Low-voltage licensing in Ky. impacts security installers

Sunday, August 1, 2004

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A new state law requiring a license and background check to install low-voltage systems in Kentucky is the state’s first step towards oversight for security systems installers.

The law, which took effect in July, but gives people working with low-voltage systems time to take certification classes and corresponding certification tests, is expected to affect at least 5,000 people.

“This is the first step forward,” said Doug Vernon, president of the Kentucky Burglar & Fire Alarm Association, who has been watching the requirement take shape for the past year.

In 2003, the state’s legislature drafted a licensing law to regulate people who worked with heat, light and power. That narrow focus later expanded to include the low-voltage industry after the state’s association brought it to the legislature’s attention that it should also know the qualifications of people who install security systems in homes or for homeland security projects.

What eventually took shape is a law that impacts people who work in the low-voltage market. People that do not already have a license to work in the electrical or HVAC field, for example, need to become certified by the state as a low-voltage installer.

Along with affecting alarm installers, the law also impacts installers of central vacuum systems, invisible pet fences, garage door openers, cable television and numerous other systems.

Jack Bohannon, treasurer of the KBFAA, said the association supports the new law. “It’s a step up for professionalism,” he said. “You need to make sure that you don’t have a criminal record and you have the required insurance.”

Vernon said a timeline has yet to be set on when low-voltage installers need to meet certification requirements. But he estimated that installers will have until 2005 to meet the necessary rules.