Electrical side jobs

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  #1  
Old 04-05-06, 01:47 PM
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Electrical side jobs

Do you have to be a licensed electrician to do small side jobs like installing an outlet further down a wall, or moving it up to the center of the wall. I am insured as a general contractor, but do not know if it is ok to install outlet without license. THank you!
 
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  #2  
Old 04-05-06, 01:51 PM
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This would depend entirely upon where you live.
 
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Old 04-05-06, 01:54 PM
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I live in Illinois, specifically near the Chicago area. Thanks again!
 
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Old 04-05-06, 03:21 PM
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See in Virginia where I am from your general contractors license would be good enough. You just have to get what they call a concealment permit to well, conceal your work. An inspector comes out and if it is done to code he will approve it. Here in MA it is entirely different. You do indeed have to be a licensed electrician and to get that takes years of appreticeship (union). Once you have that license no one looks at your work you just have to show it at city hall to get your permit and that's it. Since you are up here in union yankee land I bet it is about the same. The laws are designed to support unions and not quality of work. Another weird law here is if you own the house you can do anything you want to it. You can put a whole addition on your house with faulty wiring, plumbing, framing whatever. I call it the "Harry clause". That would not fly in Va. They don't care who does the work you must pull a permit and must have inspections especially the second (concealment) So to make a long story short, like the man said you will have to check for your area and be ready for some vague answers.
 
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Old 04-05-06, 03:33 PM
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Actually the unions have nothing to do with it. Anyone can be an electrician, union training or not.
The original question posed is as Bob said, entirely local.

In my area there are certain municipalities that require a license. To become licensed, get 5 years confirmed field experience working with/for a licensed electrical contractor, take an open book test and pass, and you're a licensed electrician. Needless to say, there are some lame licensed electricians.

In the areas with no license requirement anyone can do electrical work. This is fine with me as most folks know the difference between a hack and a real electrician. And the folks who don't care about hacks and only care about $$$ deserve what they get. And I charge a premium to fix thier messes, IF I feel like it.
 
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Old 04-05-06, 03:44 PM
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In my city you donít have to have a license to do anything; electrical, plumbing, framing, etc. The permit has a spot to complete if you are using a licensed contractor, but there is a check box if you are doing the work yourself. It seems silly in any area to require a licensed contractor ($$$) to do simple work, electrical or otherwise.

The downfall in my area is, of course, if you do pull a permit you could fail the inspection. And if you donít pull a permit, and you screw something up, you could injury/kill yourself or future homeowners.
 
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Old 04-05-06, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Speedy Petey
Actually the unions have nothing to do with it. Anyone can be an electrician, union training or not.
The original question posed is as Bob said, entirely local.

In my area there are certain municipalities that require a license. To become licensed, get 5 years confirmed field experience working with/for a licensed electrical contractor, take an open book test and pass, and you're a licensed electrician. Needless to say, there are some lame licensed electricians.

In the areas with no license requirement anyone can do electrical work. This is fine with me as most folks know the difference between a hack and a real electrician. And the folks who don't care about hacks and only care about $$$ deserve what they get. And I charge a premium to fix thier messes, IF I feel like it.
I guess I did imply that you would have to be union to acquire an electricians license. No that is not necessarily true. However the great grand majority here that is how they got thiers. I have spoken to several. For all that formal training, one in particular was amazingly dim. I think the Va. laws make more sence where the quality of the work is examined and not just taken for granted with a piece of paper. If I sound a little heated on MA law a lot of it is because it often puts me in an awkward position. I really don't want to have to sub out the electric or plumbing as it is the easiest part of the job. Also the law here allowing "harry" to do anything he wants to his own house uninspected is crazy! Just think of the posibilities there!
 
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Old 04-05-06, 03:53 PM
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one more thing and I will stop lol. I had a tree fall on some lines in the yard here. The electric company put it all back except the straps holding the cable to the side of the house. I was not allowed to simply nail up these straps myself! Had to be a licensed electrician. You can bet I was none to happy about having to pay someone to nail up a few straps! They seem to have forgotten about it eventually I will just do it.
 
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Old 04-05-06, 04:06 PM
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Doing work without inspection, as a homeowner or a hired hack, is always risky. Everyone does it anyway; just go to HD or Lowes on the weekend. Thatís why when you buy a house you really have no idea what is behind those walls until you actually open them up and look..! Some of the stuff Iíve found in my house (abandoned hots not capped off, S-type fittings on the 60A Knob and Tube panel) are real life hazards that could kill myself and my family. Thatís just pure neglect and lack of knowledge by the previous homeowner.

Letís be real. The inspection process, by and large, exists to generate revenue for the city. There are certain things that should be inspected for safety concerns, such as installation of a new panel, new roof, new addition framing, etc) but the majority of the stuff is just revs for the city. Take the installation of a new outlet for example. Sure, the inspector is going to see the new box, make sure itís grounded, enough slack in the box, etc. But they are not going to make you rip out the sheetrock. You could have dropped in a line that was wire-nutted together with exposed copper and they would never know. And Iím sure some homeowners are stupid enough to do that.

Iím not advocating not getting a permit where itís warranted. Just that it should be clear what youíre actually paying for. For example, the permit fee for installing a new outlet in my area is $1.25 per outlet. But the minimum permit fee is $55. That should tell you something.
 
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Old 04-05-06, 04:40 PM
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*See in Virginia where I am from your general contractors license would be good enough. You just have to get what they call a concealment permit to well, conceal your work. An inspector comes out and if it is done to code he will approve it.*
Here in MA it is entirely different. You do indeed have to be a licensed electrician and to get that takes years of appreticeship (union). Once you have that license no one looks at your work you just have to show it at city hall to get your permit and that's it. Since you are up here in union yankee land I bet it is about the same. The laws are designed to support unions and not quality of work. Another weird law here is if you own the house you can do anything you want to it. You can put a whole addition on your house with faulty wiring, plumbing, framing whatever. I call it the "Harry clause". That would not fly in Va. They don't care who does the work you must pull a permit and must have inspections especially the second (concealment) So to make a long story short, like the man said you will have to check for your area and be ready for some vague answers.*


HEY SPORT, (off topic) YOU STARTED IT! I TAKE EXCEPTION to your comments.
Your NOT in Virginia!!! And if all it takes is an INSPECTION to know that your QUALIFIED thats great. There is a reason that we have an apprenticeship program. A testing program.(and now it's up to 5 yrs+ school) Before you can be tested.
You must reach a certain level of PROFICIENCY. WE don't sell licenses here. YOU must be trained.What does UNION have to do with it? Your an electrician or your not! Trained SKILLED LABORER does not count! My Father is talented and quite skilled, However he is not an electrician. I also would challenge you to come here ( oh you already are) Go pull a permit ( you can't do that without having your ins. cert & LIC. # on file), Do the Job and get it signed off with out the inspector looking at it. ESPECIALY in BOSTON. Then try to get a fire alarm permit... Engineerd drawings handy?.... For a residential add on?
And if things are so GREAT in Virginia... WHAT the hell are you doing in MA!!!! MORE TO SAY.. But I'll stop.
 
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Old 04-05-06, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by BuiLDPro68
I really don't want to have to sub out the electric or plumbing as it is the easiest part of the job.
Ahem....you cannot be serious?
The "job" is more than twisting wires together son.
 
  #12  
Old 04-05-06, 05:29 PM
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compared to the framing, drywall etc. it is the easiest part of the job. Not backing off that one.
 
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Old 04-05-06, 05:31 PM
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having done all three, I would say that the electrical is the least time consuming, but takes just as much planning as the rest to do it right (the first time).
 
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Old 04-05-06, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by lectriclee
*See in Virginia where I am from your general contractors license would be good enough. You just have to get what they call a concealment permit to well, conceal your work. An inspector comes out and if it is done to code he will approve it.*
Here in MA it is entirely different. You do indeed have to be a licensed electrician and to get that takes years of appreticeship (union). Once you have that license no one looks at your work you just have to show it at city hall to get your permit and that's it. Since you are up here in union yankee land I bet it is about the same. The laws are designed to support unions and not quality of work. Another weird law here is if you own the house you can do anything you want to it. You can put a whole addition on your house with faulty wiring, plumbing, framing whatever. I call it the "Harry clause". That would not fly in Va. They don't care who does the work you must pull a permit and must have inspections especially the second (concealment) So to make a long story short, like the man said you will have to check for your area and be ready for some vague answers.*


HEY SPORT, (off topic) YOU STARTED IT! I TAKE EXCEPTION to your comments.
Your NOT in Virginia!!! And if all it takes is an INSPECTION to know that your QUALIFIED thats great. There is a reason that we have an apprenticeship program. A testing program.(and now it's up to 5 yrs+ school) Before you can be tested.
You must reach a certain level of PROFICIENCY. WE don't sell licenses here. YOU must be trained.What does UNION have to do with it? Your an electrician or your not! Trained SKILLED LABORER does not count! My Father is talented and quite skilled, However he is not an electrician. I also would challenge you to come here ( oh you already are) Go pull a permit ( you can't do that without having your ins. cert & LIC. # on file), Do the Job and get it signed off with out the inspector looking at it. ESPECIALY in BOSTON. Then try to get a fire alarm permit... Engineerd drawings handy?.... For a residential add on?
And if things are so GREAT in Virginia... WHAT the hell are you doing in MA!!!! MORE TO SAY.. But I'll stop.
aside from the juvinile jabs at my location what exactually are you saying that I didn't already? You have to pull a permit for stupid little jobs like putting in a lousy receptical I think is stupid. I don't know about Boston but right here you only need to present your permit and they do not come on a small residential job and do inspections. What I am doing here is my business but I do think the laws make more sence in VA. It is actually possible to disagree with someone without reverting to infantile remarks and insults
 
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Old 04-05-06, 05:38 PM
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>I really don't want to have to sub out the electric or plumbing as it is the easiest part of the job.<

Then why ask?

When was the last report of faulty landscaping killing a family of 4, reported?


{installing a new outlet in my area is $1.25 per outlet. But the minimum permit fee is $55. That should tell you something.}

IT'S all about the money!!!! Do you realy think the inspector cares? He/she gets another $25 +- re-inspection fee, for a failure. On top of that, they are part of the municipality and can't be held responsible. But it is income for the area.

That is why "WE" must be responsable for ourselfs.
I sleep well, And I hope you do aswell.
 
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Old 04-05-06, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by fuente
having done all three, I would say that the electrical is the least time consuming, but takes just as much planning as the rest to do it right (the first time).
of course I am not at all trying to belittle electricians. I just actually almost enjoy doing electrical work. (more brain work than anything) then the humping wood aspect. I would rather do that then anything so it pains me to have to sub it out
 
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Old 04-05-06, 05:44 PM
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I would rather do electrical as well. Drywall and framing are tiresome and physically brutal.

I think the $$ aspect, at least in my area, is why a lot of people won't pull a permit for silly/stupid stuff, which at times includes electrical. I've talked to some electricians who told me NOT to pull a permit for my service upgrade..! They all said the same thing; that they could do it right, and that the city is only looking for revenue. While I agree that a service upgrade is not a big deal for these guys, I will sleep better knowing that it has been inspected.

But I can run wire and install J-boxes myself, without a permit, to code (as much as I can). Because the reality is I must be able to sleep at night after I do MY work MYSELF. And I am comfortable knowing my limitations. If I can, then why pull the permit? In my housing market, that is never a showstopper...ever, for anything. I detest giving the city any more money, on top of property tax, garbage, water, etc. then absolutely necessary.
 
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Old 04-05-06, 06:01 PM
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aside from the juvinile jabs at my location what exactually are you saying that I didn't already? You have to pull a permit for stupid little jobs like putting in a lousy receptical I think is stupid. I don't know about Boston but right here you only need to present your permit and they do not come on a small residential job and do inspections. What I am doing here is my business but I do think the laws make more sence in VA. It is actually possible to disagree with someone without reverting to infantile remarks and insults


No juvinle jabs intended.
You simply stated that in your Geographical area things were different. Why compare/ aPPLES TO ORANGES?
When you have people that work very hard and invest alot of time,money,and training into a proffesion, only to have someone else say that "all you need is a permit", Thats ludicrous, then to follow it up with "All you need is an inspection"(in your area) Thats INSULTING! WE NEED a License,Insurance,PERMITS AND INSPECTIONS.
So my challenge stands. Get your ticket , then get an inspection. I'm not union, and never have been, But the "TRAVELERS" have put some of my friends out of work.
 
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Old 04-05-06, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by BuiLDPro68
I just actually almost enjoy doing electrical work. (more brain work than anything) then the humping wood aspect.
My point exactly. Physically easier is not always easier. Especially if you are concerned about doing it right and to code.

At the same time I guess you've never had to hump 4" galv pipe around, and cut & thread it, or pull in five 500MCM copper conductors. Just pulling that stuff off the reels will kill you.
Or pull in several hundred feet of underground service conductors, by hand!
That stuff is FAR more demanding than even hanging lam beams, I assure you. I have done both, a bit more of the pipe stuff I will say.
 
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Old 04-05-06, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Speedy Petey
My point exactly. Physically easier is not always easier. Especially if you are concerned about doing it right and to code.

At the same time I guess you've never had to hump 4" galv pipe around, and cut & thread it, or pull in five 500MCM copper conductors. Just pulling that stuff off the reels will kill you.
Or pull in several hundred feet of underground service conductors, by hand!
That stuff is FAR more demanding than even hanging lam beams, I assure you. I have done both, a bit more of the pipe stuff I will say.
yep, it's all relative. For most homeowners though, electrical is a pleasure. It's clean, neat and intellectually challenging. Not that framing and drywall aren't challenging..they are, but in a more physical and dirty way..!
 
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Old 04-05-06, 06:09 PM
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I worked for a sign company years ago where I had to lug that heavy conduit but no for the most part any electrical duties I have done were light in comparison to what your talking about. Again I am in no way belittling any electrician, unions, or anything. I just would like to be able to do the work I know how to do without having to be shady about permits whatever. But it is what it is and I don't have to like it just do the best I can to make a living around it.
 
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Old 04-05-06, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by lectriclee
aside from the juvinile jabs at my location what exactually are you saying that I didn't already? You have to pull a permit for stupid little jobs like putting in a lousy receptical I think is stupid. I don't know about Boston but right here you only need to present your permit and they do not come on a small residential job and do inspections. What I am doing here is my business but I do think the laws make more sence in VA. It is actually possible to disagree with someone without reverting to infantile remarks and insults


No juvinle jabs intended.
You simply stated that in your Geographical area things were different. Why compare/ aPPLES TO ORANGES?
When you have people that work very hard and invest alot of time,money,and training into a proffesion, only to have someone else say that "all you need is a permit", Thats ludicrous, then to follow it up with "All you need is an inspection"(in your area) Thats INSULTING! WE NEED a License,Insurance,PERMITS AND INSPECTIONS.
So my challenge stands. Get your ticket , then get an inspection. I'm not union, and never have been, But the "TRAVELERS" have put some of my friends out of work.
lectriclee, I don't think he was trying to insult your profession, just that things are different in different places. Just like anything else, there is a lot of electrical work that is very difficult and requires years of training and experience. Likewise, there is also a lot of electrical work that requires 5 minutes of tutorial from a website to do safely and correctly. It's the same with every trade, job, career, etc..There are easy things and hard things.

I don't think anyone is belittling your trade.
 
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Old 04-05-06, 06:22 PM
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OK, PEACE TO ALL!!!!! Enough is enough we have all vented..
(or at least I have) Part of the permiting process is to (unfortunately) allow are insurance co. to know of changes.
No, I'm not into insurance, I loath them.

But think about it.... I buy a 2 bedroom.... Thats insured. No finished basement..OK..... Then 4 years later, I add a garage ,a hot tub,I finish the basement,add another bedroom and a beutifull game room over the garage.

No one knows this, I increased the value of my house, 50K+-
Then something goes wrong..... The house is detroyed.....
Insurance does not pay off.Except for the initial price. (It was 100K bought). Then they (ins. co) finds that changes were made without notification,now everything is lost.... No profit, no reimbursment,NOTHING.

This has happend, Due to changes not being documented.;
 
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Old 04-05-06, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by lectriclee
OK, PEACE TO ALL!!!!! Enough is enough we have all vented..
(or at least I have) Part of the permiting process is to (unfortunately) allow are insurance co. to know of changes.
No, I'm not into insurance, I loath them.

But think about it.... I buy a 2 bedroom.... Thats insured. No finished basement..OK..... Then 4 years later, I add a garage ,a hot tub,I finish the basement,add another bedroom and a beutifull game room over the garage.

No one knows this, I increased the value of my house, 50K+-
Then something goes wrong..... The house is detroyed.....
Insurance does not pay off.Except for the initial price. (It was 100K bought). Then they (ins. co) finds that changes were made without notification,now everything is lost.... No profit, no reimbursment,NOTHING.

This has happend, Due to changes not being documented.;
true, but not in all circumstances. It depends on what the 'something goes wrong' is. And then the lawyers get involved. Very rarely do they not pay out at all.

But your point is well taken.
 
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Old 04-05-06, 06:57 PM
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seeing how we have already throughly hijacked this poor guys thread I will post one more time. First of all no hard feelings. I could have worded it a little better. The bottom line for me is I just want to be able to make a living doing the work that I know how to do from years of experience. Someone would be crazy to hire me under the table to do a major job without everything being right on paper. Most of the work I have done up here the homeowner pulled the permits and used thier own people to sign off on the utilities. Don't ask me how that works, I didn't. The rest was for family members where I did not need to pull or have anything. Pretty nice actually. I still did the same quality of work that I would have if a fleet of inspectors were coming. The inspections I am used to are fairly strict so unless the laws of physics are different up here I sleep well knowing I have done my work correctly. Goodnight all and I apologize to the starter of this thread I hope you got the info you needed
 
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Old 04-05-06, 07:55 PM
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Here in San Diego, you either have to be a licensed general contractor or licensed electrician to pull a permit. Also, a homeowner can pull a permit for his own work. A handyman cannot pull a permit, he cannot Contract to do anything, and he cannot perform any work where the aggregate cost of the job exceeds $500.

Whether a homeowner can pull a permit and get a handyman to do electrical work for him is a gray area. If the total job is less than $500, the city probably does not care who actuall did the work. The homeowner is on the hook for the inspection.
 
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Old 04-05-06, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by 594tough
Here in San Diego, you either have to be a licensed general contractor or licensed electrician to pull a permit. Also, a homeowner can pull a permit for his own work. A handyman cannot pull a permit, he cannot Contract to do anything, and he cannot perform any work where the aggregate cost of the job exceeds $500.

Whether a homeowner can pull a permit and get a handyman to do electrical work for him is a gray area. If the total job is less than $500, the city probably does not care who actuall did the work. The homeowner is on the hook for the inspection.
same thing here in the Bay Area. The homeowner can pull the permit and state he is doing the work 'himself', whether he is or not is another story.

If the inspector doesn't see the handyman doing the work, then it doesn't matter anyway because they assume the homeowner did it.
 
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Old 04-06-06, 10:46 AM
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Well, thank you everyone

I am truly sorry to have created such a heated debate over my silly question, all though I am still laughing out loud, I do appreciate all the answers. See, doing what I do, I travel through many different towns, counties, and even states. A lot of the time, a simple movement of an outlet is neccessary and I hate to tell the customer no, because I know that there are plenty of other unlicensed installers around who will move the outlet (probably in bx with no antishort bushings) wich may result in my losing business. So, let's say I move an outlet for a customer up to code with no permits or no electricians license, what is the worst that can happen to me?
 
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Old 04-06-06, 11:06 AM
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The worst that can happen is that the house burns down, killing an occupant. You get blamed you go to jail charged with manslaughter and get convicted of same.
 
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Old 04-06-06, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by racraft
The worst that can happen is that the house burns down, killing an occupant. You get blamed you go to jail charged with manslaughter and get convicted of same.
has this ever happened?

I would doubt it. And even if this was remotely possible, it would be involuntary manslaughter and probably no jail time. Let's be realistic here. You're doing the work based on an agreement with the homeowner. The worst that would happen in this case is that the lawyers for your homeowners insurance would reduce the claim based on unpermitted work. But you could just state that the work was done prior to your moving in, without your knowledge, and the claim would be paid.

This is WAY off topic, but a good discussion nonetheless. Homeowners and handymen who do work take money off the table from licensed electricians who depend on the $$ to make a living. Isnít that what weíve been dancing around for the last two days?
 
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Old 04-06-06, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Server247
I am truly sorry to have created such a heated debate over my silly question, all though I am still laughing out loud, I do appreciate all the answers. See, doing what I do, I travel through many different towns, counties, and even states. A lot of the time, a simple movement of an outlet is neccessary and I hate to tell the customer no, because I know that there are plenty of other unlicensed installers around who will move the outlet (probably in bx with no antishort bushings) wich may result in my losing business. So, let's say I move an outlet for a customer up to code with no permits or no electricians license, what is the worst that can happen to me?
You go through different towns? Oh oh I hope you aren't one of the dreaded "TRAVELERS" lol. You know there are definately certain tasks that should be performed by a licenced electrician. But with something like what your talking about I see no reason why you shouldn't be able to do it without fear of legal action. I can understand why someone who went through years of appreticeship would be upset by some "hack" taking thier jobs but this simply isn't true. I have been through some lean times and I promise you I will be out of work before a licenced electrician, plumber whatever. There is a ton of work out there so I think everyone's job is safe and no one is out to steal anyone's work. I'm not anyway. I would like to tell you that there would be no problems with you doing that simple thing but truth is it could be. Honestly I would probably just go ahead and do it as much as I prefer things to be on the level. You know this guy who came to put our electric service back on the house said he would be unable to do anything in the house legally like move your one little receptical. This is a guy who works with high tension wires and can't legally touch an outlet. So I get a little bent when laws are centered around money and not the actual safety concerns or just good common sence. I have been talking about MA law all this time so it could very well not be a problem in IL. You should check it out.
 
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Old 04-06-06, 03:05 PM
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Thank you for your replies. I appreciate the response. No, I am not a traveler. I stick to one main locality but once in a while, I do go pretty far in the call of work. I appreciate the feedback everyone.
 
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Old 04-06-06, 04:01 PM
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legality

if you look at the Philadelphia Electrical Code, what it states is that no person shall engage in the business of installing systems, or parts of systems, used to transmit, generate or distribute electricity, nor engage in the business of electrical contracting, unless that person has obtained a license from the code official. [meaning the City].
The requirements to secure a license are laid out in the City Electrical Code. Training, experience, education, testing, etc.
Very few people die in their sleep because a building burns down due to improper nailing. [no denigration intended]
 
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Old 04-07-06, 12:31 AM
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>if you look at the Philadelphia Electrical Code, what it states is that no person shall engage in the business of installing systems, or parts of systems, used to transmit, generate or distribute electricity, nor engage in the business of electrical contracting, unless that person has obtained a license from the code official. [meaning the City].
The requirements to secure a license are laid out in the City Electrical Code. Training, experience, education, testing, etc.
Very few people die in their sleep because a building burns down due to improper nailing. [no denigration intended]<


Sorry I had to! Very similar wording in Ma.

Added in our general laws, is we don't need a permit UNLESS It is for hire. BUT you do need an inspection. So in short, If you don't charge.. No permit, But get an inspection. YA right, find an inspector to go with that. This is where "the authority having jurisdiction" comes in. So contradicting these laws.
 
  #35  
Old 04-07-06, 06:16 AM
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I am a handy man and I have to say I have at times encountered wiring that was contracted out to master electricians that scared the heck out of me. The problem here at least is the master electrician often doesn't actually do the work and may never check what the people he hires to do the work actually does.

An example of just how scary it gets. A customer had hired an electrician to rewire an old house with a K&T wiring. When I got in the attic I discovered a lot of the K&T wiring had not been replace.

Even more scary when I pulled a couple of outlets that had been replaced with grounded outlets I found the outlets had been "grounded" to the _UN_grounded metal box and the original knob and tube wiring was still serving the outlet. No the box did not have BX or greenfield just a fabric insulating sleeve where it entered the box.

Even worse though was the garage. A three way switch (house/garage) controlled some garage lights and some of the lights were locally controlled plus there were always hot outlets but when I counted the number of overhead wires there didn't seem to be enough. Curious I got to checking and found there was no neutral from the house. Instead they had run a single conductor to the neutral in a garage apartment's breaker box which was on a different breaker box, meter, and drop.

This was not an isolated incident. I have seen things like this many times. I have also seen a lot of well done wiring sometimes bootleg. In fact given the way master electricians control the licensing here you see a lot of bootleg wiring because poor people just can't afford to pay a master electrician $1500-$2000 to send out a couple of $10 an hour employees (less if undocumented) to do a 4-6 hour job.

Just my opinion what is needed is a restructuring of licensing requirements to open up the field to more qualified people so the natural market place condition will reduce the price by more competition.. More people in my opinion would use licensed electricians if they could afford it. It might not eliminate the shoddy ones directly but at least there would be more qualified ones doing the job.

At present there is no division here between commercial, industrial, and residential electrician. To pull a permit you must be a master and to be a master you must know it all.

IMHO if there were sub masters skilled in a narrow range of wiring such as single phase residential then more people could qualify for limited permits because of the narrower field of knowledge needed to safely do the job.

Of course this would have to go hand in hand with a new way of qualifying for a license. Instead of having to work for years at low wages for a master electrician allow the taking of community college level courses and hands on training with college affiliated electrical contractors to get your associate degree and license in two years.
 
  #36  
Old 04-07-06, 11:12 AM
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Location: Great Barrington MA
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See this all gets back to my original argument. You have an area that will allow Harry homeowner to run all the utilities he wants uninspected and a professional builder ( not to mention a professional linesman) cannot touch a utility unless he is certified. Who do you think is more liable to cause an unsafe condition? Perhaps technically Harry is supposed to get an inspection, but that was not told to me at city hall here and if they are, no one does. How would they know where to inspect without a permit? On top of that if a permit is pulled by an electrician to do a small job no inspector typically comes out. I imagine that's different on commercial jobs. Not conjecture, seen it with my own eyes on several occasions. Where you have the good and the bad with any profession there are some lousy electricians here, one I know in particular. Nice guy but dumb as a rock. and it amazes me that this guy not to mention a know nothing home owner can run whatever they want without fear of inspection. It would be ludicrous to say I or anyone else was "taking bread off the table" from licensed electricians since you can't even get one here. I have had several people tell me they have called companies to come do a job and if they answered the phone at all would set up a time and just not show or call. (Same with plumbers.) Not to mention charge an exorbitant fee for a minor job if they do show. Bottom line for me is the work itself is more important then the certificate. In Va. especially if the work is visible from the street you better have that permit in the window or they will shut you down in a minute. Before you can conceal any utilities they are gone over with a fine tooth comb and they will fail you for even a minor infraction. It is a pain! It has cost me money in time waiting for them to show up. It is challenging to schedule for when you think you will be ready for them because you cannot do anymore work until you get that concealment permit . After all that I understand and agree that it's necessary. Does that mean there is no work for licensed electricians in Va.? God no! you would be working in about 5 minutes, probably for scale! They do just about all new construction and commercial buildings (you do have to be certified for commercial) There is plenty for everyone right now. You know and there is one other thing. I guess the electricians in this forum should not being giving any electrical advice to homeowners if they are also going to argue that only a licensed electrican should touch even a minor project. Anyway have a great day everyone. I have an estimate to do (no electric lol).
 
  #37  
Old 04-07-06, 05:56 PM
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I have been reading this thread with interest. I would like to add my two cents worth.

I am just a handyman. I consider myself one of the best because I have many, many years of all around experience in many trades. I have done things such as operate all equipment at wood working facility, running a dry kiln operation myself, building hi-rises on the Florida beaches, helping out at gas station on the side and learning how to run a Sun (type) scope and being a general mechanic/hot rod motor head (talked to Don Garlits personally at Bradenton Florida raceway), building framed apartment complexes, helping build the largest nuclear reactored power plant in the world (STP Project south of Bay City Texas) as a journey form carpenter, building homes, modifying a tricky A-frame with cantilevered decks off blueprints...adding 3 dormers myself when in my 20's, working at a small motors factory and working every 'station' involved in making fractional HP motors, becoming a licensed water operator, working on mobile homes and become park owner, all phases of building, remodeling, additions, roofing, painting, carpet laying, plumbing, electrical, stairs building, building up on 'pilings', cabinets...and on and on into repair work on college houses and condos for the lsast 20 years, including all appliance repairs and working on furnaces and boilers, and taking care of commercial building water to air heat pumps (26 in one building) and almost 2 million btus (combined) air handling units.

I have had the oportunity to work in different states and begin my work in rural areas that had lax laws. And that is where I learned.

But I will be honest here. After reading many posts in 3 dyi-type forums that I am a member of, and usually spend several hours a night at... I have found that on a scale of 1-10, on what I know as an electrician, I probably rate at about a 3.

I know I can wire a house complete without burning the house down. And I think one of the posters here who believes wiring is fun and enjoys it, but is not an electrician, probably knows enough in this regard as well. He probably knows that 12 gauge wire goes with 20 amp circuits and 14 gauge wire goes with 15 amp circuits. And all such rudimentary electrical knowledge. But there is so so much more.

There are codes on the number of circuits to feed a kitchen. How to wire outlets and lights for different rooms... where and how so that it is code. How many feet to locate outlets. GFCI protection. Designated circuits. Not combining neutrals. Balancing the load. Where to exactly locate outside motion lights and why they locate them where they do. Upsizing the gauge wire for aluminum. An endless list. (And it fun if an electrician here would add to my list on what he think the typical know-it-all electrician wannabe does not maybe know. It be a fun and educational read for all here!)

I advise anyone who thinks they can wire their own house to carefully rethink their position that this is a simple, anyone-can do-it type of job, unless one really truly knows everything. And many of the code rules were made for a real purpose other than to harrass the homeowner who is trying to save a dollar. You can only come to this appreciation by steadfastly reading in electirical forums such as this and being open to learning new things you never knew before, and you might be surprised and then you might admit that there really is an awful lot to know in this electrical business.
 

Last edited by DaVeBoy; 04-07-06 at 06:49 PM.
  #38  
Old 04-07-06, 06:35 PM
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-when laws are centered around money and not the actual safety concerns or just good common sence. -----

Welcome to MASSACHUSETTS !!!!!!!!

Now, Try to live with this.!!!! Even after you VOTE!!!!!!
 
  #39  
Old 04-07-06, 06:59 PM
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daveboy, I think the thirst for knowledge is the reason why this forum exists. Personally, I learn something new here every day. I'm going to be doing an entire rewiring of my house, sans the new panel (done by a pro), so everything I can learn here now is helping me. I am confident, with the help of my electrician friends, both in real life and on this board, that I can do the job 100% safe and to code. But this only comes from months and months of lurking, asking questions (some silly at times) and reading various wiring books. To me, a good understanding of how Sparky works and good common sense is really important. That, and the knowledge I gain from various sources.

I agree that this profession is more than adding a circuit here and replacing a switch there. It's much MUCH more involved.
 
  #40  
Old 04-07-06, 07:14 PM
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TO ALL... Again I state... The ONLY DUMB QUESTION is the one NEVER ASKED!!
And I would only ask, Know and accept your own limitations.
put you,Your family,friends and people you don't know yet ahead of saving money. What you do this weekend could affect someone (good or bad) years from now.
 
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