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Official Opinion 94-2

Official Opinion 94-2

January 18, 1994
To: 

Joint Secretary
State Examining Boards

Re: 

Persons licensed pursuant to the Liquefied Petroleum Safety Act of Georgia who install, repair or service conditioned air equipment are not exempt from the requirement of holding a license as a conditioned air contractor.

You have asked this office for an official opinion as to whether persons licensed by the State Fire Marshal pursuant to the Liquefied Petroleum Safety Act, O.C.G.A. § 10-1-260 et seq., are exempt from the licensure requirements of the State Construction Industry Licensing Board, Division of Conditioned Air Contractors. O.C.G.A. § 43-14-1 et seq.

This office has previously opined that the legislative purpose of licensure statutes is to protect the public by ensuring that persons who engage in a particular trade meet certain qualifications and standards, as well as comply with certain regulatory requirements in connection with carrying on that trade. 1988 Op. Att'y Gen. 88-28; 1991 Op. Att'y Gen. 91-15. Where the requirements for two trades are substantially the same, the public interest would not be jeopardized by allowing a person licensed in one trade to engage in the second trade as well. The issue here is whether the General Assembly intended that persons licensed by the State Fire Marshal also be allowed to engage in conditioned air contracting without a license issued by the Division of Conditioned Air Contractors.

Conditioned air contracting is defined as "the installation, repair, or service of conditioned air systems or conditioned air equipment." O.C.G.A. § 43-14-2(3). Conditioned air equipment is defined as "heating and air-conditioning equipment

covered under state codes." O.C.G.A. § 43-14-2(5). Installing, repairing or servicing this equipment requires licensure by the Division of Conditioned Air Contractors. O.C.G.A. § 43-14-8(c).

Under the Liquefied Petroleum Safety Act, the State Fire Marshal is required to promulgate rules setting forth minimum general standards for equipment used for storing, handling, transporting, and utilizing liquefied petroleum. O.C.G.A. § 10-1-265. The State Fire Marshal is authorized to issue a license to a person, firm or corporation under the terms of the article. However, the rules adopted by the State Fire Marshal provide that no license is required to install equipment for storing and converting liquefied petroleum gas into flame for heating or cooling for use by an ultimate consumer. Rules 120-3-16-.02(4) and (5) and 120-3-16-.03(4) of Safety Fire Commissioner.

The rules promulgated by the State Fire Marshal merely provide minimum standards relative to liquefied petroleum gas. O.C.G.A. § 10-1-265. Heating and air-conditioning equipment which utilize liquefied petroleum gas are also governed by the state codes to the extent that the state codes are not in conflict with the Liquefied Petroleum Safety Act. O.C.G.A. §§ 10-1-270 and 8-2-31(e). The definition of conditioned air contracting, therefore, would encompass the activities of persons licensed pursuant to the Liquefied Petroleum Safety Act who install, repair or service conditioned air systems or conditioned air equipment. Thus, the question becomes whether such a person must also be licensed as a conditioned air contractor.

The cardinal rule of statutory construction is to effectuate the intention of the legislature in interpreting statutes. Ford Motor Co. v. Abercrombie, 207 Ga. 464, 467 (1950). The licensure requirements for conditioned air contractors are quite different from the licensure requirements under the Liquefied Petroleum Safety Act. For example, applicants for a license as a conditioned air contractor must demonstrate that they have the knowledge and skill necessary to properly install, service and repair conditioned air equipment. O.C.G.A. § 43-14-6(a)(1). The Liquefied Petroleum Safety Act, on the other hand, has no similar requirement, and, as noted above, the rules adopted by the State Fire Marshal do not even require that persons who install heating and cooling equipment for use by an ultimate consumer be licensed. Thus, it appears that the interests of the public would be jeopardized by allowing a person licensed under the Liquefied Petroleum Safety Act to install, service and repair conditioned air equipment without also being licensed as a conditioned air contractor.

For the reasons stated above, it is my official opinion that a person licensed pursuant to the Liquefied Petroleum Safety Act who installs, repairs or services conditioned air systems or conditioned air equipment is not exempt from the requirement of holding a license as a conditioned air contractor.

Prepared by:

THOMAS K. BOND
Assistant Attorney General