Homeownership comes with its fair share of responsibilities and the occasional need for home improvement projects.
When it comes to electrical work, safety is paramount, and adhering to local building codes and regulations is crucial.
One common question that arises among homeowners is whether they have the authority to pull permits for electrical work on their properties.
A homeowner can obtain a permit in some municipalities for electrical work, while in others, a licensed electrician must do so.
If your region permits owners and occupants to obtain permits, you’ll have to be both the owner and occupant in order to get a permit. It is better to ask your local building department if you need a permit for an electrical project.
Note that an electrical installation or modification can’t be done in an apartment intended for sale, lease, rent, or exchange. You must hire a licensed electrician if you do not own or do not plan to live in the unit.
What to Consider When Applying for a Permit for an Electrical Service Upgrade?
The question of whether you need a construction permit for your home’s electrical service upgrade might be on your mind. Electrical permits are required for most new electrical installations and upgrades.
There are a few exceptions, which are also addressed here. The permit process may seem time-consuming, but there are conceptual reasons behind it. Aside from ensuring your family and property’s safety, it also assures your financial security.
You must obtain an electrical permit to ensure that your project meets the minimal requirement for safety. In addition to protecting your property, public health, and general welfare, it enables you to live in peace.
It is necessary to obtain an electrical service upgrade permit when increasing the panel or primary service size.
This is required if the main service or panel needs to be replaced due to damage. It might need to be relocated, or outdated equipment might be required.
When Do You Need An Electrical Permit?
There are a lot of DIY projects and remodeling jobs around the home that homeowners enjoy doing. Considering electrical work, it is essential to obtain all necessary permits.
You should hire a licensed electrician before starting any electrical work if you don’t know if you need one.
Performing electrical maintenance or replacing electrical devices on existing installations may not require a permit for homeowners.
It is usually necessary to obtain a permit for any electrical work that involves:
- Changing or installing low-voltage systems, such as security systems
- Alternating fuses with circuit breakers
- Attaching a garage door opener to a receptacle
- Adding a new electrical outlet or light fixture to the house
- Run new wiring
- Wire or alter any permanent electrical device or wiring
It is necessary to have a certified electrical inspector inspect the work if you obtain a permit. It is typical for inspections to require 24 hours notice.
Callers will need to provide details such as the permit number, the homeowner’s name, the project address, and the type of inspection desired.
The electrical work performed should be described appropriately in detail, as well as detailed directions to the site.
How Does One Get Started In Applying for a Permit?
It is essential to contact a qualified electrician before proceeding. There will likely be underground utilities to mark if it is an underground electric service.
The electrical contractor is usually responsible for obtaining electrical permits. For the permit to be issued, the person responsible for the project must acquire it.
Homeowners can also be affected. Laws vary by state, but even single-family homeowners may be allowed to perform electrical repairs.
If you are interested in obtaining a permit, you will need to provide the following information:
- Address of your principal residence
- Registered electrical contractor’s name, address, license number, and phone number
- Owner name
If you are applying for a permit, you will need the following information:
Steps for Obtaining a Permit
Following are the steps you need to take to get a permit to upgrade your electrical service:
- Homeowners must meet the chief electrical code administrator before upgrading their electrical service.
- You may need to take an oral or written examination.
- A copy of the plans and specifications should be filed
- Obtain proof of homeownership
The amount you pay will be determined by your location. Your property type determines whether or not you must submit plans and specifications:
Single Dwelling Units or Duplexes:
Depending on the specifications of your state’s code, you’ll need electrical plans. Providing alternative power to on-site generators will require plans.
Other Buildings & Structures:
Unlike single-family and multi-family dwellings, all buildings and structures need electrical plans and specifications. There is an exception, however, when building or structure permits are not required.
Inspection Following the Issuing of A Permit
An inspection can be scheduled once the permit has been received and the project has been completed. A building’s utility company can only start powering it after the inspector has approved the work.
Exemptions from Getting a Permit
A permit does not need to be obtained in certain situations. The exemption does not mean that the work can be conducted in a way that may violate the local or electrical codes. A few examples of these situations are as follows:
- Repairs, replacements, and repairs, including switches, fuses, receptacles, ballasts, or lamp holders.
- Replaced equipment must be the same type and size as its predecessor. Likewise, regulations must be followed when doing the work.
- Changing or repairing wiring, appliances, devices, or equipment that costs less than $250 and does not supply over 50 watts.
- Connecting portable appliances to permanent receptacles or replacing outdated lamps.
- Getting your appliances to operate with remote control devices.
- Replace hardwired appliances, such as cooking appliances and dishwashers, without adding extra electrical load to the power circuit in your home.
You may not need a permit if you’re performing repairs, maintenance, replacement, or relocation without changing your electrical service or disconnection. There are also usually no exemptions for projects with a value not exceeding $1,000.
Other Home Improvements that Require Construction Permits
Depending on the extent of the work you are planning, you may need to get additional permits for significant improvements.
It can include the addition of bedrooms, garages, decks, walls, porches, balconies, some types of sheds, and even the remodeling of garages. The project will require a permit if it involves changing the current support system of the house.
The Bottom Line
Property owners or homeowners are responsible for purchasing electrical permits for the work that will be done.
The electrical contractor you hire will have to purchase their own permits for their work on your property. The appropriate authority must obtain a permit and inspection for electrical work.