I want to first thank everyone for taking the time to get the word out, I did get feed back from some Senators that they got contacted regarding the amendment. Unfortunately the deck was stacked against us, Citizens Insurance, and some of the private insurance companies argued and persuaded Sen. Bennett to withdraw the amendment on the Floor. He understood the predicament and possible monopoly that the current law has created, however the opponents defended the current law and expressed concerns that so many more individuals that might not have appropriate training or education could be conducting wind mitigation inspections.
Urgent action 2-29-2012
I need you all to ask your members to send an email tonight/tomorrow morning asking their Senators to support the "Home Inspectors" amendment to SB 704.
The amendment provides for licensed home inspectors to send qualified employees to conduct wind mitigation OIR 1802 inspections. ***Please support Sen. Mike Bennett's amendment to SB 704 allowing qualified employees of licensed home inspectors, architects and building officials to perform wind mitigation inspections.***
The amendment is sponsored by Senator Mike Bennett to his own bill SB 704 related to Building Construction and Inspections. The amendment is being opposed by the insurance companies, OIR and wind certification entities.
At yesterdays (1-11-12) House Business & Consumer Affairs Subcommittee meeting, the staff presented on the issue of deregulation and streamlining of professions at the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Following the presentation, Chairman Doug Holder indicated to the subcommittee that they will propose legislation which will be identical to what passed the Conference Committee (HB 5005 and HB 5007) last Session but failed to pass the Senate. Licensed Home Inspectors were not impacted by the conference committee bills, however HB 5007 impact Mold Assessors by significantly reducing the education requirements to only needing a high school diploma to sit for and passes an examination offered by a nationally recognized or state recognized organization that certifies persons in the specialty of mold assessment or mold remediation that has been approved by the department. Last Session we took the position and organized the opposition (along with 2 or 3 mold associations) and defeated HB 5007. This was show unity with the fellow licensees and also because of the overlap of licensure among home inspectors and mold assessor.
Wind Mitigation and other related legislation. There has been for sometime discussion among the associations about the items related to the OIR 1802 Form. One has been related to the provision allowing General Contractors and Engineers to use an employee to conduct inspections, creating an unfair trade practice. The options would be 1) amend FS 627.711 to remove the language or 2) file suit against the Financial Services Commission and OIR. As I have discussed, this will be a lift based on the fact that the legislator who amend the statute to include that provision is the House Rules Chairman, Gary Aubuchon. The second issue is related to the education requirement and thought being that in addition to home inspectors, the other licensees be required as well as the insurance underwriters.
One other note of interest, Senator Alan Hays has filed two bills to bring the My Safe Florida Home program back. The bills do not have House companions, I have not spoken to him yet about the issue, but I do know that one of the WCE?s is NOT involved only because when I brought up the fact of the bill the lobbyist had no clue of what I was talking about.
Last part of the conversation is my ever mentioning of funding, I still need to have my 2011 contract fulfilled of the remaining balance of $6,000. Then we need to renew my agreement for 2012 for $25,000 (same amount as 2011) and I would like to ask that half of that try to be paid by the first week of February. As you all realize, it is very difficult to operate when the cash flow is low. ASHI is contributing $5,000 for 2011 and will be contributing $5,000 for 2012.
Thank you in advance for your time and favorable consideration,
Gov. Rick Scott approved HB 849 this afternoon, the following provisions are effective on July 1, 2012, related to the home inspector licensing statute:
Division 1 Contractor, Building Officials certified by International Code Council, Southern Building Code Congress International or Florida Building Code Administrators and Inspectors Board may qualify for licensure as a home inspector if an application is submitted by July 1, 2012.
A licensed home inspector does not have to comply with the provisions of a mold license if they are performing within the scope of their license. (See mold note below)
Strikes the provision in statute that allowed a dual licensed General Contractor/Home Inspector to perform an inspection and then do the repair work.
Lastly, specifies that the course required of Home Inspectors to sign the OIR 1802 Wind Mitigation will be approved by the Construction Industry Licensing Board.
The Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board approved InterNACHI's free, online Wind Mitigation Inspection course.
It appears that under HB 489 Florida licensed home inspectors will be able to in the course of their home inspection perform the following:
(4)“Mold assessor” means any person who performs or directly supervises a mold assessment.
“Mold assessment” means a process performed by a mold assessor that includes the physical sampling and detailed evaluation of data obtained from a building history and inspection to formulate an initial hypothesis about the origin, identity, location, and extent of amplification of mold growth of greater than 10 square feet.
Home inspectors will not be able to present themselves or advertise any form of mold assessor without a mold assessor's license.
What this really does is allow the Home Inspector to say the word Mold(without having a Mold assessor's license) and evaluate the source/s of the mold.
REGULATION OF PROFESSIONS AND OCCUPATIONS
MISCELLANEOUS PROFESSIONS AND OCCUPATIONS
Chapter PART XVI
(1)The following persons are not required to comply with any provisions of this part relating to mold assessment:
(Modified for clarity)
(d)Persons acting within the scope of the respective licenses required under part XV (Home Inspectors) of this chapter, except when anysuch persons hold themselves out for hire to the public as a "certified mold assessor," "registered mold assessor," "licensed mold assessor," "mold assessor," "professional mold assessor," or any combinationthereof stating or implying licensure under this part.
The bill requires at least 2 hours of hurricane mitigation training to be included as part of a Home Inspector's required 14 hours of continuing education. The hurricane mitigation training must be approved by the Construction Industry Licensing Board.
The bill specifies that if a problem is observed but it is "not" self evident, the home inspector shall report a reason why the system or component is deficient or near the end of its' service life.
The bill, in ch. 468.8319, F.S., removes provisions that allowed for a Division 1 contractor who performed an inspection to offer to perform repairs.
The bill provides that home inspectors licensed under part XV of ch. 468, F.S., are not required to comply with the license requirements for mold assessment.
The bill allows individuals with the following credentials to be licensed as a home inspector under Grandfathering, if the individual submits an application to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation postmarked on or before July 1, 2012 and:
Possesses a one and two family dwelling inspector certification issued by the International Code Council or the Southern Building Code Congress International,
Has been certified as a one and two family dwelling inspector by the Florida Building Code Administrators and Inspectors Board under part XII, of ch. 468, F.S., or
Possesses a Division I contractor license under part I, of ch. 489, F.S.
The bill deletes the current qualifications for Grandfarthering licensure as a Home Inspector to be submitted before March 1, 2011. Requirements that are deleted include:
A state or national certification with a proctored examination on home inspections, completion of at least 14 hours of verifiable education on home inspections, or
At least three years of experience verified through home inspection reports submitted by the applicant and completion of at least 14 hours of verifiable education on home inspections.
Traditionally, bills are presented to the Governor beginning the week after Session ends and as late as through the end of June. The groups that had additional provisions in HB 849 will coordinate and work together to ensure that the Governors' Office is educated on the changes contained in the legislation.
Lobbyist FL InterNACHI
The professional Home Inspector is under attack from all sides. Licensing which are both a curse and a blessing is leading us into a battle for our very survival. There is a movement brought on by budget cuts to remove Home Inspectors from being licensed. Another movement that wants to license as Home Inspectors unqualified professions/trades without any required training and exam. This movement is made up of three groups Contractors, Code Officials, and an ICC certificate holder who in their own minds believe they are more qualified to inspect homes for real estate transactions than trained and tested Home Inspectors.
This past week in the Legislature related to the issues concerning home inspection licensing has been quiet because this week and next week the two houses will be focused on completing their budget proposals which will come up for floor votes next week and putting them in the position to begin the Budget Conference process.
HB 5007, which is the House’s Regulation Streamlining of Professions, was passed unanimously by the House Appropriations Committee, it contains the provision that allows for building officials, ICC certificate holds and division 1 contractors to qualify for a Home Inspector license by July 1, 2012.
In the coming week, HB 849 should to be heard in its next committee of reference, House Rulemaking & Regulation Subcommittee. At this moment I do not expect any issues related to Home Inspectors to appear in the bill. Early in the process there was push back on all the Home Inspector provisions in HB 849 because the Business & Consumer Affairs Subcommittee had earlier taken a position to eliminate licensing in its own proposal HB 5005, but is no longer a threat.
The issue related to removing the repair clause is not getting positive review from House policy staff. The language striking that clause remains SB 396 and the Sponsor of the House bill supports our position, but the influence of staff remains a sticking point. I continue to meet with legislators to explain our concerns and objections to the existing statute, which allows for duly licensed professionals to inspect and then perform the repairs. The Realtors Association supports our position and they have been expressing support to remove the language from Florida Statute. I do not expect this issue to come to a head for another 2 weeks at best and will alert group when it is appropriate to take action.
House of Represents Business Deregulation HBs 5005 & 5007
Home Inspection and Mold Inspections are not on licensing repeal list.
The House Economic Affairs Committee took up and passed the Proposed Committee Substitute for HB 5005 which repeals several professions regulated by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Home Inspectors and Mold Related Services were removed from the bill, therefore the threat of repeal has been relieved at this junction.
In HB 5007,Committee Substitute 1 the DeReg Streamline bill included revised grandfathering language that has been traveling in SB 396 minus the requirement that a Division 1 Contractor also needing an Electrical Contractor and a HVAC license.
What was NOT included in HB 5007 was the language striking the repair clause. The bill sponsor of HB 5007 and staff did not feel it was appropriate to include the language, however we will be sticking to the plan to have it included in HB 849 and remain in SB 396.
Update3-22-11 8 pm
I wanted to share with you that I have reviewed the Proposed Committee Substitutes for both HB 5005 which repealed numerous professions in DBPR and another package, HB 5007, that streamlines licensing and other regulations related to professions in DBPR.
Home Inspectors and Mold Related Services are no longer in the Proposed Committee Substitute to HB 5005 which will be voted on in the House Economic Affairs Committee on Thursday 24th morning. This means the threat repeal has been removed from legislation traveling in the House.
Regarding HB 5007, the Proposed Committee Substitute adds the language to the Home Inspector grandfather clause that has been traveling in SB 396:
1. One- and two-family dwelling inspector issued by the International Code Council or the Southern Building Code Congress International;
2. One- and two-family dwelling inspector by the Florida Building Code Administrators and Inspectors Board under part XII of this chapter; or
3. A Division I contractor license under part I of chapter 489, a Division II certified air- conditioning contractor license under part I of chapter 489, and an electrical contractor license under part II of chapter 489
Related to Mold Related Services, it:
Removes the 2-year associate of arts degree that existed in the statute.
With the repeal licensing out of the way for now, we will now focus back to removing the repair clause that exists in FS 468.8319, it is being striked from statute in SB 396 and I will now have it added back into the companion bill HB 849.
Thank you to all that took action last week. We are only in Week 3 of the Session, so lots can still happen, but the train seems to be back on the track.
Lobbyist Florida InterNACHI
*Highlighted text are links
SB 396 by Senator Bennett was amended and unanimously passed the Senate Regulated Industries Committee. Provisions specific to Home Inspector licensing include:Repeals the exemption that permits Division I contractors to perform both the inspection and repairs on a home. An amendment by Sen. Wise was adopted to that clarified (*see 3) the categories of persons who may be certified as qualified for licensure by endorsement as a home inspector to include: 1. One- and two-family dwelling inspector issued by the International Code Council or the Southern Building Code Congress International; 2. One- and two-family dwelling inspector by the Florida Building Code Administrators and Inspectors Board under part XII of this chapter; or 3.A Division I contractor license under part I of chapter 489, a Division II certified air-conditioning contractor license under part I of chapter 489, and an electrical contractor license under part II of chapter 489.
An amendment was adopted adding licensed home inspectors to those who are exempt from complying with provisions related to mold assessment when operating under the scope of a home inspector license.Requires at least 2 hours of hurricane mitigation training to be included as part of a home inspector’s continuing education requirements.
Update regarding the action by the House Business & Consumer Affairs Subcommittee, here is some of the highlight:
The sponsor of our amendment (Rep. Jimmy Patronis) to remove the home inspector repeal was called by Leadership and pressured to withdraw, however with the understanding that there will be an opportunity to amend the bill in the next committee.
The bill passed the committee 10-5 (Republicans voting Yes, Democrats voting No) after 2.5 hours of testimony from the numerous professions identified for deregulation.
The Members of the committee, including the members that voted to move bill, commented that they had reservations with deregulating a number of the professions and specifically mentioning home and mold inspectors.
IS THERE A SENATE COMPANION?
No, as of today there is no companion bill in the Senate, and there has been no indication that the Regulated Industries Committee has plans to do such a bill. It becomes difficult for passage of a bill if it does not have a companion bill traveling on the other side, however it only takes a motion to waive the rules to make such a hurdle effective.
A strong majority of Florida Home Inspectors in the different associations is opposed to repeal of the home inspector license. InterNACHI members are 85% oppose to repeal of HI licensing. Repeal for HI licensing has not currently been addressed in any legislation, but it could be an issue in the future. The repeal of mold related license is currently in two Bills for repeal. Inspectors are split nearly 50/50 over this repeal. Many are also split between Assessor or Remediator repeal only. The Mold Repeal bill HB 4171 was voted out of the subcommittee on 3-11-11.
Licensing by the "Grandfather clause" for Code Officials, ICC certificate holders, Division 1 Contractors (general, building, residential)
Urgent - Take Action Today Regarding SB 396:
The two important provisions in SB 396 that need attention from licensed Home Inspectors are: The repair clause in the prohibition section of the licensing statute, as currently written, has two rules. One is for professional Home Inspectors, who abide by long-standing industry standardized ethics that prohibit repairs on homes they inspect; and the otherrule says the Division 1 contractor/inspector can perform repairs on homes they inspect. The Amendment to SB 396 removes that provision for the contractor/inspector and is supported by Home Inspectors.
Another provision of this bill that concerns the Home Inspector, is the provision related to the "Grandfather clause" which omits Home Inspection experience, training, and testing, and will add less qualified inspectors to the numbers. The consumer will not benefit from this provision either. The training and education that a Home Inspector receives is distinct from Division 1 Contractors, Code Officials and ICC certificate holders. Only the Home Inspector receives training on all systems and components that may span 100 years. Home Inspectors inspect homes that range from new construction to structures over 100 years old.
Contractors, code officials, and ICC certificate holder's deal only with the current building code. A contractor's knowledge is often very general and relies heavily on sub-contractor's experience.
Today, under the current statutory scheme there is nothing prohibiting those new classifications from taking the required courses and tests to become Home Inspectors. Additionally, those individuals had eight months to qualify through grandfathering provided in the licensing statute and many have already done so. As you may well remember, Home Inspectors, many of which have been in business for years are required to prove themselves through testing to obtain a license. The proposed language in the amendment will allow them to bypass this requirement and the education involved.
The Grandfather clause, if enacted, will expires July 1, 2012 for these 3 new groups.
Please take a moment today and contact your Senators (if they appear on the list) and ask them to please reconsider the provisions in SB 396 related to grandfathering of home inspectors.
New amendment to SB 396:
An amendment will be offered to the main amendment that will change the grandfathering back to the original March 1, 2011, eliminating the extension that was originally discussed.
The Grandfather clause will remain in SB 396 only for Code Officials, ICC holders, and Division 1 contractors. It is written to expirers July 1, 2012.
Apparently their were to busy or could not meet the requirements the Home Inspectors had to meet that expired March 1,2011.
SB 396 will be on the Agenda for the meeting. It is expect that the late filed amendments, which will keep the current Grandfathering for Home Inspectors only to expire on March 1, 2011 to be rolled into the main amendment. The main amendment also removes the "repair clause" from the current licensing statute for Division 1 contractors.
Code Officials, ICC certificate holder, and Contractors are educated in the current building codes. Their whole focus is building or remodeling to the current building code. At least 95% of the things these trades focus on in their training are no longer visible once the home is completed. Code Officials do not return to verify that the work was completed correctly. Most Division 1 contractors leave it up to the sub-contractor (electricians, plumber, A/C etc) to do their part correctly.
Home Inspectors are educated in past building practices and unsafe issues. They are trained to identify and report a myriad of unsafe issues that no other group has a reason to know about.
There is no comparison. Home Inspectors are uniquely educated. There is no other building trade or group that compares to Home Inspectors in education or practice.