• Adam Michels
    16
    I received a notice about new Minnesota radon license requirements (enclosed). They say Illinois has the same type of regulations in place. I have quite a few opinions on this. Any thoughts from the group?
  • Chrystine Kelley
    80
    If you had to answer complaints from homeowners and realtors every day about improperly installed systems by non-regulated/non-certified contractors, you would understand. There is nothing more frustrating than talking with a 90-year-old widow who had a bad system installed, can't sell her house and doesn't have the money to "do it over". I'm not going to get in a debate over this, this will be my last comment. Chrys
  • Wally Dorsey Jr
    27
    I have been fighting for licensure in Virginia for years.

    When I hear an inspector complain that annual calibrations are a burdensome, expensive and unneeded expense, which I've heard in public at conferences around the country, it highlights the need for licensure & oversight. If someone thinks annual calibrations are unnecessary, you know they aren't doing any QA/QC. I have seen monitors in the field which we documented were 800% off. The inspector stated that the monitor was calibrated within the last year so it had to be correct. Though they had no QA/QC mechanism to determine the precision and accuracy of their equipment between calibrations. Machines break, QA/QC helps us to see that, while the machines are deviating, hopefully before it breaks.

    We have been testing since 1985 and AARSTs drive to educate consumers, combined with the marketing monsters that many home inspection firms are, have driven our testing through the roof.

    I've seen mitigation systems installed that were an immediate threat to the occupants as a fire hazard or backdraft hazard.

    In all likelihood the average Radon Professional, is just that, professional. Laws are made because of the few practitioners who will limbo under the protocols that are there to both protect the public and limit the practitioners self inflicted liability.

    Minnesota's experience is a good learning tool. Licensure, oversight and notification have increased testing by a better trained, more professional group. Everybody benefits, except the person who doesn't want to do the bare minimum.
    Licensure elevates the radon profession to that, a Profession. The public shouldn't much trust Billy Bobs X Ray, Doctoring, Bait and Tackle, Gas, Gifts and Fine Dining, why should they trust a Jack of all trades, master of none? Someone who fears a credible agency from ensuring that the job they are doing is safe for the public and reduces the chances for bone crushing lawsuits against the practitioner?
  • Doug Taylor
    5
    State licensure requirements are a welcomed thing as long as the rules are not applied in an Arbitrary and Capricious mannor. I would be happy to pay for such as long as the state provides funding and resources to apply and enforce. Otherwise, we end up with quality companies being tasked with policing the bottoms feeders that are still going to put in poor quality systems.
  • Randy Weestrand
    27
    Society would benefit if EVERY service provider were licensed and rigorously monitored and inspected. Tree trimmers, auto mechanics, garage door installers- the list is endless. Mistakes by any service provider could result in the death of a customer. Society would also benefit if the speed limit were 5 mph. Both ideas are of course ridiculous. Government regulations must balance benefit with cost. They must meet a “reasonableness standard”. Regulated citizens must agree that a regulation is needed and that the cost is acceptable.

    In my opinion, the Minnesota law and rules overburden licensees and their clients and do not meet the “reasonableness standard”. I’m not alone. 47% of Minnesota’s NRPP certified mitigation contractors feel the law should be replaced with one that simply requires certification and compliance with ANSI/AARST standards. 19% feel the law should be repealed and not replaced. That’s 66% who don’t want the law.

    Here is an example of the MDH rules Minnesota contractors have been fighting in court and at the capitol for five years:

    D. An individual who fails to complete 8 hours of approved continuing education within 12 months after
    the date on the last issued license may not renew the license. To qualify for a new license, the individual must successfully complete:
    (1) an initial radon measurement training course required under subpart 2 and pass an examination
    as specified in subpart 2; and
    (2) an initial radon mitigation training course required under subpart 2 and pass an examination as
    specified in subpart 2.

    Yes, it really does say that. If you don’t submit your CE to MDH before your 12 month license expires, you’re going back through the week long initial training and exam process for measurement and mitigation.

    In my opinion, a licensing law that meets the “reasonableness test” will have four and only four components:

    1. It will require NRPP certification.
    2. It will require annual evidence of workers comp and liability insurance.
    3. It will have a “Citizens Hotline” to receive reports of violations of ANSI/AARST standards.
    4. It will have an inspector to investigate reported violations with the ultimate power of fines and license revocation.

    In my opinion, the Minnesota law and rules will cause smaller, affordable contractors to leave the business, reduce the number of new, affordable guys entering the business (we were all there once) and significantly increase the cost to all contractors. This will cause increased costs to consumers. The demand for radon mitigation is highly elastic. So; the increased cost to consumers will cause reduced demand for mitigation, (it’s a law of economics, not an opinion) which will cause an increase in lung cancer deaths. That’s the “cost” of a license law that does not meet the “reasonableness standard”. Dead people.
  • Chad Robinson
    9
    For clarification, Randy, you are quoting an old version of the rule. I have copied the relevant section of the rule and also posted a link to the full rule. The current rule for mitigation has similar language.


    §Subp. 4. Expiration; renewal; continuing education.
    A. A radon measurement professional license is valid for one year from the date of issuance.
    B. A radon measurement professional may apply to renew a license after completing eight hours of continuing education approved by the commissioner under part 4620.7700.
    C. To renew an expired license, an applicant must submit a renewal application by submitting the information required under subpart 5 and must:
    (1) complete eight hours of continuing education approved by the commissioner under part 4620.7700 for every year or part of a year that the license has lapsed;
    (2) complete an initial radon measurement course approved by the commissioner under part 4620.7700; or
    (3) pass a radon measurement examination as approved by the commissioner under part 4620.7700.”



    https://www.revisor.mn.gov/rules/4620.7200/
  • Bruce Fergusson
    2
    A lot of good discussion - Recently emerged from years' long struggle in KY where onerous regs that proscribed bunch of legal restriction that added no value. Finally arrived at simply requiring adherence to AARST standards. We finally got that passed, doing away with rules and money requirements that added nothing that protected people, just fees and rules - only glorified jobs program.
  • Bruce Fergusson
    2
    Randy's suggestions above pretty well described where we landed
  • Admin
    32
    To ALL: Lively discussions are welcome. HOWEVER, personal verbal attacks on another contributor (have been) and will be removed from the thread. Repeat offenders will be suspended from the ListServ.
  • Adam Michels
    16
    I am being harassed ever since I made this post. About 3-4 calls a day. Unfortunately there are people on this list serve that only want to profit at the expense of the public's health. It is obvious that the federal government and state governments care nothing for the health of the community. Covid is a perfect example of that. Unnecessary expenses and costs on radon systems will reduce participation rates. If you work in the field you know exactly what I mean. Thank you Randy for your comment!

    The whole point is that we are not here to fund a play account for some paper pusher. I have taken almost no profit on a few jobs just so the family could affords it. I replace fans for little cost so people get it done. I do service calls and never charge a thing if I don't have to do anything regardless if it is my system or not. I still have costs and live in the real world.
  • John Mallon
    21
    I'm in Pennsylvania very regulated 30+ years. This pic is from another (nameless) State. Don't ask, I have no idea.
  • John Mallon
    21
    3 times to post this pic :grimace:

    pkh8zfvzlfup7z37.jpg
    Attachment
    Real Bad System.url (102B)
  • Adam Michels
    16
    It is sad that the homeowner actually paid for this. It only takes 10 minutes to get on the internet and see what a proper system looks like. What state was this?
  • Randy Weestrand
    27
    With the simple 4 component licensing scheme I endorse, whoever took this photo would call the "Bad Work Hotline", report it to the inspector, and (in theory) the power of the government would come down on whoever did this and prevent it from happening again.
  • Bob Wood
    86
    We here in Canada are as yet unlicensed and that makes it the wild west while we have regulations and now a standard to follow it is difficult to compete with much cheaper uncertified individuals who do not know what they are doing, I looked it up on the internet and go!

    This leaves the expense and headaches to our national association that can do very little to control non members. The expense still falls back to the good guys who care enough to be certified. i think we are missing the point when we in the industry talk radon, radon, radon, when what you might be saying is "the radiation from radon", this puts the homeowner and my staff a little bit more on alert that what we deal with day in and day out is radiation in a home or workplace.

    In my opinion we should have some rules and oversight from Government or another body that understands what we (the good guys) do on a daily basis. I regularly invite health department / lung association/cancer society/building officials/property inspectors to go with our crew for a day.
  • Adam Michels
    16
    The government put sick people in nursing homes and you want to look to them for oversight? There are easy ways to decrease errors in the industry without extra taxes and fees. Please read the comments. Are you for increasing participation or decreasing it?
  • Bob Wood
    86
    Adam i am advocating for more controls in Canada rather than the none we have now , yes having building permits and inspections being required or another body overlooking your work costs something but it costs everyone in the industry and every homeowner the same amount.
    We in our industry deal in control of radiation in someones home or business, we deserve to make a good living doing it and i am happy to have someone else who is educated look over my teams work any day.
    Our clients are not experienced in radiation control, building methods or stack effect.
    In theory, oversight harmonizes what we all do and allows oversight to teach the mitigators who have fallen into bad habits what they need to change.

    I am not avocating for a system that provides costs with no oversight/inspection of work installed.
  • Henri Boyea
    93
    I'm with @Randy Weestrand. We are a non-regulatory State and I see ineffective, defective, and dangerous installations by people who don't know, or don't care, what they're doing on a regular basis (most of you have seen the slides!). I went with others to the State capitol to advocate for basic regulation. I am very much for limited government and personal responsibility, but we ARE dealing with a radioactive Class-A carcinogen here! My pitch to the State was that they don't need to re-invent the wheel, or have a program that costs the State anything. Require Certification and Insurance, (both of which are readily available), Have inspectors, and charge a fee per year or per system that will cover the cost of the inspectors and administration. Most Pros won't mind, as long as everyone pays the same fees and plays by the same rules.
  • Henri Boyea
    93
    I'll call your floor-level suction and raise you a snorkel! (Yes it is the exhaust for the buried fan).jac5dfjnab81zdkc.jpeg
    c7e1ley7v7anepo0.jpeg
  • Admin
    32
    The examples you guys are finding are remarkable. I can almost understand how requirements to adhere to the standards could stifle such ingenuity. I'd really like to see more of you contribute photos for a new Wild West Hall of Shame presentation (regardless of where they're located).
  • John Mallon
    21
    Thanks, Dallas,

    Hey Henri, here's your Fan Coffin and I raise you a Watertrap!
    gc9uypbk3eo5u2fo.jpg
    37ge0c1efqlevar3.jpg


    (Story on the Watertrap is the Mitigator was called back when the joint began to leak onto the drywall. He put the bucket up there and told the Homeowner to check and empty as necessary)
  • Chrystine Kelley
    80
    how about a little contaminated air in the summer! z6tnciqw4p35fq0t.jpg
  • John Mallon
    21
    Chrys,
    Is the black pipe an ASD exhaust?
  • Adam Michels
    16
    All of the examples shown are obvious examples where homeowners has no idea what a radon mitigation system looks like. I also do not see manometers or RMT numbers anywhere!!!

    Start with the basics FIRST before you start looking to the government for solutions. Thank yourselves boys and local municipal folks for lack of education!! We have a serious lack of education here from the pictures posted above. Cry to Big Brother if you must but it is obvious...FOLKS ARE NOT DOING THEIR JOBS!!!
  • Bob Wood
    86
    To my US cousins and brothers what does work in a free market society? Building code is today's solution to yesterday's bad builders who cut corners putting profit/laziness above quality. Radon control is not rocket science, it's just building science and nuclear science rolled into one. Does anyone have a solution that they know or believe's will truly work to control bad/ ignorant contractors. we all know that most of them will eventually wash out of the market but before they do they will typically drive prices/ quality down. Is big brother the only solution?
  • Wally Dorsey Jr
    27
    Good discussion. This is how things get rolling. Adam, we too offer discounted services and in some cases free services.

    My point is, there has to be some way for bad actors to be addressed. Someone who is a repeat offender, in my mind moves through the process of being a civil offender, to a criminal offender. With my one "Stupid" example, think how far backwards the radon industry could be thrown, had I not seen and called out the abborhant way that system was installed. I have hundreds, possibly thousands of pictures showing other trash, garbage, dangerous systems.
    What if the homeowner was in the crawl space doing their due diligence inspections, looking for things that needed to be addressed and got killed by electrocution from their radon system? Or the house burned down and the entire family was killed? Can you see the headline "Radon Mitigation Systems Dangerous and May Kill Homeowners!" How adversely would that affect our industry?
    To say that an industry, that at it's roots, is a Health Care Industry, shouldn't be regulated in some fashion, TO ME, is irresponsible. In Virginia last year there was a push to deregulate X-Ray technicians! Do you want to be the person in that deregulated office? I should hope not.

    To say that no matter what you do there will be bad actors, is true enough. However that's not to say we should remove licensure from Doctors, some do commit malpractice. CDL Truck Drivers still have accidents which kill people. Why bother with building inspections when there are still shoddily built homes? It'll never be an exact science and the folks on this board are probably not the problem. It's the folks that don't care enough to be professionals that will adversely affect us all.

    I have had many clients over the years ask, "what does it take to do radon testing or mitigation?" When told, they ask in many cases, Why plumbers and electricians have an apprenticeship program but radon folks just do their 24 hours of CE Credits and become "Experts", while plumbers, electricians and now, in Virginia, Home Inspectors have to do real life field work under the tutelage of a licensed home inspector, instead of trying to become an instant expert after 2 or 3 days of studies? To the general public, it doesn't seem to make any sense. It's a really valid question.


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