Home Improvement, Solar & Low Voltage Electrical

If you are reading this for the first time, or are a regular, don’t forget the answer you may need is likely to be found on my website from a previous column. As our first contractor has learned, a lot of good information is accessible online but sometimes going directly to the source for an answer is what’s really required. As consumer interest in solar power grows, let me offer a ‘general’ suggestion on who can benefit from this work…

Q: I went through about 30 of your columns on line but could not find anything on this topic. I’m a “C-10” contractor and just secured a job installing coaxial cable. I went to pull a permit and was told I needed a “C-7” (low voltage) license. Okay, how do I go about getting this; what paperwork is required and how long will it take? I’m afraid I might lose the project if I can’t get the “C-7” very soon.

A: I’ll respond to all your questions but you may not like the answers. By the time you go through the application, testing, and fingerprinting, it may be about 6 weeks or more before the “C-7” can be added to your license.

A better response is to tell you that a year ago, I had a similar question that I posed to a License Manager at the CSLB. She wrote back confirming that “…the “C-10” Electrical classification covers both high and low voltage (“C-7”) installation, maintenance and service”. To prevent this problem in the future, you may want to secure the “C-7”. To save this current job, give the permitting authority a copy of my response. If they have any doubts, I’ll be happy to email them the classification determination to help straighten out any misconception or inaccurate information.

Q: I was just issued my “B” license yesterday and want to install a solar system on a neighbor’s home. I read the “B” definition and it appears I cannot do this. Any suggestions? Should I now apply for the “C-46”? Thanks for your help.

A: Congratulations on obtaining your General building license. While you are reading Code Section 7057 correctly, the Board has passed Rule 832.62 that allows a “B” contractor to perform solar installations. The Contractors Board has determined that an “active SOLAR energy system constitutes use of more than two unrelated building trades or crafts…” so you and your neighbor can both ‘shine’.

Q: Has the Home Improvement Salesperson license been invalidated? We did some research and according to the CSLB website the home improvement classification was repealed. However, it does not appear the same is true for the “home improvement salesperson” (HIS). An “HIS” is governed by Section 7152, and requires employment by a “home improvement contractor”. All that said it seems if the “home improvement contractor” classification was actually repealed, then the “home improvement sales person” license would be invalidated as well. Are we correct?

A: The HIS “Registration” is still valid and in-force while the Home Improvement Certification was, as noted, eliminated in 2004. The key here is, these are two different code sections that are not connected.

A home improvement salesperson (HIS) is defined in Section 7152 as a person who is employed by a licensed contractor to solicit, sell, negotiate or execute contracts under which home improvements may be performed or home improvement goods or services installed or furnished. These improvements include (but are in no way limited to) flooring, pools, painting, tile, fencing, etc. The Home Improvement “Certification” contained in code section 7150.2 was not a “classification”.