Change to application process (EPA)

Effective September 15, 2015 EPA will no longer offer the option of submitting lead program applications by mail. This applies to all individual, firm and trainer applications required by EPA’s lead renovation and abatement programs. After that date all applications, payments, updates and certificate replacement requests will be done online using the Agency’s Central Data Exchange (CDX) system. This change is part of an Agency effort to decrease cost and increase efficiency. Although this option was only recently added for individuals and trainers, it has been available to firms for some time. At present, nearly 90% of firm applications are submitted online. Acceptable methods for payments online include credit card, debit card, or electronic check.

Construction worker shortage called ‘acute’

From the Sun Sentinel

Carpenters, electricians and concrete installers are getting harder and harder to find in Florida and nationwide.

The labor shortage “is getting acute, especially in South Florida,” said Peter Dyga, chief executive of the Florida East Coast Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors, which can’t train skilled workers fast enough for the construction rebound.

Florida companies interviewed by the Associated General Contractors of America reported issues finding and keeping hourly construction workers. More than half also said they’re coming up short on project managers, engineers and estimating professionals.

Ken Simonson, economist for Associated General Contractors, said 2.3 million workers left the industry during the economic downturn — either retiring or moving to another industry. The latest survey is “more evidence the pool of labor has dried up,” he said. “Florida has had biggest bounce-back in jobs, but also had the steepest drop-off.”

Sixty-two percent of Florida construction companies interviewed said they expect the hiring crunch to continue over the next year.

Advanced Roofing in Fort Lauderdale is not only having trouble finding new roofers, but all other trades for its construction projects.

“Every single trade is busy in the construction industry, so it’s tying up resources,” said Kevin Kornahrens, vice president of Advanced Roofing.

The company has obtained 10 H2B visas to bring in workers from Mexico and is recuiting in Puerto Rico. Advanced Roofing is also sponsoring a local apprentice program to train workers, but “it’s hard to find young individuals who want to get into roofing. It’s a hard job,” he said.

Dyga said Associated Builder’s apprenticeship program in South Florida has 600 people training as pipefitters, plumbers, fire sprinkler specialists, roofers and three levels of electricians. Associated Builders also is working to get new programs in carpentry, painting and masonry accredited, but state approvals can take a year, he said.

The accredited programs take four years, so only about 100 graduate each year. Meanwhile, experienced workers are retiring while demand for workers, especially with advanced skills, continues to grow as construction rebounds.

“We need to get better as an industry investing in the training,” Dyga said. He said that training needs to continue, even when the industry slows to ensure a pipeline of skilled workers.

The high demand is resulting in higher wages for specialty construction workers. More than half of Florida construction firms surveyed said they’re offering higher wages to attract and retain workers.

The shortage of crafts workers is widespread, with 86 percent of construction firms nationwide reporting trouble filling all 21 specialty construction jobs. Hardest to find are carpenters, sheet metal installers and concrete workers, according to the survey.

Associated General Contractors CEO Stephen Sandherr called for new career and technical school programs to offset the labor shortages.

“The sad fact is too few students are being exposed to construction careers or provided with the basic skills needed to prepare for such a career path,” he said.

The survey included responses from 1,358 construction firms, including 26 in Florida.

mpounds@tribpub.com or 561-243-6650

Copyright © 2015, Sun Sentinel

Delay in Florida Energy Conservation

The Florida Legislature has delayed the effective date of certain sections of the Florida Building Code, 5th edition until June 30, 2016. (http://laws.flrules.org/2015/222)

The included sections are:

a. R402.4.1.2 of the Energy Volume relating to mandatory blower door testing for residential buildings;
b. 403.6.1 of the Building Volume requiring a second fire service access elevator; and
c. R303.4 of the Residential Volume requiring mechanical ventilation for residential buildings.

Change to firm application process

Effective September 15, 2015 EPA will no longer offer the option to submit firm certification applications by mail.  After that date all firm applications, payments, updates and certificate replacement requests will be done online.  This change is part of an Agency effort to decrease cost and increase efficiency.  The option to submit firm applications online has been available for some time; currently 85% of applications are submitted in this manner.  Acceptable methods for payments online include credit card, debit card, or electronic check.

Workers Comp Average Weekly Wage

imagesMaximum Workers’ Compensation Rate, Effective January 1, 2015
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has determined the statewide average weekly wage paid by employers subject to the Florida Reemployment Assistance Program Law to be $841.57 for the four calendar quarters ending June 30, 2014.

Florida Homeowners’ Construction Recovery Fund

fdrfContractors have a statutory duty to notify residential property owners of the Florida Homeowners’ Construction Recovery Fund.

The requirement is found at section 489.1425, F.S., and states that any agreement or contract for repair, restoration, improvement, or construction to residential real property must contain a written statement explaining the consumer’s rights under the recovery fund. An exception is available where the value of all labor and materials does not exceed $2,500.

The written statement must be substantially in the following form:

FLORIDA HOMEOWNERS’ CONSTRUCTION RECOVERY FUND PAYMENT MAY BE AVAILABLE FROM THE FLORIDA HOMEOWNERS’ CONSTRUCTION RECOVERY FUND IF YOU LOSE MONEY ON A PROJECT PERFORMED UNDER CONTRACT, WHERE THE LOSS RESULTS FROM SPECIFIED VIOLATIONS OF FLORIDA LAW BY A LICENSED CONTRACTOR. FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THE RECOVERY FUND AND FILING A CLAIM, CONTACT THE FLORIDA CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY LICENSING BOARD AT THE FOLLOWING TELEPHONE NUMBER AND ADDRESS.

The notice must include the board’s address and telephone number.

Contractors may pay a fine of up to $500 for a first violation of the statute and up to $1,000 per violation thereafter and the money received from fines must be deposited into the recovery fund.

Irrigation Specialty

Certified irrigation specialty applicants may use their experience in irrigation system construction to qualify for licensure, but are required to pass the state certified irrigation specialty contractors’ examination.  The first state irrigation specialty examination will be administered April 16th and 17th, 2013. For more information on scheduling to take the state examination please visit the Department’s Bureau of Education and Testing website or call 850.488.5952.

61G4-15.035 Certification of Irrigation Specialty Contractors.

(1) The purpose of this rule is to provide for the voluntary certification of irrigation specialty contractors.

(2) Definition. An irrigation specialty contractor is a contractor whose contracting business consists of the execution of contracts requiring the experience, financial means, knowledge, and skill to install, maintain, repair, alter, extend, manage, monitor, audit, or, if not prohibited by law, design irrigation systems. An irrigation specialty contractor may install, maintain, repair, alter, extend, manage, monitor, audit, or, if not prohibited by law, design irrigation systems, including any excavation work incidental thereto. An irrigation system includes all: piping; fittings; sprinklers; drip irrigation products; valves; irrigation controllers; control wiring; rain sensors; water pumps; water conservation devices; water harvesting systems; irrigation main lines downstream of a utility potable water meter or utility alternative water supply distribution line and dedicated backflow prevention device; and associated components installed for the delivery and application of water for the purpose of irrigation. Nothing in this rule shall be deemed to restrict or limit in any manner the scope of work authorized by law of other contractor classifications.

(3) Certification Procedures and Fees. Certification procedures and fees for Irrigation Specialty Contractors shall be the same as those provided for the certification of other contractors as set forth in Sections 489.109, 489.111, 489.113, 489.114, 489.115 and 489.116, F.S., and related rules.

(4) Irrigation systems used for agricultural purposes shall not be included within the scope of this rule.

Rulemaking Authority 455.213, 489.108 FS. Law Implemented 489.105(3)(q), 489.113(6), 489.115, 489.116, 489.117, 489.118 FS. History–New 2-13-13.