July 16, 2013
FLAT GLASS LICENSES
By: Duke Chen, Legislative Analyst II
You asked for information on flat glass installers, specifically on (1) Connecticut licensing requirements, (2) the number of licensees in the state and the number that were grandfathered when the licensing law was enacted, (3) the number of “closed” complaints in the past year, and (4) whether other states license flat glass installers.
Connecticut generally requires flat glass workers, including installers, to be licensed by the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP). Flat glass, also known as plate or sheet glass, is a type of glass usually used for windows, glass doors, and transparent walls. By law, “flat glass work” means installing, maintaining, or repairing glass in residential or commercial structures (CGS § 20-330 (16)).
The public act establishing the license (PA 99-170) allowed applicants to meet licensing requirements by demonstrating a certain number of years' experience in flat glass work. At the end of the grandfathering period, applicants for a journeyperson's license had to show that they had successfully completed a bona fide apprenticeship program and passed a licensing examination. An applicant for a contractor's license had to show that he or she has served as a journeyperson for at least three years.
The law allows three specific glass work licensing exemptions. These are for certain retailers, pre-assembled window installers, and for registered home improvement contractors working on smaller projects. There are other general occupational licensing exemptions that apply to all of the occupational trades within the chapter (e.g., plumbers and electricians).
According to DCP, there are currently 173 unlimited contractors and 318 journeypersons. In 2002, there were 165 people grandfathered as contractors and 357 as journeypersons.
From June 28, 2012 to June 28, 2013 there were 12 “closed” complaints with some aspect of unlicensed work that resulted in some level of departmental action, according to DCP. It is unclear if any of these are unlicensed out-of-state workers.
We were unable to find any other state that requires licensing specifically for flat glass installers.
PA 99-170 authorized the automotive glass work and flat glass work board to issue licenses without requiring a test or apprenticeship. Instead, applicants were required to show that they met experience requirements.
The law authorized the board to issue (1) an unlimited contractor's license to anyone who had worked as a journeyperson for at least three years or (2) an unlimited journeyperson's license to anyone who had worked as a journeyperson for at least two years. Applicants were not required to take a test or complete an apprenticeship program.
FLAT GLASS LICENSE REQUIREMENTS
Installers who were not grandfathered are required to meet certain licensing requirements. The law requires applicants to (1) furnish the board with satisfactory evidence of education and experience and (2) pass a competency examination (CGS § 20-333).
If the applicant has worked as a journeyperson out of state, he or she must furnish evidence that the work was comparable to similar work here. An applicant for an unlimited journeyperson's license must (1) complete a bona fide apprenticeship program as required by the board and (2) pass a licensing examination. Applicants for an unlimited contractor's license must serve as a journeyperson for at least three years (CGS § 20-334a(f)).
A flat glass apprentice must have sufficient experience to make him or her competent in his or her trade. An apprentice must complete a total of 6,000 hours in at least three years of training on subjects ranging from tools and equipment training to setting different types of glass on varying structures (see Connecticut Department of Labor's schedule of work for glazier apprentices, http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/progsupt/appren/WorkSchedules/glazier.pdf).
Specific to glass work, the law exempts from the licensing requirement:
1. glass product retailers other than those engaging in automotive or flat glass work,
2. people who install pre-glazed or pre-assembled windows or doors in residential or commercial buildings, and
3. registered home improvement contractors who install safety-backed mirror products or who repair or replace flat glass in residential buildings in sizes up to 30 square feet.
More generally, the law also exempts other categories of work and workers from these licensing laws. Those relevant to flat glass work include:
1. federal, state, or municipal employees;
2. employees of industrial firms whose main duties concern the maintenance of flat glass on the firms' own premises;
3. people who make glass products used in producing goods sold by industrial firms;
4. people who install, maintain, or repair glass in their own single-family residences; and
5. people who install, maintain, or repair glass in motor vehicles they own or lease (CGS § 20-340).