Chapter 18.160 RCW

FIRE SPRINKLER SYSTEM CONTRACTORS

Sections

18.160.010Definitions.
18.160.020Local government license and permit requirementsExemptions from chapter.
18.160.030State director of fire protectionDuties.
18.160.040Certificate of competencyContractor license.
18.160.050RenewalCertificate of competencyContractor licenseFire protection contractor license fund created.
18.160.070Local government regulationApplication to state and government contractors.
18.160.080Actions against certificates or licensesGroundsAppeal.
18.160.090Surety bondSecurity depositVenue and time limit for actions upon bondsLimit of liability of suretyPayment of claims.
18.160.100Unlicensed operationsPenalty.
18.160.110EnforcementCivil proceedings.
18.160.120InfractionsFailure to obtain certificate of competencyFines.
18.160.900Prospective application.
18.160.901Effective date1990 c 177.

NOTES:

Criminal penalties: RCW 9.45.260.


Definitions.

The following words or terms shall have the meanings indicated unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.
(1) "Certificate of competency holder" means an individual who has satisfactorily met the qualifications and has received a certificate of competency from the state director of fire protection under the provisions of this chapter.
(2) "Fire protection sprinkler system contractor" means a person or organization that offers to undertake the execution of contracts for the installation, inspection, maintenance, or servicing of a fire protection sprinkler system or any part of such a system.
(3) "Fire protection sprinkler system" means an assembly of underground and/or overhead piping or conduit beginning at the connection to the primary water supply, whether public or private, that conveys water with or without other agents to dispersal openings or devices to extinguish, control, or contain fire and to provide protection from exposure to fire or other products of combustion.
(4) "Fire protection sprinkler system contractor's license" means the license issued by the state director of fire protection to a fire protection sprinkler system contractor upon an application being approved, the fee being paid, and the satisfactory completion of the requirements of this chapter. The license shall be issued in the name of the fire protection sprinkler system contractor with the name or names of the certificate of competency holder noted thereon.
(5) "NFPA 13-D" means whatever standard that is used by the national fire protection association for the installation of fire protection sprinkler systems in one or two-family residential dwellings or mobile homes.
(6) "NFPA 13-R" means whatever standard that is used by the national fire protection association for the installation of fire protection sprinkler systems in residential dwellings up to four stories in height.
(7) "Inspection" means a visual examination of a fire protection sprinkler system or portion of the system to verify that the system appears to be in operating condition and is free from physical damage and complies with the applicable statutes and regulations adopted by the state director of fire protection.
(8) "Installation" means the initial placement of fire protection sprinkler system equipment or the extension, modification, or alteration of equipment after the initial placement. Installation shall include the work from a street or main water access throughout the entire building.
(9) "Maintenance" means to maintain in the condition of repair that provides performance as originally planned.
(10) "Organization" means a corporation, partnership, firm, or other business association, governmental entity, or any other legal or commercial entity.
(11) "Person" means a natural person, including an owner, manager, partner, officer, employee, or occupant.
(12) "Service" means to repair or test.



Local government license and permit requirementsExemptions from chapter.

(1) A municipality or county may not enact an order, ordinance, rule, or regulation requiring a fire protection sprinkler system contractor to obtain a fire sprinkler contractor license from the municipality or county. However, a municipality or county may require a fire protection sprinkler system contractor to obtain a permit and pay a fee for the installation of a fire protection sprinkler system and require the installation of such systems to conform with the building code or other construction requirements of the municipality or county, but may not impose financial responsibility requirements other than proof of a valid license.
(2) This chapter does not apply to:
(a) United States, state, and local government employees, building officials, fire marshals, fire inspectors, or insurance inspectors when acting in their official capacities;
(b) A person or organization acting under court order;
(c) A person or organization that sells or supplies products or materials to a licensed fire protection sprinkler system contractor;
(d) A registered professional engineer acting solely in a professional capacity;
(e) An employee of a licensed fire protection sprinkler system contractor performing duties for the registered fire protection sprinkler system contractor; and
(f) An owner/occupier of a single-family residence performing his or her own installation in that residence.



State director of fire protectionDuties.

(1) This chapter shall be administered by the state director of fire protection.
(2) The state director of fire protection shall have the authority, and it shall be his or her duty to:
(a) Issue such administrative regulations as necessary for the administration of this chapter;
(b)(i) Set reasonable fees for licenses, certificates, testing, and other aspects of the administration of this chapter. However, the license fee for fire protection sprinkler system contractors engaged solely in the installation, inspection, maintenance, or servicing of NFPA 13-D fire protection sprinkler systems shall not exceed one hundred dollars, and the license fee for fire protection sprinkler system contractors engaged solely in the installation, inspection, maintenance, or servicing of NFPA 13-R fire protection sprinkler systems shall not exceed three hundred dollars;
(ii) Adopt rules establishing a special category restricted to contractors registered under chapter 18.27 RCW who install underground systems that service fire protection sprinkler systems. The rules shall be adopted within ninety days of March 31, 1992;
(iii) Subject to RCW 18.160.120, adopt rules defining infractions under this chapter and fines to be assessed for those infractions;
(c) Enforce the provisions of this chapter;
(d) Conduct investigations of complaints to determine if any infractions of this chapter or the regulations developed under this chapter have occurred;
(e) Assign a certificate number to each certificate of competency holder; and
(f) Adopt rules necessary to implement and administer a program which requires the affixation of a seal any time a fire protection sprinkler system is installed, which seal shall include the certificate number of any certificate of competency holder who installs, in whole or in part, the fire protection sprinkler system.



Certificate of competencyContractor license.

(1) To become a certificate of competency holder under this chapter, an applicant must have satisfactorily passed an examination administered by the state director of fire protection. A certificate of competency holder can satisfy this examination requirement by presenting a copy of a current certificate of competency from the national institute for certification in engineering technologies showing that the applicant has achieved the classification of engineering technician level 3 or senior engineering technician level 4 in the field of fire protection, automatic sprinkler system layout. The state director of fire protection may accept equivalent proof of qualification in lieu of examination. This examination requirement is mandatory except as otherwise provided in this chapter.
(2) Every applicant for a certificate of competency shall fulfill the requirements established by the state director of fire protection under chapter 34.05 RCW.
(3) Every applicant for a certificate of competency shall make application to the state director of fire protection and pay the fees required.
(4) Provided the application for the certificate of competency is made prior to ninety days after May 1, 1991, the state director of fire protection, in lieu of the examination requirements of the applicant for a certificate of competency, may accept as satisfactory evidence of competency and qualification, affidavits attesting that the applicant has had a minimum of three years' experience.
(5) The state director of fire protection may issue a temporary certificate of competency to an applicant who, in his or her judgment, will satisfactorily perform as a certificate of competency holder under the provisions of this chapter. The temporary certificate of competency shall remain in effect for a period of up to three years. The temporary certificate of competency holder shall, within the three-year period, complete the examination requirements specified in subsection (1) of this section. There shall be no examination exemption for an individual issued a temporary certificate of competency. Prior to the expiration of the three-year period, the temporary certificate of competency holder shall make application for a regular certificate of competency. The procedures and qualifications for issuance of a regular certificate of competency shall be applicable to the temporary certificate of competency holder. When a temporary certificate of competency expires, the holder shall cease all activities associated with the holding of a temporary certificate of competency, subject to the penalties contained in this chapter.
(6) To become a licensed fire protection sprinkler system contractor under this chapter, a person or firm must comply with the following:
(a) Must be or have in his or her full-time employ a holder of a valid certificate of competency;
(b) Comply with the minimum insurance requirements of this chapter; and
(c) Make application to the state director of fire protection for a license and pay the fees required.
(7) Each license and certificate of competency issued under this chapter must be posted in a conspicuous place in the fire protection sprinkler system contractor's place of business.
(8) All bids, advertisements, proposals, offers, and installation drawings for fire protection sprinkler systems must prominently display the fire protection sprinkler system contractor's license number.
(9) A certificate of competency or license issued under this chapter is not transferable.
(10) In no case shall a certificate of competency holder be employed full time by more than one fire protection sprinkler system contractor at the same time. If the certificate of competency holder should leave the employment of the fire protection sprinkler system contractor, he or she must notify the state director of fire protection within thirty days. If the certificate of competency holder should leave the employment of the fire protection sprinkler system contractor, the contractor shall have six months or until the expiration of the current license, whichever occurs last, to submit a new application identifying another certificate of competency holder who is at the time of application an owner of the fire protection sprinkler system business or a full-time employee of the fire protection sprinkler system contractor, in order to be issued a new license. If such application is not received and a new license issued within the allotted time, the state director of fire protection shall revoke the license of the fire protection sprinkler system contractor.



RenewalCertificate of competencyContractor licenseFire protection contractor license fund created.

(1)(a) All certificate of competency holders that desire to continue in the fire protection sprinkler business shall annually, prior to January 1st, secure from the state director of fire protection a renewal certificate of competency upon payment of the fee as prescribed by the state director of fire protection. Application for renewal shall be upon a form prescribed by the state director of fire protection and the certificate holder shall furnish the information required by the director.
(b) Failure of any certificate of competency holder to secure his or her renewal certificate of competency within sixty days after the due date shall constitute sufficient cause for the state director of fire protection to suspend the certificate of competency.
(c) The state director of fire protection may, upon the receipt of payment of all delinquent fees including a late charge, restore a certificate of competency that has been suspended for failure to pay the renewal fee.
(d) A certificate of competency holder may voluntarily surrender his or her certificate of competency to the state director of fire protection and be relieved of the annual renewal fee. After surrendering the certificate of competency, he or she shall not be known as a certificate of competency holder and shall desist from the practice thereof. Within two years from the time of surrender of the certificate of competency, he or she may again qualify for a certificate of competency, without examination, by the payment of the required fee. If two or more years have elapsed, he or she shall return to the status of a new applicant.
(2)(a) All licensed fire protection sprinkler system contractors desiring to continue to be licensed shall annually, prior to January 1st, secure from the state director of fire protection a renewal license upon payment of the fee as prescribed by the state director of fire protection. Application for renewal shall be upon a form prescribed by the state director of fire protection and the license holder shall furnish the information required by the director.
(b) Failure of any license holder to secure his or her renewal license within sixty days after the due date shall constitute sufficient cause for the state director of fire protection to suspend the license.
(c) The state director of fire protection may, upon the receipt of payment of all delinquent fees including a late charge, restore a license that has been suspended for failure to pay the renewal fee.
(3) The initial certificate of competency or license fee shall be prorated based upon the portion of the year such certificate of competency or license is in effect, prior to renewal on January 1st.
(4) The fire protection contractor license fund is created in the custody of the state treasurer. All receipts from license and certificate fees and charges or from the money generated by the rules and regulations promulgated under this chapter shall be deposited into the fund. Expenditures from the fund may be used only for purposes authorized under this chapter and for providing assistance in identifying fire sprinkler system components that have been subject to either a recall or voluntary replacement program by a manufacturer of fire sprinkler products, a nationally recognized testing laboratory, or the federal consumer product safety commission; and for use in developing and publishing educational materials related to the effectiveness of residential fire sprinklers. Assistance shall include, but is not limited to, aiding in the identification of recalled components, information sharing strategies aimed at ensuring the consumer is made aware of recalls and voluntary replacement programs, and providing training and assistance to local fire authorities, the fire sprinkler industry, and the public. Only the state director of fire protection or the director's designee may authorize expenditures from the fund. The fund is subject to allotment procedures under chapter 43.88 RCW, but no appropriation is required for expenditures.

NOTES:

Intent2011 c 331: See note following RCW 82.02.100.



Local government regulationApplication to state and government contractors.

(1) Nothing in this chapter limits the power of a municipality, county, or the state to regulate the quality and character of work performed by contractors, through a system of permits, fees, and inspections which are designed to assure compliance with and aid in the implementation of state and local building laws or to enforce other local laws for the protection of the public health and safety. Nothing in this chapter limits the power of the municipality, county, or the state to adopt any system of permits requiring submission to and approval by the municipality, county, or the state, of technical drawings and specifications for work to be performed by contractors before commencement of the work. The official authorized to issue building or other related permits shall ascertain that the fire protection sprinkler system contractor is duly licensed by requiring evidence of a valid fire protection sprinkler system contractor's license.
(2) This chapter applies to any fire protection sprinkler system contractor performing work for any municipality, county, or the state. Officials of any municipality, county, or the state are required to determine compliance with this chapter before awarding any contracts for the installation, repair, service, alteration, fabrication, addition, or inspection of a fire protection sprinkler system.



Actions against certificates or licensesGroundsAppeal.

(1) The state director of fire protection may refuse to issue or renew or may suspend or revoke the privilege of a licensed fire protection sprinkler system contractor or the certificate of a certificate of competency holder to engage in the fire protection sprinkler system business or in lieu thereof, establish penalties as prescribed by Washington state law, for any of the following reasons:
(a) Gross incompetency or gross negligence in the preparation of technical drawings, installation, repair, alteration, maintenance, inspection, service, or addition to fire protection sprinkler systems;
(b) Except as provided in RCW 9.97.020, conviction of a felony;
(c) Fraudulent or dishonest practices while engaging in the fire protection sprinkler system business;
(d) Use of false evidence or misrepresentation in an application for a license or certificate of competency;
(e) Permitting his or her license to be used in connection with the preparation of any technical drawings which have not been prepared by him or her personally or under his or her immediate supervision, or in violation of this chapter; or
(f) Knowingly violating any provisions of this chapter or the regulations issued thereunder.
(2) The state director of fire protection shall revoke the license of a licensed fire protection sprinkler system contractor or the certificate of a certificate of competency holder who engages in the fire protection sprinkler system business while the license or certificate of competency is suspended.
(3) The state director of fire protection shall immediately suspend any license or certificate issued under this chapter if the holder has been certified pursuant to RCW 74.20A.320 by the department of social and health services as a person who is not in compliance with a support order or a *residential or visitation order. If the person has continued to meet all other requirements for issuance or reinstatement during the suspension, issuance or reissuance of the license or certificate shall be automatic upon the director's receipt of a release issued by the department of social and health services stating that the person is in compliance with the order.
(4) Any licensee or certificate of competency holder who is aggrieved by an order of the state director of fire protection suspending or revoking a license may, within thirty days after notice of such suspension or revocation, appeal under chapter 34.05 RCW. This subsection does not apply to actions taken under subsection (3) of this section.

NOTES:

*Reviser's note: 1997 c 58 § 886 requiring a court to order certification of noncompliance with residential provisions of a court-ordered parenting plan was vetoed. Provisions ordering the department of social and health services to certify a responsible parent based on a court order to certify for noncompliance with residential provisions of a parenting plan were vetoed. See RCW 74.20A.320.
FindingConflict with federal requirements2016 c 81: See notes following RCW 9.97.010.
Short titlePart headings, captions, table of contents not lawExemptions and waivers from federal lawConflict with federal requirementsSeverability1997 c 58: See RCW 74.08A.900 through 74.08A.904.
Effective datesIntent1997 c 58: See notes following RCW 74.20A.320.



Surety bondSecurity depositVenue and time limit for actions upon bondsLimit of liability of suretyPayment of claims.

(1) Before granting a license under this chapter, the director of fire protection shall require that the applicant file with the state director of fire protection a surety bond issued by a surety insurer who meets the requirements of chapter 48.28 RCW in a form acceptable to the director of fire protection running to the state of Washington in the penal sum of ten thousand dollars. However, the surety bond for a fire protection sprinkler system contractor whose business is restricted solely to NFPA 13-D or NFPA 13-R systems shall be in the penal sum of six thousand dollars. The bond shall be conditioned that the applicant will pay all purchasers of fire protection sprinkler systems with whom the applicant has a contract for the applicant to install, inspect, maintain, or service a fire protection sprinkler system, and who have obtained a judgment against the applicant for the breach of such a contract. The term "purchaser" means an owner of property who has entered into a contract for the installation of a fire protection sprinkler system on that property, or a contractor who contracts to install, inspect, maintain, or service such a system with an owner of property and subcontracts the work to the applicant. No other person, including, but not limited to, persons who supply labor, materials, or rental equipment to the applicant, shall have any rights against the bond.
(2) In lieu of the surety bond required by this section the applicant may file with the director of fire protection a deposit consisting of cash or other security acceptable to the director of fire protection in an amount equal to the penal sum of the required bond. The director of fire protection may adopt rules necessary for the proper administration of the security.
(3) Before granting renewal of a fire protection sprinkler system contractor's license to any applicant, the director of fire protection shall require that the applicant file with the director satisfactory evidence that the surety bond or cash deposit is in full force.
(4) Any purchaser of a fire protection sprinkler system having a claim against the licensee for the breach of a contract for the licensee to install, inspect, maintain, or service a fire protection sprinkler system may bring suit upon such bond in superior court of the county in which the work was done or of any county in which jurisdiction of the licensee may be had. Any such action must be brought not later than one year after the expiration of the licensee's license or renewal license then in effect at the time of the alleged breach of contract.
(5) The bond shall be considered one continuous obligation, and the surety upon the bond shall not be liable in aggregate or cumulative amount exceeding ten thousand dollars, or six thousand dollars if the bond was issued to a licensee whose business is restricted solely to NFPA 13-D or NFPA 13-R systems, regardless of the number of years the bond is in effect, or whether it is reinstated, renewed, reissued, or otherwise continued, and regardless of the year in which any claim accrued. The bond shall not be liable for any liability of the licensee for tortious acts, whether or not such liability is imposed by statute or common law, or is imposed by contract. The bond shall not be a substitute or supplemental to any liability or other insurance required by law or by the contract.
(6) If the surety desires to make payment without awaiting court action against it, the amount of the bond shall be reduced to the extent of any payment made by the surety in good faith under the bond. Any payment shall be based on final judgments received by the surety.
(7) Claims against the bond shall be satisfied from the bond in the following order:
(a) Claims by a purchaser of a fire protection sprinkler system for the breach of a contract for the licensee to install, inspect, maintain, or service a fire protection sprinkler system;
(b) Any court costs, interest, and attorneys' fees the plaintiff may be entitled to recover by contract, statute, or court rule.
A condition precedent to the surety being liable to any claimant is a final judgment against the licensee, unless the surety desires to make payment without awaiting court action. In the event of a dispute regarding the apportionment of the bond proceeds among claimants, the surety may bring an action for interpleader against all claimants upon the bond.
(8) Any purchaser of a fire protection sprinkler system having an unsatisfied final judgment against the licensee for the breach of a contract for the licensee to install, inspect, maintain, or service a fire protection sprinkler system may execute upon the security held by the director of fire protection by serving a certified copy of the unsatisfied final judgment by registered or certified mail upon the director within one year of the date of entry of such judgment. Upon the receipt of service of such certified copy the director shall pay or order paid from the deposit, through the registry of the court which rendered judgment, towards the amount of the unsatisfied judgment. The priority of payment by the director shall be the order of receipt by the director, but the director shall have no liability for payment in excess of the amount of the deposit.



Unlicensed operationsPenalty.

Any fire protection sprinkler system contractor who constructs, installs, or maintains a fire protection sprinkler system in any occupancy, except an owner-occupied single-family dwelling, without first obtaining a fire sprinkler contractor's license from the state of Washington, is guilty of a gross misdemeanor. This section may not be construed to create any criminal liability for a prime contractor or an owner of an occupancy unless it is proved that the prime contractor or owner had actual knowledge of an illegal construction, installation, or maintenance of a fire protection sprinkler system by a fire protection sprinkler system contractor.

NOTES:

Wrongful acts by contractor, criminal penalty: RCW 9.45.260.



EnforcementCivil proceedings.

Civil proceedings to enforce this chapter may be brought by the attorney general or the prosecuting attorney of any county where a violation occurs on his or her own motion or at the request of the state director of fire protection.



InfractionsFailure to obtain certificate of competencyFines.

(1) A fire protection sprinkler system contractor found to have committed an infraction under this chapter as defined in rule under RCW 18.160.030(2)(b)(iii) shall be assessed a fine of not less than two hundred dollars and not more than five thousand dollars.
(2) A fire protection sprinkler system contractor who fails to obtain a certificate of competency under RCW 18.160.040 shall be assessed a fine of not less than one thousand dollars and not more than five thousand dollars.
(3) All fines collected under this section shall be deposited into the fire protection contractor license fund.



Prospective application.

This chapter applies prospectively only and not retroactively. A municipal or county order, ordinance, rule, or regulation that is in effect as of May 1, 1991, is not invalid because of the provisions of this chapter. This chapter does not prohibit municipalities or counties from adopting stricter guidelines that will assure the proper installation of fire sprinkler systems within their jurisdictions.



Effective date1990 c 177.

RCW 18.160.010 through 18.160.080 shall take effect May 1, 1991.