Winter 2013      |      Stephen P. Sands, Registrar      |      Edmund G. Brown Jr., Governor


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Message From the Board Chair

photo of Board chair Joan Hancock

'Tis the season to have heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) needs on our minds—especially with California's recent cold snaps. One reason that HVAC is the focus of CSLB review is because the majority of installations are performed without the required permit; an estimated 400,000 units were sold in California in 2012 and only 10 percent of those received building department permits.

As you know, building permits assure that state and local safety and building code standards are met. For HVAC equipment change-outs, permits also are vital to quality and energy efficiency standards through mandated inspections by Home Energy Rating System (HERS) technicians. The California Energy Commission estimates that an HVAC system installed in compliance with Title 24 energy efficiency standards will return more than $6,200 in energy savings over 30 years.

To help the HVAC industry carry out best practices in business and trade standards, including permits, insurance, and energy efficiency standard compliance, CSLB and the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office will conduct a 2014 pilot program to identify HVAC contractors who are out of compliance with permitting and worker' compensation insurance regulations. The California Energy Commission will help by providing CalCERTS inspectors who will report non-compliance issues; CSLB and Santa Clara County, in turn, will hold HVAC contractors accountable for code requirements at their expense.

Identifying these individuals and companies—and making them accountable—is the first step toward bringing permit compliance rates up, assuring energy standards are being met, and that employee insurance is in place.

Another HVAC issue that consumers and industry small business owners have brought to light is the competition from service and repair companies that advertise low prices, but up-sell or make unnecessary repairs and give legitimate licensees a bad name. CSLB will not accept illegal or unethical business practices and neither should you. In recent years, CSLB has convicted numerous unscrupulous operators, including more than a dozen people who engaged in a large-scale HVAC service and repair operation that scammed thousands of people out of millions of dollars in southern California. These criminals were convicted on 71 felony counts, had their assets frozen, were found to have violated dozens of state income tax laws, and now are serving prison sentences and must make restitution to their victims. If you're ever aware of illegal or unethical activity, you can anonymously tell CSLB by submitting a complaint form for work or building permit violations; both are available on our website.

CSLB will continue to team with trade industries to make sure construction businesses are operating fairly and within state contracting laws.

Joan Hancock

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