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Old 10-17-2008, 08:43 AM   #16
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Can a homeowner perform electrical work in MA?


The problem here is that the electrical inspector has no problem with this, it is the fire marshal saying he has jurisdiction over electrical installations when it comes to any fire related equipment. nec code makes a distinct differentiation on fire alarms meaning a panel system and smoke alarms meaning an interconnected branch circuit. The marshal is claiming smoke alarms are fire alarms though both systems function differently and have drastically different wiring. I have done both type systems where I formerly lived. I have worked for electricians and electrical manufacture companies as well as my family owning a GC business before my father passed away that I did the bulk of this work for family under pops E license. What I need is someone versed in nefp code for fire to possibly assist me with hard data I can hand this guy to demonstrate I should be allowed to do a residential system of smoke alarms. here a panel system is regulated for electricians only to install but smoke I can find absolutely no reference to and this is why he is trying to group both together.

Further what is extremely annoying is initially the guy was saying he did not want a panel system reactivated which is already in place in the building to be used-- period. He insisted on the residential system installed at a town meeting. Now because of the square footage and such he feels a panel is better after us spending well over a thousand in materials and having obtained the electrical permit to do the install.Then he changes his mind again about the type detectors from ionized to photoelectric, again we oblige run back to the supply house and ask them to exchange them. Now he talking about using the old panel system and changing all the sensors and having to hire a licensed person to do that work though everything is already run and in place and working. It's pure obstructionism in my view and if I can site code by the book that I can in fact do a residential system myself then he has to allow me. Anyone who can help with this , it would be greatly appreciated as I have been bending over backward to comply and they keep changing the requirements. Thus far he hasn't been able to quote any law prohibiting me but he's dragging this out for no reason.

Anyone that could give me a solid answer as to quote code (fire code) whether I can do a residential smoke and co alarm system myself I would be very much obliged.There should be a prescient somewhere in code to clarify this I just haven't yet found it myself.

thanks Eva


Last edited by Eva; 10-17-2008 at 08:51 AM.
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Old 10-17-2008, 03:59 PM   #17
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Can a homeowner perform electrical work in MA?


The state says that you can pull your own permit and do your own work if it is a single family home. Most of the local inspectors try to deny the permits and will give you a hard time. They count on you not being patient and appealing it to the state. If you are persistent then they will have to go by the law and allow it.
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Old 10-17-2008, 09:06 PM   #18
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Can a homeowner perform electrical work in MA?


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A question on Massachusetts electrical code... Can a homeowner perform electrical work (and pull a permit) in their single family owner occupied home?

I see some MA town websites saying all electrical work must be performed by a licensed electrician. I see other MA town websites that say that a homeowner can perform work... as long as the homeowner is working on his/her house and it is a single family primary residence.

Anyone know the truth?

Thanks...
Yes a homeowner can pull a permit and do electrical work without a electrical license in Massachusetts
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Old 10-17-2008, 09:09 PM   #19
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Can a homeowner perform electrical work in MA?


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Not only does the state does allow homeowners to do there own work, they also don't need to pull permits.
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I went to the building office to pull permits for electrical. The inspector said he doesn't give homeowners permits but if I could get the state electrical inspector to say it's OK, then he would give me a permit. I think he expected me to drop it but I did check with the state electrical inspector. He said flat out, "homeowners don't need to pull permits [for electrical.]" I went back to the building office and told him who I talked to and he called someone to confirm. He came back and said, "I guess you don't have any use for me then." The truth is I wanted to pull a permit and get inspected.
Towns may have their own ordinances but generally in Massachusetts, homeowners can do their own electrical work.
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Like you said it's up to the town, but there is nothing in the state law that says that homeowners are required to pull permits for electrical.
These statements are absolutely incorrect and whoever told you this does not know what they are talking about.
I am an electrician in Massachusetts, and I can tell you that the only thing electrically that can be done without pulling a permit in the state of Massachusetts is to change a light bulb.

Every job, no matter how small, even down to changing 1 receptacle outlet is required to have a permit.

Obviously that would be a little ridiculous and is not how things work in reality, but technically that is the law.

Home owners may or may not be allowed to do their own work, the decision resides with the electrical inspector who has jurisdiction, however HOME OWNERS ARE NOT EXEMPT FROM PERMIT LAWS!
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Old 10-17-2008, 09:18 PM   #20
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Can a homeowner perform electrical work in MA?


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The state says that you can pull your own permit and do your own work if it is a single family home. Most of the local inspectors try to deny the permits and will give you a hard time. They count on you not being patient and appealing it to the state. If you are persistent then they will have to go by the law and allow it.
This is also an incorrect statement!

There is no law in the state of Massachusetts that allows an unlicensed person to do electrical work of any kind.

Some inspectors will allow home owners to do their own electrical work on a single family dwelling in which they reside (not a multi-family or rental property), however they are not required to allow any unlicensed person to do electrical work. If they feel you are not qualified to safely and correctly perform the work they can deny the issuance of a permit, and as I stated before, home owners are subject to the same permit and inspection rules as licensed electrical contractors are.

Home owners are only allowed to do electrical work based on precedence and not on any legal rights. NO SUCH LAW EXISTS!
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Old 10-17-2008, 09:53 PM   #21
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Can a homeowner perform electrical work in MA?


The fire inspector shouldn't be enforcing the fire code in a single family residence. He should be enforcing the International Residential Code in your home, and there isn't any need to enforce more than that. I'd start there.

He is obligated to provide you applicable code sections that permit him to enforce the requirements he's enforcing. Ask for a meeting at his office and request that he cite specific code to qualify his requirements. If he won't do that, file a written complaint with the City Manager or Mayors office.
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Old 10-24-2008, 10:03 PM   #22
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Can a homeowner perform electrical work in MA?


As a follow up to the fire marshal situation. He did check I suppose with his superiors or the fire code book itself or maybe was inspired by a religious revelation but he is allowing me to do the work and signed the permit. Interesting fact is the code book for fire isn't even in the library but I did manage to find someone who had one and it's like ten times the size of the NEC book and way too many chapters. it sort of resembles a Thomas dieectory. His only hitch is that he wants the electric inspector to sign off on it when it's done. That would be normal anyway since the electrical inspector has to sign off on the job overall. My point of contention was me being allowed to do the labor since the building is very difficult to run anything in . The cost of hiring someone would have been monumental. The fire code which he sited has some wording that a "qualified" person do the work, but makes no define of what qualified means, it does not specifically state a licensed person. The marshals interpretation of that clause is that it need be supervised by someone licensed meaning the inspector follow up. I see it more as a CYA polocy and little more. I can live with it the way it is and have no beef doing it this way. I was going to go balistic if I was told I had to pay a few thousand to deal with this simply circuit where the cable running in this was the bulk of the expense. So problem basically solved for the moment and we'll see what other monsters rear their head, hopfully none. Thanks everyone for their comments and time, wish me luck.

The town code was more interesting when I looked that up. I didn't make an issue of it but there is "no" town requirment for the fire inspector to be involved at all in a residential smoke or co alarm nor any state requirment from what the state said. I suppose if I wanted to waste my time in court I could contest his involvment in the matter, but I doubt it would win me community points or make political friends for sure. Basically the issue is solve the problem and not be the poster girl for law, renovating the house is enough work for this old gal..

regards Eva
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Old 10-24-2008, 11:41 PM   #23
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Can a homeowner perform electrical work in MA?


Well, it sounds like it is going to work out. I sure am sorry to hear that they're making it so hard on you. These guys are way out in left field.
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Old 10-25-2008, 09:17 AM   #24
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Can a homeowner perform electrical work in MA?


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These statements are absolutely incorrect and whoever told you this does not know what they are talking about.
The state electrical inspector told me this. I suppose he could be full of it, but probably not.


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Originally Posted by EBFD6 View Post
I am an electrician in Massachusetts, and I can tell you that the only thing electrically that can be done without pulling a permit in the state of Massachusetts is to change a light bulb.

Every job, no matter how small, even down to changing 1 receptacle outlet is required to have a permit.

Obviously that would be a little ridiculous and is not how things work in reality, but technically that is the law.

Home owners may or may not be allowed to do their own work, the decision resides with the electrical inspector who has jurisdiction, however HOME OWNERS ARE NOT EXEMPT FROM PERMIT LAWS!
Can you site the law that declares that homeowners are required to pull permits? I've done my due diligence to show that homeowners are not required to pull permits.

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Home owners are only allowed to do electrical work based on precedence and not on any legal rights. NO SUCH LAW EXISTS!
Laws basically tell you what you cannot do, not what you can do.
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Old 11-24-2009, 10:02 PM   #25
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Can a homeowner perform electrical work in MA?


This thread stopped a year ago on a strong point of contention. The DIYer seemed sure that the State of Mass allowed the home owner to do their own electrical work. The electrician said no way. I have owned many homes in many jurisdictions and it is rare for a tradesperson to actually know what the rules are when it comes to permits. The norm is for them to believe whatever the local inspector tells them. This is an obvious case of self interest at play. What is really annoying is the belligerent know it all attitude of some tradespeople.
In Mass the homeowner does have rights enshrined in Mass general Law that allow them to do a significant amount of work to their home. I have heard of numerous contracters telling people otherwise. It is my understanding that electrical work falls within the work allowed. My local inspector disagrees.
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Old 11-25-2009, 03:58 PM   #26
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Can a homeowner perform electrical work in MA?


I would have to say, my local inspector also disagrees homeowners can do their own work in MA. I went to do my due diligence to pull a permit to add a simple outlet to a utility room and was denied, only a licensed electrician can pull permits I was told. So I do exactly as thekctermite says people will do and just do **** on my own without pulling permits and with no inspections so it's counterproductive for both the state financially and my safety. I'm sorry but I am not hiring an electrician to install an outlet in a utility room especially since the breaker panel is right there. I do hire electricians for stuff I prefer like I hired an electrician to wire hard wired smoke detectors in my house, hired him again to replace my service , and wire my solar.

Meanwhile my coworker who lives in the next town over in MA just pulled the permit as a homeowner to add a subpanel and do all the electricals himself to finish his basement and the electrical inspector is assisting him with his plans and educating him on the rules. Wow... wish I lived in the next town over

Last edited by Piedmont; 11-25-2009 at 04:17 PM.
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Old 11-25-2009, 04:02 PM   #27
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Can a homeowner perform electrical work in MA?


2 different Towns & I've pulled my own electric permit in both
To deny a homeowner the ability to pull a permit & have work completed & inspected will just force people to do the work without inspections

It's counter productive & defeats the whole purpose of permit/inspection process IMO
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Old 12-22-2009, 08:47 PM   #28
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Can a homeowner perform electrical work in MA?


From what I know as an electrical inspector for 30 years for three different towns in Mass is that the State Attorney General's office may state that they would allow a homeowner to do their own electrical work, but unless there is a licensed electrician who has applied for a "permit to perform electrical wiring" and has had a "Certificate of Liability" insurance issued to the "Inspector of Wiring" office, then the inspector has the right to refuse an inspection.
The State Licensing Board states that the local municipal inspector is not required to inspect unless a licensed qualified person files a permit with him. This was from the head of the board in the early 90's.
I see no reason why not allowing non qualified people to do electrical work infringes upon peoples rights. These laws protect children and innocent people from these so called "I know what I'm doing" non professionals.
People have been killed as a result of these types of people. Robc.
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Old 12-22-2009, 08:59 PM   #29
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Can a homeowner perform electrical work in MA?


And people have also been killed by work done by "certified/licensed electricians"
A company only needs one certified electrican & then any yahoo untrained person can work for them
I spent 3 days cleaning up after the "electricians" that installed my new Service Feed & 200a panel
Pathetic job & even the Inspector did not like it after I talked to him & wen over the issues

I trust the work I do better then electricians
It's my house that might burn down
So I check it multiple times before the drywall goes up

And refusing to issue permits to homeowners only makes them do it without a permit or inspection
Which is even worse

So they don't have to inspect it.....that's idiotic if they don't
I'd rather have the inspection
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Old 12-23-2009, 12:13 AM   #30
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Can a homeowner perform electrical work in MA?


The owner can waiver a Company’s lack of liability insurance:
http://www.frcog.org/services/coop_i.../apps/eapp.pdf

What? http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/141-1a.htm

A Journeyman can have one apprentice: http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/141-8.htm

Ouch! http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/141-5.htm

#(9), ask to see his card: http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/141-3.htm

Enjoy! More fuel for the fire……

Be safe, Gary

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