ACCA members will soon have a choice when it comes to which level they want to join the group.

Starting June 30, the Air Conditioning Contractors of America will abolish the requirement that member companies also join chapters at the state and local level to be part of the national organization.

The HVAC market association made the announcement March 15, prior to the opening of its annual convention.

New association Chairman Phil London said it was time for the change.

“It’s been 15 years since we took a long, hard look at ACCA membership, and the world has changed a lot since then,” he said. “What made sense in 2000 doesn’t make sense now. Today the world is mobile, accessible, user-friendly and 24/7. And ACCA has over 100 different dues levels and there’s no easy way to join us online. It just doesn't make sense.”

In 2002, the ACCA enacted a “federation” plan that prevented companies in about half the U.S. from joining the national group unless they were also members at the state and/or local level.

The arrangement no longer made sense, London said.

“We actually spent the last three years looking at data, surveying members, and deciding how we can serve contractors in the most efficient way possible, while maintaining ACCA as the strong, respected organization it has become.”

Local and state chapters will now be able to operate more autonomously, setting dues and benefits, and recruiting members.

“We're independent contractors," London said. “We believe in local control. We understand the power of a brand. And we know that the free market works. Put those three things together and you get our new membership plan. Let our independent associations, at all levels, earn membership by creating value for contractors. And let the different associations collaborate where it makes sense for the purposes of national and state advocacy to benefit contractors, without any onerous membership or financial requirements.”