Stan K. Massie
Vice-Chairman: Jerry Blackburn, Tazewell County
REGION I VBCOA
Region I VBCOA met Thursday, December 14, 2006, at 10:00 A.M. at the Swallow Tail Deli in the Falls Plaza in Abingdon.
Attendance: Abingdon Rick Statzer
Chairman Stan Massie called the meeting to order.
Minutes: Mr. Eastwood made a motion to approve the minutes of the August 10, 2006 meeting as distributed. Mr. Blackburn seconded the motion and it passed.
Treasurer: Mr. Rhea reported a balance of $4,236.29. Mr. Owens made a motion to accept the report, Mr. Eastwood seconded, and it passed.
VBCOA: Chairman Massie reported that he, Homer McCoy, and Winfred Collins attended the annual meeting in Staunton. Some items reported include:
Guy Tomberlin was elected President.
Training: Chairman Massie said he was unsuccessful in gaining the approval of DHCD for credit for watching tapes of the Existing Building Code Class. Mr. Owens noted that the closest class to Region I was in Roanoke and some Region I members were denied registration. Mr. Owens made a motion to send another letter to the governor and other officials protesting that classes are not being routinely offered in the Region I area and for not making the classes available through electronic means. Mr. Rhea seconded the motion and it passed.
Code Commentary: A draft copy of the USBC commentary is on the VBCOA.org web site.
Program: Mr. Eric Olsen, Executive Director for the Board of Contractors, gave a program on changes to the contractor and tradesmen licensing and certification regulations. He said that phone calls to the Contractors Board from code officials have increased lately. He also expects some proposed legislation before the General Assembly in 2007 that will affect licensure. He addressed the following matters:
(1) Elevator Regulations: An Elevator Mechanical certification will be required for those who work on moving parts of elevators on March 1. Although the law adopted by the General Assembly became effective on July 1, 2006, the regulations have not yet been put in place. This matter does not include elevator inspector certifications which come under DHCD. He noted that the biggest jump in elevator sales is for new homes.
(2) Water Well Regulations: General Assembly passed a law to require certification (licensure) for trainees, journeymen, and master well drillers. A five-year plan will be used and will require the master certification to drill wells.
(3) Pre-license Education: The General Assembly passed a law requiring a business class as a prerequisite to obtaining a contractors license. The class is offered by all the community colleges, some private companies, and it is on the internet.
(4) Continuing Education for Tradesmen: All journeymen and master card holders will be required to take a code class during their license cycle, beginning with those that expire in 2007. The code class must be approved by the Board for Contractors to be acceptable. Community colleges, one VBCOA region, and some others will offer such a class. Mr. Owens commented that the licensing cycle is every two years while the code-change cycle is usually every three years and that this might cause complications on getting code training. Mr. Olsen said there would be an internet class and that they would offer reasonable accommodations for disabilities.
(5) Tradesmen on the Job: Mr. Olsen said there is no truth to the statement that the law requires a tradesman to be on the job except for water well and elevator mechanical certifications. However, the regulations allow the Board to cite a contractor for failing to provide adequate supervision. Mr. Olsen recommended that tradesmen keep their certifications current because the General Assembly is being pushed to require a master tradesman on the job.
(6) Manufactured homes vs Modular homes: Mr. Olsen said they were getting lots of calls on manufactured homes and modular homes. His staff is attending a class to learn the differences between these two types of homes. The Board may separate the license into two specialties one for manufactured homes and another for modular homes. He added that manufactured home license specialty only covers installing or removing manufactured homes, installing piers, installing the skirt, and doing internal tie-ins. It does not include building the porch, electrical work, basement, or digging a foundation.
(7) Commercial Improvement License: Owners may not be their own contractor to make commercial improvements.
(8) VOWRA: Sewage and disposal contractors in Blacksburg area want to get septic tank people certified. A law may be proposed to the General Assembly.
(9) Owner as Contractor: There is still some problems in the state with owners without licenses building more than one home every two years. Some owners move from county to county building spec homes without licenses.
(10) Owner/Developer: General Assembly passed a law on the definition of owner/developer who has to do two things: have house built by a licensed contractor and in their sales contract they need a clause to allow the buyer to sue the contractor if there are construction problems. Some developers have houses built in their development by contractors who are out of the picture once the house is built and buyers do not know who built their homes and they have no recourse to the developer or the recovery fund if construction problems develop after the purchase.
(11) Home Improvement specialty does not allow a contractor to add to the square footage of the house, other than adding a deck without a roof and an outside building less than 150 square feet. This specialty is for work on the existing structure only.
(12) There is no longer an investigator covering only southwest Virginia. They have about 3 to 4 investigators covering the whole state. They try to resolve problems at DPOR.
(13) DPOR has no authority over unlicensed contractors. Problems with these individuals can be prosecuted by the local commonwealth attorney, if he is willing to do so. However, DPOR will accept complaints on unlicensed contractors for their statistics so they can track statewide activity and use it to help with new legislation.
(14) Board of Contractors is glad to do consumer education for consumer groups on licensing, contracting, and fraud if invited to do so.
(15) A licensed contractor cannot do a job on his own property as an unlicensed owner. For example, a contractor who owns a strip mall can do his own general contracting, but must employ properly licensed or certified people to do the trade work, or buy all the supplies himself and contract labor only.
(16) A contractor may properly obtain a building permit for a project that costs more than the license covers if the owner is buying the supplies and paying the contractor only for his labor in an amount that meets the limits of the license.
(17) Building permit staff can be prosecuted if they knowingly issue a permit with an improperly licensed contractor or if they neglect to check the license.
(18) A tenant can act as his own contractor the same as a property owner.
Election of Officers: Nominating committee chairman Jerry Blackburn said no one was interested in changing the officers, so he nominated the current officers to remain another term: Stan Massie-Chairman, Jerry Blackburn-Vice-Chairman, Bud Owens-Secretary, and Mickey Rhea-Treasurer. No nominations were offered from the floor and Ms. Spencer moved to close nominations. Motion was seconded and passed. The current officers were re-elected.
Presentation: Chairman Massie recognized Shirley Spencer who is retiring this month. Region I presented her with a gift certificate and a plaque engraved with: In appreciation to Shirley G. Spencer for 32 years of service to Region I VBCOA 1974-2006. Ms. Spencer thanked everyone and said she had enjoyed working with them.