On Feb. 16, Florida State Representative Grant introduced a bill, HB 4171, in the Florida House that would repeal the newly effective mold licensing regulations. On Feb. 21, State Senator Norman introduced a companion bill, SB 1244, in the Florida Senate for the same purpose.
In the analysis of HB 4171 presented to the Business & Consumer Affairs Subcommittee in March 2011, it states, “The bill is anticipated to have a negative fiscal impact on state trust funds from the reduction in fees associated with applications for licensure. The DBPR indicates that the actual reduction is unknown at this time as program requirements are not enforceable until July 1, 2011,” and, “A positive fiscal impact on state trust funds may be anticipated to occur from the reduction in cost associated with processing applications. The DBPR indicates that the actual positive impact is unknown at this time as program requirements are not enforceable until July 1, 2011.”
In essence, the state will lose revenue but also reduce its administrative costs. However, there is no evidence whether this will result in a net loss or net gain for the state trust funds. It is worth noting that while DBPR is responsible for processing applications, the mold licensing rules as written do not burden DBPR with the high cost of licensing activities related to the creation, maintenance and administration of proficiency examinations or training.
Theoretically, the mold-related services licensing program should have substantially lower administrative costs than other Florida licensing programs administered by DBPR or other state agencies. Under the analysis of HB 4171 presented to the Business & Consumer Affairs Subcommittee, under the section titled, “Direct Economic Impact on Private Sector,” the analysis simply says, “Not anticipated to be significant.”
IAQA strongly disagrees with that analysis. Currently, applicants must submit to a criminal background check, are required to attest that they have obtained general liability and errors and omissions insurance for both preliminary and post remediation mold assessment in the amount of no less than $1 million (which is very costly to obtain), disclose contact and background information, complete a lengthy and complicated application, and submit substantial licensing fees.
Companies that have worked to meet the current mold-related services licensing requirements have spent thousands of dollars and resources to comply with the newly effective regulation, including training of personnel and certification testing through non-governmental entities approved by DPBR. IAQA members have reported costs ranging between $3,500 and $7,500 per employee to become licensed. The economic downturn has placed a severe financial strain on many IAQA members’ businesses, and this new licensure has added to the impact. However, IAQA members are working to maintain compliance with the regulation in order to better serve the citizens of Florida and help raise the bar for the industry.
Another aspect of the current mold-services licensing regulation that IAQA supported are the provisions requiring professional insurance. Though these provisions have likewise resulted in increased costs of doing business for IAQA members, there is widespread recognition that the insurance provisions benefit Florida citizens. IAQA supported the insurance provisions in the current regulation, despite the high cost of the insurance and the difficulty some contractors and consultants have in obtaining it.