Policy Advisory

Policy Advisory Board Policies and Guidelines (Examiners of Electricians)

Date: 12/13/2017
Referenced Sources: Division of Professional Licensure

Table of Contents

Security Systems Guidance Memo

Guidance Memo 16-01 Licensing and Permitting requirements relating to the installation of wireless security systems
 

To:                All interested parties

From:            The Board of State Examiners of Electricians

Date issued:   December 19, 2016

Re:               Licensing and permitting requirements for wireless security systems

 

GUIDANCE MEMORANDUM

At its regularly scheduled public meeting on, December 19, 2016, the Board of State Examiners of Electricians (the “Board”) voted to issue the following guidance. 

On November 24, 2015, the Massachusetts Attorney Generals’ Office and Comcast Broadband Security, LLC (“Comcast”), entered into a Joint Stipulation and Order of Final Judgment (“Order”) resolving litigation involving a Comcast product called the “Xfinity Home System.”  (Essex Superior Court Civil Action No. 2013-0153). This Order found that the installation of the Comcast product in question was not considered a “security system” as defined in M.G.L. c. 141, §1 and thus would neither require a license issued by this board or a permit issued by the local wire inspector as a condition to installation.  The basis for the Order was a finding that, with regards to the Comcast product, “all of the components operate and communicate with the touch screen control panel via wireless, ‘plug and play’ technology…”  The Board understands that this Order has created some confusion within the security industry regarding if/when licensing and permits are required when installing a “wireless” security system.  Accordingly, the Board issues the following guidance: 

I.          Definition of a Security System

            Per M.G.L. c. 141, §1, a “security system” is defined as:

“an inherently power limited system of wires, conduits, apparatus, devices, fixtures, or other appliances installed and interconnected electrically or electronically to permit access control, proprietary signaling, surveillance and the detection of burglary, intrusion, holdup, or other conditions requiring response or the transmission of signals or audible alarms.”

II.         Exemptions from electrical/systems licensure/permitting

To be consistent with the Order, the Board advises that a system used for security purposes which meets the following criteria is not considered a “security system” under Massachusetts law and does not require an electrical or system license or permit: 

A.        No components of the system are “hard-wired”, since power is either obtained by a battery or by a standard plug inserted into a pre-existing electrical wall outlet; AND

B.        All components of the system communicate with each other solely by means of wireless technology. 

The applicable statutes and regulations continue to govern any situation with respect to electrical and systems work.  Further, this guidance should not be interpreted to cover every type of situation and technology.  Therefore, this guidance may be modified, altered, and/or amended by the Board at any time.

New EL Board Online Continuing Educational Policy

Find "New EL Board Online Continuing Educational Policy" in PDF attached below.

Guidance Memo 13-01 Massachusetts Electricians Licensing requirements relating to the installation of P.V. (photovoltaic) systems

To:   Local Inspectors of Wires
From:   The Board of State Examiners of Electricians
Date issued:   October 26, 2012
Re:   Massachusetts Electricians Licensing Requirements for PV System Installations

 GUIDANCE MEMORANDUM

At its regularly scheduled public meeting on, October 22, 2012, the Board of State Examiners of Electricians (the “Board”) issued the following guidance to local inspectors of wires.  This guidance memorandum amends and supersedes the memorandum issued on September 27, 2012. 

In light of the recent Court Decision in Suffolk Superior Court ( John Carroll, et al. v. Massachusetts Board of State Examiners of Electricians, C.A. No. 10-3408 ), the Board issues this guidance memorandum to clarify how the ruling relates to the advertising, installation, and oversight of Photovoltaic System (“PV System”) installations.

  WHAT DID NOT CHANGE

The Court in Carroll recognized that “the delivery by a PV System of electricity, and the installation appurtenant to that delivery, falls within the business that must be licensed pursuant to the first paragraph of [G.L. c. 141, § 1A].”  The Court went on to say that “[i]f a person is not ‘engaged in the business’ of the electrical work described in the first paragraph of § 1A, the licensure requirement does not apply so long as the person employs or contracts for the electrical work described in the first paragraph.”  Therefore, pursuant to the Court’s decision, general contractors who advertise and contract for PV installations have to subcontract with licensed electricians.  Like in all other electrical installations, an electrical permit can only be pulled by a licensed electrician or electrical contractor.

WHAT CHANGED

The Court in Carroll ruled that because there were so many tasks associated with PV installations that were non-electrical, general contractors were not engaging in the business of electrical work when they advertised and contracted for a PV installation, as long as they subcontracted with a licensed electrician to perform the electrical work on that installation.  Therefore, the advertising and subcontracting of the installation of PV Systems are not activities that are subject to regulation by the Board. 

WHAT IS ELECTRICAL WORK ON PV INSTALLATIONS

In its filings before the Court, the Board argued that, consistent with G.L. c. 141, §1A and the Massachusetts Electrical Code, the installation and interconnection of all PV System components, along with the grounding and bonding of all normally non-current carrying metal parts, constitutes electrical work.  (See Articles 690.43 and 250 of the Massachusetts Electrical Code.)  However, the Court neither embraced nor rejected the Board’s position.  Instead, the Court held that:  “The exact point at which general contractors must subcontract with a licensed electrician should be decided on a case-by-case basis and may be enforced through individual proceedings.”  

The Board has interpreted the law and the electrical code to require that a solar photovoltaic system, as defined by 527 CMR 12.00, Article 690.2 and associated apparatus such as, but not limited to, frames, racks, rails and modules must be assembled and installed by a licensed electrician.  Some types of work such as drilling holes in a roof and attaching footers to a building structure does not constitute electrical work. There are some areas, however, that this Board must consider further before issuing further policy guidance. 

The applicable statutes and regulations continue to govern any situation with respect to electrical work.  This statement may be modified, altered, and/or amended by the Board.

Policy Bulletin No. 07-01

Regarding License Terms and Expiration Dates For All Classes of Licenses Issued Within 90 Days of the License Renewal Date for Such Licenses

Enacted April 23, 2007

The Board of Examiners of Electricians voted today to adopt the following policy guidelines. These policy guidelines are intended as the Board's guidelines for the license term and expiration date for any license issued within 90 days of the license renewal date for such licenses.


 

Policy No. 07-01

Purpose: To provide guidance to license applicants, examination providers and to Board staff members regarding the term and expiration of any license issued within 90 days of the license renewal date for such licenses.

Policy: At its regularly scheduled Board meeting on Monday, April 23, 2007, the Board of State Examiners of Electricians voted to adopt the following policy:

For those individuals who receive a license of any class issued by the Board of State Examiners of Electricians, either by reciprocity or by examination, within a 90-day period of the license renewal date, the Executive Director is authorized to issue an expiration date on such license for the end of the next following renewal period. All prior decisions of the Board inconsistent with the above policy are superseded by this policy.

Discussion:

Chapter 13 Section 32 establishes the Board of State Examiners of Electricians, hereinafter referred to as The Board."

Under G.L. c. 141, §2, the Board of State Examiners of Electricians is authorized to "make necessary rules for the proper performance of their duties."

Chapter 141 Section 3, of the Massachusetts General Laws establishes four forms of licenses for electricians, They are as follows; A-Master Certificate, B-Journeyman Certificate, C- Systems Contractor Certificates and D- Systems Technician Certificate.

Each of the above certificates expires, by the terms of M.G.L. Chapter 141, Section 3, on

"…July thirty-first every third year, commencing July thirty-first, nineteen hundred and eighty-nine, but may be renewed upon payment of a fee, by application therefor being made during said month. In case of failure to renew a license as aforesaid on or before July thirty-first of the third year, the person named therein, upon payment of said fee, increased by such additional fees as would have been payable had such license been continuously renewed may receive a deferred renewal thereof which shall expire July thirty-first of ensuing three year period; provided, however, that such renewed license shall not constitute its holder a licensee for any period preceding its issue."

Prior to February 2001, the Board administered only paper and pen (manual) examinations annually (twice a year). Two exams were for electricians (Master and Journeyman) and two exams were for Systems Contractors and Technicians.

On or about February of 2001 the examinations were computerized and administered daily by a contractor whose examination administration services were procured by the Division of Professional Licensure on behalf of the Board. Several test centers for the new computerized examination were established within the Commonwealth.

The implementation of a daily computerized examination and the statutorily defined expiration date of a license issued by the Board creates a problem. If an applicant for licensure takes an examination in May of the third year of the renewal cycle, that license would be issued with an expiration date 90 days or less in the future. The Division of Professional Licensure does not have the ability to issue a renewal application in time for proper renewal of a license issued within 90 days of the end of the three year renewal cycle.

For that reason, and in order to prevent licenses issued for the first time within 90 days of the end of the renewal cycle from lapsing due to the inability of the Division of Professional Licensure to timely issue renewal applications to such first time licensees, the Board has determined that any license issued by the Board for the first time to a successful applicant, where that license is issued within 90 days of the end of the three year renewal cycle, shall not expire until the end of the next following renewal cycle.

No provision of M.G.L. Chapter 141 prevents the Board from exercising its authority to cause a license issued within a defined period prior to the end of a three year cycle to expire at the end of the next following renewal cycle. In this case, doing so prevents harm to both a licensee who may not be properly advised of the expiration of his or her license and necessity for renewal of that license which had just been issued within the preceding 90 days. Such an interpretation and policy by the Board also prevents harm to consumers of services provided by such a licensee, because that licensee, in the absence of a timely issued renewal application, may inadvertently have his or her license expire, and thereafter operate under that expired license. Finally, Board staff will not be overwhelmed prior to the end of a three year renewal cycle by an influx of licensees seeking renewal applications.

Policy Bulletin No. 06-03

Regarding Course Completion Requirements of 237 CMR 13.01(1)(b), 237 CMR 13.02(1)(b), 237 CMR 13.03(1)(b)(1) and 237 CMR 13.04(1)(b)(1) to be met by Apprentices who have Enrolled in Education Programs to Qualify for Examination and Licensure as a Master Electrician, Journeyman Electrician, System Contractor or Systems Technician

Enacted August 28, 2006

The Board of Examiners of Electricians voted today to adopt the following policy guideline. These policy guidelines are intended as the Board's interpretation of its regulations at 237 CMR 13.01(1)(b), 237 CMR13.02(1)(b), 237 CMR 13.03(1)(b)(1) and 237 CMR 13.04(1)(b)(1). Specifically, this policy is intended to clarify the requirements of the foregoing provisions of the Board's regulations relating to the Board's interpretation of the phrase "successfully completed" board approved educational courses in order to be eligible to sit for an applicable license examination.

Policy No. 06-03

Purpose: To provide guidance to educators and applicants regarding the board's interpretation of "Successful completion" of board approved educational courses in order to be eligible to sit for an applicable license examination.

Policy: At its regularly scheduled Board meeting on Monday, August 28, 2006, the Board of State Examiners of Electricians voted to adopt the following policy interpreting its regulations at 237 CMR 13.01(1)(b), 237 CMR 13.02(1)(b), 237 CMR 13.03(1)(b)(1) and 237 CMR 13.04(1)(b)(1):

"Successfully completed" a Board approved course means, whether in a modular or non-modular format, completion of all hours, under one provider, of a 150-hour Masters program, a 300-hour Technician's program, a 300/600 hour Journeyman's program, or a 75-hour Contractors program as found in 237 CMR 22.00.

The student enrolled in such program must complete all hours of a course of study with the same provider to receive credit for any hours he or she completed.

However, there may be exceptions to the policy that could create a hardship to the student including, for example, serious illness, disability, transfer of employment or other good cause. In such situations the board would authorize completion of course hours with a second provider contingent upon the student documenting the identified hardship in completing a course of study with the initial provider. The initial provider shall provide the student written documentation of the course of study completed to date by the student and the number of hours completed by the student along with the student's transfer request.

The student must give this documentation to the new provider at the time of enrollment. The new provider is required to ensure that the enrolling student does not repeat any curriculum previously taken with the initial provider.

Where a dispute regarding the existence of a hardship authorizing completion of a course with a new provider occurs, a determination shall be made by the Board. Such request shall be made in writing, within 30-days of the dispute, to the Board of State Examiners of Electricians.

All prior decisions of the Board inconsistent with the above policy are superseded by this policy.

Discussion: Under M.G.L. c. 141, §2, the Board of State Examiners of Electricians is authorized to "make necessary rules for the proper performance of their duties." In addition, under the same provision, the Board is required to "hold frequent examinations" in order to determine the qualifications of applicants for licensure as electricians under M.G.L. c. 141, § 3. Under G.L. c. 141, §2, the Board of State Examiners of Electricians is authorized to "make necessary rules for the proper performance of their duties." It is within the Board's authority to determine the level of educational experience necessary to be eligible to sit for an examination offered by it for licensure as an electrician or alarm systems contractor or technician.

The Board has established the educational course hour requirements which must be completed to be eligible to take the Journeyman's license examination in its regulations at 237 CMR 13.02(1) through (5). Because of some confusion around the issue of what it means to have "successfully completed" a course for eligibility to sit for examination for either a Master's, Journeyman's, Systems Contractor's or System Technician's license, it has become necessary for the Board to clarify its regulations in this respect.

Policy Bulletin No. 06-02

Regarding Rules Governing Praction Section 18.01(2) of 237 CMR Requirements to be Met by Licensees who have a Sign, Advertisement or any Other Business Communication of a Master Electrician, Journeyman Electrician or System Contractor

Enacted July 24, 2006

The Board of Examiners of Electricians voted today to adopt the following policy guideline. This policy guideline is intended as the Board's interpretation of its regulations at 237 CMR 18.01(2) to make a distinction between a listing and an advertisement, or other business communication.

Policy No. 06-02

Purpose:

To provide guidance to licensees regarding the board's requirement of a licensee to display his or her license type and number in any advertisement or business communication placed in telephone directories.

Policy:

At its regularly scheduled Board meeting on Monday, July 24, 2006, the Board of State Examiners of Electricians voted to adopt the following policy interpreting its regulations at 237 CMR 18.01(2):

A complementary business listing in a telephone directory published by a telephone provider, at no additional charge, to the individual, firm or corporation, by itself is not an advertisement or other business communication which would require the licensee's type and license number to be part of the listing. A listing as defined by the Board means the display of an individual's name or company name, or corporation name etc. with the phone listing in regular font only. Any listing in such directories which there is assessed a fee by the phone provider such as for bold font or a change in font size or additional information about services provided by the licensee is not a listing but an advertisement which requires that the type and license number be included within the advertisement.

All prior decisions of the Board inconsistent with the above policy are superseded by this policy.

Discussion:

Under M.G.L. c. 141, §2, the Board of State Examiners of Electricians is authorized to "make necessary rules for the proper performance of their duties." In addition, under the same provision, the Board is required to "hold frequent examinations" in order to determine the qualifications of applicants for licensure as electricians under M.G.L. c. 141, § 3. It is within the Board's authority to require the display of a type and license number in any sign, advertisement or any other business communication with a Massachusetts consumer.

Policy Bulletin No. 02-01

Regarding Materials Allowed In the Examination Room. For Any License Cited in Section 13.00 of Regulation.

Enacted August 26 , 2002
Modified on September 24, 2007

The Board of Examiners of Electricians voted today to adopt the following policy guideline. Specifically, this policy, HERE IN KNOWN AS the Board of State Examiners of Electricians Licensure Candidate Information Bulletin or CIB. This bulletin details the requirements as well as the process for achieving licensure.

Policy No. 02-01

Purpose:
To provide guidance to examination providers and applicants regarding the board's policy of "materials that are allowed in the examination room"

Policy:
At its regularly scheduled Board meeting on Monday, August 26, 2002, the Board of State Examiners of Electricians voted to adopt the Candidate Information bulletin (CIB) in its entirety. The Section of the CIB relevant to this discussion is entitled "Admission/Security to the Examination area" and identified as Policy No. 02-01
.

Admission/ Security to the Examination Area:

The following security procedures will apply during the examination:

  • Cell phones, pagers, and guests are not allowed in the examination site. This policy is strictly enforced.
  • No smoking, eating, or drinking will be allowed in the examination site.
  • Copying or communicating examination content is a violation of PSI security policy and State Law. Either will result in the disqualification of examination results and may lead to legal action.
  • Any individual papers that are not part of the copy writers paper-back, ring-binder, spiral binder or loose leaf binder type of book, or part of a multi-paged CMR, MGL, UL, or NFPA document as described in this section MUST be removed prior to entering the examination area.
     

Modified 9/24/07

  • Any Handbook, such as but not limited to the NEC or NFPA documents or standards, including the Ugly's Electrical Reference book are not allowed in the exam room.
    The coping, pasting, stapling or the insertion of such copy writer's material, in whole or in part and in any form is not allowed in the exam room.
  • Failure to comply with the above requirements may result in disqualification and forfeiture of all fees and Board discipline.

I tems allowed/ used as an aid during an actual examination

  • Calculator- only non-programmable, non-printing, silent, battery-operated, non-alphabet keys.
  • Code-Book- The current, adopted edition of the National Electrical code-book whether paper-back, ring-binder, a spiral binder or loose leaf, tabbed, or un-tabbed, that contains highlighted sections and or underlined sections or paragraphs or handwritten notes in the margins of the copy writers text is allowed in the examination area for examination purposes.
  • Massachusetts State Amendment- The current, adopted edition of the Massachusetts State Amendments whether a separate document or part of the National Electrical Code book, in or a paper-back book provided by PSI, tabbed or un-tabbed, that contains highlighted sections and or underlined sections or paragraphs of the original text of said document is allowed in the examination area for examination purposes.
  • Massachusetts General Laws- All Massachusetts General Laws applicable to examination questions whether a separate document or part of the National Electrical Code book, or in a paper-back book provided by PSI, tabbed or un-tabbed, that contains highlighted sections and or underlined sections or paragraphs of the original text of said document is allowed in the examination area for examination purposes.
  • Board Rules and Regulations- A copy of the Boards Rules and Regulation (237CMR 11.00- 23.00) whether a separate document or in a paper-back book provided by PSI, tabbed or un-tabbed, that contains highlighted sections and or underlined sections or paragraphs of the original text of said document is allowed in the examination area for examination purposes.
  • National Fire Alarm Code- A copy of the National Fire Alarm Code (NFPA-72) whether paper-back, ring-binder, a spiral binder or loose leaf, tabbed or un-tabbed, that contains highlighted sections and or underlined sections or paragraphs of the original text of said book is allowed in the examination area for examination purposes.
  • OSHA and Safety and Health Standards; Overtime Compensation Fair Labor Standards Law; Lien Law; Worker Compensation Law; State Unemployment Law; Employer's Tax Guide - A copy of each of the aforementioned publications - whether in paper-back, ring-binder, spiral binder or loose leaf, tabbed or un-tabbed, provided by PSI; that contains highlighted sections and or underlined sections or paragraphs of the original text of said publication - is allowed in the examination area for examination purposes.

Explanation of the above Policy 9/24/07

  • Tabbing of items means the subject tab MUST be physically affixed to an actual text page of the copy write text in accordance to the manufacture requirements. The purpose of tabbing items is solely to index items such as articles and sections already in the code book, not to add any new content. Failure to comply will result in the immediate disqualification of examination results and may lead to discipline
  • Looseleaf Index tabs or the equivalent that are inserted into an item(s) are not allowed and if inserted must be removed before the candidate enters the exam room area. Failure to comply will result in the immediate disqualification of examination results and may lead to discipline
  • Examination questions may be derived from reference material that is not allowed in the examination area. The insertion or the copying of such material on to materials that are allowed in the examination room is prohibited. Failure to comply will result in the immediate disqualification of examination results and may lead to discipline
  • Formulas- prior to examination - written on the blank pages that are part of a copy write item and are located in the back of your codebook. The only place where it is acceptable to writing formulas is on these pages and only in this book. Failure to comply will result in the immediate disqualification of examination results and may lead to discipline.

An example of this would be the following; I =E/ R
Assigning values to such symbols (Example to above: I = 240/2) or completing actual calculations (Example to above; 120 =240/2) is NOT to be inserted in any item. Formulas do not include wiring diagrams, schematic drawings, symbols other than symbols used in formulas such as I =E/R or I= V/ Ώ .


  •  
  • Written notes- prior to examination Handwritten notes in the margins of the aforementioned reference materials.
    This means in the actual margin of a page(s) where the copywriter's text appears.

Examples of acceptable notes are as follows;

  1. references to other Section, Article, or to other standard.
  2. or information related to a code rule.
  3. or information related to tables, annexes or the MEC
     

Examples of unacceptable notes are as follows;

  1. answers to questions
  2. outline of steps to solve mathematical equations or calculations
  3. Wiring diagrams, schematic drawings, symbols other than symbols used in formulas such as I =E/R or I= V/ Ώ
  • During the examination - only writing on the scrap paper that is provided by PSI will be allowed during the exam.

NOTE 1. Items not on this list are not allowed in the examination area.

The examination may also contain questions based on trade knowledge, or general industry practices. Except for Codebooks, you can use later editions of references as they become available. For Code questions, the examination will be based only on the edition of the Codebook that is listed.

NOTE 1: Examinations will be based upon the then in effect edition of the National Electrical Code, Massachusetts Electrical Code Amendment, standards and NFPA documents after July 1, of that year.

The candidate information bulletin (CIB) along with Boards Policy and Procedures should be provided and part of course curriculums to all student. The Board's policy allows ONLY hand written notes in the margin where the copy writer's test appears. Further, students may utilize only the blank pages of their code books for formulas. Actual calculations, wiring configurations, transformer diagrams or symbols other than symbols used in formulas are not allowed.

The goal of this should be clear, while the Board does not require students to memorize their Code books, Standards or other Regulations it is essential that they have a thorough knowledge of how to find information in their source materials as well as how to apply that information to specific problems presented in the examination and after licensure.

If a dispute regarding such policy existence, a determination shall be made by the Board. Such request shall be made in writing, within 30-days of the dispute, to the Board of State Examiners of Electricians.

All prior decisions of the Board inconsistent with the above policy are superseded by this policy.

Discussion:
Under M.G.L. c. 141, §2, the Board of State Examiners of Electricians is authorized to "make necessary rules for the proper performance of their duties." In addition, under the same provision, the Board is required to "hold frequent examinations" in order to determine the qualifications of applicants for licensure as electricians under M.G.L. c. 141, § 3. Under G.L. c. 141, §2, the Board of State Examiners of Electricians is authorized to "make necessary rules for the proper performance of their duties." It is within the Board's authority to determine the level of educational experience necessary to be eligible to sit for an examination offered by it for licensure as an electrician or alarm systems contractor or technician.

The Board has established an examination process and policy which must be completed to be eligible to take an examination in its regulations at 237 CMR 13.02(1) through (5).

Downloads for Board Policies and Guidelines (Examiners of Electricians)

Referenced Sources:
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