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CSLB Reminds Licensees to Comply with New 2011 Laws

Several New Laws, Regulations Effective January 1, 2011

SACRAMENTO - Several new state laws and regulations passed in 2010 to help improve or standardize professional codes that affect California contractors become effective on January 1, 2011. The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) operates under the state Business and Professions Code, yet several other codes affect the way contractors conduct their livelihood. The laws affect "A" General Engineering, "B" General Building and "C" Specialty contractors differently so awareness of the changes is important to keep your business in compliance.

Here are some key laws you’ll want to be aware of:

Stop Work Orders – Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Senate Bill 1254 (Leno) established that CSLB can issue an immediate "stop work" order to any contractor who does not have a current and valid Certificate of Workers’ Compensation Insurance or Certification of Self-Insurance, or a statement on file with CSLB certifying that he or she has no employees and is not required to obtain or maintain workers’ compensation insurance coverage. The order is effective immediately when it is served.

Failure of any employer, officer, or any person having direction, management, or control of any place of employment or of employees to observe a stop order issued and served upon him or her is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding 60 days or by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or both. An employer who is subject to this section may protest the stop order by making and filing with the CSLB Registrar a written request for a hearing within 20 days after service of the stop order.
(See Business and Professions Code §7127.)

Mechanic’s Liens – Mandatory Proof of Service Affidavit

Assembly Bill 457 (Monning) ensures that any property owner will be notified if a mechanic’s lien is placed on their property. Contractors, subcontractors or materials suppliers who are not paid for their work on a home improvement project are entitled to file a mechanic’s lien with the county Recorder’s Office on the property to force payment. The new law ensures that consumers will be notified of a pending lien. If the property owner is not notified, the lien becomes unenforceable.
(See amended Civil Code §3084 and 3146.)

Mandatory Residential Fire Sprinklers

Beginning January 1, 2011, an automatic fire sprinkler system will be mandatory in all new one and two-family dwellings throughout the state. In line with the 2009 International Building, Fire and Residential Code, this change comes from modifications to the California Building Code through the State Building Standards Commission. "A" General Engineering, "B" General Building, C-36 Plumbing contractors need to be aware that only the C-16 Fire Protection classification is legally permitted to lay out, fabricate or install fire protection systems. Other trades can provide work up to the fire protection system only, regardless of whether the fire protection system is combined or stand-alone.

The new residential code does not affect home remodel, only new construction; however, there are currently about 100 local ordinances related to residential fire sprinklers and it would be a good idea to check with your local jurisdiction before beginning any projects.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal’s website has detailed information on the new code, including training classes being offered.
(See the 2010 California Residential Code for more on the new construction residential fire sprinkler requirement.)

Cooling Systems – Commercial Refrigerant

"A" General Engineering, "B" General Building, C-20 HVAC, C-36 Plumbing, and C-38 Refrigeration contractors’ projects may be affected by a new Air Resources Board (ARB) regulation to minimize leaks of environmentally harmful refrigerants that takes effect on January 1, 2011. The regulation, known as the Refrigerant Management Program, applies to the larger industrial and commercial systems that use high global warming potential refrigerants – those typically used in supermarkets, cold storage warehouses, food processing plants and process cooling operations. The program builds on long established federal rules on refrigeration systems.

ARB adopted the regulation in December 2009 under California's Global Warming Solutions Act. Leaking refrigeration systems are California’s single largest source of high-Global Warming Potential gases – compounds such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that are hundreds to thousands of times more efficient at trapping the Earth’s heat than carbon dioxide. Fixing refrigerant leaks is one of the most cost-effective ways to clean California’s air while saving businesses money in costly refrigerants.

Beginning in 2011, businesses running systems with a refrigerant capacity of more than 50 pounds must fix leaks within 14 days of detection. These businesses must also keep on-site records of all leak repair work and other refrigeration system servicing, including receipts of refrigerant purchases. The regulation also affects any person who installs, services, or disposes any appliance using a high-GWP refrigerant or sells, distributes and/or reclaims high-GWP refrigerants. Businesses whose systems use only ammonia or carbon dioxide as refrigerants are not subject to the rule. The Refrigerant Management Program also affects wholesalers, distributors and reclaimers of refrigerants. There will be a gradual phase-in of facility registration, annual reporting, and fees that are scheduled to take place from 2012 to 2016. (See Health and Safety Code §38500 related to the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.)

More Information

For more information on other new laws and regulations, visit the CSLB online media room:


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