Electrical permit theory


Old 11-17-10, 03:50 PM
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Electrical permit theory

So I decided to bite the bullet and pull permits for the electrical work I’ve done in my residential home over the past year. Is there any reason to tell the inspector that this work was done prior to pulling a permit? The work is pretty basic and up to code (from all my research and questions asked on this site). It also seems cheaper to pull one permit for all this work than to take out 4-5 individual permits at a cost of $40 a permit. The inspector said I could do all the work on one permit. He inspects AFTER the work is done and only wants to see a drawing of the final product. He also didn’t seem very pushy in making sure walls stayed open before the inspection (as evident by me asking him about stapling and him saying, “I don’t even think staples are needed in that instance”). As someone who is somewhat affluent in basic electrical work, is there any harm in my approach?

I’ve really been trying to wrap my head around permits in regards to home insurance claims, selling the home, etc. We’ve had a rash of electrical fires in my area so I’m a little paranoid (although somewhat unfounded paranoia) god forbid anything bad ever happen. Am I opening up a can of worms by inviting in an inspection? Yes, I know “you need to pull permits” but as a 9-5’er, it’s just too hard to repeatedly and continuously file paperwork at town hall in order to do every single piece of weekend electrical work on my home.
Old 11-17-10, 05:13 PM
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This is the #2 complaint I had with the whole deal. I've had three electrical permits and three plumbing permits on my house. I think. I would assume their policy is by no means "Don't ask, don't tell" but that with the practical limitations it's certainly not unheard of.

New construction typically requires rough-in and final inspection, so I would think in the case of a large project the homeowner would need a permit before the rough-in inspection, presuming it wouldn't take long to finish and do the final. Rehab work (here) typically requires only a final inspection, unless there is work to be covered.

The biggest issue is probably liability in case there is a problem during construction. For example, you start a fire that ends up burning down your neighbor's house, too. Your liability might increase if it was found that you were doing work without a permit, or your insurance company may take issue with that. I don't know.

What's funny is that my inspection department was very clear with me that there was no limit on the open time for construction permits. So I've had two permits open for going on eleven years, because the work is still not done. I get a visit from an assessor every year or two to verify that the work is not done yet.

On the other hand, the electrical and plumbing permits can only be kept open for six months. So those have been inspected and closed. I've never asked why the difference but I assume it's either because they expect plbg. and electrical to be done by pros, or because they don't want extended temporary conditions while those permits are open.
Old 11-17-10, 08:50 PM
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I wouldn't divulge any details unless he asks. If it's all remodel-type work, it doesn't really matter if you did it 2 years ago or last week, as long as he doesn't require a rough inspection first, you might as well get it all inspected.

When you're talking about liability/insurance/etc, there's rarely enough documentation that would show that receptacle 1 was installed under a permit while switch 2 was done afterward so it would be nearly impossible for someone down the road to blame you for not working under a permit. The bigger deal is when you do a significant remodel without a permit (new kitchen, new basement, etc).

If it were me, I'd take out one or multiple permits for the big jobs, and let the smaller ones happen. As long as you're doing everything up to code, you shouldn't have any issues. (my opinion only of course)

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