Wednesday, July 24, 2019

How to Become an IICRC Journeyman or IICRC Master

As you start to build your restoration career, the internationally recognized Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) offers advanced designations to showcase your expertise.

The first level is called IICRC Journeyman, followed by the prestigious IICRC Master designation. In this post we'll review how you can achieve these statuses to set yourself apart from the crowd.


How to become an IICRC Journeyman:
  1. Earn the certifications listed below for the track of your choice by attending the classes and passing the certification exams. 
  2. Gain at least 1 year of experience in the field after your first certification is complete.
  3. Maintain your individual certifications with IICRC.
  4. Once these criteria are met, your Journeyman status will be awarded by IICRC.
Journeyman Track Requirements:
  • Journeyman Fire & Smoke Restorer (JSR)


How to become an IICRC Master:

After three consecutive years of experience as an IICRC Certified Technician you are eligible to pursue the Master Track. The training required is based on which track you wish to pursue.

Master Track Requirements:
  • Master Water Restorer (MWR)
    • Complete Journeyman Water Restorer (JWR) requirements and hold designation for at least 12 months
    • Additionally become IICRC certified in:
  • Master Fire & Smoke Restorer (MSR)
    • Complete Journeyman Fire & Smoke Restorer (JSR) requirements and hold designation for at least 12 months
    • Additional earn IICRC certifications for:
  • Master Textile Cleaner (MTC)
    • Complete Journeyman Textile Cleaner (JTC) requirements and hold designation for at least 12 months
    • Additionally complete certifications for (excluding the one you already completed for JTC):

Ready to get started or further progress on your IICRC Journeyman or Master designation track? View the Zack Academy Cleaning & Restoration catalog to find our full schedule of IICRC certification courses, offered by top-notch IICRC approved schools and instructors!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

HAZWOPER Training Information

Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response, or HAZWOPER, is a set of regulations implemented by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). HAZWOPER protects workers whose jobs expose them to toxic substances. These regulations also inadvertently protect civilians by teaching workers how to safely and efficiently respond to these type of emergencies.

HAZWOPER training is extensive, so in this article we answer some frequently asked questions about HAZWOPER certification.

Does my company need HAZWOPER training?
HAZWOPER training is designed for workers who are exposed to dangerous substances through work including the clean-up, treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous waste. Generally, if your company performs work on a contaminated site or provides emergency response or treatment services for hazardous waste, then you need HAZWOPER training. It's best to consult your state's program if you're uncertain; some states have more specific regulations on HAZWOPER training than others.

What kind of jobs can I take on with a HAZWOPER certification?
HAZWOPER certification allows your company to perform work on sites where exposure to hazardous waste can occur. This includes settings such as plants, factories, disaster zones, and more.

What kind of HAZWOPER certifications are available?
There are three levels of HAZWOPER training:
General Site Remediation can be further broken down into the following classes:
  • 40-Hour HAZWOPER: designed for students who are plant workers, environmental engineers, or involved in other safety and health operations
  • 24-Hour HAZWOPER: similar to the 40-hour class, but designed for employees who have a much lower risk of exposure
  • 8-Hour Annual Refresher: required refresher class for all levels
  • 8-Hour Supervisor: supplementary course that teaches management skills, planning, and specific site safety for management positions
Emergency Response Operations can be further broken down into the following levels:

  • HAZWOPER First Responder Awareness (FRA): designed for individuals who may witness a hazardous substance release and alert the proper authorities
  • HAZWOPER First Responder Operations (FRO): designed for "first line" responders who will protect people, property, and environment; stops the spill from spreading and prevents further exposure from a safe distance
  • On-Scene Incident Commander: compliments the First Responder Awareness course; designed for individuals to assume control of a chemical release
  • Hazardous Materials Technician (HAZMAT Tech): designed for individuals who respond to chemical releases to stop the release; this discipline includes emergency response planning and incident command system
  • Hazardous Materials Specialist (HAZMAT Specialist): similar to HAZMAT Tech, but with in-depth training on chemicals, toxicology; would be the role responsible for communicating with government authorities
When do I have to take a refresher course?
HAZWOPER re-certification must be completed every year by the anniversary date of the initial training.

To learn more about state requirements for HAZWOPER training, visit. To find approved HAZWOPER courses near you, visit Zack Academy. Zack Academy offers a variety of hazardous waste training courses both locally and online.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Florida Senate Passes Controversial "AOB" Property Insurance Bill

Legislators have passed a bill to address a controversial
Florida property insurance practice. However,
many property owners and contractors disagree with the solution.

Recently, Florida legislators passed a bill that will reform an insurance policyholder benefit known as assignment of benefits (AOB). SB 122 seeks to clarify AOB agreements and limit lengthy litigation. However, many Florida renovation companies have contested the bill, arguing that it favors insurance companies and puts increased risks on small contractors and remediation businesses.

An assignment of benefits is an agreement that transfers an insurance claim rights and benefits to a third party, such as a contractor hired to do repairs. This means that an insurance company directly interacts with the contractor, and ultimately pays the contractor. For most contractors, this practice safeguards them against clients who refuse to pay after services are rendered. For clients, AOBs can help get a project rolling quicker than waiting around for an insurance approval.

However, the practice has been exploited in some cases. Reports of contractors pocketing insurance payouts without performing the work have been reported across Florida. In other incidences, contractors have billed insurance companies for unnecessary services. These schemes are known to industry insiders as "AOB fraud".

Due to the way that many contracts are written, property owners are legally barred from finding another contractor to do the work. Oftentimes, homeowners resort to lawsuits after they have lost control of the claim process.

In an attempt to curb this dysfunction, lawmakers have created SB 12. SB 122 provisions include:
  • Define “assignment agreement” and establishing requirements for the execution, validity, and effect of such an agreement
  • Prohibit certain fees and altering policy provisions related to managed repairs in an assignment agreement
  • Transfer certain pre-lawsuit duties under the insurance contract to the assignee and shifting the burden to the assignee to prove that any failure to carry out such duties has not limited the insurer’s ability to perform under the contract
  • Require each insurer to report specified data on claims paid in the prior year under assignment agreements by January 30, 2022, and each year thereafter
  • Allow an insurer to make available a policy prohibiting assignment, in whole or in part, under certain conditions
  • Revise the state’s one-way attorney fee statute to incorporate an attorney fee structure in determining the fee amount awarded in suits by an assignee against an insurer
  • Require service providers to give an insurer and the consumer prior written notice of at least 10 business days before filing suit on a claim.

While the intent is said to protect consumers, some property owners and contractors disagree with the bill, which was heavily lobbied for by the insurance industry.

Property owners take issue with the fact that they must go through insurance companies to determine who can make repairs and how much they can spend. Insurance companies send "preferred vendors", or contractors affiliated with the insurance company. Many homeowners have complained that the preferred vendors do not perform the quality of work that they want, which can sometimes cause further issues and claims down the road.

For contractors, the bill would further lengthen the scope of a project with additional regulations. Contractors argue that they would receive less work once insurance agencies could require homeowners to only use a preferred vendor, making it especially difficult for small businesses. Furthermore, these new rules could allow insurance companies to underpay contractors that start work on a home without pre-approval from the insurance company, which is sometimes necessary to address emergency repairs.

Proponents of the bill insist that the AOB issue lies with frivolous lawsuits which are spurred by the promise of high payouts; prior to SB 122, the brunt of legal fees fell on insurance companies.

However, property owners and contractors contend that AOB agreements leave them with few options other than litigation.

SB 122 passed in the Senate and is slated to go into effect July 1, 2019. The bill will be applied prospectively, so it is unlikely to affect lawsuits filed prior to its passing.

To read more about the bill, visit the Florida Senate website. To learn more about assignment of benefits and what it means to you as a contractor, visit Zack Academy. Zack Academy offers a variety of remediation and restoration courses.

Monday, May 20, 2019

NYC SST Safety Training Deadline Extended to December 2019

Construction professionals in New York City will be relieved to hear
that the Department of Buildings has extended the upcoming SST training deadline. Still,
they must act quickly and get their training finished before the end of the year.

The New York City Department of Buildings has extended its Site Safety Training (SST) deadlines for workers and supervisors. Now, construction professionals in the city have until December 1, 2019 to meet additional training requirements prescribed in Local Law 196.

This amended date gives construction workers and supervisors an additional seven months to complete their Limited Site Safety Training requirement (30 hours) or Supervisor Site Safety Training requirement (62 hours), respectively. Construction professionals must comply with training requirements or else face penalties from the city.

Workers who will be on job sites that must designate a Construction Superintendent, Site Safety Coordinator or Site Safety Manager, must complete 30 hours of approved safety training to get their Limited SST Card by December 1, 2019. This can be fulfilled in three ways:

WORKERS: LIMITED SST CARD - Due by Dec. 1, 2019:

30 Hours Total

Construction supervisors must fulfill 62 hours
of specialized safety training by December 1, 2019. Their training requirements are listed below:

*Combo courses - Some NYC training providers have grouped these shorter SST courses together to make it easier to complete all of your hours:
  • 32-Hour Site Supervisor SST Combo: includes 8-Hour Fall Prevention, 8-Hour Site Safety Manager Refresher, 4-Hour Supported Scaffold, 2-Hour General Electives, 2-Hour Specialized Electives, 2-Hour Site Safety Plan, 2-Hour Drug and Alcohol Awareness, 2-Hour Pre-Task Plans, 2-Hour Toolbox Talks
  • 16-Hour Supervisor Combo - includes 8-hour Fall Protection, 2-Hour Drug and Alcohol Awareness, 2-Hour Pre-Task Meetings, 2-Hour Site Safety Plans (SSP), and 2-Hour ToolBox Talks
  • 8-hour Supervisor SST Combo - includes 2-Hour Drug and Alcohol Awareness, 2-Hour Site Safety Plan, 2-Hour Toolbox Talks, 2-Hour Pre-Task Safety Meeting
  • 6-hour SST Combo - includes 4-Hour Supported Scaffold User course and the 2-Hour General Electives
  • 10-hour SST Combo - includes 8-hour Fall Prevention and 2-hour Drug & Alcohol Awareness
  • 4-hour SST General and Specialized Electives - includes 2-hour General Electives and 2-hour Specialized Electives

Full SST Card: September 2020 Deadline for Workers

The revised December 2019 deadline does not affect the next NYC DOB deadline of September 2020, where construction workers must complete their full Site Safety Training requirement (40 hours). The requirements of the 40-Hour Worker Site Safety card are listed below:

Option 1: WORKERS via OSHA 10-Hour Card - Due Sept. 1, 2020

Training Course
40 Hours
General Electives
Special Electives

Option 2: WORKERS via OSHA 30-Hour Card - Due Sept. 1, 2020

Training Course
40 Total Hours

For more information on Local Law 196, visit the New York City Department of Buildings website. For more information on approved construction safety courses, visit Zack Academy

Friday, May 17, 2019

Rose Architects Completes CAPS Certification

Fort Lauderdale, FL (May 17, 2019) - Zachary Rose, CEO of Zack Academy, owner of Rose Architects, and a local Fort Lauderdale Architect, is pleased to announce the completion of his new NAHB Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation. This certification is a major step forward for his architecture firm, which will now add accessibility remodeling to its list of specialization.

The Certified Aging-in-Place designation program is an endeavor from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), a national authority on homebuilding and homeownership. The purpose of CAPS is to help elderly homeowners stay in their homes by offering modifications that make their home more accessible to them. These modifications can include grab bars, task lighting, walk-in tubs, and more. By making their home safer and more livable, elderly homeowners can retain their independence and have an improved quality of life.

Oftentimes, senior homeowners have to make the difficult choice between staying in their home or moving into an assisted living center. These choices usually factor in accessibility, as seniors begin to have difficulty with winding staircases, slippery tubs, and high shelves. This loss of independence can feel disempowering for seniors.

Through CAPS, senior homeowners can remain in their homes on their own terms. Certified Aging-in-Place Specialists are trained in the unique needs of the older adult population and will work with homeowners to provide unique solutions to their concerns.

"The CAPS certification has given us the tools as an architecture firm to cater to the needs of our aging population and help them to design the perfect home to age in," said Rose. "The NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) has done a fantastic job of creating a certification that combines the right amount of code-driven guidelines paired with practical-and-functional ideas, and we can't wait to help our clients create their forever Forever Home!"

About Rose Architects
Rose Architects is South Florida’s Fort Lauderdale architect and interior design firm. Founded in 2012 by Zachary Rose, we have worked on numerous projects including commercial, residential, and industrial spaces. We take pride in clean, functional spaces and are passionately committed to design perfection, innovation, and sustainability. As the firm’s driving force, Zachary is a licensed Fort Lauderdale Architect in the State of Florida (lic. # AR96067), licensed General Contractor (lic. # CGC1526625), an accredited LEED AP, and a member of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB).

Release Contact
India Edouard
Operations and Marketing Assistant
Rose Architects

Thursday, April 25, 2019

OSHA State Plans FAQ

construction workers
Understanding OSHA state plans is important to prevent unnecessary
penalties and fines for safety violations.

OSHA compliance is often discussed as if it's just one federal organization with one set of regulations; however, that it is not the case. Pursuant to Section 18 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, states are allowed to administer their own safety and health programs as long as they meet minimum federal requirements. As a result, many states have their own safety regulations that employers and workers must comply with in order to avoid fines. In this article, we answer some commonly asked questions about OSHA state plans.

What are OSHA state plans?

OSHA state plans are health and safety programs administered by individual states. These state programs must be approved by OSHA as being "at least as effective" as the federal OSHA program; however, OSHA state plans are often even stricter than federal OSHA regulations.

How are OSHA state plans different from federal OSHA standards?
  • State plans often include state-specific requirements that address local concerns such as California's heat illness prevention regulations.
  • Federal OSHA does not cover public sector employees such as law enforcement agents and emergency medical responders; however, most state plans cover private and public workers.
  • State plans often have innovative local programs that promote worker safety.

Which states have OSHA state plans?

Currently, the following states have OSHA state plans that cover private and public workers: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington,  and Wyoming.

Additionally, the following states have OSHA state plans that cover public workers only: Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, New York, and U.S. Virgin Islands.

How does compliance work in states with OSHA state plans?

If you work in a state with an OSHA state plan, you must comply with state-level standards. Although federal OSHA regulations are enforced in all states, individual state plans often have additional requirements that must be followed.

How do penalties work in states with OSHA state plans?

Fines and penalties in states under state plans are similar to states under federal OSHA. One difference is that states can impose higher fines. Many states that have stricter standards than federal OSHA also issue higher fines than federal OSHA for safety violations.

If I live in a state with an OSHA state plan, how can I make sure my classes are compliant with the state?

If you live in a state covered by a state plan, there may be specific rules as to which safety training classes are accepted by the state. You can find more information about this on OSHA's directory of state plans. You can also browse safety training courses tailored for specific regions on Zack Academy.

To learn more about OSHA state plans, visit OSHA's website. To find approved safety training courses near you, visit Zack Academy. Zack Academy offers a variety of OSHA safety training classes both locally and online.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

EPA Settles with Construction Firms for $35K in Lead Paint Fines

power tools and sawdust
Two Bay Area construction companies are set to pay
more than $35,000 in combined fines for violations
of federal lead paint laws that put workers and
residents at risk for lead exposure.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) settled with two California-based construction companies for violations of federal lead paint laws. Seismic Retrofitters, Inc., located in San Francisco and All Seasons Construction, located in Oakland are set to pay $27,000 and $8,500 in penalties, respectively.

According to inspection reports from EPA, both companies failed to comply with federal lead-safe practices set by the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule. Among the violations, the companies were found to have:
  • Failed to comply with occupant notification requirements such as telling residents about the renovations in advance of projects
  • Failed to retain proper records of projects such as ensuring that a certified renovator performed post-renovation cleaning verification
  • Failed to possess required lead paint renovation certifications
EPA's RRP Rule requires contractors working in housing or child-occupied facilities built before 1978 to adhere to strict renovation rules in order to protect workers and residents from lead paint exposure. Exposure to lead-based paint can cause a myriad of health issues such as bone, blood and neurological disorders. Lead exposure is particularly dangerous for children as their systems are still developing and any interference can cause irreversible outcomes.

Lead-based paint has been outlawed at the consumer level since 1978; however, many old buildings still contain the toxin. Unregulated renovations can release lead particles into the air, soil, and water supply. As a result, it's extremely important for all contractors to take precaution when disturbing structures that may contain lead.

"Reducing childhood lead exposure and its health impacts is a top priority for EPA. We will continue to diligently enforce our requirements to ensure children, workers, and residents are properly informed and protected," Mike Stoker, EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator, said in a recent press release.

To learn more about the report, visit EPA's website. To learn more about lead paint certification and how your company can avoid costly fines, visit Zack Academy.