Discussion:
Are data/phone cable installers in CA required to have a contractor's license?
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Tak Nakamoto
2015-09-28 18:38:38 UTC
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This issue came up in a neighborhood blog where a couple of people wanted a
recommendation for a licensed electrician to install Ethernet cable in their
residences. In one case it was a single family house. In the other it was a
fourplex.

I've run into a few licensed electricians who work on residential
properties. They are good competent people but none of them struck me as
knowing anything about how to install data cable and do it cost effectively.

There are individuals and small firms in the area providing this service.
But as far as I know they are not licensed electricians. None of them
mention any sort of contractor's license at all on their websites.

Is a contractor's license required to install data cable in California?

Tak Nakamoto
David Kaye
2015-09-29 09:33:44 UTC
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Post by Tak Nakamoto
Is a contractor's license required to install data cable in California?
Your results may vary, but I contacted San Francisco's permit bureau about
this. The gist of it was that if you merely plug in things, no contractor's
license is required, but if you drill holes and attach connectors to cables,
a contractor's license is required. That was a no-brainer for me. If a
customer needs cabling done that is not simply plug'n'play, I either refer
them to an electrical contractor I know or suggest they use/get their own to
do the work.

It stands to reason for me. What if I drilled a hole in a wall and managed
to drill into an electrical cable, shorted it our and caused a fire? What
if I did the cabling job and the customer didn't like the holes I drilled?
Or what if I have to make several holes in order to find a spot where I'm
not drilling through a 2x4? I just avoid the hassle myself.




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Roy
2015-09-29 14:19:09 UTC
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Post by David Kaye
Post by Tak Nakamoto
Is a contractor's license required to install data cable in California?
Your results may vary, but I contacted San Francisco's permit bureau about
this. The gist of it was that if you merely plug in things, no contractor's
license is required, but if you drill holes and attach connectors to cables,
a contractor's license is required. That was a no-brainer for me. If a
customer needs cabling done that is not simply plug'n'play, I either refer
them to an electrical contractor I know or suggest they use/get their own to
do the work.
It stands to reason for me. What if I drilled a hole in a wall and managed
to drill into an electrical cable, shorted it our and caused a fire? What
if I did the cabling job and the customer didn't like the holes I drilled?
Or what if I have to make several holes in order to find a spot where I'm
not drilling through a 2x4? I just avoid the hassle myself.
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Actually, there is a "Low Voltage Systems Contractor"

"A communication and low voltage contractor installs, services and
maintains all types of communication and low voltage systems which are
energy limited and do not exceed 91 volts. These systems include, but
are not limited to telephone systems, sound systems, cable television
systems, closed-circuit video systems, satellite dish antennas,
instrumentation and temperature controls, and low voltage landscape
lighting. Low voltage fire alarm systems are specifically not included
in this section."

http://www.cslb.ca.gov/About_Us/Library/Licensing_Classifications/C-7_-_Low_Voltage_Systems_Contractor.aspx
sms
2015-09-29 15:25:30 UTC
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Post by Tak Nakamoto
This issue came up in a neighborhood blog where a couple of people wanted a
recommendation for a licensed electrician to install Ethernet cable in their
residences. In one case it was a single family house. In the other it was a
fourplex.
I've run into a few licensed electricians who work on residential
properties. They are good competent people but none of them struck me as
knowing anything about how to install data cable and do it cost effectively.
There are individuals and small firms in the area providing this service.
But as far as I know they are not licensed electricians. None of them
mention any sort of contractor's license at all on their websites.
Is a contractor's license required to install data cable in California?
Maybe.

<http://www.cslb.ca.gov/About_Us/Library/Licensing_Classifications/C-7_-_Low_Voltage_Systems_Contractor.aspx>

I think that it's more about the fact that the installer might have to
be drilling holes in various places than the fact that they're running a
cable that would never see more than 5 volts.

It's possible that doing POE, using a high current power supply, could
cause a fire if there were a short in the cable and there were no
over-current protection.

And of course any job over $500 requires a contractor's license.
Tak Nakamoto
2015-09-29 18:16:03 UTC
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"sms" wrote:


<http://www.cslb.ca.gov/About_Us/Library/Licensing_Classifications/C-7_-_Low_Voltage_Systems_Contractor.aspx>

I think that it's more about the fact that the installer might have to
be drilling holes in various places than the fact that they're running a
cable that would never see more than 5 volts.

It's possible that doing POE, using a high current power supply, could
cause a fire if there were a short in the cable and there were no
over-current protection.

-----------------

Thanks for mentioning the CSLB license category. Most us laymen know that
they should hire a licensed electrician for higher voltage work because it
has been pounded into our heads. But I hadn't heard of a need for a licensed
phone/data/tv cable installer. I didn't know that they had to be licensed.
I've never seen a building permit posted for this type of work. This is
probably why the neighbors on the blog couldn't find a licensed electrician
with the background to do the job.

If I wanted to install Cat 5/6 in my house, I'd probably do the job myself.
Since I personally completely re-wired my house (with permits) when we
bought it, I know where all the wires and pipes are. But even if I didn't, I
could buy and use both a magnetic stud detector and a signal generating
probe to check before I drilled.

Data technology advances so quickly, I always wonder if it is worth
investing more than the absolute minimum installing something like this. I
know that when we bought our house, I had planned on installing Ethernet at
one point. But the press of other work made me delay it. And we didn't
really need it for a long time. By the time we needed to operate multiple
computers on line at home, wifi had advanced enough to take care of our
needs.

Tak Nakamoto
sms
2015-09-29 21:57:25 UTC
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Post by sms
<http://www.cslb.ca.gov/About_Us/Library/Licensing_Classifications/C-7_-_Low_Voltage_Systems_Contractor.aspx>
I think that it's more about the fact that the installer might have to
be drilling holes in various places than the fact that they're running a
cable that would never see more than 5 volts.
It's possible that doing POE, using a high current power supply, could
cause a fire if there were a short in the cable and there were no
over-current protection.
-----------------
Thanks for mentioning the CSLB license category. Most us laymen know that
they should hire a licensed electrician for higher voltage work because it
has been pounded into our heads. But I hadn't heard of a need for a licensed
phone/data/tv cable installer. I didn't know that they had to be licensed.
I've never seen a building permit posted for this type of work. This is
probably why the neighbors on the blog couldn't find a licensed electrician
with the background to do the job.
If I wanted to install Cat 5/6 in my house, I'd probably do the job myself.
Since I personally completely re-wired my house (with permits) when we
bought it, I know where all the wires and pipes are. But even if I didn't, I
could buy and use both a magnetic stud detector and a signal generating
probe to check before I drilled.
Data technology advances so quickly, I always wonder if it is worth
investing more than the absolute minimum installing something like this. I
know that when we bought our house, I had planned on installing Ethernet at
one point. But the press of other work made me delay it. And we didn't
really need it for a long time. By the time we needed to operate multiple
computers on line at home, wifi had advanced enough to take care of our
needs.
I added data cabling in my house. It wasn't too bad to go from my wiring
closet downstairs to where I needed some hard wire connections. The
upstairs attic over the 2 story part and the downstairs attic over the
one story part connect by the stairs.

A handyman, willing to get dirty, and that won't fall through the
ceiling is what's needed.
Glenn Geller
2015-10-07 19:13:57 UTC
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Last year I asked the Contractors State License Board about this.
From that conversation, I concluded that the key distinction in the
tech field is between structural and non-structural installations and
repairs. You can lay down as much loose cable and as many
free-standing devices as you like, but once you run stuff through
walls, or attach things permanently* to structures, you need a license.

But don't rely on my impression.


*as opposed to temporarily, like a plug into a wall socket
David Kaye
2015-10-07 19:21:50 UTC
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Post by Glenn Geller
But don't rely on my impression.
Oh, I think your Humphrey Bogart is pretty good...




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