous thing a liecence may not be required. I believe there should be a federal licience requirement to operate equipment that cause major damage or kill people. And a guy who keeps firing a boiler with a faulty low water cut out should loose his.
Len

rubberduck
10-29-2004, 12:55 AM
Originally posted by newtradesman


I'm new. I admit I am new and I need to learn alot more.

I met a Plant operator at a building in down town Dallas who carries a clip board and calls contractors for everything he needs.
He does not get dirty. Nor does he want to.
I was sent in to change filters because they were required by the preventive maintenace schudule the plant operator guru had created.
I change out the first 140 filters which were all in great condition. I mean like almost new. I could not tell how long htey had been there but this time I wrote the dates on the side of the filter so the next guy does.
When I told the Plant operator about the lack of need he laughed and said that they change them weather they need them or not.
He said that he created the schudule and he got it right out of the Titus manufactures recommended specs.
When I looked on the Titus web site I did not find any requirement for filters to be changed every 8 weeks on a fan powered box or VAV.
I also did not push the issue because I figure it is making my company a butt load of money doing this guys crap.
I just can not understand how guys can throw money out the window. Is this a common standard?
As I type this I look forward to my next visit to grease motors on his AHU's. Maybe I could get enough know how to get a job like this. I should be able to make my own paycheck back in savings and still turn a profit for the company.



I work with a few plant operators like that

TB
10-29-2004, 03:58 AM
Every once in a while a boiler shows up at the local scrap metal yard, usually, they've blown. Once you take a good look at a blown steam boiler, and how mangled and twisted that 3/8 or 1/2 inch thick steel is, you have a better idea of the force you're dealing with. Tell those guys to hang out at the scrap yard.

The guy I work with tryed to run our low psi boiler on the High limit once, because the pressuretrol was bad. I didn't let him get away with that, but I'll bet there is a lot out there that are. Watch out for that one too.

[Edited by TB on 10-29-2004 at 04:02 AM]

TB
10-29-2004, 04:17 AM
Originally posted by dapper

I found that he was right, blowing down the controls had no effect on boiler operation....... except........ it took me about 10 seconds to realize that when I opened the valves on the controls no water ran out the pipes. Yup, the drain lines were plugged solid. Took half an hour to take them apart and punch them out with a length of rod.


What was he boiling, mud? Did you happen to see the water chemistry logs? Just curiouse, but I'm assuming by "drain lines" you mean the lines after the valves, which should drain dry after blowdowns. How were they plugging? Are the valves leaking enough to clog it up without flushing the sludge through?

[Edited by TB on 10-29-2004 at 04:25 AM]

TB
10-29-2004, 04:33 AM
Originally posted by snipe70e
He was blowing down the boilers for several weeks with the low water control not working. the first time the safety failed it should have been fixed that day, he was no engineer just a handyman.
Good call!


Originally posted by snipe70e

I hope it was a low pressure boiler, high pressure should be blown down at the begining of each watch.

...so that each engineer KNOWS that control works, when he begins his shift.

osiyo
10-30-2004, 08:53 AM
Originally posted by snipe70e
Dowadubba,

I think the pay is OK. $32.29/ hr, Over $5.00/hr in retirement, Full medical and dental cost the company around $850 per month. 40 hours every week, and I do not have to be a salesman. This year I get 3 weeks paid vacation + holidays. No on call and if I do 1/2 time pay.
I have looked at traveling maintenance and I prefer to be stationary. It is my plant and I should be able to take pride in it's condition

Yep. The different jobs all have their pros and cons. A friend of mine is a stationary engineer. On salary, as he's the chief engineer where he works. Pulls in $52,000 a year. Multi-licensed and experienced. He knows that he could make more with an outside contractor. But figures $52,000 a year in Minnesota is pretty good money. And he REALLY likes the benefits, which are very generous. A lot better than mine.

But his opinion varies depending on which day you ask him. Being salaried, and in charge, when TSHTF he ends up doing a lot of unpaid overtime. And has to put up with a lot of panic calls at oh-dark-thirty, in the middle of a blizzard of course, from somebody on duty who is in over his head and doesn't know what to do and needs help. He works at a major manufacturer's plant, which operates around the clock 5 days a week. So he's gotta go in and fix whatever. Very competent, there isn't much he doesn't know how to do.

But at such times, he's understandably less than happy. Sometimes calls me and asks if we need any more help, he's thinking about looking.

OTOH, after I give him time to cool off and rethink his position, and ask if he's still serious about working for me. He starts backpeddling. Remembering when he used to work for an outside outfit.

Money was REAL good, when there was work. But he remembers temporary layoffs in slow times, short work weeks, having to account for every minute of his day to justify his paycheck. Getting nagged about not making extra sales. Told to forget it, when he'd done a job, but it was not really as good as he wanted it to be and he wanted to fix it right. But boss would tell him to move on, forget it, IF it failed or customer noticed, THEN he could go back. That got under his skin a lot. He's a man that likes things to work RIGHT, as well as he can get it tweaked in. A perfectionist by nature. If yah go to his plant right now yah see polished brightwork, clean paint jobs, neat stenciling and labeling, no leaks, etc. And everything works right ... not just works. He knows DDC systems and control systems, and has the time where he's at to tweak and reprogram and tune things to a tee, to squeeze out that little bit of extra efficiency, make something hum a little sweeter, and so forth. Add in the extra vacation days, sick days, and personal days. Plus, he really likes that doing what he does, he gets involved in a wider range of trades and skills than he would if he went to work for an outside contractor again.

So, he's always changed his mind and told me to forget it.

Chuckle, in this biz there are pros and cons to everything and parts of the business to suit most anyone's preferences.

It's like another friend of mine. Lives, talks, and breathes boiler and boiler control systems. No interest, or little, in anything else. Sharp ... very sharp. So he works for an outside contractor specializing in boiler systems. And it's where he's the happiest.

acjourneyman
10-30-2004, 11:54 AM
If you are looking to be a plant engineer just so you can stay clean and walk around doing little or nothing I think you need a new line of work.It seems no one wants to work hard anymore and wants easy street.It is sad when a 40 year old guy like myself can work most of the younger 20ish apprentices into the ground and I think it is because of attitudes like this that is why.You see the guy carrying the clip board but maybe he works to 8:00 at night every night balancing budgets or whatever.I have days where I take it easy but more than likely it is because I worked till midnight changing a 40ton compressor by myself.First impressions aren't always what they seem.

ozone drone
10-30-2004, 12:55 PM
After reading 5 pages of responses it's obvious that there's no single definition for those who have a "Plant Operator" title. Ranges from "Rolodex Chief" (LOL) to highly skilled pros. It's really no different than alot of the service shops I've worked at. You had the top guys, the competant average guys and the skaters who were in over their head and belonged in a different occupation.

Nobody likes to judged by the performance of the incompetant (like the fool who couldn't figure out he wasn't really blowing down his boilers)

(T.B.) Give me a call, the numbers is posted earlier in this thread....maybe make an offer you can't refuse.

snipe70e
10-30-2004, 06:47 PM
Originally posted by osiyo



Plus, he really likes that doing what he does, he gets involved in a wider range of trades and skills than he would if he went to work for an outside contractor again.


Chuckle, in this biz there are pros and cons to everything and parts of the business to suit most anyone's preferences.


[/B]

That part of the discription is what I love about my profession, and knowing that the place is better off with me working there. It is pride of profession and pride of Job.
Len

Dowadudda
10-30-2004, 08:36 PM
About that job again. The one where I can carry a clip board and do nothing and get paid for it. Where is that at exactly.

In all seriousness. Speaking from my perspective. I belong to the generation X'er crowd. There is a lot of truth in what ACJourneymen says, but not all of us can be figured in to that equation thats for sure.

Cheer up will ya, were going to be running the country soon, so you better be kind or will f it up more, more so than you already estimate we will. :D

bobby7388
10-30-2004, 09:49 PM
Originally posted by bobby7388
A "Plant Operator" is a generic name given to anyone from a small maintenance shop employee to a large power house boiler operator.

The name in and by itself doesn't really mean anything as to qualifications.

I don't normally quote myself so pardon my mess.

All this discussion comes back to my initial post, names don't necessarily mean anything. It's like asking, what is a "service tech"? by adding tech one would assume that they are technical thereby certified or licensed in some field.
"Plant Operator, Service Tech" are meaningless because they don't assume anything.
But a stationary engineer will always be licensed in some form from a AHJ, if someone doesn't have the license then they should'nt use the name or title

bbdb
10-30-2004, 10:28 PM
basicly plant operator = janitor with wrench

sigma
10-30-2004, 11:45 PM
This is how city of Philadelphia describes position of
plant operator and stationary engineer:



CITY OF PHILADELPHIA PERSONNEL DEPARTMENT
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

7E41
PLANT MECHANICAL - ELECTRICAL OPERATOR

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

GENERAL DEFINITION

This is semi-skilled plant work operating, lubricating, adjusting and making minor mechanical and electrical repairs to equipment in a water purification or waste water treatment plant. An employee in this class works on an assigned shift, is responsible for the operation and first-level maintenance of assigned equipment, and may operate other plant equipment on an as-needed basis. Some positions work in rotating shift. Work is performed under the close supervision of a technical superior.

Work involves some unfavorable environmental conditions and light physical effort, and performing around machinery with exposed moving parts.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TYPICAL EXAMPLES OF WORK (ILLUSTRATIVE ONLY)

Starts, operates, regulates and stops plant equipment; changes operating mode to automatic, semi-automatic and manual as needed; checks equipment during operation to determine that needs are met; takes periodic samples of water, waste water and sludge, and sends them to the laboratory for analysis; keeps work area and equipment clean.
Changes chemical feed tanks, chlorine cylinders and feed systems; flushes clogged feed and sampling lines.
Records flow and treatment information; changes charts and maintains recording equipment; maintains a log of daily activity.
Receives, stores, handles and applies chemicals and other supplies needed for operation of assigned station.
Performs first echelon mechanical maintenance such as packing valves, adjusting belts, tightening belts, adjusting cables and replacing shear pins and air filters; lubricates equipment by applying grease and changing oil.
Performs minor electrical maintenance such as replacing bulbs and fuses, and resetting circuit breakers; prepares equipment for higher echelon maintenance.
Checks equipment as part of a preventive and predictive maintenance program; reports more serious mechanical-electrical problems to supervisors.
May operate other plant equipment on an as-needed basis.
Performs the above duties on the following types of equipment:
Waste water digesters, centrifuge systems, heaters, incinerators and other pieces of equipment as assigned.
Water purification low pressure boilers, dehumidifiers, blowers, compressors, circulating pumps, chemical feeders, and other pieces of equipment as assigned.
Performs related work as required.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

REQUIRED KNOWLEDGES, SKILLS AND ABILITIES

KNOWLEDGE OF:

the methods, materials, tools and procedures used in first echelon mechanical maintenance and repair of water purification or waste water plant equipment and machinery.
the methods, materials, equipment and practices used in the purification and treatment of water.
the occupational hazards and safety precautions of the work.
electrical maintenance and repair practices.
SKILL IN:

the care and use of tools used in maintaining and repairing plant machinery and equipment.
ABILITY TO:

recognize mechanical and electrical malfunctions, and to make appropriate minor repairs or adjustments.
understand and follow oral and written instructions.
read and record information from meters and gauges accurately.
prepare and maintain reports and records.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

MINIMUM ACCEPTABLE TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE
(The following statement represents the minimum training and experience standards which will be used to admit or reject applicants for tests. Applications submitted by candidates for this class will be reviewed based on training and experience requirements as approved on 9/85.)

Education equivalent to completion of the tenth school grade.

Two years of experience in the operation or maintenance of water or waste water plant equipment, one year of which has been above the trainee level.
Or two years of experience in the operation and maintenance of water or wastewater plant equipment, and completion of an in-service training course in plant equipment operation, maintenance and repair.
Or any equivalent combination of education and experience determined to be acceptable by the Personnel Department.

PHYSICAL AND MEDICAL REQUIREMENTS

Ability to physically perform the duties and to work in the environmental conditions required of a position in this class.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


PAY RANGE: 11
Class Established: 6/1959
Latest Spec. Revision: 9/1985

sigma
10-30-2004, 11:47 PM
CITY OF PHILADELPHIA PERSONNEL DEPARTMENT

7E35
STATIONARY ENGINEER

GENERAL DEFINITION
This is full performance maintenance work operating and maintaining a wide variety of utility and related mechanical equipment, including boilers, air conditioning units, computerized building automation systems, circulating pumps and compressors on an assigned shift. Work includes providing services to ensure water cooling and heating for a large public building. Work is performed under the supervision of a HVAC Group Leader. Working conditions involve some undesirable aspects and work frequently requires the exercise of light physical effort.

TYPICAL EXAMPLES OF WORK (ILLUSTRATIVE ONLY)
Operates and maintains various types of utility and mechanical equipment including: boilers, large tonnage centrifugal chillers, circulating pumps, air compressors, hot water generators, circulating and ventilating fans, water softeners and similar mechanical, steam or electrically-operated equipment; adjusts levers and valves controlling the proper mixture of air and fuel to the combustion chamber; manipulates valves to admit water to boilers and sets controls for regulating temperature, humidity and ventilation.
Inspects equipment for proper working condition and performs maintenance tasks such as repacking valves, adjusting system operation and performance parameters, replacing belts, installing gaskets, lubricating motors, and calibrating temperature controls; replaces worn boiler tubes and patches areas of fire brick in combustion chamber.
Takes reading of temperature and pressure gauges on boilers and refrigeration units and records such readings in log books; takes water tests to check hardness of water; adds necessary chemicals to water; checks and maintains refrigeration equipment.
Performs related work as required.

REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES
KNOWLEDGE OF:
the methods, materials, tools and practices used in operating and maintaining boilers, large tonnage centrifugal chillers and related equipment
the occupational hazards and safety precautions in the operation and maintenance of utility equipment
heating, ventilating, and refrigeration systems
computerized control systems
electronic leak detection systems
regulatory requirements of Federal Clean Air Act 1990, Title 3 of Philadelphia Code (Air Management Code of 1995)
ABILITY TO:
operate and maintain boilers, air conditioning and related mechanical equipment in a large central plant
read and record meter and gauge readings and to maintain accurate records of boilers, chillers and support equipment operation maintenance
operate building management equipment on computers
operate building automation systems
read electrical and mechanical schematics and use testing equipment
understand and follow oral and written instruction

MINIMUM ACCEPTABLE TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE
(The following statement represents the minimum training and experience standards which will be used to admit or reject applicants for tests. ed on training and experience requirements as approved on 07/03.)
EDUCATION
Education equivalent to completion of the 12th school grade.
AND
EXPERIENCE
Three years of experience in the stationary engineer trade.
PHYSICAL AND MEDICAL REQUIREMENTS
Ability to physically perform the duties and to work in the environmental conditions required of a position in this class.
LICENSES, REGISTRATIONS AND/OR CERTIFICATES
Possession of a grade "A" stationary engineer's license as issued by the Philadelphia Department of Licenses & Inspections prior to appointment and during tenure a as stationary engineer.
Possession of an operator's license for the proper handling of refrigerants containing chlorofuorocarbons issued by the Environmental Protection Agency within six months of appointment.
Possession of a valid motor vehicle operator's license issued by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania prior to appointment and during tenure as a stationary engineer.

PAY RANGE: 13
Class Established: 1/1/53
Latest Spec. Revision:
CSC: 01/03, Ad Board: 07/03

sigma
10-31-2004, 12:43 AM
[i]Originally posted by bobby7388 But a stationary engineer will always be licensed in some form from a AHJ, if someone doesn't have the license then they should'nt use the name or title
[/B]




I agree. It costs me 20 bucks a year to renew my “grade A“ license and I don’t even need it.
Right now I operate low pressure boilers but it might become handy in the future.
In Philadelphia every one working with high pressure boilers has to have it.
To get a job with the City as a stationary engineer, one has to have “Grade A stationary engineer’s
license” plus take a civil service test where there are many questions pertaining to air-conditioning and refrigeration.

socal
10-31-2004, 04:47 AM
Plant Ops. / Stat. Engs.
Know their sh*t and call in the chumps to do the work.

Diceman
10-31-2004, 10:29 AM
Chumps??????
Ya mean the guys who charge as much in a few hours as the janitor engineer makes in a week.....those chumps....

coolh2o
10-31-2004, 11:14 AM
This salary discussion is comical... but true. I have worked in both fields and agree with all I have read in this thread. The larger the facility, the better "operators/engineers" typically. The larger the city the bigger the buildings. In the 1-million sq ft + buildings 100K+ for a chief engineer is not out of the question with no degree, no license, no union dues. But generally that is the top 5-10% of the trade.

The work load.... well it also follows the posts in this thread. From a roldex operator/engineer to the type described by Ozone Drone and a few others.

Now I work in the service industry and it's not much diffferent. I see some quality techs who are well trained and do a good job, but I see a lot who would not make an operator/engineer on my best crews. The difference seems to be titles. What this thread has shown me is the parity between the two trades. I have seen both sides speak up for themselves but neither one reflect on the weak sisters in their own trade. This is just like politics.

Diceman
10-31-2004, 01:41 PM
The difference is good service techs can go into any bldg and work on it based on past years of experience.
Typically PO's, even very good ones, are usually lost once they leave their own bldg.

ozone drone
10-31-2004, 02:44 PM
That's a B.S. statement Dice.....
Oh ...my pumps are painted green..I wonder how these red ones work?.....granted if some kid started his career and stayed in one building for 10 years..he'd not have much exposure to other brands of equipment ...but somebody who's been in a truck for 10-15-20 years (or 29 like me) and THEN took an operator's job I don't think would have a problem in some other building. There's just too many variables to make generalized statements about qualifications and competantcy.

Diceman
10-31-2004, 02:54 PM
Generally speaking reputations are earned.
I am sure there are many exceptions, like OD.
But still there is no denying when you work in the field you see a lot more than just being in a few buildings.
No cut on good PO or SE intended, just life as I have seen it after almost 30 years doing this stupid junk and having grown up in a fam biz going back a few generations, thats all.

Diceman
10-31-2004, 03:07 PM
And like I said, I ain't taking anything away from the good PO or SE, they can put me to shame in many situations.
It's just a matter of experience and having seen many different things, that's all.

snipe70e
10-31-2004, 05:44 PM
Originally posted by Diceman
The difference is good service techs can go into any bldg and work on it based on past years of experience.
Typically PO's, even very good ones, are usually lost once they leave their own bldg.

Dice,
Good ones are not lost once they leave their building, bad or inexperienced ones are.
Our apprentice after 4 years just transfered to a different property and is working out very good, they have a real chief so no contractors doing their work.
And I have told him that he needs to work for a different company before five years are up. I have know guys that have worked for only one company from apprenticeship to chief engineer. When they get a job with a new company they become lost.
Len

snipe70e
10-31-2004, 06:01 PM
Originally posted by bobby7388
[.
But a stationary engineer will always be licensed in some form from a AHJ, if someone doesn't have the license then they should'nt use the name or title
[/B]

Bobby,
Not all S/E hava a licience. California does not require one, I wish they did but they don't.
At one time I had a Coast Guard's Thirds Licience and that test would make any cities test a walk in the park. So with out a city licience I use the tital Stationary Engineer.
Len

PS I agree there are a lot of people using the title that do not have a clue. I work for one.

coolh2o
10-31-2004, 06:45 PM
Originally posted by Diceman
The difference is good service techs can go into any bldg and work on it based on past years of experience.
Typically PO's, even very good ones, are usually lost once they leave their own bldg.

Come on Dice.... I have read enough intelligent things you have written for me to think you actually believe this.

sigma
10-31-2004, 10:15 PM
Originally posted by snipe70e
[ So with out a city licience I use the tital Stationary Engineer.
Len
[/B]



Former boiler operators from the Navy should not have to need a license.

coolh2o
10-31-2004, 10:46 PM
Originally posted by sigma

Originally posted by snipe70e
[ So with out a city licience I use the tital Stationary Engineer.
Len




Former boiler operators from the Navy should not have to need a license. [/B]


Amen

osiyo
11-01-2004, 07:06 AM
Originally posted by sigma

Originally posted by snipe70e
[ So with out a city licience I use the tital Stationary Engineer.
Len




Former boiler operators from the Navy should not have to need a license. [/B]

Hmmm. I disagree.

For one, if you know your stuff, what's the big deal in obtaining the license?

When I retired from the Navy, actually about a year before that, I simply got copies of all my relevant service jacket pages to show my time and training and experience. Got a senior officer to sign and certify copies as being true ones. Picked up a study guide and looked thru it. Didn't need to learn about boilers and such. No simple study guide or text was gonna teach me anything I didn't already know about the machinery. I did need however to learn what various civilian terms and definitions for things were. What the civilian rules and laws said.

Then I took the test. Piece of cake. The technical equipment questions were a breeze for me. BUT I needed to know the civilian rules, laws, etc.

I don't know how it works elsewhere, but in Minnesota they wanted some sort of proof that your claim that you knew such and such was true. Thus the requirement for proving experience and training, and the test.

Also, copies of the license are required to be posted on site, if you're the in-house operator or person responsible. So that AHJs, insurance inspectors, fire marshall's, etc when making inspection can see if in fact there is someone qualified taking care of that boiler. Also, so they know who to hammer if there is a problem.

<Shrug> If a fellow knows what he's doing and talking about, I don't see why a test and licensing requirement is such a big deal.

operator
11-01-2004, 03:07 PM
Where I am they have on site electricians, contracted plumbers and hvac companies that do most of the work unfortunately. Motor needs changing, call sparky, RTU down call...

This building is mainly Pm's on the equipment(filters and belts), testing fire safety equipment as per code, and making sure everyone is comfortable in the building.

Other buildings we are responsible for changing out the pumps, motors and .....

I am classified as a building operator, keep things running day to day.

I think what the title encompasses is different for each building and what company you work for.

I dont have alot of experience as a building operator but I am constantly learning here and picking the brains of the contractors that are in, mainly because my supervisor can't answer my questions, but keeps telling me "I'm an engineer"

bobby7388
11-01-2004, 07:20 PM
Originally posted by snipe70e

Originally posted by bobby7388
[.
But a stationary engineer will always be licensed in some form from a AHJ, if someone doesn't have the license then they should'nt use the name or title


Bobby,
Not all S/E hava a licience. California does not require one, I wish they did but they don't.
At one time I had a Coast Guard's Thirds Licience and that test would make any cities test a walk in the park. So with out a city licience I use the tital Stationary Engineer.
Len

PS I agree there are a lot of people using the title that do not have a clue. I work for one.
[/B]


Alot of states don't have specific licensing requirements to cover their municipalities, only on state jobs does the state use discretion.
Cities that don't have licensing requirements usually will have a insurance carrier requirement for a license. Most bigger and older cities will require a license issued by a municipality.

Are you saying that in your area a license isn't required on hi-pressure boilers?

Diceman
11-01-2004, 08:35 PM
Originally posted by coolh2o

Originally posted by Diceman
The difference is good service techs can go into any bldg and work on it based on past years of experience.
Typically PO's, even very good ones, are usually lost once they leave their own bldg.

Come on Dice.... I have read enough intelligent things you have written for me to think you actually believe this.
I was mainly responding to the guy who called the outside contractors, chumps....some are, but if they didn't need them, they wouldn't have to call them in.

coolh2o
11-02-2004, 01:07 AM
Originally posted by Diceman

Originally posted by coolh2o

Originally posted by Diceman
The difference is good service techs can go into any bldg and work on it based on past years of experience.
Typically PO's, even very good ones, are usually lost once they leave their own bldg.

Come on Dice.... I have read enough intelligent things you have written for me to think you actually believe this.
I was mainly responding to the guy who called the outside contractors, chumps....some are, but if they didn't need them, they wouldn't have to call them in.

He shouldn't have said that, but don't fool yourself about building operators either. I have operated large facilities in Dallas and I have spent time doing start up and operations training in Taiwan and Hong Kong and I can tell you for sure... If you are a real operator it doesn't matter what equipment, what plant, what time zone or hemisphere, cold water, steam, ice or R-22 liquid overfeed... equipment is equipment. Likewise if you are a real service tech... well DITTO!

snipe70e
11-02-2004, 09:59 PM
Bobby,
The city of San Jose as far as I know was the last city to require a licience. And when Eldridge (fire inspector) died in the 70's the city's ttesting program died. So no California does not require a licience.
State law states "a compedent operator shall be on duty at all times", but there is no definition of what a compedent operator is.
Len

snipe70e
11-02-2004, 09:59 PM
Bobby,
The city of San Jose as far as I know was the last city to require a licience. And when Eldridge (fire inspector) died in the 70's the city's ttesting program died. So no California does not require a licience.
State law states "a compedent operator shall be on duty at all times", but there is no definition of what a compedent operator is.
Len

Diceman
11-02-2004, 10:57 PM
Wow, I never knew you PO's were so touchy.......:D

coolh2o
11-02-2004, 11:46 PM
Originally posted by Diceman
Wow, I never knew you PO's were so touchy.......:D

Not much different than a service tech.... Pride runs deep.

deanmech
11-03-2004, 01:42 AM
This has been an interesting thread. I've worked on both sides of "the fence" as well. Perhaps you can be a little more "rounded" when you have done both, but whatever you do, there is always more to learn.

snipe70e
11-03-2004, 02:56 AM
Originally posted by deanmech
This has been an interesting thread. I've worked on both sides of "the fence" as well. Perhaps you can be a little more "rounded" when you have done both, but whatever you do, there is always more to learn.

There are only a few conditions where you can not learn. When you retire and are no longer in the field. And when you becomew useless.
Len

newtradesman
11-03-2004, 09:32 AM
Learning is limited by ones desire not by the situation he works in.

ozone drone
11-03-2004, 11:50 AM
Originally posted by newtradesman


Learning is limited by ones desire not by the situation he works in.

You thought you were asking a simple question. 7 pages, 90 posts and 1,560 views later...here we are. Wait till you see what happens when you ask something really controversial....like Dice's 9 milimeter thread.

Diceman
11-03-2004, 11:40 PM
Yeah, we are that bored...........:D

MHall
01-20-2013, 11:14 PM
Does anyone know if the user who identified himself as; coolh20 is still on this website? He posted several times on this thread. I am asking this because it appears he used to be a chief engineer in my area. As a young person attempting to enter the field of building engineering it would be great to ask him some questions.

Thanks for any help you can provide.

Best

Tech Rob
01-21-2013, 01:23 AM
I just visited Dallas last week and I would have liked to check out one of these local plants.

jpsmith1cm
01-21-2013, 06:22 AM
Moved thread to tech to tech chat.

Member coolh20 hasn't logged into this site since 2006.

MHall
01-21-2013, 12:50 PM
Moved thread to tech to tech chat.

Member coolh20 hasn't logged into this site since 2006.

Thanks. Does anyone have his email address or know how to contact him? I would love the opportunity to ask a former chief engineer from my area some questions.

Is there a way to send him a direct message through this site?

Thanks for all the help!

jpsmith1cm
01-21-2013, 06:50 PM
Thanks. Does anyone have his email address or know how to contact him? I would love the opportunity to ask a former chief engineer from my area some questions.

Is there a way to send him a direct message through this site?

Thanks for all the help!

If his e-mail isn't available through his profile, then no.

There is a Private Messaging feature, but it is limited to Professional Members only.