Cabling organizations discuss Delaware certification proposal

On February 4, members of three cabling associations--the Association of Cabling Professionals (Jacksonville, FL), bicsi (Tampa, FL), and the National Systems Contractors Association (Cedar Rapids, IA)--voiced their opinions on proposed legislation that would regulate the installation and repair of low-voltage wiring in Delaware. The organizations did not oppose the certification program that was under consideration, provided that the certification were available to all competent individuals, ac

Patrick McLaughlin

On February 4, members of three cabling associations--the Association of Cabling Professionals (Jacksonville, FL), bicsi (Tampa, FL), and the National Systems Contractors Association (Cedar Rapids, IA)--voiced their opinions on proposed legislation that would regulate the installation and repair of low-voltage wiring in Delaware. The organizations did not oppose the certification program that was under consideration, provided that the certification were available to all competent individuals, according to Ron Provost, bicsi`s governmental relations representative.

The certification issue dates back to January, when the Board of Electrical Examiners for the State of Delaware announced that it was planning to expand its Rules and Regulations, and that the additional rules would establish a requirement for certification by the board in order to install or repair low-voltage wiring. The proposed rule defined "low-voltage" wiring as that carrying 50 or fewer volts of electricity. It further stated that a special certificate would be required to perform and/or supervise the installation and repair of cable-TV wiring, telephone and data wiring, fiber-optic wiring, burglar alarms, and fire alarms.

Of the 130 people who attended the February 4 public hearing, most were from the communications-cabling industry. "The overwhelming opinion of those who testified was that these new regulations were not necessary and were just more regulations and fees that would have to be paid for little or no added value to consumers," Provost recalls. "Although [it was] not mentioned in the notice, many expressed concerns with respect to permits and inspections and the cost and delays to contractors and customers alike." He says that representatives of the alarm industry opposed the certification and indicated that they are already licensed by Delaware`s Fire Safety Board.

bicsi`s comments to the board read, in part: "We firmly believe that any license must be granted after the party has proven to the board`s satisfaction that [he is] qualified to provide the services covered by the license. This demonstration can be accomplished by testing, as is the case in most states that have similar programs, or by other means that the board determines. The most important thing for the consumer is that licensed people have the knowledge to deliver the services."

The president of the Board of Electrical Examiners said that this issue has been discussed many times in the past and that the board had been asked by the state legislature to finally resolve the matter. "He indicated that the board will be issuing further information on this matter in the future and that they were not going to rush to legislation," Provost notes.

"From bicsi`s perspective, there did not appear to be any hidden agenda behind this initiative," he continues. "However, that does not mean we should relax and not participate in this proceeding. A proposal is being circulated in Delaware to form a telecommunications association. bicsi has volunteered to meet with the association and assist [it] in working toward fair and open licensing of telecommunications work. bicsi provided the board [of electrical examiners] with material on our educational programs."

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