View Full Version : licensed electrician must install low voltage systems over 10V

05-03-2006, 03:17 PM
In regards to Low Voltage Landscape Lighting applications:
I was told by the Department of Consumer Affairs that in the state of NJ, is mandatory that anything over 10Volts be installed by a licensed electrician. They have to direct bury all the wiring and you must apply for a permit. So if you own a Low Voltage Landscape Lighting business you must either be a licensed electrician or contract one per job. This varies per state, but it just came to my attention at a lighting seminar even though this had been in effect since 1998! Anybody else hear about this? when I called certain townships even the electrical official had no idea what i was talking about.

05-03-2006, 05:14 PM
This has been the law long before 1998.

There are two exceptions: Anything under 36 volts for lawn irrigation and alarm systems but NJ has recently made these to require their own license.

I doubt that any municipality actually requires permits or licenses for low voltage lighting though. But many will want a licenced electrician to do any work on the line voltage side of your transformer.

desert night light
05-04-2006, 12:45 AM
Not a problem for me. when I'm done My systems are operating well below the 10 volt range. My bulbs are so starved for power the color of the lite is orange.

05-04-2006, 12:13 PM
Unfortunately, there are some NJ townships that are more strict with inspections and have started to target low voltage lighting. For those of you who are being impacted by these laws, I suggest you contact your local landscape associations and ask them to get involved.

I've met with the NJLCA and brought these issues to theiir attention, but their resources are limited – immigration is the big issue these days and seems to dominate any lobbying effortss on behalf of the landscapers.

PLANET is also aware of the issues with landscape lighting but, again, immigration is overwhelming their legislative group.

LVLIA is also working on it.

05-05-2006, 02:44 PM
Originally I spoke to the Electrical Board, they weren't aware of this, they refered me to the DCA whom explained the whole process to me. Already there's township officials in Monmouth County NJ driving around handing out fines because of lack of permits and/or not having a lic electrician inspect and sign off on the job. Unless you are the homeowner installing the system anybody else is restricted to do so. The whole permit thing is just them wanting more money... So, basically now when you price the jobs you have to add more $ for a elec sub and all the extra permit crap. Now it's eating into your profit!

05-05-2006, 02:55 PM
It's not like you can jack up the price, people out there do not see the aesthetic value or beauty, just the price. Some people do, and these are the ones you want to deal with, unfortunately the majority dont and that's the reality. This is a problem contractors out there installing Low Voltage Lighting are not aware of till they get fined.

desert night light
05-06-2006, 02:46 AM
It's about time municipalities took a stance against amatuer installers (landscapers) . They have abused the system long enough with impunity. It's not about money it's about safety. Eskerlite said it in an earlier post. you can do alot of damage with low voltage if you don't handle it properly. Amen brother.

05-07-2006, 09:43 PM
It's about time municipalities took a stance against amatuer installers (landscapers) . They have abused the system long enough with impunity. It's not about money it's about safety. Eskerlite said it in an earlier post. you can do alot of damage with low voltage if you don't handle it properly. Amen brother.

I guess if you're a landscaper you can't handle the knowledge to install landscape lighting?

How about amateurs lighting trees/shrubs in which they have know idea about the plants future growth habit(electricians)?

There's a landscape lighting company in my area that's been in business for many years installing 10 lights for $995.00. He raises the fact that he's not a landscaper in his ads! These guys are everywhere in every business. He took a job from a landscaper friend of mine who uses high end materials and pushes the $200.00 fixture systems. Goes both ways. This job was in a $800k- 1 mil+ neighborhood.

05-07-2006, 10:27 PM
Here's how the system works in NJ. Homeowners in single family dwellings are allowed to do their own electrical work and have it permitted and inspected the way an electrician would.

So you, the contractor, pick up the permit application from the city hall, fill it out and have the home owner sign it. They then take it down to the city hall with your sketch of the installation.

In a few days, maybe a week or so, they get a call that the permit is ready and they go pick it up.

You then "help" the home owner install the system.

Once done, they call for an inspection.

Of course make sure the home owner understands the "system" too or they'll say that "Jim and Bob's Lawn Care installed this for me" and ruin the whole thing.

I did construction for years and walked inspectors through lots of project that the "home owners" did themselves with my help. Everybody involved, home owner, contractor, and inspector, knew what was happening and everybody involved knew not to discuss it.

desert night light
05-08-2006, 02:34 AM
Incompetants come from all trades not just landscapers. Just because someone is putting in 200 dollar plus a fixture systems doesn't mean they are good. In fact there are clowns out there who don't know their costs of doing business and go to a seminar like casts take a fixture count and multiply by $225 and arrive at a job cost. Going to a seminar does not a lighting designer make. Only years of experience on a daily basis with this work does. That's why everything is screwed up. The push is to sell fiixtures first and ask questions later.

05-10-2006, 11:05 AM
I agree with nlminc, you must have knowledge of all plant material, growth patterns, etc... unless your only lighting objects or homes, everything else will look like crap in the future if not planned correctly. So it comes hand in hand. Don't get me wrong, nobody wants to be responsible for burning down a house or causing any other damage, so i do believe electrical knowledge is imperative in order to perform these services. What i don't like is the fact that Landscape lighting manufacturers out there are too busy trying to recruit contractors, "training them", selling them demo and sales kits, and not providing these same people with this info (which I'm sure they know about), only with all the hype of all the $$$ they can be making. I know some of you will say that's each ones responsability, but for all those new people out there starting out trying to start a career it would be nice to send them out there "Fully Knowleageable" on all safety issues to avoid any costly or devastating mistakes in the future. Many installers out there are unaware of this, and it's a shame because most if not all have been "trained" by reputable manufacturers! And the law applies to all NJ, not only certain municipalities.

05-10-2006, 05:24 PM

I understand your frustration, but it really is impossible for us to keep track of all the local irregularities in the enforcement of these laws. The best our seminar leaders can do is to advise the contractors to check into what's going on in their regions. NJ is just one example, every state is different.

I believe manufacturers can best serve their customers by moving forward with lobbying efforts to convince lawmakers that landscape lighting is best suited for landscapers - not electricians (of course there are some great electrician designers also). LVLIA and PLANET are working with manufacturers as best they can with their limited resources, but it's an uphill battle that must be fought at the local level.

At least one of our distributors, Chuck Link at Florida Outdoor Lighting, actively helps his customers get the proper electrical certification. Other distributors can also take a more active role and probably would do so if their customers asked for it.

05-13-2006, 05:25 PM
I agree steve Chuck has been the only distributor I have dealt with in my LIMITED experience so far that has been up to date on this. I have talked to and delt with 3 distributors so far for various product lines. Just nice to know your suppliers are trying to watch your back a bit. Just makes for good business for everyone in my opinion

05-13-2006, 06:43 PM
Should I get back on my soap box about the LVLIA and why it is important for people who are installing landscape lighting to join? The LVLIA is trying to get together with PLANET and other organiztions as well to help us with issues like this.

08-26-2006, 09:53 AM
We have a sewer cleaner around here that will have the customer pull the permit to install a 2nd water meter just for the sprinkler system. Come to find out he is not a licensed plumber.