question about inspection

Old 06-19-05, 03:50 PM
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question about inspection

I just learned that where I live any electrical work needs to be signed off on by a liscenced electrician. I find it hard to believe that an electrician is going to be willing to come in after and sign off on my work, seems like an unnecessary risk for the electrician. But is that what is done? Or is this, in effect, a way for the city to just make sure we don't do our own work?

The city does say a homeowner can come in and take a test and if they pass they can then do all their own work without a liscenced electrician signing off. Has anyone taken this test (who is not an electrician)? I assume it would be pretty much the same as what the electrians themselves have to take?

I know that some sort of work is allowed without inspection or a liscened electrician signing off, like changing fixtures, changing an outlet, but what kind of work does require inspection/signing off?

I had called the city and asked if I needed a permit to do electrical work and they said no. This apparantly was the wrong question because I later find out what I said above, you need it signed off on but you don't need a permit.

A couple friends of mine proceeded on the assumption they didn't need anyone to sign off on their work though they did get a different permit to convert a duplex to a single family and thus in the end needed inspection - at which point they learned they needed it signed off on. Now, they have to find an electrician who is willing.

I, however, am just about to start my project of moving some outlets and fixtures on an existing circuit and then adding a whole new circuit. I'm not sure how to proceed with the inspections part. Is it common to get all work inspected? What work can be done without inspection? Are electricians willing to look at your work and then sign off on it? Thanks.

Old 06-19-05, 04:04 PM
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Wiring and plumbing in most areas are required to be done according to Building Codes and must be signed off by a building inspector. This is for safety reasons. An inspection that may save your life. Many areas require the homeowner to complete an application form, submit plans, and get a permit. According to info on this website: The Uniform Building Code states that "no building or structure regulated by this code shall be erected, constructed, enlarged, altered, repaired, moved, improved, removed, converted or demolished unless a separate permit for each building or structure has first been obtained from the building official." Exceptions in the code include works not exceeding 120 square feet in area, unless electrical, plumbing, or mechanical work is included.

When it comes time to sell your home, you must report any structural improvements and permits will be pulled to confirm the work was inspected. Your best friend can be your building inspector. He/she should point you in the right direction for meeting electrical and plumbing codes. Codes, although under the umbrella of national Uniform Building Codes, tend to vary from area to area.

You may find the following information on this website helpful:
Old 06-19-05, 04:06 PM
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Requirements differ from city to city, town to town, village to village. In my experience, it is unusual to not require a permit and to require an electrician sign off on everything. Personally, I think that would scare people into doing it themselves and skipping the signing off part.

This COULD lead to problems that might be hard to resolve. With a permit and an inspection required, the cost is published and known. An electrician could charge whatever they want. You also have the issue of who decides what is right and wrong when the homeowner and the electrician disagree. Plus, if an electrician does the work, who is going to sign off on it? Do they sign for their own work, or do they have to find the competition to sign for their work?

Where I live, a permit is required, but you can do all or some of the work yourself. I like this system. It works well.

As for what does and does not require a permit and inspection, that too varies from place to place. Generally, replacing receptacles, switches and lights does not require a permit or inspection. But adding wires and/or modifying circuits would require a permit.
Old 06-19-05, 04:57 PM
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The state or area you live in has licensed inspectors that do the inspections. These work closely with the local building inspector. Where I live, anyone with a pickup truck and a ladder can be a contractor, but all plumbing and electrical has to be inspected by a licensed inspector.
Old 06-19-05, 08:22 PM
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Out here the city regs. are quite specific about what types of plumbing and electrical work require a permit, and almost any work does. They do allow a homeowner to pull the permit, without any tests. I have heard of some states ( Colorado eg.) which require a homeowner to pass some kind of test before they will issue a permit.
Old 06-19-05, 10:27 PM
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question about inspection

The question with what I am dealing with here is that the work must either be 1) done by a liscensed electrician, 2) signed off on by a liscensed electrician or 3) the homeowner must pass a test in order for the inspector to pass the work. No permit is required.

So, actually, it would be possible to do the electrical work and the city would never know,since no permit is required for what I am doing.

My confusion arose because I called the city and asked if I needed a permit and they said no, end of conversation. Then later I discover that it does, however, need to be inspected. I apparantly asked the wrong question.

But how can one do the work oneself if it has to be signed off on by an electrician? (the inspector will not okay it himself alone).

Looks like I have to hire an electrician.

Old 06-20-05, 12:17 AM
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Just my 2 cents.

To get money from you they sell you a permit for anything.
Then at the end of the year it May show up on your property tax as an improvement then you pay more tax$.

Go talk to the city Electrical inspector. Not-Not on the Phone.
Electrical inspector, Electrical inspector.
Not the Building inspector, I found out every one at the city thinks they are the Electrical inspector.

They all say you may need to take a test, But I don't know any one that has taken a test.

One job the inspector passed, then told me I can go take the test.
for this day I don't know why he said that.
Old 06-20-05, 04:39 AM
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I find this very strange because in most states I work in ( 3 of them we have licenses in ) most homeowners can do their own electrical wiring as long as they sign off on a waiver saying they did their own work.

As for the test....i doubt the test they would give is like the tests I or any electrician has taken as a Journeyman or Master Electrician. I would guess the test is more in regards to grounding and bonding, wire sizes and ampacities and general AC theory.

As for having an Electrician sign off on possibly could just call a local electrical contractor and as if they will do an Electrical Consultation and inspection and sign off on it.

But again it is strange to me your local AHJ would install a test for home owners because as RAC said....I can see many doing things to their home and never calling them because of the hassle they are trying to make it.

Now don't get me wrong...I make my living as an Electrical Contractor but again if homeowners want to do their own work they should be allowed but not be afraid to call a ELE contractor to atleast PRE-Inspect it which we do here alot for clients....kinda like Home Inspections with only the Electrical being
Old 06-20-05, 05:47 AM
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In my area (Webster Groves, MO), homeowners can do any work themselves as long as they get a permit, sign an affidavit that they will be doing the work themselves and will live in the home for at least a year after the completion of the work, and finally, take a test with the inspector that pertains to the particular project for which the permit is being pulled.

I recently took the test with our local electrical inspector and it was very easy - all verbal. He basically looked over my plans, and then had a few basic questions, such as determining electrical box capacity, size of wiring, depth of trench between garage and home, min distance outlets have to be from ground, etc. - all simple questions that portain to the project at hand.

If you take the time to plan out the project ahead of time, come to the inspector with some simple drawings that outlines what you will be doing (I also brought a materials list, which showed him all wires, outlets, etc. were sized properly even before buying anything), it should go very smoothly. Any questions that my inspector asked I already knew because it pertained to items I already researched in order to install everything correctly.

Good luck.

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