By Christopher M. Cobb
The COVID-19 pandemic has had many unforeseen consequences, one of which is the surge in the pool industry. With people spending more time at home due to quarantine or stay-at-home orders, there has been a growing demand for home recreational improvements, and a pool is a popular choice. As a result, many individuals are now considering becoming licensed pool contractors to capitalize on this increased demand. In Florida, the requirements for obtaining an initial license as a certified pool contractor are outlined in Chapter 489, Florida Statutes and 61G4-12 through 23, Florida Administrative Code. In this blog post, we will explore the necessary qualifications and steps to become a certified pool contractor in Florida.
Pool Contractor Examination
To obtain a statewide certified license, applicants must successfully complete the Florida contractors’ examination in the specific category they are applying for. The Construction Industry Licensing Board (CILB) has adopted provisions regarding examination contents, security protocols, and procedures for requesting special accommodations for disabilities, which are detailed in Chapter 61G4-16, Florida Administrative Code. Division II contractors, which include pool contractors, are required to pass two parts of the examination: trade knowledge and business/finance.
For more information on the administration and scheduling of examinations, you may contact the Department’s Bureau of Education and Testing at (850) 921-8215 or visit their website: Kienthucykhoa.com.
To become a certified pool contractor, applicants must have experience and qualifications in specific areas depending on the type of pool license they are seeking. In Florida, there are three main types of certified pool licenses:
Commercial Pool License: This license requires experience in commercial excavation, grading, backfill, compacting, plumbing and electrical components, shell placement, deck work, interior surface preparation and finish, and tile, coping, and trim work.
Residential Pool License: To qualify for this license, applicants must have experience in residential excavation, grading, backfill, compacting, plumbing and electrical components, shell placement, deck work, interior surface preparation and finish, and tile, coping, and trim work. Once licensed, residential pool contractors can also perform complete renovations of commercial pools, but they are not permitted to install new commercial pools.
Pool Servicing License: This license requires experience in water treatment, sanitation, filter maintenance, and additional experience in areas such as pool heater installation, pool deck repair, tile and coping work, deck trim work, plumbing equipment, and repair of pool shells with leak detection and crack repairs. Certified Pool Servicing Contractors can perform complete renovations of residential pools but cannot install new residential pools.
Applicants are required to provide detailed employment history to the CILB, and any doubts regarding their education and/or experience may necessitate an appearance before the CILB Application Review Committee for an evidentiary hearing.
There are three options available to applicants to qualify for licensure based on their experience and education:
Experience/Education Option #1: Applicants with a four-year college bachelor’s degree in engineering, architecture, or building construction, as well as one year of construction experience in the category of licensure they are seeking.
Experience/Education Option #2: Applicants with four years of active experience as a worker in the trade or as a foreman in charge of a group, with at least one year of experience as a foreman.
Experience/Education Option #3: Applicants with a combination of education and experience. Junior college or community college-level courses are considered accredited college-level courses, and the more education an applicant has, the less experience is required.
All initial licensure applicants for certified pool contractors must meet the financial responsibility requirements outlined in Rule 61G4-15.006, F.A.C. This includes providing the Department with a consumer credit report that does not reveal any unpaid liens or judgments. A FICO credit score is required, and a score below 660 may result in denial of the application. However, applicants have the option to provide a licensing bond instead of the required credit score:
- For Division I Contractors, the bond amount is $20,000.00.
- For Division II Contractors (including pool contractors), the bond amount is $10,000.00.
Applicants can also reduce the bond amount if they complete a Board-approved 14-hour financial responsibility course. More information on the financial responsibility requirements and the 14-hour course can be found at Kienthucykhoa.com.
Good Moral Character/Criminal Background Check
Every applicant for licensure as a certified pool contractor in Florida must demonstrate good moral character, as stated in Section 489.111(3)(a), Florida Statutes. If an applicant is denied due to a lack of good moral character, the CILB must provide a statement containing its findings, a complete record of the evidence used for the denial, and information on the applicant’s rehearing and appellate rights. Additionally, all applicants are required to submit their fingerprints for a criminal background check. Criminal history reports are obtained through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in coordination with the Federal Bureau of Investigations, and they are valid for six months from the date of issuance.
Applicants must submit an affidavit confirming that they have obtained the following insurance coverage:
- Workers’ compensation insurance
- Public liability insurance
- Property damage insurance
For more informative blog posts, visit Kienthucykhoa.com.