CHAPTER 296

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 196

AS AMENDED BY

SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 1

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 24 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE BOARD OF PLUMBING EXAMINERS AND BASIC PLUMBING PRINCIPLES.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE (Three-fifths of all members elected to each house thereof concurring therein):

Section 1. Amend Chapter 18, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by striking Chapter 18 in its entirety and by substituting the following in lieu thereof:

“CHAPTER 18. BOARD OF PLUMBING, HEATING, VENTILATION, AIR CONDITIONING, AND REFRIGERATION EXAMINERS.

Subchapter I. Board of Plumbing, Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Examiners.

§1801. Objectives.

The primary objective of the Board of Plumbing, Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Examiners, to which all other objectives are secondary, is to protect the general public, specifically those persons who are direct recipients of services regulated by this chapter, from unsafe practices and from occupational practices which tend to reduce competition or fix the price of services rendered. The secondary objectives of the Board are to maintain minimum standards of practitioner competency and to maintain certain standards in the delivery of services to the public. In meeting its objectives, the Board shall develop standards assuring professional competence; shall monitor complaints brought against practitioners regulated by the Board; shall adjudicate at formal complaint hearings; shall promulgate rules and regulations; and shall impose sanctions, where necessary, against licensees.

§1802. Definitions.

The following words, terms, and phrases, when used in this chapter, have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

(1) 'Board' means the State Board of Plumbing, Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Examiners.

(2) ‘Commercial Hood System’ means a system or ventilation for an exhaust in commercial establishments.

(3) ‘Cooling System’ means a system in which heat is removed from air, surrounding surfaces, or both. A cooling system includes an air-conditioning system.

(4) 'Division' means the Division of Professional Regulation.

(5) ‘Supervision' means control and oversight by a master licensee who is an owner or full-time employee of the entity providing services. A supervising master licensee is responsible and accountable for the work performed under his or her license.

(6) ‘HVACR’ means heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration.

(7) ‘Gas piping’ means any arrangement of piping used to convey fuel gas, supplied by one meter, and each arrangement of gas piping serving a building, structure, or premises, whether individually metered or not. “Gas piping” does not include the installation of gas appliances where existing service connections are already installed, nor does the term include the installations, alterations, or maintenance of gas utilities owned by a pubic utility.

(8) ‘HVACR services’ means the design, installation, construction, maintenance, service, repair, alteration, or modification of a product or of equipment including gas piping in heating and air conditioning, refrigeration, ventilation, or process cooling or heating systems.

(9) ‘HVACR restricted services’ means HVACR services that are limited to one of the following specialties:

(a) heating – forced air systems; ventilation, air-conditioning; and gas piping; or

(b) heating – hydronic systems and gas piping; or

(c) commercial hood systems; or

(d) refrigeration.

(10) ‘Hydronic system’ means a heating and cooling system using liquids or steam to transmit or remove heat.

(11) 'License' means a document issued by the Board of Plumbing, Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Examiners certifying that the holder has met the requirements of this chapter and is a master plumber, master HVACR licensee, or master HVACR restricted licensee.

(12) ‘Master HVACR licensee’ means an individual holding a current license pursuant to this chapter to provide heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, commercial hood systems, hydronic systems, refrigeration, and gas piping services pursuant to this chapter.

(13) ‘Master HVACR licensee restricted’ means an individual holding a current license pursuant to this chapter to provide services pursuant to this chapter in one of the following areas:

(a) heating – forced air systems; ventilation, air-conditioning; and gas piping; or

(b) heating – hydronic systems and gas piping; or

(c) commercial hood systems; or

(d) refrigeration.

(14) 'Master plumber', 'licensed plumber', or 'licensed master plumber' means an individual holding a current license to provide plumbing services issued pursuant to this chapter.

(15) ‘Plumber’ is an individual who provides plumbing services.

(16) 'Plumbing services' means the design, installation, construction, replacement, service, repair, alteration, or modification of the pipes, fixtures, and other apparatus used for bringing the water supply into a building and removing liquid and water-carried wastes from a building. Plumbing services also includes the installation and connection of gas piping.

(17) ‘Refrigeration system’ means a system used to cool a surface or area below 55 degrees Fahrenheit or 12.9 degrees Celsius.

(18 ‘Substantially related’ means the nature of the criminal conduct, for which the person was convicted, has a direct bearing on the fitness or ability to perform one or more of the duties or responsibilities necessarily related to the work of a master plumber, master HVACR licensee, or master HVACR licensee restricted.

(19) ‘Ventilation system’ means the natural or mechanical process of supplying air to, or removing air from, any space, whether the air is conditioned or not conditioned and at a rate of airflow of more than 250 cubic feet per minute.

§1803. Board of Board of Plumbing, Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Examiners; appointment; composition; qualification; term; vacancies; suspension or removal; unexcused absences; compensation.

(a) The State Board of Plumbing, Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Examiners shall administer and enforce this chapter.

(b) The Board shall consist of 9 members who are appointed by the Governor and who are residents of this State. Three members, one from each county, are master plumbers who have been engaged in the plumbing services for at least 5 years. Three members, one from each county, are master HVACR licensees or master HVACR restricted licensees who have been engaged in HVACR or HVACR restricted services for at least 5 years. Three members, one from each county, are public members. A public member may not be nor ever have been a master plumber, master HVACR licensee, or master HVACR restricted licensee; may not be a member of the immediate family of a master plumber, master HVACR licensee, or master HVACR restricted licensee; may not be nor ever have been employed by a master plumber, master HVACR licensee, master HVACR restricted licensee, plumbing contractor, HVACR contractor, or HVACR restricted contractor; may not have a material interest in the providing of goods or services to master plumbers, master HVACR licensees, master HVACR restricted licensees, plumbing contractors, HVACR contractors, or HVACR restricted contractors; and may not be nor ever have been engaged in an activity directly related to providing plumbing , HVACR, or HVACR services. Public member must be accessible to inquiries, comments, and suggestions from the general public.

(c) Except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, each Board member serves a term of 3 years and may succeed himself or herself for 2 additional terms; provided, however, that if a member is initially appointed to fill a vacancy, the member may succeed himself or herself for only 2 additional full terms. A person appointed to fill a vacancy on the Board holds office for the remainder of the unexpired term of the vacating member. A term of office expires on the date specified in the appointment; however, a Board member whose appointment has expired remains eligible to participate in Board proceedings until replaced by the Governor. A person who is a member of the Board on the effective date of this chapter may complete his or her term.

(d) A person who has never served on the Board may be appointed to the Board for 3 consecutive terms; but the person is thereafter ineligible to serve for 3 consecutive terms. A person who has been appointed 3 times to the Board or who has served on the Board for 9 years within any 12-year period may not again be appointed to the Board until an interim period of at least one term has expired since the person last served.

(e) An act or vote on Board business by a person appointed to the Board in violation of this section is invalid.

(f) The Governor shall suspend or remove a member of the Board for the member's misfeasance, nonfeasance, malfeasance, misconduct, incompetence, neglect of duty, or for other good cause. 'Neglect of duty' means the failure to attend, without adequate reason, 3 consecutive regular business meetings, or at least half of all regular business meetings during any calendar year. A member subject to a disciplinary hearing may not participate in Board meetings until the charge is adjudicated or the matter is otherwise concluded. A Board member may appeal to the Superior Court a suspension or removal initiated pursuant to this subsection.

(g) A member of the Board, while serving on the Board, may not hold elective office in any occupational association of master plumbers, master HVACR licensees, or master HVACR restricted licensees or serve as an officer of an occupational association’s political action committee (PAC).

(h) The provisions of the State Employees', Officers' and Officials' Code of Conduct set forth in Chapter 58 of Title 29 apply to the members of the Board.

(i) The Division shall reimburse Board members for expenses involved in each meeting, including travel, according to Division policy. A member may not receive more than $50 for each meeting attended, and not more than $500 in any calendar year.

§1804. Organization; meetings; officers; quorum.

(a) The Board shall hold regularly scheduled business meetings at least once in each quarter of a calendar year, at other times as the president of the Board considers necessary, and at the request of a majority of the Board members.

(b) The Board shall elect annually a president, vice-president, and secretary. Each term of office is for one year. An officer may not serve for more than 3 consecutive years in the same office.

(c) A majority of the members of the Board constitutes a quorum for the purpose of transacting business. However, at least 5 Board members must vote affirmatively to find that grounds for discipline exist and to impose a sanction for a disciplinary violation.

(d) Minutes of all meetings of the Board must be recorded. The Division shall maintain copies of the recorded minutes. At any hearing where evidence is presented, a record from which a verbatim transcript can be prepared shall be made. A person requesting a transcript incurs the expense of preparing the transcript.

§1805. Records.

The Division shall keep a register of all approved applications for licensure as a master plumber, master HVACR licensee, and master HVACR licensee restricted, and shall keep complete records relating to meetings of the Board, examinations, rosters of licensees, changes to the Board’s rules and regulations, complaints, hearings, and other matters as the Board determines. Records kept in accord with this section are prima facie evidence of the proceedings of the Board.

§1806. Authority of the Board.

(a) The Board of Plumbing, Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Examiners shall have the authority to:

(1) administer and enforce the provisions of this chapter and of rules and regulations promulgated under this chapter;

(2) promulgate rules and regulations necessary or desirable to carry out the objectives of this chapter, including rules and regulations to carry out the objectives governing licensure and the requirements for continuing education;

(3) designate the application form to be used by all applicants and process all applications;

(4) designate the written, standardized examination, approved by the Division and administered and graded by a testing service, to be taken by applicants except those who qualify for licensure by reciprocity;

(5) evaluate certified records to determine whether an applicant for licensure, who is or has been licensed, registered, or otherwise authorized to provide services in another jurisdiction, has engaged in any act or offense that would be grounds for disciplinary action under this chapter and whether there are disciplinary proceedings or unresolved complaints pending against the applicant for such act or offense;

(6) grant licenses to and renew licenses of, all applicants who meet the qualifications set forth in this chapter;

(7) refer all complaints concerning master plumbers, master HVACR licensees, or master HVACR restricted licensees, or concerning the practices of the Board, or of the profession to the Division of Professional Regulation for investigation pursuant to 29 Del. C. §8807(h). The Division of Public Health shall, upon request, assist the Division of Professional Regulation in the investigation of complaints requiring field inspections;

(8) hold hearings and take such actions as are permitted under the Administrative Procedures Act, Chapter 101 of Title 29;

(9) designate and impose appropriate sanction or penalty after time for appeal has lapsed, if the Board determines after a disciplinary hearing that the sanction or penalty should be imposed;

(10) adopt, and revise as necessary, a detailed statewide HVACR and fuel gas code;

(11) coordinate an effort with each county and municipality in the State, which effort will result in consistency in local plumbing, HVACR, and fuel gas codes and the statewide plumbing, HVRAC, and fuel gas code.

(b) The Board of Plumbing, Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Examiners shall promulgate regulations specifically identifying those crimes which are substantially related to the work of a master plumber, master HVACR licensee, or master HVACR licensee restricted.

Subchapter II. License - Plumbing

§1807. License required; exemptions.

(a) A person shall not provide plumbing services in this State nor hold himself or herself out to the public as being a licensed master plumber, nor use 'licensed plumber', 'master plumber', or 'licensed master plumber' in connection with his or her name, nor otherwise assume or use any title or description conveying or tending to convey the impression that he or she is qualified to provide plumbing services, unless he or she has been licensed as a master plumber under this chapter, or exempted from the provisions of this chapter pursuant to subsection (c) of this section.

(b) If the license of a master plumber has expired or been suspended or revoked, it is unlawful for the holder of the expired, suspended, or revoked license to perform plumbing services in this State.

(c) An individual may provide plumbing services without being licensed under this chapter if:

(1) the individual is an apprentice, journeyman, mechanic, or other person providing such services under the supervision of a master plumber who is the individual’s employer or who is employed full time by the same business entity as the individual;

(2) the individual is a homeowner who is performing plumbing services other than gas piping in or about his or her own home that is not for sale or any part for rent or lease, provided that he or she has filed an application for a permit with the authorized inspection authority;

(3) the individual is providing such services on property used exclusively for agricultural purposes and the individual has filed an application for a permit with the authorized inspection authority; or

(4) the individual is providing such services pursuant to the provisions in §1832 of this chapter.

(5) the individual is providing services authorized under Subchapter III of this chapter.

(d) The penalty for a violation of this section is, for a first offense, a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $1000, and, for a second or subsequent offense, a fine of not less than $1000 nor more than $2000. Justice of the Peace Courts shall have jurisdiction over violations of this section.

§1808. Qualifications of applicant.

(a) An applicant for licensure as a master plumber shall submit evidence, satisfactory to the Board, and verified by oath or affirmation, that he or she:

(1) has received a journeyman’s certificate issued in any state following completion of a plumbing apprenticeship program that meets or exceeds the Federal Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training Standards and, thereafter, performed plumbing services for 2 years under the supervision of a master plumber or an individual holding a similar level of licensure in another state; or has performed plumbing services for 7 years under the supervision of a master plumber or a plumber holding a similar level of licensure in another state and, thereafter, successfully completed the apprenticeship equivalency test approved by the Board and administered by a Delaware vocational-technical school;

(2) has achieved the passing score on a written, standardized examination, designated by the Board and approved by the Division, for licensure as a Delaware master plumber after fulfilling the experience and/or training requirements of this section;

(3) has not received any administrative penalties regarding his or her practice, including, but not limited to, fines, formal reprimands, license suspension or revocation (except for license revocation for nonpayment of license renewal fees), probationary limitations, and consent agreements which contain conditions placed by a Board on the applicant's occupational conduct or practice, including the voluntary surrender of a license, certificate, registration, or other authorization to provide plumbing services. The Board may determine after a hearing whether the imposition of a particular administrative penalty is grounds to deny licensure;

(4) does not have an impairment related to drug or alcohol use that would limit his or her ability to provide plumbing services in a manner that is not detrimental to the health, safety, or welfare of the public;

(5) does not have any disciplinary proceedings or unresolved complaints pending against him or her in any jurisdiction where he or she has previously been or is currently authorized to provide plumbing services; or have a criminal conviction record or any pending criminal charges relating to an incident, the circumstances of which substantially relate to providing plumbing services. An applicant who has such a criminal conviction record or any such pending criminal charges must request appropriate authorities to provide information about the record or charges directly to the Board in sufficient specificity to enable the Board to make a determination of whether the record or charge is substantially related to providing plumbing services.

(b) The Board may waive the requirements of subsection (a)(3) or (6) of this section for good cause.

(c) Each applicant shall provide the information requested on the application form approved by the Board. All evidence of experience must be submitted by affidavit on forms approved by the Board. An application form may not require an applicant to submit a photograph of himself or herself, or information related to citizenship, place of birth, length of State residency, or personal references.

(d) If the Board finds that false information has been intentionally provided to the Board, it shall report its finding to the Attorney General's Office for further action.

(e) If the Board refuses to accept, or rejects, an application and the applicant believes that the Board acted without justification, or imposed a higher or different standard to the applicant than to other applicants, or in some other unlawful manner contributed to or caused the refusal or rejection of the application, the applicant may appeal to the Superior Court.

§1809. Examination.

(a) The written, standardized examination required in §1808(a)(2) of this chapter must be offered at least quarterly. The Board will determine the passing score in its rules and regulations.

(b) An applicant who fails to receive a passing score on an examination administered pursuant to this chapter may apply to re-take the examination on the next available date. If an applicant fails to pass the examination after 3 attempts, the Board, in its rules and regulations, may specify the conditions under which an applicant may re-take the examination.

§1810. Reciprocity.

(a) Upon submission and acceptance of a written application on forms provided by the Board, along with payment of the required fee, the Board shall grant a license to each applicant who presents proof of current licensure in good standing in another state, the District of Columbia, or a territory of the United States whose standards for licensure are substantially similar to those of this State and who submits the verified evidence described in §1808(a)(3) through (6) of this chapter.

(b) An applicant who is licensed by another state, the District of Columbia, or a territory of the United States whose standards for licensure are not substantially similar to those of this State must have practiced for a minimum of 7 years after licensure, in addition to meeting the other qualifications for reciprocity in this section.

§1811. Fees.

The amount set by the Division for each fee imposed under this chapter shall approximate and reasonably reflect the costs necessary to defray the expenses of the Board, as well as the proportional expenses incurred by the Division in its services on behalf of the Board. A separate fee may be charged for each service or activity, but a fee shall not be charged unless the service or activity is specified in this chapter. The application fee may not be combined with any other fee. At the beginning of each licensure biennium, the Division, or another State agency acting in its behalf, shall compute the fees for each separate service or activity for the licensure biennium.

§1812. Issuance and renewal of licenses.

(a) The Board shall issue a license to each applicant who meets the requirements of this chapter for licensure as a master plumber and who pays the appropriate fees established under §1811 of this chapter.

(b) A license is renewable biennially in a manner determined by the Division, upon payment of the appropriate fee, submission of a renewal form provided by the Division, and proof that the licensee has met any continuing education requirements established by the Board.

(c) The Board, in its rules and regulations, shall determine the period of time within which a licensee may renew his or her license, notwithstanding the fact that the licensee failed to renew his or her license on or before the designated renewal date; provided, however, that the period of time may not exceed one year beyond the designated renewal date.

(d) A licensee, upon the licensee's written request, may be placed on inactive status for no more than five years. A licensee on inactive status who desires to reactivate his or her license must complete and submit an application form approved by the Board, submit the reactivation fee set by the Division, and submit proof of fulfillment of any continuing education requirements established by the Board.

§1813. Complaints.

(a) All complaints received by the Division shall be investigated in accordance with 29 Del. C. §8807. The Division shall issue a final written report at the conclusion of its investigation.

(b) If the Board determines that a person has provided or is providing plumbing services or has used or is using the title 'master plumber’, ‘licensed plumber,’ or a similar designation contrary to the requirements of this chapter, the Board shall request that the Office of the Attorney General issue a cease and desist order and/or prosecute the person.

§1814. Grounds for discipline or other remediation.

An individual licensed under this chapter is subject to disciplinary sanctions set forth in §1815 of this chapter or other appropriate remediation, if, after a hearing, the Board finds that the licensee has:

(1) engaged or knowingly cooperated in fraud or material deception in order to acquire a license, has allowed another person to use his or her license, or has aided or abetted an unlicensed to represent himself or herself as an individual licensed pursuant to this chapter;

(2) illegally, incompetently, or negligently provided plumbing services;

(3) been convicted of an offense, the circumstances of which substantially relate to providing plumbing services. A copy of the record of conviction certified by the clerk of the court entering the conviction is conclusive evidence of conviction;

(4) in the last 2 years used illegal drugs; used prescription drugs without a prescription; excessively used legally prescribed drugs; or abused alcoholic beverages or drugs to the extent that it impaired his or her ability to provide services authorized under this chapter with reasonable skill, competence, and safety to the public;

(5) engaged in an act of consumer fraud or deception, engaged in the restraint of competition, or participated in price-fixing activities;

(6) violated a provision of this chapter or any lawful regulation established hereunder;

(7) had his or her license as a master plumber restricted, suspended or revoked, or been subjected to other adverse action taken by the appropriate licensing authority in another jurisdiction; provided, however, that the underlying grounds for the suspension, revocation, or other adverse action in another jurisdiction have been presented to the Board by certified record and the Board has determined that the facts found by the appropriate licensing authority in the other jurisdiction constitute one or more of the acts listed in this section. A person licensed in this State is deemed to have given consent to the release of information regarding license suspension or revocation or other adverse action taken by the Board or by comparable agencies in other jurisdictions and to have waived all objections to the admissibility of previously adjudicated evidence of the acts or offenses which underlie license suspension or revocation or other adverse action;

(8) failed to notify the Board that his or her license to provide services authorized under this chapter in another jurisdiction has been subject to discipline, or has been surrendered, suspended, or revoked. A certified copy of the record of disciplinary action, or of the surrender, suspension, or revocation of the license shall be conclusive evidence thereof;

(9) a physical or mental impairment that prevents him or her from providing services authorized under this chapter with reasonable skill, competence, and safety to the public.

§1815. Disciplinary sanctions.

(a) The Board may impose any of the following sanctions, singly or in combination, when it determines that a licensee has violated a ground for discipline set forth in §1814 of this chapter:

(1) issue a letter of reprimand to the licensee;

(2) censure the licensee;

(3) place the licensee on probationary status and require him or her to:

a. report regularly to the Board upon the matters that are the basis of the probation; and/or

b. limit all practice and professional activities to those areas prescribed by the Board;

(4) suspend the license of the licensee;

(5) revoke the license of the licensee;

(6) prescribe an administrative penalty, not to exceed $500 for each violation.

(b) The Board may withdraw or reduce conditions of probation imposed pursuant to subsection (a)(3) of this section, if it finds that the deficiencies that required the conditions of probation to be imposed have been remedied.

(c) If the Board suspends a licensee due to an impairment pursuant to §1814(9) of this chapter, the Board may reinstate the license if, after a hearing, the Board is satisfied that the licensee is able to provide professional services with reasonable skill, competence, and safety to the public.

§1816. Hearing procedures.

(a) If a complaint alleging that a licensee has violated §1814 of this chapter is filed with the Division pursuant to 29 Del. C. §8807(h), the Board shall set a time and place to conduct a hearing on the complaint. The Division shall give notice of the hearing and the Board shall conduct the hearing in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act, Chapter 101 of Title 29.

(b) A hearing conducted pursuant to this section is informal, without the use of the Delaware Rules of Evidence. If the Board decides by the affirmative votes of 5 or more members that a licensee has violated §1814 of this chapter, the Board may take any action permitted under this chapter that the Board considers reasonable. The Board’s decision must be in writing and must include the reasons for the decision. The Board shall immediately mail its decision to the licensee or personally serve the licensee with the decision.

(c) If a licensee disagrees with the decision of the Board, the licensee may appeal the Board’s decision to the Superior Court within 30 days of the postmarked date of the copy of the decision mailed to him or her, or within 30 days of personal service. Upon appeal, the Court shall review the evidence on the record. A stay pending review may be granted by the Court in accordance with 29 Del. C. §10144.

§1817. Reinstatement of a suspended license; removal from probationary status; replacement of license.

(a) The Board may reinstate a suspended license if, after a hearing, the Board is satisfied that the licensee has taken the required corrective actions and has otherwise satisfied all of the conditions imposed pursuant to the license suspension and/or probation period.

(b) An individual seeking license reinstatement and/or removal from probationary status must pay the appropriate fees and submit the documentation required by the Board to show that all the conditions imposed pursuant to the license suspension and/or the probation period have been met. Proof that the individual has met the continuing education requirements of this chapter may also be required.

(c) If a license is lost, destroyed, or mutilated, a replacement license may be issued subject to the rules of the Board. A charge must be assessed for the issuance of a replacement license.

§1818-1819 Reserved.

Subchapter III. License – Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration.

§1820. License required; exemptions.

(a) A person shall not provide HVACR or HVACR restricted services in this State nor hold himself or herself out to the public as being a master HVACR licensee or master HVACR restricted licensee, nor use ‘master HVACR licensee’, ‘master HVACR restricted licensee’ in connection with his or her name nor otherwise assume or use any title or description conveying or tending to convey the impression that he or she is qualified to provide HVACR or HVACR restricted services, unless he or she has been licensed as a master HVACR licensee or a master HVACR restricted licensee under this chapter or exempted from the provisions of this chapter pursuant to subsection (c) of this section.

(b) If the license of a master HVACR licensee or master HVACR restricted licensee has expired or been suspended or revoked, it is unlawful for the holder of the expired, suspended, or revoked license to act as a master HVACR licensee, or master HVACR restricted licensee in this State.

(c) An individual may provide HVACR or HVACR restricted services without being licensed under this chapter if:

(1) the individual is an apprentice, journeyman, mechanic or other person providing such services under the supervision of a master HVACR licensee or master HVACR restricted licensee, who is the individual’s employer or who is employed full time by the same business entity as the individual;

(2) the individual is a homeowner who is performing HVACR services other than gas piping in or about his or her own home that is not for sale or any part for rent or lease;

(3) the individual is providing such services on property used exclusively for agricultural purposes and the individual has filed an application for a permit with the authorized inspection authority;

(4) the individual is providing such services pursuant to the provisions in §1831 of this chapter.

(d) The penalty for a violation of this section is, for a first offense, a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $1000, and, for a second or subsequent offense, a fine of not less than $1000 nor more than $2000. Justice of the Peace Courts have jurisdiction over violations of this section.

§1821. Qualifications of applicant. – Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration.

(a) An applicant for licensure as a master HVACR licensee, or master HVACR restricted licensee, must submit evidence, satisfactory to the Board and verified by oath or affirmation, that he or she:

(1) has received a journeyman’s certificate issued in any state following completion of an HVACR, or HVACR restricted apprenticeship program that meets or exceeds the Federal Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training Standards and, thereafter, performed HVACR, or HVACR restricted services for 2 years under the supervision of a master HVACR licensee, or master HVACR restricted licensee, or an individual holding a similar level of licensure in another state; or has performed HVACR or HVACR restricted services for 7 years under the supervision of a master HVACR licensee or master HVACR restricted licensee or an individual holding a similar level of licensure in another state and, thereafter, successfully completed the apprenticeship equivalency test approved by the Board and administered by a Delaware vocational-technical school;

(2) has achieved the passing score on a written, standardized examination, designated by the Board and approved by the Division, for licensure as a Delaware master HVACR licensee or master HVACR restricted licensee after fulfilling the experience and/or training requirements of this section;

(3) has been certified at the appropriate level for handling chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s) by a testing organization approved by the Environmental Protection Agency;

(4) has not received any administrative penalties regarding his or her practice, including, but not limited to, fines, formal reprimands, license suspension or revocation (except for license revocation for nonpayment of license renewal fees), probationary limitations, and consent agreements which contain conditions placed by a Board on the applicant's occupational conduct or practice, including the voluntary surrender of a license, certificate, registration, or other authorization to provide HVACR services. The Board may determine after a hearing whether the imposition of a particular administrative penalty is grounds to deny licensure;

(5) does not have an impairment related to drug or alcohol use that would limit his or her ability to provide HVACR or HVACR restricted services in a manner that is not detrimental to the health, safety, or welfare of the public;

(6) does not have any disciplinary proceedings or unresolved complaints pending against him or her in any jurisdiction where he or she has previously been or is currently authorized to provide HVACR or HVACR restricted services; and

(7) does not have a criminal conviction record or any pending criminal charges relating to an incident, the circumstances of which substantially relate to providing HVACR or HVACR restricted services. An applicant who has such a criminal conviction record or any such pending criminal charges must request appropriate authorities to provide information about the record or charges directly to the Board in sufficient specificity to enable the Board to make a determination of whether the record or charge is substantially related to providing HVACR or HVACR services.

(b) The Board may waive the requirements of subsection (a)(4) or (7) of this section for good cause.

(c) Each applicant shall provide the information requested on the application form approved by the Board. All evidence of experience must be submitted by affidavit on forms approved by the Board. An application form may not require an applicant to submit a photograph of himself or herself, or information related to citizenship, place of birth, length of State residency, or personal references.

(d) If the Board finds that false information has been intentionally provided to the Board, it shall report its finding to the Attorney General's Office for further action.

(e) If the Board refuses to accept, or rejects, an application and the applicant believes that the Board acted without justification, or imposed a higher or different standard to the applicant than to other applicants, or in some other unlawful manner contributed to or caused the refusal or rejection of the application, the applicant may appeal to the Superior Court.

(f) Persons applying for licensure as a master HVACR licensee or master HVACR restricted licensee for a one year period beginning with the effective date of this act shall not be required to take the examination described in §1821(a)(2) if they present proof of either: (a) corresponding licensure in a county or municipality in Delaware; or (b) 5 years of experience providing HVACR or HVACR restricted services in Delaware. Supervision is not required for qualifying experience obtained prior to the effective date of this act. Individuals providing HVACR or HVACR restricted services regulated under this chapter prior to the effective date shall not be precluded from licensure by the application of §1821(7). The Board shall promulgate rules and regulations to implement this paragraph.

§1822. Examination.

(a) The written, standardized examination required in §1821(a)(2) of this chapter must be offered at least quarterly. The Board will determine the passing score in its rules and regulations.

(b) An applicant who fails to receive a passing score on an examination administered pursuant to this chapter may apply to re-take the examination on the next available date. If an applicant fails to pass the examination after 3 attempts, the Board, in its rules and regulations, may specify the conditions under which an applicant may re-take the examination.

§1823. Reciprocity.

(a) Upon submission and acceptance of a written application on forms provided by the Board, along with payment of the required fee, the Board shall grant a license to each applicant who presents proof of current licensure in good standing in another state, the District of Columbia, or a territory of the United States whose standards for licensure are substantially similar to those of this State and who submits the verified evidence described in §1821(a)(3) through (7) of this chapter.

(b) An applicant who is licensed by another state, the District of Columbia, or a territory of the United States whose standards for licensure are not substantially similar to those of this State must have practiced for a minimum of 7 years after licensure, in addition to meeting the other qualifications for reciprocity in this section.

§1824. Fees.

The amount set by the Division for each fee imposed under this chapter must approximate and reasonably reflect the costs necessary to defray the expenses of the Board, as well as the proportional expenses incurred by the Division in its services on behalf of the Board. A separate fee may be charged for each service or activity, but a fee may not be charged unless the service or activity is specified in this chapter. The application fee may not be combined with any other fee. At the beginning of each licensure biennium, the Division, or another State agency acting in its behalf, shall compute the fees for each separate service or activity for the licensure biennium.

§1825. Issuance and renewal of licenses.

(a) The Board shall issue a license to each applicant who meets the requirements of this chapter for licensure as a master HVACR licensee or master HVACR restricted licensee and who pays the appropriate fees established under §1824 of this chapter.

(b) A license is renewable biennially in a manner determined by the Division, upon payment of the appropriate fee, submission of a renewal form provided by the Division, and proof that the licensee has met any continuing education requirements established by the Board.

(c) The Board, in its rules and regulations, shall determine the period of time within which a licensee may renew his or her license, notwithstanding the fact that the licensee failed to renew his or her license on or before the designated renewal date; provided, however, that the period of time may not exceed one year beyond the designated renewal date.

(d) A licensee, upon the licensee's written request, may be placed on inactive status for no more than five years. A licensee on inactive status who desires to reactivate his or her license must complete and submit an application form approved by the Board, submit the reactivation fee set by the Division, and submit proof of fulfillment of any continuing education requirements established by the Board.

§1826. Complaints.

(a) All complaints received by the Division must be investigated in accordance with 29 Del. C. §8807. The Division must issue a final written report at the conclusion of its investigation.

(b) If the Board determines that a person has provided or is providing HVACR or HVACR restricted services or has used or is using the title ‘master HVACR licensee’, ‘master HVACR restricted licensee,’ or a similar designation contrary to the requirements of this chapter, the Board shall request that the Office of the Attorney General issue a cease and desist order and/or prosecute the person.

§1827. Grounds for discipline or other remediation.

An individual licensed under this chapter is subject to disciplinary sanctions set forth in §1828 of this chapter or other appropriate remediation, if, after a hearing, the Board finds that the licensee has:

(1) employed or knowingly cooperated in fraud or material deception in order to acquire a license, has allowed another person to use his or her license, or has aided or abetted an unlicensed to represent himself or herself as an individual licensed pursuant to this chapter;

(2) illegally, incompetently, or negligently provided HVACR or HVACR restricted services;

(3) been convicted of an offense, the circumstances of which substantially relate to providing HVACR or HVACR restricted services. A copy of the record of conviction certified by the clerk of the court entering the conviction is conclusive evidence of conviction;

(4) in the last 2 years used illegal drugs; used prescription drugs without a prescription; excessively used legally prescribed drugs; or abused alcoholic beverages or drugs to the extent that it impaired his or her ability to provide services authorized under this chapter with reasonable skill, competence, and safety to the public;

(5) engaged in an act of consumer fraud or deception, engaged in the restraint of competition, or participated in price-fixing activities;

(6) violated a provision of this chapter or any lawful regulation established hereunder;

(7) had his or her license as a master HVACR licensee or master HVACR restricted licensee suspended or revoked, or been subjected to other adverse action taken by the appropriate licensing authority in another jurisdiction; provided, however, that the underlying grounds for the suspension, revocation, or other adverse action in another jurisdiction have been presented to the Board by certified record and the Board has determined that the facts found by the appropriate licensing authority in the other jurisdiction constitute one or more of the acts listed in this section. A person licensed in this State is deemed to have given consent to the release of information regarding license suspension or revocation or other adverse action taken by the Board or by comparable agencies in other jurisdictions and to have waived all objections to the admissibility of previously adjudicated evidence of the acts or offenses which underlie license suspension or revocation or other adverse action;

(8) failed to notify the Board that his or her license to provide services authorized under this chapter in another jurisdiction has been subject to discipline, or has been surrendered, suspended, or revoked. A certified copy of the record of disciplinary action, or of the surrender, suspension, or revocation of the license shall be conclusive evidence thereof; and

(9) a physical or mental impairment that prevents him or her from providing services authorized under this chapter with reasonable skill, competence, and safety to the public.

§1828. Disciplinary sanctions.

(a) The Board may impose any of the following sanctions, singly or in combination, when it determines that a licensee has violated a ground for discipline set forth in §1827 of this chapter:

(1) issue a letter of reprimand to the licensee;

(2) censure the licensee;

(3) place the licensee on probationary status and require him or her to:

a. report regularly to the Board upon the matters that are the basis of the probation; and/or

b. limit all practice and professional activities to those areas prescribed by the Board;

(4) suspend the license of the licensee;

(5) revoke the license of the licensee;

(6) prescribe an administrative penalty, not to exceed $500 for each violation.

(b) The Board may withdraw or reduce conditions of probation imposed pursuant to subsection (a)(3) of this section, if it finds that the deficiencies that required the conditions of probation to be imposed have been remedied.

(c) If the Board suspends a licensee due to an impairment pursuant to §1827(9) of this chapter, the Board may reinstate the license if, after a hearing, the Board is satisfied that the licensee is able to provide professional services with reasonable skill, competence, and safety to the public.

§1829. Hearing procedures.

(a) If a complaint alleging that a licensee has violated §1827 of this chapter is filed with the Division pursuant to 29 Del. C. §8807(h), the Board shall set a time and place to conduct a hearing on the complaint. The Division shall give notice of the hearing and the Board shall conduct the hearing in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act, Chapter 101 of Title 29.

(b) A hearing conducted pursuant to this section is informal, without the use of the Delaware Rules of Evidence. If the Board decides by the affirmative votes of 5 or more members that a licensee has violated §1827 of this chapter, the Board may take any action permitted under this chapter that the Board considers reasonable. The Board’s decision must be in writing and must include the reasons for the decision. The Board shall immediately mail its decision to the licensee or personally serve the licensee with the decision.

(c) If a licensee disagrees with the decision of the Board, the licensee may appeal the Board’s decision to the Superior Court within 30 days of the postmarked date of the copy of the decision mailed to him or her, or within 30 days of personal service. Upon appeal, the Court shall review the evidence on the record A stay pending review may be granted by the Court in accordance with 29 Del. C. §10144.

§1830. Reinstatement of a suspended license; removal from probationary status; replacement of license.

(a) The Board may reinstate a suspended license if, after a hearing, the Board is satisfied that the licensee has taken the required corrective actions and has otherwise satisfied all of the conditions imposed pursuant to the license suspension and/or probation period.

(b) An individual seeking license reinstatement and/or removal from probationary status must pay the appropriate fees and submit the documentation required by the Board to show that all the conditions imposed pursuant to the license suspension and/or the probation period have been met. Proof that the individual has met the continuing education requirements of this chapter may also be required.

(c) If a license is lost, destroyed, or mutilated, a replacement license may be issued subject to the rules of the Board. A charge must be assessed for the issuance of a replacement license.

Subchapter IV. Miscellaneous Provisions

§1831. Artificial entity’s loss of license holder.

(a) If a partnership, firm, corporation, or other artificial entity that provides services regulated under this chapter suffers the loss of its sole license holder, the entity shall notify the Board in writing with supporting documentation within 7 days of the loss of its license holder.

(b) The Board shall schedule an emergency meeting within 10 days of notification pursuant to subsection (a) of this section. From the date of loss of the sole license holder through the date of the emergency meeting, the entity may continue to operate without a license holder, provided that the entity continues to employ the same personnel with the exception of the license holder.

(c) An owner or employee of an entity that desires to continue providing services despite the loss of the sole license holder must submit an application for licensure to the Board before the emergency meeting scheduled pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, for consideration by the Board at the meeting. At the meeting the Board may issue a temporary license to the applicant, valid for 100 days, dated from the date of notification to the Board by the entity, pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.

(d) If the Board issues a temporary license to the applicant at the emergency meeting pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, the applicant must take the next available examination.

(e) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (c) and (f) of this section, a temporary license expires immediately upon an applicant’s failure to take the next available examination; or, if the applicant takes the examination, upon the Board’s receipt of notification that the applicant failed the examination taken pursuant to subsection (d) of this section.

(f) If a 100-day temporary license issued pursuant to this section expires and the entity has no license holder in its employ, the entity must cease and desist immediately from providing plumbing services for which a license is required under this chapter.

§1832. Local regulation.

Nothing in this Chapter shall be construed to limit the ability of any county, municipality, or other governmental entity to adopt and enforce plumbing, HVACR, or fuel gas codes and regulations that are not in conflict with this chapter."

Section 2. If any provision of this Act or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the Act which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and, to that end, the provisions of this Act are declared to be severable.

Section 3. This Act shall become effective upon its enactment into law, except that §1820 herein requiring licensure for individuals providing HVACR or HVACR restricted services shall be effective June 30, 2007.

Approved June 27,2006