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Tips to Pull a Permit

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There is a common misconception among homeowners that a building permit acts in the same way as an electrical permit and allows for the same work or maintenance; this is not only false, but conducting electrical work under a building permit is also illegal. An electrical permit is the first – and most vital – step towards safe installation or maintenance of electric systems, and can be applied for and obtained within a few days.

Your contractor will need to fill out an application form at least 48 hours before the commencement of said electrical work. This application form will require information regarding the age of the house or building, the nature of the work being done and the number of fixtures involved. Once the application has been completed then an inspection must be scheduled; either before the job if your contractor is uncertain about the existing electrical work, or afterwards to double-check that everything is safe and up to standard. If the job is particularly complicated you may want to have inspectors visit at intervals throughout the time period when the work is taking place.

Why do I need an electrical permit?
Applying for and being granted an electrical permit is not simply a process of paperwork, extra fees and legality; a permit is necessary to ensure your safety and the sustainability of your home. Electrical fires can break out very easily, and a thorough inspection afterwards can make sure there are no potential safety hazards. If the work has not been done in compliance with the code, the inspector will provide a defect notice which will outline the problems and suggest ways in which to correct them. If the work you are having done is going to require extensive renovations or any additional building, then you will need to apply for a building permit as well as an electrical permit. If you are hiring contractors to do the job then they will undertake the permit application process for you.

What if I don’t apply for a permit?
By not applying for an electrical permit you are not only endangering your life and your property but you are also breaking the law, which can make you liable for a hefty fine. Doing electrical work without a permit can have a number of other consequences. Unpermitted electrical work can affect you ability to sell or finance the property in the future and it can even devalue your home. It can also cause problems for your insurance; unpermitted electrical work can prevent you from collecting on insurance claims. Finally, if it has been determined that there has been unpermitted electrical work on your property you can risk having your power cut off completely.

Does all electrical work need a permit?
Not all work that involves electricity actually requires an electrical permit. The replacement of light bulbs, circuit breakers, switches, dimmers, heating elements, and the modification of small engines – to name but a few – can all likely be done without a permit.


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