Questions and Answers
1. Is a license or formalized training required to run gas lines in the state of NJ?
NO - There is currently no formalize training or a special license needed to install gas lines in the State of New Jersey.
2. Why then, did the DCA instruct local municipalities to deny gas line permits to anyone other than a Plumbing or HVACR Contractor?
The HVACR Board ruled that because gas lines are mentioned in their scope of work in the HVACR Licensing Law that they have exclusive rights to the installation of gas lines, along with Licensed Plumbers. The DCA agreed and started to enforce the rule.
3. I recently applied for a permit and the permit was granted. What Happened?
MAHPBA and MAHPBA’s Attorney Steve Corodemus have been working very hard, pushing back on the enforcement of regulations. The Previous Administration held off on signing the regulations into law. The DCA has agreed to hold off on enforcement until the HVACR Law can be sorted out. Note of importance here: We have a new administration and things could change at any time.
4. If formalized training and a licensed are currently not required to install a gas line in the State of NJ, why is MAHPBA looking to get licensed and develop training?
This is a very important question, so a longer answer is needed. MAHPBA has been involved with the HVACR Licensing Law for some time now. What we have learned is that the HVACR Board not only wants the exclusive rights, along with plumbers to install gas lines, they also want exclusive rights, along with plumbers, to install fireplaces and venting. Here is a quote from the HVACR Deputy Attorney General; “Both the Gas Line Installation AND the installation of Space Heaters are SPECIFICALLY CITED under the scope of practice for both the HVAC Contractor and the Plumber. To the extent that it is heating the environment, a fireplace falls within the definition of a Space Heater which is within the jurisdiction of an HVACR Contractor.”
The HVACR Board has also recently ruled that the installation of flue pipe is considered HVACR when the appliance in operation produces products of combustion. N.J.A.C. 13:32A-5.9 declares that "no person, firm, partnership, corporation, or other legal entity shall engage in the business of HVACR contracting or HVACR work unless the person is licensed by the HVACR Board."
If we are to survive as an industry we need to identify who a Hearth Professional is and the type of work they do. This can only be achieved thru Legislation. There is currently no distinction between a Home Improvement Contractor (HIC) and a Hearth Professional. We need to create that distinction and define our scope of work thru licensing.
5. Isn’t there an exemption in the HVACR Law for a Chimney Service Professional or CSP?
CSP is an undefined term with an undefined job description. The term “chimney service professional” implies someone that services chimneys, i.e. sweeping and it appears that is how it is being interpreted by the HVACR board. It does not inherently imply that a CSP is in any way qualified to install, replace or repair chimneys.
6. Who was involved in writing and promoting the MHP Bill?
MAHPBA’s Government Affairs Team, which is made up of NFI Certified Specialists and CSIA Certified Professionals. GA Members have experience in both the Chimney Service Profession and Hearth Product Profession.
7. If I am in the Chimney Service Profession and the MHP Bill gets passed, will I need to become an MHP to install Hearth Products?
Yes, The HVACR Board has already ruled that the installation of fireplaces, inserts, decorative appliances and venting fall under the jurisdiction of the HVACR Contractor. N.J.A.C. 13:32A-5.9 declares that "no person, firm, partnership, corporation, or other legal entity shall engage in the business of HVACR contracting or HVACR work unless the person is licensed by the HVACR Board."
No one likes more Government Regulations, but we need to remember, The HVACR Board is the one that is attempting to hijack your profession, not the MHP Bill. The MHP Bill has been written and is currently being promoted, to save it.
So you will have three choices when the MHP becomes law. Become a licensed Plumber. Become an HVACR Contractor or Become an MHP.
I want to clairify the last sentence above. - The MHP Bill is not the one dictating the three choices listed, it is simply giving the CSP an additional choice in Licensing. It is the HVACR Board that has ruled, that "The installation of Fireplaces and Venting falls under the jurisdiction of an HVACR Contractor or Licensed Plumber". When the MHP Bill becomes law, the CSP or Hearth Professional will now have a third and better choice.
8. If I only install wood burning appliances, why would I be required to become certified in both gas and pellet to get my MHP license?
MAHPBA’s GA team talked about this among themselves as well as with legislators. It is the way of Licensing. Where do you draw the line? You are either a Licensed Professional and an expert in the field of Hearth, or you are not.
Some plumbing companies only work on drain lines, and some only work on heating equipment. Yet there is one license for all people who perform work that falls under the broad category of plumber. The same is true of licensed electricians and licensed HVACR contractors. Expecting unanimous support of anything is unreasonable.
9. How can it be safer to have one member of a company hold a license while an unlimited number of individuals can work under that license? Wouldn’t it be safer to have individual certifications instead of Licensing?
Currently there is no requirement for licensing or certification at all outside of the HIC registration and proper insurance. So, even though certifications are held individually, there is no guarantee that anybody working in the field is certified. Also, to that point, there is no guarantee that a certified person is knowledgeable. Anyone can get certified. Read the book, take the test, pass, your certified. Licensing requires a certain amount of education and time in the trade, to obtain. Losing your license will prevent you from being able to pull permits. Losing your certification comes with no enforceable penalties. No one is checking the work of certified people to ensure they are following a standard.
The notion that licensing will result in an absentee mentality or a lack of individual training within a company is unfounded. There are companies that value training and education, and there are companies that are ok with doing good enough. Certification does not guarantee quality. Licensing also does not guarantee quality, but it can guarantee that enough violations can result in a loss of license and an inability to pull permits.