On November 18, 2016, new regulations went into effect which implemented minor changes to several portions of the Board’s regulations. The purpose of these frequently asked questions is to assist licensees and the public in understanding these changes.
1. What exactly has changed in the regulations?
A: Most changes to the regulations were non-substantive, specifically, sections of the regulations referring to the grandfathering period which ended in 2011 have been removed. Substantively, the Board has amended the requirements for obtaining a master license as well as lowered the age to become an apprentice. Finally, the Board has amended the standards for professional practice to amend the job-site apprentice to supervisor ratios.
2. What has not changed?
A: Licenses are still required for sheet metal work, and that work must still abide by the 2009 International Mechanical Code.
3. How has the master license requirement changed?
A: Master licenses are governed by 271 CMR 3.00. Previously, the only way to obtain a master license (both restricted and unrestricted) was to (while holding a journeyperson license) take a 40 hour Board approved master course. With the new regulations, a journeyperson with at least 2000 hours of sheet metal work experience as a journeyperson need not take the 40 hour course. The master examination requirement remains in effect for applicants.
4. How has the apprentice license changed?
A: The new regulations have lowered the age required to become an apprentice from 17 years to 16 years.
5. What changed regarding apprentice to supervisor ratios?
A: In general, the minimum ratio of licensed apprentices to licensed supervisors (journeyperson or master) at a sheet metal work site was set at 1 to 1, meaning each apprentice needed their own supervisor on a given work site, two apprentices required two supervisors, etc. Previously, the Board set a higher ratio for non-residential jobs that involve sites that are more than two stories or over 10,000 square feet. In those instances, for jobs utilizing three or more apprentices, more supervisors were required in excess of the 1 to 1 ratio. With the new regulation changes, the Board has eliminated this distinction. As a result, the 1 to 1 apprentice to supervisor ratio may be followed on any job site.
6. May a different ratio be used on a jobsite if required by the contract or employer?
A: The Board’s regulations do not prohibit an employer from utilizing a higher ratio of supervisors to apprentices, such as 2 supervisors per apprentice. Further, if a higher ratio is mandated because a job is subject to federal or state prevailing wage mandates, that higher ratio is not overridden by these regulations. However, the opposite scenario is still prohibited in all instances, a jobsite with multiple apprentices must still have at least one supervisor per apprentice.