§ 87-52. State Board of Refrigeration Contractors; appointment; term of office.
(a) For the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this Article, the State Board of Refrigeration Contractors is created, consisting of seven members appointed by the Governor to serve seven-year staggered terms. The Board shall consist of:
(1) One member who is a wholesaler or a manufacturer of refrigeration equipment.
(2) One member from an accredited engineering school located in this State.
(3) One member from the field of public health with an environmental science background from an accredited college or university located in this State.
(4) Two members who are licensed refrigeration contractors.
(5) One member who has no ties with the construction industry to represent the interest of the public at large.
(6) One member with an engineering background in refrigeration.
(b) The term of office of one member shall expire each year. Vacancies occurring during a term shall be filled by appointment of the Governor for the unexpired term. Whenever the term "Board" is used in this Article, it means the State Board of Refrigeration Contractors. No Board member shall serve more than one complete consecutive term. (1955, c. 912, s. 1; 1959, c. 1206, s. 2; 1973, c. 476, s. 128; 1979, c. 712, s. 1; 1995, c. 376, s. 1; 2017-10, s. 2.7(a).)
The Governor may remove any member of the Board for misconduct, incompetency or neglect of duty. Each member of the Board shall be a resident of this State at the time of his appointment. Payment of compensation and reimbursement of expenses of Board members shall be governed by G.S. 93B-5. (1955, c. 912, s. 2; 1969, c. 445, s. 9; 1979, c. 712, ss. 2, 7.)
§ 87-54. Organization meeting; officers; seal; rules.
The Board shall within 30 days after its appointment meet in the City of Raleigh and organize, and shall elect a chairman and secretary and treasurer, each to serve for one year. Thereafter said officer shall be elected annually. The secretary and treasurer shall give bond approved by the Board for the faithful performance of his duties, in such sum as the Board may, from time to time, determine. The Board shall have a common seal, shall formulate rules to govern its actions, and is hereby authorized to employ such personnel as it may deem necessary to carry out the provisions of this Article. (1955, c. 912, s. 3.)
§ 87-55. Regular and special meetings; quorum.
The Board after holding its first meeting, as hereinbefore provided, shall thereafter hold at least two regular meetings each year. Special meetings may be held at such times and places as the bylaws and/or rules of the Board provide; or as may be required in carrying out the provisions hereof. A quorum of the Board shall consist of four members. (1955, c. 912, s. 4.)
§ 87-56. Record of proceedings and register of applicants; reports.
The Board shall keep a record of its proceedings and a register of all applicants for examination, showing the date of each application, the name, age and other qualifications, places of business and residence of each applicant. The books and records of the Board shall be prima facie evidence of the correctness of the contents thereof. On or before the first day of March of each year the Board shall submit to the Governor a report of its activities for the preceding year, and file with the Secretary of State a copy of such report, together with a statement of receipts and expenditures of the Board attested by the chairman and secretary. (1955, c. 912, s. 5.)
§ 87-57. License required of persons, firms or corporations engaged in the refrigeration trade.
In order to protect the public health, safety, morals, order and general welfare of the people of this State, all persons, firms or corporations, whether resident or nonresident of the State of North Carolina, before engaging in refrigeration business or contracting, as defined in this Article, shall first apply to the Board and shall procure a license. (1955, c. 912, s. 6.)
§ 87-58. Definitions; contractors licensed by Board; examinations.
(a) The provisions of this Article shall not repeal any wording, phrase, or paragraph as set forth in Article 2 of this Chapter. The following definitions apply in this Article:
(1) Commercial refrigeration contractor. - All persons, firms, or corporations engaged in the installation, maintenance, servicing and repairing of refrigerating machinery, equipment, devices and components relating thereto.
(2) Industrial refrigeration contractor. - All persons, firms, or corporations engaged in commercial refrigeration contracting with the use of ammonia as a refrigerant gas.
(3) Refrigeration service contractor. - All persons, firms, or corporations engaged in the maintenance, servicing, and repairing of refrigerating machinery, equipment, devices, and components relating thereto.
(4) Transport refrigeration contractor. - All persons, firms, or corporations engaged in the business of installation, maintenance, repairing, and servicing of transport refrigeration.
(a1) This Article shall not apply to any of the following:
(1) The installation of self-contained commercial refrigeration units equipped with an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) molded plug that does not require the opening of service valves.
(2) The installation and servicing of domestic household self-contained refrigeration appliances equipped with an OEM molded plug connected to suitable receptacles which have been permanently installed and do not require the opening of service valves.
(3) Employees of persons, firms, or corporations or persons, firms or corporations, not engaged in refrigeration contracting as herein defined, that install, maintain and service their own refrigerating machinery, equipment and devices.
(4) Any person, firm or corporation engaged in the business of selling, repairing and installing any comfort cooling devices or systems.
(5) The replacement of lamps, fuses, and door gaskets.
(b) The Board shall establish and issue the following licenses:
(1) A Class I license shall be required for any person engaged in the business of commercial refrigeration contracting.
(2) A Class II license shall be required for any person engaged in the business of industrial refrigeration contracting.
(3) A Class III license shall be required for any person engaged in the business of refrigeration service contracting.
(4) A Class IV license shall be required for any person engaged in the business of transport refrigeration contracting.
(b1) Repealed by Session Laws 2017-10, s. 2.7(a), effective January 1, 2018, and applicable to applications submitted and Board membership appointments on or after that date.
(c) Any person, firm or corporation who for valuable consideration engages in the refrigeration business or trade as herein defined shall be deemed and held to be in the business of refrigeration contracting.
(d) In order to protect the public health, comfort and safety, the Board shall prescribe the standard of experience to be required of an applicant for license and shall give an examination designed to ascertain the technical and practical knowledge of the applicant concerning the analysis of plans and specifications, estimating cost, fundamentals of installation and design as they pertain to refrigeration; and as a result of the examination, the Board shall issue a certificate of license in refrigeration to applicants who pass the required examination and a license shall be obtained in accordance with the provisions of this Article, before any person, firm or corporation shall engage in, or offer to engage in the business of refrigeration contracting. The Board shall prescribe standards for all license classifications.
Each application for examination shall be accompanied by a check, post-office money order or cash in the amount of the annual license fee required by this Article. Regular examinations shall be given in the Board's office by appointment.
(e) Repealed by Session Laws 1979, c. 843, s. 1.
(f) Licenses Granted without an Examination. - Persons who had an established place of business prior to July 1, 1979, and who produce satisfactory evidence that they are engaged in the refrigeration business as herein defined in any city, town or other area in which Article 5 of Chapter 87 of the General Statutes did not previously apply shall be granted a certificate of license, without examination, upon application to the Board and payment of the license fee, provided completed applications shall be made prior to June 30, 1981.
(g) The current license issued in accordance with the provisions of this Article shall be posted in the business location of the licensee, and its number shall appear on all proposals or contracts and requests for permits issued by municipalities.
(h) A transport refrigeration contractor having an established place of business doing transport refrigeration contracting prior to October 1, 1995, shall be granted a transport refrigeration contracting specialty license, without examination, if the person produces satisfactory evidence the person is engaged in transport refrigeration contracting, pays the required license fee, and applies to the Board prior to January 1, 1997. The current specialty license shall be posted in accordance with subsection (g) of this section.
(i) Nothing in this Article shall relieve the holder of a license issued under this section from complying with the building or electrical codes, statutes, or ordinances of the State or of any county or municipality or from responsibility or liability for negligent acts in connection with refrigeration contracting work. The Board shall not be liable in damages, or otherwise, for the negligent acts of licensees.
(j) The Board in its discretion upon application may grant a reciprocal license to a person holding a valid, active substantially comparable license from another jurisdiction, but only to the extent the other jurisdiction grants reciprocal privileges to North Carolina licensees.
(k) Upon application and payment of the fee for license renewal provided in G.S. 87-64, the Board shall issue a certificate of license to any licensee whose business activities require a Class I or Class II license if that licensee had an established place of business and was licensed pursuant to this Article prior to January 1, 2018. (1955, c. 912, s. 7; 1959, c. 1206, s. 1; 1979, c. 843, ss. 1, 2; 1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1082, s. 5; 1989, c. 770, s. 13; 1995, c. 376, s. 2; 1998-216, ss. 1, 2, 2.1; 2009-333, ss. 1, 2; 2017-10, s. 2.7(a).)
§ 87-59. Revocation or suspension of license for cause.
(a) The Board shall have power to revoke or suspend the license of any refrigeration contractor who is guilty of any fraud or deceit in obtaining a license, or who fails to comply with any provision or requirement of this Article, or for gross negligence, incompetency, or misconduct, in the practice of or in carrying on the business of a refrigeration contractor as defined in this Article. Any person may prefer charges of fraud, deceit, gross negligence, incompetency, misconduct, or failure to comply with any provision or requirement of this Article, against any refrigeration contractor who is licensed under the provisions of this Article. All charges shall be in writing and verified by the complainant, and shall be heard and determined by the Board in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 150B of the General Statutes.
(b) The Board shall adopt and publish rules and regulations, consistent with the provisions of this Article and Chapter 150B of the General Statutes, governing the suspension and revocation of licenses.
(c) The Board shall establish and maintain a system whereby detailed records are kept regarding complaints against each licensee. This record shall include, for each licensee, the date and nature of each complaint, investigatory action taken by the Board, any findings of the Board, and the disposition of the matter.
(d) In a case in which the Board is entitled to convene a hearing to consider a charge under this section, the Board may accept an offer to compromise the charge, whereby the accused shall pay to the Board a penalty not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000). The funds derived from the penalty shall be remitted to the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund in accordance with G.S. 115C-457.2.
(e) All records, papers, and other documents containing information collected and compiled by the Board, or its members or employees, as a result of investigations, inquiries, or interviews conducted in connection with a licensing or disciplinary matter, shall not be considered public records within the meaning of Chapter 132 of the General Statutes. (1955, c. 912, s. 8; 1973, c. 1331, s. 3; 1979, c. 712, s. 3; 1989, c. 770, s. 14; 1995, c. 376, s. 3; 2009-333, ss. 3, 4.)
§ 87-60. Reissuance of revoked licenses; replacing lost or destroyed licenses.
The Board may in its discretion reissue license to any person, firm or corporation whose license was revoked if a majority of the Board votes in favor of such reissuance for reasons deemed sufficient by the Board. A new certificate of registration to replace any license which may be lost or destroyed may be issued subject to the rules and regulations of the Board. (1955, c. 912, s. 9; 1998-216, s. 3.)
§ 87-61. Violations made misdemeanor; employees of licensees excepted.
Any person, firm or corporation who shall engage in or offer to engage in, or carry on the business of refrigeration contracting as defined in this Article, without first having been licensed to engage in the business, or businesses, as required by the provisions of this Article; or any person, firm or corporation holding a refrigeration license under the provisions of this Article who shall practice or offer to practice or carry on any type of refrigeration contracting not authorized by the license; or any person, firm or corporation who shall give false or forged evidence of any kind to the Board, or any member thereof, in obtaining a license, or who shall falsely impersonate any other practitioner of like or different name, or who shall use an expired or revoked license, or who shall violate any of the provisions of this Article, shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor. The Board may, in its discretion, use its funds to defray the costs and expenses, legal or otherwise, in the prosecution of any violation of this Article. Employees, while working under the supervision and jurisdiction of a person, firm or corporation licensed in accordance with the provisions of this Article, shall not be construed to have engaged in the business of refrigeration contracting. (1955, c. 912, s. 10; 1993, c. 539, s. 607; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 1995, c. 376, s. 4; 2009-333, s. 5.)
§ 87-61.1. Board may seek injunctive relief; retain counsel.
(a) Whenever it appears to the Board that any person, firm or corporation is violating any of the provisions of this Article or of the rules and regulations promulgated under this Article, the Board may apply to the superior court for a restraining order and injunction to restrain the violation; and the superior courts have jurisdiction to grant the requested relief, irrespective of whether or not criminal prosecution has been instituted or administrative sanctions imposed by reason of the violation.
(b) The Board may employ or retain legal counsel for matters and purposes the Board deems fit and proper, subject to G.S. 114-2.3. (1979, c. 712, s. 4; 2009-333, s. 6.)
§ 87-62. Only one person in partnership or corporation need have license.
(a) A corporation or partnership may engage in the business of refrigeration contracting if one or more persons connected with the corporation or partnership is registered and licensed as herein required, and the licensed person executes all contracts, exercises general supervision over the work done thereunder and is responsible for compliance with all the provisions of this Article. The Board may determine the number of businesses and the proximity of the businesses one to another over which the licensed person may be responsible.
(b) For purposes of this section, the licensee's connection to the corporation or partnership shall be in the form of a written contract that is executed prior to the corporation or partnership engaging in refrigeration contracting.
(c) Nothing in this Article shall prohibit any employee from becoming licensed pursuant to the provisions thereof. (1955, c. 912, s. 11; 1998-216, s. 4.)
§ 87-63. License fees payable in advance; application of.
All license fees shall be paid in advance as hereafter provided to the secretary and treasurer of the Board and by him held as a fund for the use of the Board. The compensation and expenses of the members of the Board as herein provided, the salaries of its employees, and all expenses incurred in the discharge of its duties under this Article shall be paid out of such fund, upon the warrant of the chairman and secretary and treasurer: Provided, upon the payment of the necessary expenses of the Board as herein set out, and the retention by it of twenty-five per centum (25%) of the balance of funds collected hereunder the residue, if any, shall be paid to the State Treasurer. (1955, c. 912, s. 12.)
§ 87-63.1. Ownership of real property; equipment; liability insurance.
(a) The Board shall have the power to acquire, hold, rent, encumber, alienate, and otherwise deal with real property in the same manner as a private person or corporation, subject only to the approval of the Governor and the Council of State. Collateral pledged by the Board for an encumbrance is limited to the assets, income, and revenues of the Board.
(b) The Board may purchase or rent equipment and supplies and purchase liability insurance or other insurance to cover the activities of the Board, its operations, or its employees. (2009-333, s. 7.)
§ 87-64. Examination and license fees; annual renewal.
(a) Each applicant for a license by examination shall pay to the Board of Refrigeration Contractors a nonrefundable examination fee in an amount to be established by the Board not to exceed the sum of one hundred dollars ($100.00).
(b) The license of every person licensed under the provisions of this statute shall be annually renewed. Effective January 1, 2012, the Board may require, as a prerequisite to the annual renewal of a license, that licensees complete continuing education courses in subjects related to refrigeration contracting to ensure the safe and proper installation of commercial and transport refrigeration work and equipment. On or before November 1 of each year the Board shall cause to be mailed an application for renewal of license to every person who has received from the Board a license to engage in the refrigeration business, as heretofore defined. On or before January 1 of each year every licensed person who desires to continue in the refrigeration business shall forward to the Board a nonrefundable renewal fee in an amount to be established by the Board not to exceed eighty dollars ($80.00) together with the application for renewal. Upon receipt of the application and renewal fee the Board shall issue a renewal certificate for the current year. Failure to renew the license annually shall automatically result in a forfeiture of the right to engage in the refrigeration business.
(c) Any licensee who allows the license to lapse may be reinstated by the Board upon payment of a nonrefundable late renewal fee in an amount to be established by the Board not to exceed one hundred sixty dollars ($160.00) together with the application for renewal. Any person who fails to renew a license for two consecutive years shall be required to take and pass the examination prescribed by the Board for new applicants before being licensed to engage further in the refrigeration business. (1955, c. 912, s. 13; 1969, c. 314; 1979, c. 843, ss. 3, 4; 1998-216, s. 5; 2009-333, s. 8; 2017-10, s. 2.7(a).)
§ 87-64.1. Public awareness program.
The Board shall establish and implement a public awareness program to inform the general public of the purpose and function of the Board. (1979, c. 712, s. 4.)