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.

Three Contractors

Three contractors were touring the white house on the same day. One was from New York, another from Missouri, and the third from Florida. At the end of the tour, the guard asked them what they did for a living.

When they each replied that they were contractors the guard said “Hey, we need one of the rear fences redone. Why don’t you guys look at it and give me a bid.”

So to the back fence they went. First up was the Florida contractor. He took out his tape measure and pencil, did some measuring and said, “Well I figure the job will run about $900. $400 for materials, $400 for my crew, and $100 profit for me.”

Next was the Missouri contractor. He also took out his tape measure and pencil, did some quick figuring and said, “Looks like I can do this Job for $700. $300 for materials, $300 for my crew, and $100 profit for me.”

Then the guard asks the New York contractor how much. Without so much as moving the contractor says, $2700.”

The guard, incredulous, looks at him and says “You didn’t even measure like the guys! How did you come up with such a high figure?”

“Easy” says the contractor from New York, “$1,000 for me, $1,000 for you and we hire the guy from Missouri.”

Plumber pulls iguana from toilet in Florida home

FORT LAUDERDALE (FOX 13) –

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A family in Fort Lauderdale was shocked when they finally learned what was clogging their toilet over the weekend.

The Lindquist family needed to call a plumber Sunday after discovering that their pipe was stopped up, and no amount of plunging or flushing would resolve the issue, WSVN in Miami reports.

The plumber arrived and after some searching, the problem looked her right in the face…literally.

“I was in the living room and we heard a scream, and I came in to see what was causing the screaming,” the resident, Marian Lindquist, told WSVN.

And there it was, an iguana about one-and-a-half-feet long, sitting in the ceramic bowl.

Lindquist went on to say the tool the plumber was using actually got stuck in the iguana, so it did not survive the incident.

As for how the iguana got there to begin with, the Lindquists said it’s likely it entered through the roof, and then couldn’t find its way out.