Tag Archives: amateur electrical work

Electrical Permits

Electrical Permits

Electrical permits are important to everyone, to the extent that they fall under the public Freedom of Information Act. This means that anyone, from insurance providers, realtors and potential home buyers to your next door neighbor, can search your property’s permit history by contacting your area regulating authority and providing your street address.

The following are reasons why electrical permits are important.

Accountability

An electrical permit means an inspector may scrutinize the specified work. The electrical inspection department is an independent third party that provides a higher level of accountability for the electrical contractor named on the permit. An electrical inspector will fail an inspection if an installation does not meet the most recent Code standards.

Assurance

The permit gives property owners the assurance that specific electrical work has met the current Code standard. Because the majority of the electrical system is hidden behind walls, realtors and potential home buyers want proof that all past alterations were made by a qualified electrician. An electrical permit provides proof that an electrical contractor was in charge of the electrical work.

Safety

The Canadian Electrical Code sets the standard for the maintenance and installation of electrical equipment in Canada. This Code is revised and published by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) every 3 years. Existing Code rules are reviewed or updated before each revision. New safety rules are added to address new technology or circumstances. The Code is then passed into Canadian law and adopted by each individual province. An electrical permit requires that all work named on the permit meets the minimum standard for safety as outlined in the most recent Canadian Electrical Code. For this reason, every job requires a knowledgeable electrician to follow the Code rules on every installation.

Responsibility

The permit assigns all responsibility of the electrical work described on the permit to the electrical contractor named on the permit.

Obligation

By law, ALL regulated electrical work requires an electrical permit. This includes renovations, additions, upgrades and many repairs. Property owners should always be provided with the electrical permit number for reference, although a copy of the electrical permit is even better. An electrician who is unable to produce an electrical permit, may not be legally qualified to complete the requested electrical work.

Homeowners need to understand that electrical permits are important. The risks in avoiding the electrical permit to save a few dollars is just not worth it.

Burnt House - Blue Crest Electric

Electrical Permits are Important

Fire destroys home

Electrical permits are important to everyone and not just your insurance company. A recent conversation with a local electrical inspector has reaffirmed what our electricians have been explaining to homeowners for years. If regulated electrical work is completed without an electrical permit in place, your homeowner’s insurance policy will be compromised. An insurance claim will likely be denied in the event of a disaster. The inspector stated that this has been a hard lesson for some homeowners in recent incidents in the Lower Mainland.

I know Electrical Permits are Important, but can’t this just be my little secret?

Nope. Electrical permits are important, to the extent that they fall under the public Freedom of Information Act. So your secret is out there for the world to see. This means that anyone, from insurance providers, realtors and potential home buyers to your next door neighbor, can search your property’s electrical permit history by just contacting the regulating authority in your area and providing your street address.

Depending on the age of your home, the first electrical permit may be from when the home was built and subsequent permits will follow in chronological order. Permits will state the scope of electrical work covered by the permit, in addition to the name and qualifications of the person responsible for the electrical work.

The absence of an electrical permit for regulated electrical changes also speaks volumes. It sends a very clear message to an investigator implying that electrical work was likely done by an unlicensed, amateur installer and therefore safety and quality of workmanship are suspect. This gives insurance companies all the reason they need to refuse claim coverage.

Potential home buyers will usually shy away from a home that holds electrical secrets. In addition to your asking price, buyers will imagine a long list of possible expensive repairs to deal with, not to mention the fear of moving into a house with obvious unauthorized electrical changes.

Homeowners need to understand that electrical permits are important and the risks in avoiding the electrical permit to save a few dollars is just not worth it.

Dangerous Wiring Hidden Behind Walls

Open Wiring inside WallDangerous wiring, hidden behind the walls, is a common find for a service electrician and can result in anything from a circuit power failure to a residential house fire. This problem is a ticking time bomb as the danger can sometimes lay hidden for years before a failure occurs.

A fire requires three things to burn: an ignition source or spark, a fuel source and oxygen.

This was clearly emphasized at a local Fire Department’s training session that our crews attended many years ago. So our electricians explain this to homeowners whenever they come across open splices buried inside walls like this one found today. Everything about this unpleasant find is WRONG and DANGEROUS!

When wiring is properly terminated inside a correctly rated and installed electrical box, it is isolated from nearby combustible materials (wooden studs, beams, etc.) and although an electrical box is not airtight, the amount of oxygen inside the enclosure is quickly depleted should any arcing occur. The spark is also contained and can not reach a fuel source, so it is quickly starved of both fuel and oxygen, and the potential fire dies out.

We’d like to say that this type of find is unusual, but it’s not. Our electricians come across this problem much too often, and in homes of almost any age. If you suspect there may be unauthorized, amateur wiring somewhere in your home, please call us and we can investigate and correct the issue before it becomes a serious problem. We can not emphasize enough the importance of hiring a licensed electrician to complete all regulated electrical work.