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Hawaii Contractors Clarify Rules

A letter purportedly from Hawaii's Electricians and Plumbers' Board prompted the Landscape Industry Council of Hawaii to seek clarification on the duties that can be performed by licensed landscape contractors. Photo Credits: JP Lawncare and Landscaping

A recent letter issued by Hawaii's Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs raised the ire of that state's C-27 licensed landscape contractors.

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The commerce department letter stated that any electrical work, including low voltage wiring, and any plumbing work within five feet of a building, requires a licensed electrician or plumber respectively. This type of work has always been in the scope of the C-27 landscape contractor, which is what has incensed the contractors.

Boyd Ready, vice president of the Landscape Industry Council of Hawaii, contacted the executive director for the Contractors License Board who said the letter may have originated with the state's Electricians and Plumbers' Board, surmising that it was due to that board's concern of some electrical contractors to continue to perform electrical work even without an individual licensed electrician on the job, and to the numerous security alarm companies ignoring the requirement for using licensed electricians for their installations.

After weeks of back and forth with officials from the Electricians and Plumbers' Board and thoroughly studying the ''Hawaii Administrative Rules'' of the Electricians and Plumbers, Boyd had good news for the states C-27 contractors.

Irrigation and night lighting systems indeed are within the C-27 contractors' scope. Incidental and minor elements of a job involving other trades can be contracted for so long as that trades' rules are followed. The Electricians and Plumbers rulebook has an exemption for low voltage (<30 volts) equipment as defined as ''any wire, appliance, fixture, apparatus or machinery installed on, in or about any structure for making use of electrical energy for light, heat and power except when...used exclusively for telephone, call bells, signals, or other purposes in connection with which electromotive force does not exceed 30 volts.'' Wiring for irrigation work and low voltage night lighting do not fall under these parameters. The plumbing guidelines from the Electricians and Plumbers' Board also do not apply to the work typically performed by C-27 contractors, so there is no need to have a plumber of site when installing sprinklers and fixtures.

Ready believes the C-27 contractors' concerns can be allayed for now, but he is open to receiving comments if Hawaii's contractors want to study this issue further.

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December 7, 2019, 3:46 am PDT

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