On March 29, 2017, the Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board (“CILB”), issued a Final Order, Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Construction Industry Licensing Board v. Michael E. Seamon, disciplining a Certified Pool/Spa Contractor (“CPC”) for replacing existing pool light fixtures. The Final Order adopted and was based upon an Order of the Division of Administrative Hearings in Case No. 16-2845, recommending disciplinary action against the license of a Certified Pool Contractor (“CPC”) after an employee of the CPC was electrocuted while replacing existing pool light fixtures at a residential home in Bay County, Florida. The Final Order marked the first time disciplinary action was taken against a CPC for replacing existing pool light fixtures. Prior to the ruling, it was common practice for a CPC to perform this type of electrical work on pools.
In another case, Department of Business and Professional Regulation v. Scott Delafield and Coral Isle Pool and Spas, Case No. 07-4859, the administrative law judge ruled that replacing a pool light fixture is considered electrical contracting, and is not exempt from regulation under Part II of Chapter 489, Florida Statutes.
At the time the Final Order was issued in Seamon, there was no statutory provision or rule permitting a CPC to replace pool light fixtures or to perform any other pool related electrical work. In fact, section 489.113(3), Florida Statutes, specifically states, “a contractor shall subcontract all electrical work . . . unless such contractor holds a state certificate or registration in the respective trade category . . .”
With that said, sections 489.105(3)(j), (k) and (l), Florida Statutes, in relevant part, limits the scope of work of a CPC to, “the installation, repair, or replacement of existing equipment.” There was no statutory definition for the term “equipment” as it pertained to the scope of work permitted to be performed by a CPC. Following the issuance of the Final Order and in a attempt to clarify sections 489.105(3)(j), (k) and (l), Florida Statutes, effective May 24, 2017, the CILB exercised its rule making authority and enacted Rule 61G4-12.011(16), Florida Administrative Code, which states:
The term “installation or repair” of pool/spa equipment, as it pertains to swimming pool and spa electrical work, is defined as inclusive of installation, replacement, disconnection or reconnection of power wiring on the load side of the dedicated existing electrical disconnecting means.
In enacting the rule, the CILB essentially sought to define “equipment” as used in sections 489.105(3)(j), (k) and (l), Florida Statutes, and in doing so, intended to expressly permit a CPC to replace existing electrical equipment (i.e. pool lights, pool pumps, water heaters, etc.). The rule does not, however, permit a CPC to perform the initial electrical connection on new construction pool equipment. As the law currently reads, a CPC may replace existing equipment while not being subject to discipline from the CILB. There are some additional training and continuing education that a CPC must take in order to be able to perform this electrical work. It is always the CILB’s goal to protect the health, safety and welfare of the consuming public and making sure that CPC’s are properly trained is squarely within its purview.
In order to stay in compliance with the laws and regulations of the construction industry, a CPC must subcontract all electrical work, when building a new pool, to a properly licensed electrical contractor. Installation, replacement, disconnection or reconnection of power wiring on the load side of the dedicated existing electrical disconnect is now permitted by a CPC under the current rule.