Mission and Structure

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The issue of permitting and code compliance for HVAC systems has been the subject of discussion within the regulatory policy arena for many years.

In 2015, the WHPA Compliance Committee developed a roadmap through a collaborative process with California Building Officials (CALBO), contractors, city and county representatives, County Building Officials Association of California (CBOAC), Contractors State License Board (CSLB), the California Energy Commission (CEC), California State Association of Counties (CSAC), and other relevant stakeholders for approved web-based permitting of mechanical change-outs.” This roadmap was approved in January 2016 and called for the development of this working group to develop an online permitting framework, overseeing four distinct project phases: Plan, Define, Pilot, and Deploy. The roadmap detailed the action items necessary for each of these four project phases and their suggested timeframes.


The Online Permitting Working Group reports to the Compliance Committee. To see the complete WHPA organization chart, click here.

The Working Group Chairs are Allison Paul (CHF) and Louis Fuentes (Air Conditioning Guys).

2016-2017 SMART Goal Topics

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  1. Launch 2017 Working Group and Develop 2017 Implementation Plan.
  2. Conduct and Analyze Surveys of Building Departments by August 31, 2017.
  3. Conduct and Analyze Surveys of Contractors by August 31, 2017.
  4. Confirm Minimum Legal Requirements for Mechanical Permits and Document in an Interim Memo Posted to the WHPA Website by September 30, 2017.
  5. Identify Legislative and Regulatory Policy Issues Related to Online Permitting and Document in an Interim Memo posted to the WHPA website September 30, 2017.
  6. Research Best Practices in Online Permitting and Document in a Memo Posted to the WHPA Website by December 31, 2017.
View the Working Group's Implementation Plans.  

Work Products

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Feasibility of Online Permitting (November 2017)

This memo summarizes five memos on the subject of online permitting: Minimum Legal Requirements for a Building Permit, Legislative and Regulatory Policy Issues, Review of Best Practices in Online Permitting, 2017 WHPA Online Permitting Jurisdiction Survey Results, and 2017 WHPA Online Permitting Contractor Survey Results. The memo also provides an overall conclusion that an Online Permitting System (OPS) is a viable approach to address the compliance gap. However, while OPS is viable, there are many potential challenges that need to be considered as documented in the aforementioned approved Work Products.


Online Permitting Best Practices Memo (October 2017)

This memo summarizes online permitting best practices based on literature review, a general survey of contractors and jurisdictions to get their perspective of online permitting, and interviews with several jurisdictions that currently use an online permitting system. While it is generally considered that online permitting will make the permitting process simpler for all involved, development of a user-friendly system that meets all stakeholder needs will be challenging. The best practices identified many of these challenges.


Online Permitting Contractor Survey Results Memo (September 2017)

This survey obtains California contractor input about the feasibility of a statewide online permitting system (OPS) which would enable permit application and obtainment, as well as tracking of permits issued. The survey aimed to ascertain information about if an online application could improve the efficiency and accessibility for both contractors and building departments, and enhance code compliance and statistical accuracy of permit reporting. 


Online Permitting Jurisdictional Survey Results Memo (September 2017)

This survey obtains California Building Department Jurisdictional input about the feasibility of a statewide online permitting system (OPS) which would enable permit application and obtainment, as well as tracking of permits issued. The survey aimed to ascertain information about the current status of individual jurisdictions’ online permitting systems (OPS) and to assess the viability of a statewide OPS to increase HVAC mechanical permits.


Minimum Legal Requirements for a Building Permit Memo (April 2017)

This memo summarizes the minimum requirements that local building departments are required to collect through the permitting process. It also compares those permit requirements with what is required on the CF-1R compliance form to determine any commonalities. Identifying these minimum requirements can be used to establish baseline criteria upon which an online permitting framework can be built.


Legislative and Regulatory Policy Issues Affecting Online Permitting Memo (April 2017)

This memo summarizes several recent pieces of legislation that have some influence over permitting and compliance. The specific legislation reviewed includes AB 802, SB 350 and SB 1414. In general, permitting and compliance are typically treated as secondary issues in existing legislation with the possible exception of SB 1414, which treats several aspects of compliance more directly. However, in order to achieve the significant improvement to compliance rates envisioned by the California Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan, a more concerted legislative effort will likely be required.


Online Permitting for Residential HVAC Alterations (January 2016)

In 2015, at the request of the WHPA Executive Committee, the Compliance Committee took up the issue of online permitting as a means to streamline the manual building permit process that is currently in place for the majority of California jurisdictions. The specific goal adopted by the Compliance Committee and approved by the Executive Committee is to “[d]evelop a roadmap through a collaborative process with California Building Officials (CALBO), contractors, city and county representatives, County Building Officials Association of California (CBOAC), Contractors State License Board (CSLB), the California Energy Commission (CEC), California State Association of Counties (CSAC), and other relevant stakeholders for approved web-based permitting of mechanical change-outs.”
 
 
 
Copyright 2017 by Western HVAC Performance Alliance