Alicia Air's Permit InformationWhat a permit does for you?
Many think of Permit fees as "another tax". However, you are being provided a valuable service to protect yourself and your investment.When a Permit is being processed, the City confirms existence of:
- Current state contractor's license
- City business license
- Liability insurance
- Workman's compensation insurance
If you are adding a new component such as air conditioning, the building official will review requirements specific to your installation and provide an approved plan and/or guidelines that meet current code requirements.
After the permit is issued and work performed, a trained official will visit the site and inspect the work. He will be checking all aspects of the installation, checking for safety and code compliance. If a discrepancy is noted, the contractor is required to correct and have the work re-inspected.What could happen if a permit is not pulled?
- If a field inspector drives by a project in the works he is allowed to stop and check for proper documentation. If the job is not permitted, the job will be shut down until a permit can be obtained. By state law, they can, at their discretion, "double fee" the permit. In other words, the $200 permit now costs $400.
- The work being conducted could be subpar and not to code. You could be left with a surprise when you sell your house - spending money to correct the installation already paid for - since the contractor is no longer around or won't return your phone calls.
- A workman injured on your property could place a claim on your homeowners insurance if not properly covered by workman's compensation.
- Insurance companies could refuse coverage if a fire or damage was caused by unpermitted work.
For more information on permits visit the Contractors State License Board website. Click here to see more information.
Indoor Comfort News published the following information:
CSLB Announces Stings and Large Fines for Jobs Without Permits at IHACI's 30th Annual Trade Show
At the Institute of Heating and Air Conditioning Industries, Inc.'s (IHACI) 30th Annual HVAC/R/SM Product & Equipment Trade Show, November 18, the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) released its 2010 enforcement and permit requirements for the first time anywhere. CSLB said it would set up sting operations, targeting contractors not in permit compliance, and increase fines against those not pulling permits.
"At its quarterly meeting on June 11, 2009, CSLB board members voted unanimously to put a high priority on enforcing building permit requirements," David Fogt, enforcement chief, CSLB, told the packed seminar.
He went on to say that building permits are necessary to ensure that construction is performed according to state and local code and safety standards. When work requiring a permit is done without one, a local building department has the ability to issue a "Stop Work" notice and assess fines against the property owner.
"Permit violations are not only a health and safety issue for the property owner, but can also become a financial liability should someone be injured, or if the un-permitted work is not disclosed during sale or transfer of the property," he added.
Permit complaints may be filed by consumers, contractors or building department staff. Business and Professions (B&P) Code Section 7090, mandates CSLB to discipline contractors that violate permit requirements. Further, B&P Code Section 7110 specifically provides CSLB jurisdiction in regards to building laws.
Violators may be held responsible for any fine issued to the property owner by the building department, in addition to being subject to civil penalties up to $5,000 and/or suspension or revocation of their license. "The contractor's complaint history and seriousness of the violation are factors considered when determining the appropriate level of discipline to impose," Fogt noted.
Tom Garcia of the California Building Officials (CALBO) said that the CSLB has partnered with CALBO to effectively work with local building departments to help identify suspected offenders and perform proactive investigations of violations. In addition, CSLB has begun more stringent enforcement of permit requirements when performing regular investigation of consumer complaints. In January 2010, CSLB's Enforcement Division will begin targeting suspected offenders for sting operations.
CSLB will continue to educate consumers and contractors during the mediation phase of the more than 20,000 complaints received each year and during community outreach events. "By stringently enforcing permit requirements, CSLB is complying with its mandate of public protection while, at the same time, preserving the integrity of the construction industry in California," Fogt concluded.
Lyman Lockwood, president of George Haney & Son and president of the IHACI board of directors, noted that energy standards for residential and commercial buildings have changed the way C-20 contractors do business. The coming new Title 24 standards, which go into effect on Jan. 1, 2010, will further change the landscape of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) industries.
Bob Wiseman, president of Canoga Park Heating and Air Conditioning and past-president of IHACI, discussed the desire for a "level playing field" where contractors can compete fairly. He noted that about a third of jobs were permitted prior to the passage of the first California energy standards in 1978. "It became more difficult and expensive after that for contractors to follow the letter of the law," he said. Today, the best estimates put compliance in the eight percent to 10 percent range. It's likely far worse.
Wiseman expressed his support for serial-number tracking of equipment sold at the distribution level as the best way to up compliance. "It's not part of new enforcement and permit regulations," he said. "It's something that will take time and may be revisited."
While the new standards are more detailed, complex and difficult to comply with, Wiseman said there is good news. Through IHACI's work with CSLB and CALBO, a dialogue has started between contractors and the officials that police their industry.
IHACI is also developing training in conjunction with CALBO. "Our goal is to have contractors and building officials in the same room, training on the same material, so that everybody is together as to what is expected," said Wiseman. This training will focus on the new 2008 energy codes.
Tav Commins of the California Energy Commission (CEC), spoke of changes in the new Title 24 standards. The new Title 24 compliance forms were debuted and distributed to seminar attendees. Commins said questions about the standards could be addressed by calling the Energy Hotline at (800) 772-3300.
A big change for HVAC change-outs is there is no longer an alternative to duct testing. The new energy standards will be printed in the Jan. issue of Indoor Comfort News.
Protect yourself - Protect your investment.
Always request a permit.
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