Editorial, Items of Interest

AS I SEE IT – Notice of Commencement By Paul Stehle

August 09, 2022

For the record…I HATE GOVERNMENT REGULATION !   These regulations are what you get when you send lawyers to do a commonsense job.  That may be unfair to both lawyers and regulations but in the end, I believe it is more true than not.  We as contractors have our own special torture tests to deal with which may make a safer project … or not.   Codes are the rules we live with and I’m sure good intentions were involved.  Codes were interpreted (fair warning, I am about to wear out that word) by the people who wrote them up (probably lawyers), then interpreted by the people who published the code book, then interpreted by us (contractors), then interpreted by the state building officials, then interpreted by the local building officials, then interpreted by the inspector, then interpreted by the general contractor, and then interpreted by the owner and finally interpreted by a lawyer if one of these steps fail.  Certainly, this makes for a few “Keystone Cops” moments.  But we DO NEED standards and codes to ensure public safety so I’ll give this group a pass.

Paul Stehle


If you do any work of a decent size, you will come to know a regulation we call “Notice of Commencement”.  Now I’m sure somebody is going tell me that this NOC is a great tool for the protection of the owner.   I, respectfully disagree.  I’m sure there is a war story out there somewhere that the legal community used to invent this instrument of torture.  Supposedly, if you are going to do work above a certain dollar amount you must get this NOC signed by the property owner even if he or she is the one who signed your contract.  Then when the job is done, we must send out a “Release” of the NOC so if the property owner ever wants to sell, the property will be clear of this lien.  Somewhere, someplace there is a lawyer patting the back of another lawyer in appreciation that somebody dreamed this up.  I guess you can tell I’m not a big fan of this regulation.  Add to this that until the advent of electronic filings (and some municipalities still don’t allow it) we actually had to go down to the court house personally to file this with a notarized signature of the property owner.  All this costs time and aggravation which in the end equals additional cost.  Hello inflation.


All that bloviating gets me to the object of this story.  Our industry, through the efforts of the Florida Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (FRACCA) has raised the minimum dollar amount required to initiate this regulation from the starting point of $1500 a few decades ago to the new amount of $15,000 (as of July 1, 2022).  No other trade has this high of a minimum even though they want it.  FRACCA staff, board members, association members, lawyers and lobbyists deserve all the credit.  We also have to acknowledge the State of Florida Legislature for its swift approval.  I have never seen anything like this go as fast in the world of politics and regulations.  Truly unbelievable!  If you are part of your local association and they are part of FRACCA, thanks for your support.  If you do not belong, I hope you reconsider.  Using something you didn’t earn or participate in makes you a parasite.  Instead, join the fight.

About Paul
Paul Stehle cut his teeth in the HVAC industry at an early age, helping his father operate a sheet metal shop out of the family’s basement in Long Island, NY. He joined his father and older brother when they opened Climatic Conditioning, Inc. in Sarasota, FL in 1972. They all earned ac contractor’s licenses and built the business successfully, at one point employing 65 people. Paul and his brother recently sold the business and retired.

Paul has served on local and statewide air conditioning contractor associations and has consistently been among the first to defend the industry when it has been threatened and been an advocate for unity, apprenticeships, professionalism and fairness. He has supported other trade associations as well, most notably the Gulf Coast Builder’s Exchange. Though “retired”, Paul continues to be involved in the HVACR industry and his community. Stay tuned for more literary contributions.

Contact Paul by emailing pgs1953@aol.com. Yes, aol!