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The Florida Legislature deems it necessary in the interest of public health, safety, and welfare to regulate the electrical and alarm system contractors in the state (Florida Statute 489.501  Purpose.). This regulation seeks to enable qualified persons to obtain licensure, while ensuring that applicants have sufficient technical experience in the applicable trade prior to licensure, are tested on technical and business matters, and upon licensure are made subject to disciplinary procedures and effective policing of the profession.  

 

State wide low voltage licensing and permitting requirements were enacted many years ago by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations. From that date forward all county and city municipalities located in the State of Florida were required to comply with the new State low voltage licensing requirement. Many local municipalities complied, however some were ignorant or just turned a blind eye to the requirements and did not enact ordinances regarding low voltage in there local municipality.

 

On 12/31/2009 a notice of declaratory statement (8087392) was generated by the Florida Building Commission and all city and state municipalities were noticed that the Florida Building Commission determined that Sections 553.73, Florida Statues, and 101.4.1, Florida Building Code, require a permit for the installation of low-voltage electrical systems for telephones, data transmission, fire and security systems, closed-circuit and cable television, paging systems and speakers. View: State of Florida Building Commission's  Notice 8087392  Additional Links: Original Petition DCA09-DEC-257 and Second Review Hearing

 

It takes sometime for a local county and city municipalities to develop, then approve, and enact licensing and permitting ordinances. You are beginning to see compliance from the local county and city municipalities through out the State of Florida that did not institute the Florida statutes at its original inception years ago. Over the next year (2010 - 2011) many of the municipalities who are not currently in compliance will begin enacting ordinances covering contracting requirements for low voltage, licensing and permitting. Some municipalities like Jacksonville Florida are allowing a grace period until the full low voltage licensing requirements are active, however a contractor will need to be fully tested and certified by the compliance  date. Link: Jacksonville DPB Bulletin E-01_10

 

Low voltage as defined by the Florida State statutes covers all low voltage wiring and systems with the exceptions to irrigation wiring and a telecommunication company (territory certificated utility telecommunications companies only), however this does not excluded any broadband company, or any company who is in competition with another company for the service they offer in the state. "Florida Statutes 364.01 Powers of commission, legislative intent. -- (3)  Communications activities that are not regulated by the Florida Public Service Commission, including, but not limited to, VoIP, wireless, and broadband, are subject to this state's generally applicable business regulation and deceptive trade practices and consumer protection laws, as enforced by the appropriate state authority or through actions in the judicial system." Does this mean that companies that install and service cable and satellite television and broadband internet must be licensed in low voltage? The answer is YES. Florida telecommunications companies like Bright House Networks, Inc., Verizon Communications Inc.,  DISH Network L.L.C., DIRECTV, Inc., AT&T, Northeast Florida Telephone Company, Inc., and all their installing subcontractors and authorized dealers must be a low voltage licensed company certified either by the Department of Business and Professional Regulations, Electrical Contracting Licensing Board or registered by a local municipality and doing business in only within the municipalities boundaries. A certified or registered electrical contractor in category EC, EF, EG, or ES-069 (limited energy) are necessary for compliance with Florida Statutes that relate to telecommunications low voltage installations and service. Link: Florida statute Chapter 36 Telecommunications Companies, Link: Florida Public Service Commission

 

The DBPR and the Florida electrical contractor licensing board past Chair Mr. Noel Thomas commented For the last few years the board has been working to get individuals working in low voltage to comply with licensing laws. During the last two board meetings, there has been an increase in the number of individuals requesting licensing as limited energy systems specialty contractors. However, for every individual applying, there are many more that need to be licensed. I ask you to report these individuals to the department.  Link: DBPR - Newsletter

 

In my experience as and educator and the executive Director of the National Low Voltage Contractors Association to I have noted that the Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the Florida Electrical Contractors Licensing Board is very serious and determined to eliminate unlicensed low voltage activity in the State of Florida.  They have been proactive in seeking out unlicensed individuals and prosecuting them for unlicensed activity. The DBPR however has limited resources and it is the duty of every licensed contractor to do their part in stemming the tide of unlicensed activity not only for their personal wellbeing but the wellbeing of the public. Click Here to report unlicensed activity.
 

 


FLORIDA STATUTES CHAPTER 455 BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL REGULATIONS: GENERAL PROVISIONS

 

455.2281  Unlicensed activities; fees; disposition.--In order to protect the public and to ensure a consumer-oriented department, it is the intent of the Legislature that vigorous enforcement of regulation for all professional activities is a state priority.

 

455.228   Unlicensed practice of a profession; cease and desist notice; civil penalty; enforcement; citations; allocation of moneys collected.--  , the department may issue and deliver to such person a notice to cease and desist from such violation. In addition, the department may issue and deliver a notice to cease and desist to any person who aids and abets the unlicensed practice of a profession by employing such unlicensed person. --- , the department may file a proceeding in the name of the state seeking issuance of an injunction or a writ of mandamus against any person who violates any provisions of such order. In addition to the foregoing remedies, the department may impose an administrative penalty not to exceed $5,000 per incident pursuant to the provisions of chapter 120 or may issue a citation pursuant to the provisions of subsection (3). If the department is required to seek enforcement of the order for a penalty pursuant to s. 120.569, it shall be entitled to collect its attorney's fees and costs, together with any cost of collection.
 

(2)  In addition to or in lieu of any remedy provided in subsection (1), the department may seek the imposition of a civil penalty through the circuit court for any violation for which the department may issue a notice to cease and desist under subsection (1). The civil penalty shall be no less than $500 and no more than $5,000 for each offense. The court may also award to the prevailing party court costs and reasonable attorney fees and, in the event the department prevails, may also award reasonable costs of investigation.
 

(3) (b)  Each day that the unlicensed practice continues after issuance of a citation constitutes a separate violation.

 

455.2275  Penalty for giving false information.--In addition to, or in lieu of, any other discipline imposed pursuant to s. 455.227, the act of knowingly giving false information in the course of applying for or obtaining a license from the department, or any board thereunder, with intent to mislead a public servant in the performance of his or her official duties, or the act of attempting to obtain or obtaining a license from either the department, or any board thereunder, to practice a profession by knowingly misleading statements or knowing misrepresentations constitutes a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

 

455.2277  Prosecution of criminal violations.--The department or the appropriate board shall report any criminal violation of any statute relating to the practice of a profession regulated by the department or appropriate board to the proper prosecuting authority for prompt prosecution.


 

FLORIDA STATUTES CHAPTER 489 CONTRACTING - PART II: ELECTRICAL & ALARM SYSTEM CONTRACTING
 

489.511  Certification; application; examinations; endorsement.-- (1)(a)  Any person who is at least 18 years of age may take the certification examination.
 

(b)  Any person desiring to be certified as a contractor shall apply to the department in writing and must meet the following criteria:


1.  Be of good moral character;

2.  Pass the certification examination, achieving a passing grade as established by board rule; and

3.  Meet eligibility requirements according to one of the following criteria:

a.  Has, within the 6 years immediately preceding the filing of the application, at least 3 years' proven management experience in the trade or education equivalent thereto, or a combination thereof, but not more than one-half of such experience may be educational equivalent;


b.  Has, within the 8 years immediately preceding the filing of the application, at least 4 years' experience as a supervisor or contractor in the trade for which he or she is making application;


c.  Has, within the 12 years immediately preceding the filing of the application, at least 6 years of comprehensive training, technical education, or supervisory experience associated with an electrical or alarm system contracting business, or at least 6 years of technical experience in electrical or alarm system work with the Armed Forces or a governmental entity;


d.  Has, within the 12 years immediately preceding the filing of the application, been licensed for 3 years as a professional engineer who is qualified by education, training, or experience to practice electrical engineering; or


e.  Has any combination of qualifications under sub-subparagraphs a.-c. totaling 6 years of experience.

 

489.531 Prohibitions; penalties.--
 

(1)  A person may not:


(a)  Practice contracting unless the person is certified or registered;


(b)  Use the name or title "electrical contractor" or "alarm system contractor" or words to that effect, or advertise himself or herself or a business organization as available to practice electrical or alarm system contracting, when the person is not then the holder of a valid certification or registration issued pursuant to this part;


(c)  Present as his or her own the certificate or registration of another;


(d)  Use or attempt to use a certificate or registration that has been suspended, revoked, or placed on inactive or delinquent status;


(e)  Employ persons who are not certified or registered to practice contracting;


(f)  Knowingly give false or forged evidence to the department, the board, or a member thereof;


(g)  Operate a business organization engaged in contracting after 60 days following the termination of its only qualifying agent without designating another primary qualifying agent;


(h)  Conceal information relative to violations of this part;


(i)  Commence or perform work for which a building permit is required pursuant to part IV of chapter 553 without the building permit being in effect; or


(j)  Willfully or deliberately disregard or violate any municipal or county ordinance relating to uncertified or unregistered contractors.


(2)  Any person who violates any provision of subsection (1)
commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.


(3)(a)  Any unlicensed person who violates any of the provisions of subsection (1) commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.


(b)  Any unlicensed person who commits a violation of subsection (1) after having been previously found guilty of such violation commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s.
775.082 or s. 775.083.

(c)  Any unlicensed person who commits a violation of subsection (1) during the existence of a state of emergency declared by executive order of the Governor commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s.
775.082 or s. 775.083.

The remedies set forth in this subsection are not exclusive and may be imposed in addition to the remedies set forth in s. 489.533(2).

(4)  Each county or municipality may, at its option, designate one or more of its code enforcement officers, as defined in chapter 162, to enforce, as set out in this subsection, the provisions of subsection

(1) against persons who engage in activity for which county or municipal certification is required.


(a)  A code enforcement officer designated pursuant to this subsection may issue a citation for any violation of subsection (1) whenever, based upon personal investigation, the code enforcement officer has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that such a violation has occurred.


(b)  A citation issued by a code enforcement officer shall be in a form prescribed by the local governing body of the county or municipality and shall state:


1.  The time and date of issuance.


2.  The name and address of the person to whom the citation is issued.


3.  The time and date of the violation.


4.  A brief description of the violation and the facts constituting reasonable cause.


5.  The name of the code enforcement officer.


6.  The procedure for the person to follow in order to pay the civil penalty or to contest the citation.


7.  The applicable civil penalty if the person elects not to contest the citation.


(c)  The local governing body of the county or municipality is authorized to enforce codes and ordinances against unlicensed contractors under the provisions of this section and may enact an ordinance establishing procedures for implementing this section, including a schedule of penalties to be assessed by the code enforcement officers. The maximum civil penalty which may be levied shall not exceed $500. Moneys collected pursuant to this section shall be retained locally as provided for by local ordinance and may be set aside in a specific fund to support future enforcement activities against unlicensed contractors.


(d)  The act for which the citation is issued shall be ceased upon receipt of the citation; and
the person charged with the violation shall elect either to correct the violation and pay the civil penalty in the manner indicated on the citation or, within 10 days of receipt of the citation, exclusive of weekends and legal holidays, request an administrative hearing before the enforcement or licensing board or designated special magistrate to appeal the issuance of the citation by the code enforcement officer.


 

FLORIDA STATUTES CHAPTER 364 TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMPANIES
 

364.02  Definitions.--As used in this chapter, the term:

 

(14)  "Telecommunications company" includes every corporation, partnership, and person and their lessees, trustees, or receivers appointed by any court whatsoever, and every political subdivision in the state, offering two-way telecommunications service to the public for hire within this state by the use of a telecommunications facility. The term "telecommunications company" does not include:
 

(a)  An entity that provides a telecommunications facility exclusively to a certificated telecommunications company;


(b)  An entity that provides a telecommunications facility exclusively to a company which is excluded from the definition of a telecommunications company under this subsection;


(c)  A commercial mobile radio service provider;


(d)  A facsimile transmission service;


(e)  A private computer data network company not offering service to the public for hire;


(f)  A cable television company providing cable service as defined in
47 U.S.C. s. 522; or


(g)  An intrastate interexchange telecommunications company.



FLORIDA ADMINISTRATIVE CODE -  CHAPTER 61G6 ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS' LICENSING BOARD

 

Chapter 61G6, Florida Administrative Code


 

Additional Notes:

 
FLORIDA BUILDING COMMISSION

Code Administration Technical Advisory Committee 
 

MINUTESCA09-DEC-257
 

Question 1: Does the Florida Building Code pertain to the installation of low voltage electrical systems (phone/ data/ security/ Closed Circuit TV/ fire/ security alarm systems/ page & music-speaker systems / fiber optics)?

 

Answer:          Yes, section 101.4.1 of the Florida Building Code references chapter 27 of the FBC.  Chapter 27 establishes NFPA-70 (the NEC) as the applicable code. Additionally, the NEC contains requirements for such electrical wiring installations.


 

Question 2: Is a permit required for installation of low voltage electrical systems (phone/ data/ security/ Closed Circuit TV/ fire/ security alarm systems/ page & music-speaker systems / fiber optics)?

 

Answer:          Yes, section 105.1 of the Florida Building Code mandates in part, that a permit be obtained prior to the  commencement of any electrical installation which is regulated by the code, unless the authority having jurisdiction has  promulgated rules granting certain exemptions form the code for single family dwellings in accordance with section 102.2.5 of the FBC.

 

 

 
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