On October 1, 1968, Jacksonville consolidated its city and county governments. Very shortly thereafter, the new consolidated city fathers (in an attempt to curb the influx of unqualified heating and air conditioning contractors and mechanics), decided to enact a licensing and qualifying ordinance for HVAC and refrigeration contractors.
Rumors flew at all the supply houses as to who would and who would not be allowed to continue operating as a contractor. Would only those who could prove they worked in the old city limits be grandfathered in as masters? What did they have to do? How much was it going to cost? Was there going to be a test?
This crisis turned once fierce competitors into comrades with a common purpose. This group of concerned contractors formed Jacksonville Air Conditioning Contractors Association, incorporating in 1969. The first meetings and election of its first officers were held in the old "Blue Flame Room" of the Florida Gas Building. Over the years the group has met at different restaurants all over the city, at Weather Engineers, supply houses and FCCJ.
The Association has always worked, struggled and fought for many local and state issues. It has been involved in most of the decisions that affect the way A/C jobs are permitted and inspected.
- It worked to keep low voltage wiring within the realm of the HVAC Contractor.
- It stopped the city's efforts to have contractors pull separate permits for low voltage wiring.
- It worked to create an Installers License when the city was enforcing the requirement to have a licensed craftsman on every job site.
- It worked for several years to get Duval County to reciprocate journeymen's licenses with other counties.
- It started a scholarship fund to help apprentices, and it continues to host an annual BBQ to recognize, honor and reward the top students in the apprenticeship program.
- It hosts an annual trade show where members can meet with vendors and see what is new in the industry.
- It offers classes for technicians and CEU credit classes for A/C contractors.
- It worked to remove the requirement for the A/C contractor to meet the inspector at the job site for inspections.
- It convinced the City to furnish the A/C inspectors with ladders so that the contractor would not have to meet the inspector with one.
The Association persuaded the City to allow A/C contractors to send in letters of code compliance in lieu of final inspections. Eventually, the state ruled that the city needed to require final inspections.
It convinced the city to call homeowners to schedule finals, this took a big headache away from A/C Contractors and put it on the Inspection Department, which helped them realize the difficulties involved in getting homeowners to stay home for inspections.
It then worked with the City to develop procedures for closing permits when the homeowner is uncooperative in scheduling their final inspection.
By working closely with the state A/C Contractors Association, they were able to get the state law changed that required a Notice to Owner be filed on any job that was $2,500 or higher. The dollar amount was raised to $5,000. The other trades were amazed that we were able to accomplish this.
It was able to get re-inspection fees eliminated for a period of time. They were later reinstated.
It got the city to allow A/C contractors to fax in their permit applications, so that the permit can be ready for the contractor when he goes downtown.
It worked with the city to set up Escrow Accounts to pay for permits and to setup permitting over the Internet.
When the city told the Air Conditioning Industry that they could not longer do natural gas piping, the association was able to get the deadline moved and then worked with the City Council to create a new Natural Gas Specialty Contractors License. The Association is currently working with the State Legislature to change the State law to allow A/C Contractors to do natural gas piping throughout the state.
The Association has been actively involved in developing the new Unified Florida Building Code. It has a member on the Energy Technical Advisory Committee and through the State Association it influences the decisions that go into changing the Mechanical, Gas, and Energy Codes.
The Association takes an active role in stopping unlicensed activity. It went before the Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board and convinced them that Air Duct Cleaning must be done by licensed A/C Contractors only.
The Association has members on the local Construction Trades Qualifying Board, which regulates, licenses, and disciplines contractors.
The Association has two golf tournaments each year and a Christmas Social that is always well attended and enjoyed tremendously by all.
Some other member benefits are special insurance programs that can save a contractor a bundle of money, Credit Union Membership, special vehicle pricing and other special pricing offered by the affiliate members.
In 1995 the Association changed its name from Jacksonville Air Conditioning Contractors Association to North Florida Air Conditioning Contractors Association, to more accurately reflect their membership.
From those dark days of the late sixties to the present, North Florida Air Conditioning Contractors Association, through its dedicated membership, works to better the lot of its members, associates, affiliates and, yes, non-member contractors by representing their interests on legislation. North Florida Air Conditioning Contractors Association continues to grow in strength as more and more contractors feel a need to voice their concerns and to work to better the industry.
We welcome you to come and let us get to know you