Saturday, August 8, 2009

Job Security - First Hired, Last Fired

For obvious reasons companies that do fire sprinkler installations are probably the most regulated company in construction.

Many states require a NICET certified Level III or IV technician be employed full time in order to obtain or maintain a license.

Some examples.

South Carolina for example.

2. All qualifiers must be certified NICET Level III or above. After you have obtained the NICET Level III or above, submit your completed application, Doc#145 for license to the S.C. Contractors’ Licensing Board and include all of the following:

  • Fee
  • Certificate of Liability Insurance*
  • Verification of NICET Level III or above**

*The name on the certificate of liability insurance must read the same as the licensee and have the same address. The insurers affording coverage must be licensed to write insurance policies in South Carolina. The S.C. Contractors' Licensing Board must be listed as the certificate holder.

Doc# 145 states:
The two-year license fee for each business entity seeking licensure is $200. Each fire sprinkler contractor main office or branch office must be separately licensed and have a primary qualifying party assigned exclusively to that location. The name of the branch office must be the same name that appears on the license of the main office. The license fee for each branch office is $100.The fee for the main office and branch office includes one primary qualifying party. The fee for each additional qualifying party is $50.00. A qualifying party is an individual that has met the requirements established by the board to qualify the licensee to engage in business. A licensee may have an unlimited number of qualifying parties with one employee listed as the primary qualifying party. The applicant must submit a current certificate from the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) with this application indicating that the proposed qualifying parties(s) have passed the NICET Level III or IV Fire Sprinkler Technician Written Competency Examination. All qualifying parties must keep their NICET certification current for license renewal.
Then, if a qualifying party (must be NICET III or IV) leaves employment the the following rule applies:

If the primary qualifying party leaves employment the licensee, the licensee and the qualifying party must notify the department within fifteen days of the primary qualifying party's termination of employment. If the department is not notified within fifteen days, the department shall immediately cancel the license. If the licensee properly notifies the department within the prescribed time frame, the license remains in good standing for six months from the date of the departure of the primary qualifying party. If a primary qualifying party is not replaced within the six-month period, the department shall immediately cancel the license.
To make sure there is a qualifying party (a NICET III or IV certificate holder) both the company and the employee must sign notarized documentation stating the certificate holder is a full time employee at a given location. If a NICET holder leaves employment the company has six months to replace them or the license to do business is revoked.

In some states it gets even more stringent.

Tennessee is another example.


(4) "Fire protection sprinkler system contractor" means a person who contracts, offers to contract, or represents that such person is able to contract with a general contractor, subcontractor, or the general public for the undertaking of the sale, installation or service of a fire protection sprinkler system or any part thereof, or who actually installs or services a fire protection sprinkler system, provided that an owner of real property on which a fire protection sprinkler system is located, or a full-time employee of the owner of real property on which a fire protection sprinkler system is located, may perform simple maintenance of the fire protection sprinkler system, such as replacing a sprinkler head;
(7) "Responsible managing employee" means an individual who is, or is designated to be, in active and responsible charge of the work of a fire protection sprinkler system contractor; and

Prohibited activities.
62-32-104. Prohibited activities.
No person shall:
(1) Act as a fire protection sprinkler system contractor without a valid certificate of registration issued by the department; provided, that a partnership or joint venture may act as a fire protection sprinkler system contractor without a certificate of registration if and only if each partner or joint venturer is duly registered;
(2) Act as a fire protection sprinkler system contractor under a certificate of registration without having on staff a responsible managing employee who holds a valid license issued by the division. A person holding a valid certificate of registration may continue work in progress for ninety (90) days after the death or disassociation of its licensed responsible managing employee, or for such longer period as may be approved, pursuant to rules adopted hereunder;
(3) Act as a responsible managing employee for a fire protection sprinkler system contractor without a valid license issued by the department; or
(4) Sell, install or service a fire protection sprinkler system in violation of this chapter or the rules adopted hereunder.

Application for license as responsible managing employee.
62-32-106. Application for license as responsible managing employee.
(a) An application for a license as a responsible managing employee shall be submitted on a form prescribed by the department and shall be accompanied by a nonrefundable application fee in an amount not to exceed twenty-five dollars ($25.00).
(b) One (1) of the following documents must accompany the application to evidence technical qualifications for a license:
(1) Proof of registration in Tennessee as a professional engineer or architect; or
(2) A copy of NICET notification letter regarding the applicant's successful completion of the examination requirements for certification at "Level III" for fire protection automatic sprinkler systems layout.
In Tennessee a company has only 90 days to replace a "responsible managing employee" but, unlike some states, Tennessee does allow registered architects and professional engineers to act as a "responsible managing employee".

States I personally know about that have similar licensing laws, that require NICET III or IV be designated "responsible managing employees" include Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas, Nebraska, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

It's the first hired, last fired regulation for NICET certificate holders.

In addition to the states mentioned there are many others and a full breakdown of each is provided at the Interactive Map at


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