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Building Safety & Construction
Mechanical Safety & Licensing Section
Gas Fitters’ Law (Amilia’s Law) FAQs

 
  • When does the law go into effect?
    The law goes into effect on January 1, 2007, however, the enforcement or penalty phase does not go into effect until July 19, 2008. The transition into this program will occur gradually throughout 2007.
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  • Are rules being developed to administer this new law?
    Yes. Draft rules have been written and are being developed now. The rules should be finalized by April of 2007.
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  • If I don’t install heating equipment and only install gas fired cooking equipment, will I still need to be licensed?
    Yes. The licensing requirement will apply to any and all persons performing work installing, modifying or repairing gas-fired equipment.
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  • If I have been in the business of installing and/or servicing gas-fired equipment for thirty years, do I still need to be licensed?
    Yes. Although previous work experience will be helpful in gaining licensure all persons will have to go through the licensing procedure.
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  • Is there any grandfathering of persons already doing the work?
    No. All persons engaged in the business of installing gas piping and/or installing or servicing gas-fired equipment will have to go through the licensing procedure.
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  • How many licenses will I need to apply for?
    The NHFMO will only be issuing one license. The applicant will need to apply for whichever endorsements they wish to apply for at the time of the application.
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  • If I have a suggestion to make on the rules, what opportunity will I have to voice my opinion?
    The rules are subject to a public comment period. During this time, written comments will be accepted at the Department of Safety. In addition there will be a public hearing during which attendees may voice their comments on the rules.
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  • What can I do now to prepare for the licensing requirements?
    Contact a committee member Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol that represents an industry association for more details. Two of the nationally accepted training and testing curriculums that are accepted for voluntary certification are Certified Employee Training Program (CETP) and the North American Training Excellence (NATE). There may be other training and/or testing programs that will become approved. Anyone wishing to submit a training and/or testing program may do so by submitting the program to the NH State Fire Marshal’s Office once the rules are approved.
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  • Will I have to take a course or a test to become licensed?
    Yes. If you have already completed the CETP or NATE courses and taken their test, you should be all set. If you have not taken any training programs, you will be required to show proof of successful completion of one of these programs. Some tests are challengeable. That is, you may be able to apply to just take the test without taking the course, but it will be very difficult.
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  • What if I am already certified through the volunteer certification program? Will I have to take another test?
    If you become certified through the voluntary certification program before January 1, 2007, you will have one extra year to become licensed. We expect that many of the same training criteria will be used for the mandatory licensing.
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  • Who can I talk to if I have more specific questions?
    You may contact anyone of the members of the advisory committee Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol for more information. They are currently in the process of making recommendations to the NHFMO for the licensing program. You may also call the NH Division of Fire Safety, Office of the State Fire Marshal.
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  • Why should the licensing be in the State Fire marshal’s Office?
    The Office of the State Fire Marshal is the correct place in state government to administer the gas fitters licensing program. This office promulgates the State Fire Code including NFPA 54 the National Fuel Gas Code, which is the minimum standard for use in New Hampshire. The knowledge of this code along with the ability to provide the consultations that are frequently requested of our office is one of the many reasons that this program was assigned by the legislature to this office.
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  • Is the Advisory Committee on Heating System Certification effective?
    This is your committee as prescribed in the statute RSA 153:16c and the Division of Fire Safety does not choose who sits on the committee. All of the people sitting on the committee are nominated by their respective organizations. These people are your voice and we respect their hard work. The committee has been through a learning curve with trying to maintain a level of communications that above what is normally expected of these volunteers. To the best of our knowledge every effort has been made to post their meetings according to legal expectations. Due to additional requests over and above what is required by law we are aware that the chair has attempted to increase the awareness to those who had specifically requested special notifications.

    The make up of the committee is very diverse and representative of all the trades’ people that would be potentially dealing with gas fitting. The statute that lists the specific organizations represented on the committee is RSA 153:16c and can be found at www.nh.gov. The committee was originally formed by the legislature to develop recommendations for the Voluntary Certification of Heating Technicians. The enactment of the mandatory licensing of gas fitters then changed the scope of the work they were performing and thus they have spent a considerable amount of time making recommendations for the rule development.

    This committee has shown that they are a group of dedicated individuals that look for the best way to protect the public, while minimizing the impact on the professional technicians installing and maintaining gas installations. Their hard work has not gone unnoticed; the State Fire Marshal personally appreciates their hard work as volunteers to this committee.

    The committee's effectiveness is only as good as the information that is passed on to them. Many trades’ people have taken the time to submit suggestions on how to reach the goal of effective rules and we thank them for that. Those kind of suggestions are what will make this program one that will be in the best interest of public safety and insure that the trades' people have what they need to perform the function of gas fitting in a safe manner. The safety of the trades' people are one that is also not overlooked. Our office has done investigations of life threatening injuries to gas fitters in the past. Our overall goal is to improve the level of knowledge and safety for both the public and the trade’s people. This committee is effective in looking at this from a neutral perspective and if someone has suggestions on how to improve the program they are welcome as they have been in the past.

    This is the committee that is presently representing you.

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  • Is gas fitting apprenticeship necessary?
    Of course it is, no matter what you call it! We have to have a means for people to learn the trade and learn from the experience of others. The technician in training will be accumulating the required work experience hours that will be included in the rules. This experience along with the educational requirements will allow the person to progress up through the levels from "Piping Installer" to "Installation Technician" to "Service Technician". The expectation is that if you are classified as a Service Technician you can work in any of the classifications, if you are an Installer that is what you can perform and lastly if you are a Gas Piping Installer you are limited to that portion of the installation.

    The proposed experience and educational requirements are listed in the order of progression:

    1. Piping Installer - Minimum of 48 hours education with 1,000 hours field experience
    2. Installation Technician - Minimum of 24 hours of additional education above the Piping Installer along with an additional 1,000 hours of field experience above that level.
    3. Service Technician - Minimum of 24 hours of additional education above the Piping and Installation Technician requirements along with an additional 2,000 hours of filed experience above the Piping Installer and Installation Technician levels.

    The educational requirements are based on knowledge areas specific to the level of licensing. Once the rules are approved training curriculums will be looked at for approval of meeting the requirements. Anyone may present a training plan and curriculum for review and approval if it meets the rules once they are completed and approved.

    The proposal in the rules is also to allow two people in training to work with a licensed individual to gain their filed experience.

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  • What does the State Fire Marshal personally think about grandfathering?
    First, I must state the rules are not based on what I think personally on any of the subject matter. But I will answer the question on a personal basis. I do not like the word grandfather as it indicates that just because someone is doing this work they deserve a license without having to demonstrate any competency if the field they are applying for. I do feel that experienced technicians that are presently working in this trade should be allowed credit for their past training and experience along with having to demonstrate a level of knowledge on how to use the code book of reference which is the NFPA 54 National Fuel Gas Code. I had originally proposed an open book test for existing people to demonstrate that they have a code book and know how to look up the information needed to make a safe installation. I will recommend that the chief mechanical inspector hired to implement the program conduct several seminars on the use of the code book to prepare people for the examination. We also will be prepared to conduct an oral examination for those who may have a problem with written examinations.
    J. William Degnan, NH State Fire Marshal
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  • Should NATE or CTEP be a standard for testing and education?
    NATE and CTEP will be allowed to present their programs for approval just like any other group that may want to provide education and testing. We would expect their programs would be ones that would be approved as they are presently recognized in other states.
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  • Why is a test on NFPA 54 needed instead of NATE or CTEP?
    The NATE or CTEP is one of the basic educational requirements and their test is designed to insure the student has learned the material they have instructed them on. The addition of the NFPA 54 testing is to insure that the code adopted in NH is known and understood.
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  • What is the appropriate amount of continuing education needed?
    The amount of continuing education that has been proposed for the rules would be the minimum of 8 hours during the two years the license is valid. Continuing education should be looked at as being what is needed to keep up to date within the industry. Certainly we would recommend a person take as many hours of education to keep up with the technological changes that we see regularly now and look at the 8 hours as a base line.
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  • What does HB 1711 mean, when it calls for a hearing for disciplinary action?
    The Commissioner of Safety would request a hearing to be conducted pursuant to RSA 541-A and SafC 200. The use of the title commissioner is because he/she is the responsible party for the Department of Safety which we fall under. The reference to RSA 541-A and SafC 200 is the rules for conduct of a disciplinary hearing. The hearing is conducted by a hearings officer who is an attorney that handles the action in the same manner as if you were in a courtroom in front of a judge if this was a criminal matter. The commissioner is not the one that makes the determination of the disciplinary action. He/She would only be the one that forwards the complaint to the hearings officer for the administrative hearing pursuant to established law and rules. There is also an appeal process specified in RSA 541 for any appeals to decisions of the commissioner following a hearing. We feel that this process affords the person in question a fair legal process instead of one that is based on opinions and feelings not a mater of law and the rights of the individuals.
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  • The law references six licenses; should they be consolidated?
    Currently the division is planning on only issuing one license.  There are different endorsements provided in the law for the various aspects of the industry.  We are open to suggestions of consolidation of the licenses. The listing was developed by the industry during the development of the law. We need to be sensitive to the level needed for people to continue to work in their specialty trades. Although the legislature used the terminology “specialty license”, their intent was paramount to issuing an endorsement for a particular scope of work. It is our intent to only issue one license card, which will be appropriately marked with the endorsements that the license holder is certified for.
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  • Should NFPA 54 be the standard gas code for NH?
    This should be the standard gas code for NH. This code has worked well for NH in the past. Most people (trades and code officials) are familiar with this code and have a copy of it. One thing to remember is the code is only the base for anything that is done, standards may be more stringent from both the local community and in some cases the manufacturer of a product you may be using.
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  • Should technicians be able to navigate what ever code is adopted at the state level and demonstrate proficiency in that code?
    Of course they should! The statute specifies the code to be used and that is the State Fire Code that adopts NFPA 54 the National Fuel Gas Code. We should mention that this code is not new and is in full force and effect at this time. It currently requires that people in this trade be technically qualified. The lack of licensing does not negate your responsibility for installing and maintaining to the code. So it goes without saying that at some point you need to have a base knowledge of the code and demonstrate a level of proficiency in using it. No one expects you to know the code by memory that is why we have recommended an open book test.
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  • Is there a fee for each specialty license?
    The proposal is to have one fee no matter how many of the licenses you qualify for. The proposed rules would charge $200 for a two year renewal. You would not be charged for each individual specialty license, just one.
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  • If I have 8,000 hours of field experience and also am NATE or CETP certified, should I still apply through the existing certification route?
    No. An applicant with a certification with one of the approved training or testing programs and 8,000 hours of experience should apply for a license through the normal application route. This will require them to prove fewer work experience hours (5,000 for top level license) and eliminates the requirement for taking the NFPA 54 class or exam.
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  • If I have a voluntary heating techncian certification, do I still have to become licensed?
    Yes. The voluntary heating technician certification program and the gas fitter's licensing program are completely different programs and are not connected in any way. One is voluntary as its name states and the other is a mandatory licensing program.

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