Living in Florida, and for some many businesses, a working air system and/or refrigeration systems is critical for personal comfort and corporate survival. Think of the ramifications if the air conditioning system of a hospital did not work correctly, or if a large storage cooler for a meat processing plant failed. Controlling the interior environment is paramount to a successful business. Generally speaking this control is left to a Mechanical Contractor who is in charge of heating and cooling systems, refrigeration and the corresponding piping associated with those systems. Chapter 489, Florida Statutes and 61G4-12 through 23, Florida Administrative Code sets forth the requirements for a Mechanical Contractor applicant to achieve initial licensure. In Florida, the individual is given the construction license rather than a corporation. Therefore, the individual’s own experience and qualifications will determine if the license is granted or denied. This blog post will discuss the requirements for initial license of any individual who wants to become a certified mechanical contractor in Florida.
Mechanical Contractor Examination
Applicants for certified (state wide) licenses must complete the Florida contractors’ examination in the corresponding category of the license they seek. Chapter 61G4-16, Florida Administrative Code, contains the provisions adopted by the Construction Industry Licensing Board (“CILB”) regarding examination contents, security protocols, and procedures for requesting special accommodations for disabilities. State certification examinations are available for Division I and Division II Contractors.
Division I contractor examinations are made up of three parts:
- contract administration;
- project administration;
- business and finance.
Division II contractor examinations consist of two parts:
- trade knowledge;
- business and finance.
For more information regarding the administration and scheduling of examinations:
- you may contact the Department’s Bureau of Education and Testing at (850) 921-8215;
- or visit the Department continuing education and testing website at http://www.myfloridalicense.com/DBPR/examination-information/construction-examinations/#1508178731062-162fea5f-d475
An individual who wants to become a certified mechanical contractor may enter into a contract for and perform any mechanical related construction activity in Florida. As such, the applicant must demonstrate that he/she has the requisite ability, knowledge, skill and experience in the following areas:
- Installation and repair of systems in excess of 25 tons of cooling
- Installation and repair of systems in excess of 500,000 BTU heating capacity
- Air conditioning, heating and refrigeration equipment
- Sheet metal ductwork
- Boilers and pressure vessel systems
- Condensate piping; gas, air, vacuum oxygen and chemical line piping
- Piping for lift stations
- Installation and piping for gasoline tanks; and
- Direct digital control wiring
Working as a Mechanical Engineer will not count toward the experience required for initial licensure. Applicants must demonstrate actual hands on experience in most of the categories above and should understand that the granting of the license will allow them to perform any mechanical contracting in the state. A mechanical engineer supervising a subcontractor does not qualify as proper experience. The applicant must be directly employed as a W-2 employee of a licensed mechanical contractor. Notably, any doubts about an applicant’s education and/or experience will require an appearance before the CILB Application Review Committee for an evidentiary hearing on the application. Applicants have three basic options to qualify for licensure:
Experience/Education Option #1:
Applicant has received a four-year college bachelor’s degree in engineering, architecture, or building construction. Also, they have one year of construction experience in the category of licensure they are seeking.
Experience/Education Option #2:
Applicant has four years of active experience as a worker in the trade or as a foreman in charge of a group usually responsible to a superintendent. However, at least one year of the four years required experience must have been as a foreman.
Experience/Education Option #3:
Applicant has a combination education and experience. All junior college or community college-level courses will be considered accredited college-level courses. Consequently, this works as a sort of sliding scale where the more education the applicant possesses, the less experience they require.
Financial Responsibility and Stability
All applicants for initial licensure to become a certified mechanical must meet the financial responsibility requirements in Rule 61G4-15.006, F.A.C. Specifically, the applicant must provide the Department with a consumer credit report that does not disclose any unpaid liens or judgments. Additionally, credit reports are required on all businesses which the applicant intends to qualify.
The consumer credit report for each applicant must provide a FICO credit score. An applicant may be denied for lack of financial stability if his or her credit score is below 660. However, applicants may furnish a licensing bond in lieu of the required credit score:
- in the amount of $20,000.00 (Division I Contractors);
- or $10,000.00 (Division II Contractors).
Also, applicants may reduce the required amount of the bond if they take a Board approved 14 hour financial responsibility course. For more information on the financial responsibility and stability requirements and 14 hour course, you may visit http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/pro/cilb/financial.html.
Good Moral Character/Criminal Background
Pursuant to Section 489.111(3)(a), Florida Statutes, each applicant for licensure to become a certified mechanical contractor in Florida must establish that they are of good moral character. Therefore, if the CILB denies an applicant for lack of good moral character, it must furnish a statement containing the Board’s findings. Additionally, the CILB must provide a complete record of the evidence on which the denial was based. Also, it must provide a notice of the applicant’s rehearing and appellate rights. Lastly, all applicants must submit fingerprints for the purposes of completing a criminal background check.
Criminal history reports are provided through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in coordination with the Federal Bureau of Investigations. They are good for a period of six (6) months from date of issuance.
Applicants must furnish an affidavit attesting that he or she has obtained the following insurance coverage:
- workers’ compensation insurance;
- public liability insurance;
- and property damage insurance.
You can find the required affidavit in the Department’s approved application packages. License holders must maintain current property damage, liability insurance and workers compensation at all times their license is in an active status as required by rule 61G4-15.003, F.A.C.
Are You Ready To Become A Certified Mechanical Contractor in Florida?
To conclude, it’s important to clearly understand the requirements necessary to achieve initial construction licensure. Undoubtedly, preparing ahead of time will only help in the process. And with proper guidance, your hard work will result in the granting of a state of Florida certified construction license.