Compliance Guide

1. Codes and Standards

1.1. What electrical code has the State adopted?

TDLR has adopted the National Electric Code 2017 Edition, as it existed on August 24, 2016, and as adopted by the National Fire Protection Association, Inc. It became effective September 15, 2017.

1.2. Who do I contact if I have technical questions regarding electrical installations?

Consult the applicable National Electric Code (NEC) and your local licensing or inspecting authority. In addition, TDLR is available to provide technical assistance. You may reach us via e-mail at electricians@tdlr.texas.gov; however, if there is a municipal or regional licensing authority, you will be directed to contact them for technical requirements that may be unique to its jurisdiction.

1.3. I'm performing electrical work in an unincorporated area (i.e. no permits required). What electrical code must I comply with?

Any non-exempt electrical work started on or after September 15, 2017, must be installed in accordance with the NEC 2017. The 'start' of electrical work is the day the electrician begins installing electrical materials or equipment within the residential or commercial building structure. Inside the corporate limits of a municipality, electricians must abide by city permitting requirements and adhere to any local amendments.

1.4. Has TDLR adopted standards that specifically address electrical safety in the workplace?

No. The Electrical Safety and Licensing Act did not authorize TDLR to adopt electrical safety standards that specifically address electrical safety in the workplace. However, upon reviewing safety concerns presented by representatives of the electrical industry, TDLR, under advisement from the Electrical Advisory Board, recommends adherence to electrical safety practices established in the NFPA 70E as a “best practice” guide for all state licensed electricians. For additional information regarding safety in the workplace, contact the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or the Texas Workforce Commission.


2. Inspections

2.1. Who handles inspections? Will TDLR hire inspectors?

The local licensing or inspecting authority (i.e. cities, counties, and regions with jurisdiction) is responsible for inspecting work performed in their area(s). TDLR does not perform inspections required for local permitting and code requirements.


3. Electrical Work by Non-Electricians

3.1. If an unlicensed person performing calibration, testing, inspection, or commissioning of electrical equipment encounters a situation requiring repair or replacement of a component of electrical equipment, may the person do that work?

Not if it is electrical work as defined by statute.

Electrical work is defined as any labor or material used in installing, maintaining, or extending an electrical wiring system and the appurtenances, apparatus, or equipment used in connection with the use of electrical energy, in, on, outside, or attached to a building, residence, structure, property, or premises. The term includes service entrance conductors as defined by the National Electrical Code.

3.2. Can licensed plumbers perform electrical work now that an exemption relating to “work performed by a plumber” has been added to the Texas Electrical Licensing Act, Chapter 1305?

Yes, but the electrical work is limited.

An exemption related to plumbers was approved during the 2007 session of the Texas Legislature under HB 1029 (80R), which amended the Law to allow licensed plumbers to perform the electrical work necessary to install, service, maintain, repair, or replace any type of plumbing fixture or appliance on existing electrical circuits only.

Simply put, a plumber may disconnect and/or reconnect any plumbing fixture or appliance on existing electrical circuits to perform their jobs, but may not perform any other “electrical work” without an electrical license issued under Chapter 1305. The exemption does not authorize a plumber to extend or replace an existing wiring service (i.e. to provide power to an apparatus requiring more wattage), nor does it authorize a plumber to enter into the internal parts behind the arc flash cover of an electrical panel board.

A plumber can open the door of an electrical panel to reach the over-current protection (OCP) “ON/OFF” handle. If the first means of disconnect for a plumbing appliance is the OCP in the panel and the appliance is hard-wired to an electrical box, the plumber may turn the OCP/breaker to the OFF/OPEN position and lock it out in order to disconnect/connect the appliance to the hard-wired electrical box.


4. Municipal Licenses and Permits

4.1. Can a municipality require me to register in addition to holding a state electrician's license?

Yes, but they may not charge a fee to do so. The new statutory language of Section 1305.201 prohibits a city from collecting certain fees from an electrician who holds a state electrical license, In reviewing the Senate Research Center bill analysis for HB3329 (PDF) , it appears the author’s/sponsor’s intent was to address the practice by some cities of charging electricians a fee to “register” their state license. The language does not, however, prevent cities from collecting a “building permit” fee.

TDLR is responsible for the statewide regulation of electricians, but cities have their own authority under state law to establish local ordinances and fee schedules. TDLR encourages interested parties to discuss ordinances and fees with their city officials - as each may address this in a different way.

4.2. Can a city charge an electrician a fee to obtain a permit to change out an electrical box?

It depends. The new statutory language of Section 1305.201 prohibits a city from collecting certain fees from an electrician who holds a state electrical license, In reviewing the Senate Research Center bill analysis for HB3329 (PDF), it appears the author’s/sponsor’s intent was to address the practice by some cities of charging electricians a fee to “register” their state license. The language does not, however, prevent cities from collecting a “building permit” fee.

TDLR is responsible for the statewide regulation of electricians, but cities have their own authority under state law to establish local ordinances and fee schedules. TDLR encourages interested parties to discuss ordinances and fees with their city officials - as each may address this in a different way.


5. Contractors

5.1. Contractor Invoices

5.1.1. What is required to be on the invoice for a Contractor?

The following information is required to be on all proposals, invoices, and written contracts proposed by the contractor:

  • Contractor’s name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • License number

All invoices and written contracts must also contain the following information:

“Regulated by The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, P.O. Box 12157, Austin, Texas, 78711, 1-800-803-9202, 512-463-6599; website: www.tdlr.texas.gov/complaints”

5.2. Contractor Vehicles

5.2.1. What license number should be displayed on my vehicle?

Your business contracting license number is required to be displayed on your vehicle. For more information, see Section 1305.166 and Administrative Rules 73.51, 73.52, & 73.54.

5.2.2. What is the format for a contractor’s license number to be displayed on the side of the vehicle?

A licensed contractor (i.e. electrical, sign, residential appliance installation) must display its name and license number on both sides of each vehicle owned or operated by the business, and used in the conduct of electrical work. Lettering must be of a contrasting color, and at least two inches in height. The lettering must be permanently affixed in conspicuous places on both sides of the vehicle.

  • The license number for an Electrical Contractor must be preceded by the letters “TECL”:
    Example: for an Electrical Contractor license number "1234" the sign would read "TECL 1234."
  • The license number for an Electrical Sign Contractor must be preceded by the letters "TSCL”:
    Example: for a Sign Contractor license number "1234", the sign would read "TSCL 1234."
  • The license number for a Residential Appliance Installation Contractor must be preceded by the letters “TICL”:
    Example: For a Residential Appliance Installation Contractor license number "1234", the sign would read "TICL 1234."

5.3. Master Electrician or Appliance Installer of Record

5.3.1. Can a licensed master electrician be the master of record for an electrical sign contractor’s license?

Yes, a master electrician may serve as “master of record” for an electrical sign contractor. See Section 1305.153 of the Texas Electrical Safety and Licensing Act.

5.3.2. How many electrical contractor/sign contractor licenses may a Master Electrician or Master Sign Electrician be assigned to?

A Master Electrician's/Master Sign Electrician's license may be assigned to multiple companies if the Master Electrician/Master Sign Electrician owns more than 50% of the electrical contracting business.

If the Master Electrician/Master Sign Electrician does not own more than 50% of a company, his license may only be assigned to one electrical contractor, and he must be an employee of that company.

Examples:

  1. A Master Electrician/Master Sign Electrician desires to be assigned to Company A and B, but does not own more than 50% of either company. NOT CORRECT. He can only be assigned to one of the companies, and he must be an employee of that company.
  2. A Master Electrician/Master Sign Electrician desires to be assigned to company A and B. He owns more than 50% of company A, but he owns less than 50% of company B. He must also be an employee of company B. CORRECT
  3. A Master Electrician/Master Sign Electrician desires to be assigned to company A, B and C. He owns more than 50% of companies A and B, but 50% or less of company C. He must also be an employee of company C. CORRECT

5.3.3. How do I delete and add a new Master/Master Sign Electrician to my Electrical/Electrical Sign Contractor license?

Complete an ELC004 Contractor Notice of Change and Duplicate License Request form. All current and new information must be completed on the form. Have the new master/master sign electrician complete and sign in the box near the bottom of the form. The company owner of record must sign the bottom line of the form (owner's signature) authorizing the change to the new master/master sign electrician.

5.3.4. Do I have to be a Master Electrician, or employ a Master Electrician, to conduct business as a Texas Residential Appliance Installation Contractor?

No. To be a Residential Appliance Installation Contractor you must either obtain and assign your own Residential Appliance Installer license to your company, or employ a licensed Residential Appliance Installer to assign their license number to the company as the “appliance installer of record.”

5.3.5. Do I have to be a Master Electrician, or employ a Master Electrician, to conduct business as a Texas Electrical Contractor?

Yes. As an Electrical Contractor, you must either obtain and assign your own Master Electrician license to your company, or employ a licensed Master Electrician to assign their license number to the company as the “Master Electrician of Record.”

5.3.6. Do I have to be a Master Sign Electrician, or employ a Master Sign Electrician, to conduct business as a Texas Electrical Sign Contractor?

Yes. As an Electrical Sign Contractor, you must employ either a Master Sign Electrician or a Master Electrician. As the business owner, you may also be the license holder by assigning your own license to your company as the “Master Electrician of Record.”.

5.4. Residential Appliance Installers

5.4.1. Can a Master, Journeyman, or an Apprentice Electrician also be the license holder of record for a Residential Appliance Installation Contractor license?

Yes, if the Master, Journeyman, or Apprentice Electrician also holds a Residential Appliance Installer license. Only the Residential Appliance Installer license will be assigned to the Residential Appliance Installation Contractor license.

5.4.2. Who is responsible for supervising residential appliance installers?

The Residential Appliance Installer of record for the Residential Appliance Installation Contractor is responsible for all work performed by the Installers for the Contractor.

5.4.3. Can a Residential Appliance Installer or Contractor change out a receptacle to make it compatible with the cord or plug on the appliance being installed?

No, a licensed electrician working through a licensed electrical contractor must perform the receptacle work.

5.4.4. Can a Residential Appliance Installer run a new circuit for a new appliance?

No, a licensed electrician working through a licensed electrical contractor must perform the new electrical circuit work.

5.4.5. Can a Residential Appliance Installer install luminaires?

No, with two (2) exceptions:

  1. A Residential Appliance Installer may install listed and labeled 'light kits' (i.e. luminaires) in conjunction with the replacement or upgrade of an existing ceiling mounted fan.
  2. A Residential Appliance Installer may install listed and labeled lights (i.e. luminaires) for a pool provided that they are:
    • installed as a unit;
    • directly connected to an electrical circuit;
    • perform a specific function; and
    • use single-phase power of 240 volts or less.

5.4.6. Can a Residential Appliance Installer replace an appliance of greater ampacity than was on the existing electrical circuit?

No, you may only replace an appliance with one of equal or lesser capacity.

5.4.7. I am a Residential Appliance Installation Contractor. Am I required to pull a permit to do a residential appliance installation?

It depends. Although the state does not require residential appliance installation permits, Section 1305.201(a) of the Texas Electrical Safety and Licensing Act does not prohibit a municipality or region from regulating residential appliance installers. They may, for example, require appliance installers to pull permits, pay fees, or have their work inspected when performing work within their municipality or region.

5.4.8. Can a Residential Appliance Installer perform maintenance on a 208V pool motor since it is less than 240V?

Yes, but ONLY IF the motor originates from a single phase system. IF the electrical originates on a 3 phase system, the answer is NO. For additional related questions you may contact one of TDLR's Compliance Specialists: Jerry Daniel/Electrical Occupations Code Specialist (512-799-1489) OR Larry Reichle/Electrical Program Specialist (512-779-2857).

5.4.9. Since the law changed, can a Residential Appliance Installer now do ALL electrical pertaining to ALL pools - residential and commercial?

No. The law added pools that use single phase power of 240 volts or less at business properties and property owned by a municipality. The electrical work for Residential Appliance Installers is still limited to maintenance of electrical pool equipment. For additional related questions you may contact one of TDLR's Compliance Specialists: Jerry Daniel/Electrical Occupations Code Specialist (512-799-1489) OR Larry Reichle/Electrical Program Specialist (512-779-2857).

5.4.10. If there is a three phase electrical system, can a Residential Appliance Installer install a single phase motor on 2 legs of the system?

No. If the electrical originates on a 3 phase system, the work can only be performed through a licensed electrical contractor.? For additional related questions you may contact one of TDLR's Compliance Specialists: Jerry Daniel/Electrical Occupations Code Specialist (512-799-1489) OR Larry Reichle/Electrical Program Specialist (512-779-2857).

5.4.11. Who can I contact if I have technical questions pertaining to the Residential Appliance Installers Law regarding the “single phase, 240V and below” limitation?

For any related questions you may contact one of TDLR's Compliance Specialists: Jerry Daniel/Electrical Occupations Code Specialist (512-799-1489) OR Larry Reichle/Electrical Program Specialist (512-779-2857).

5.4.12. When is a Residential Appliance Installer license required to attach an appliance power cord on a clothes dryer, oven/range, or other residential appliance?

A Residential Appliance Installer license is always required when an appliance power cord is being attached in a home or other residential (single or multi-family dwelling less than four stories) installation site. If the appliance power cord is installed at the manufacturing plant or the shop of an authorized manufacturer's representative, then no license is required. Also, there is an exemption for homeowners who reside in the home to do the work if the electrical work is not regulated by city ordinance.