Nec/diy

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  #1  
Old 11-13-10, 08:37 PM
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Nec/diy

I recently bought a house from the City of Buffalo. It is a civil war era cottage of about 1200 sq ft. It is in need of complete remodeling and I wanted to do the work myself, including running the branches (I know I can not do the main box and service) but I was told (by an electrician who no doubt wanted the business) I was not allowed to do that. I have been reading the NEC and ICC and thus far have found nothing that succinctly says as such and before I pay them some absurd amount of money I want to be sure I am in fact not allowed. If someone could point me in the right direction or answer precisely and impartially it would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 
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Old 11-13-10, 11:23 PM
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The NEC does not govern who is allowed to do electrical work in your home. You need to check with your local township and possible the state to see if you as a homeowner are allowed to do the work. In NJ homeowners are allowed to do ANY electrical work in there home. Proper permits must be pulled and it must be installed and inspected per the NEC.
 
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Old 11-14-10, 04:38 AM
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Buffalo's permit & inspection department is legendary. They don't make it easy for anyone, let alone DIYers. My suggestion is to plan to do the work yourself, but first work a deal with a master electrician to oversee that work and pull the permits. Since you'll have to hire a master anyway to make the connections to the outside world, it will benefit both of you. I can't make specific recommendations, but union electrical companies carry a whole lot of weight in that city. Call the local union hall (IBEW Local 41) to see if they'll recommend someone.

Aside: Pay a visit to Buffalo ReUse on Northhampton. You'll find all kinds of recycled building materials there for pennies on the dollar. Every time I go there I'm like a kid in a candy store.
 
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Old 11-14-10, 05:48 AM
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Due to liability issues many contractors will not want to risk their license when the HO pulls the wires.
 
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Old 11-14-10, 07:44 AM
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Thanks

It's been a circus just trying to find out any information concerning..anything from the city. Thanks for the advice, I will call the ibew tomorrow as well as the electrical company I have been speaking with. I really don't see how they'd be liable since they have to come in and inspect the wiring job so they can call the city to inspect it. How efficient is our system...
 
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Old 11-14-10, 08:16 AM
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It's the same reason that many mechanics won't warranty work if you carry in the part. They need to be in control of the project from start to finish.

Most inspectors will randomly check areas that are common problems. If they find something..they will go more in depth.

An electrician would be staking his reputation and working relationship with inspectors on someone elses work, unless he personally checked every connection, staple, drilled hole, and box himself. Also...finding and fixing problems is more work than just doing it yourself.
 
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Old 11-14-10, 04:17 PM
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Good thoughts, but this is Buffalo, NY. Things don't work here the same way they do in other metro areas.
 
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Old 11-14-10, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Mills View Post
Thanks for the advice, I will call the ibew tomorrow
There is really no reason to call the union hall. Just find a good electrical contractor recommended by somebody you know or look in the local shoppers, yellow pages or craigslist and have a few come out to bid the job or see what they can do for you.
 
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Old 11-14-10, 05:47 PM
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My personal experience is that if a person calls a union hall asking for a recommendation they will get a number of people that are fully qualified and do small jobs. On the other hand, using the the local "shopper" newspaper or Craig's list you are likely to get someone that dropped out of the apprentice program before finishing or someone that never even attempted to learn the craft (any craft) except by him/her self. I've been stung far too many times by using someone who advertised in the five cent classifieds.
 
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Old 11-14-10, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Furd View Post
My personal experience is that if a person calls a union hall asking for a recommendation they will get a number of people that are fully qualified and do small jobs. On the other hand, using the the local "shopper" newspaper or Craig's list you are likely to get someone that dropped out of the apprentice program before finishing or someone that never even attempted to learn the craft (any craft) except by him/her self. I've been stung far too many times by using someone who advertised in the five cent classifieds.
That's also a good way to get someone who flies under the radar and isn't licensed to perform electrical work.
 
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Old 11-15-10, 05:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Tolyn Ironhand View Post
There is really no reason to call the union hall. Just find a good electrical contractor recommended by somebody you know or look in the local shoppers, yellow pages or craigslist and have a few come out to bid the job or see what they can do for you.
As I said, things don't work in Buffalo the same way they work elsewhere. Calling the hall and asking for someone with experience in the city not only gets you a qualified person, it also gets you someone who knows how to cut through the red tape.
 
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Old 11-15-10, 06:47 AM
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Being part of a non-union shop that is qualified, licensed, bonded and insured makes me think there are also the same type of contractors elsewhere in the country. Even in Buffalo, NY. Your points are all well taken.
 

Last edited by Tolyn Ironhand; 11-15-10 at 07:21 AM.
  #13  
Old 11-15-10, 07:18 AM
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You're probably right for the most part but our local government adds a level of stupidity. It's worth a shot to check all available options though, wouldn't you think? Even if nothing comes of it.
 
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Old 11-15-10, 08:39 AM
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When I did my house, I called a number of electricians with this proposal and was turned down. I finally got a reference from a relative. He got the permits, installed a new load center and I did the new branch circuits. The way I looked at it, he did the dangerous stuff that had to be done under time pressure, and I could get my part done on a DIY weekend schedule. Before he started the load center he looked at my rough-ins. No trouble with the inspection.

In my case after moving in and figuring out that my wiring would need a lot of work, I got these references and spent some time with them. There are also some books that cover older wiring methods and how to fix them, but I decided to simply remove or abandon all the original wiring. By the time I was talking to electricians and inspectors I was pretty pretty comfortable with the topics if not the physical aspects of the work.

1. Electrical Wiring Residential, Ray C. Mullin
2. NEC Handbook (Including NFPA 70 code)
3. State electric code (online pdf)
4. Local electric code (printed then, now online)

It's important to get the local and state stuff, because although most of them incorporate by reference NFPA, some do have reduced, increased, or altogether different requirements for certain sections. They also tell you what happens when you want to appeal an inspector's decision, although here things are written so loosely that they can pretty much have you doing whatever they want if you get on their wrong side. I call it the "Rule of Law with a few local exceptions".

I loved rewiring and the knowledge it gave me about how my house is built, how hard or easy it will be to make future changes, and where to look if there are problems. Best wishes for the same to you!
 
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Old 11-15-10, 09:54 AM
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My DIY career pretty much started the day I decided I was going to wire my basement instead of hiring it done

I lucked out, though - it was a new house and I had met the electrician who did the upstairs and he was a nice enough guy I could have him stop by on the way to or from another job to check stuff if I had a question
 
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