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Old 07-29-2013, 03:39 PM   #1
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permitted/unpermitted work


Hi, I have a few electrical projects I want to do around the house; I live in MA and in my town, only licensed electricians can pull a permit - per MA state law it is not illegal to do my own work (eg. king's castle law). I have been wanting to do permitted work for peace of mind (I don't have wiring experience, just lots and lots of research to get a basic understanding) and for disclosure purposes if I sell the house someday.

The electricians I have called do not (understandably) want to pull the permit and let me do the work, however many of them are also telling me they do not pull permits for the kind of stuff I want to do - add a few circuits for my garage, a few light fixtures to existing circuits inside, and only pull for big jobs involving construction/power from the utility/etc.

One electrician told me I could be his "helper" for the day and he would charge $55/hr. and I could learn alongside him, although he generally would not pull a permit in this situation. I kinda sorta like this arrangement (I did a similar thing for my first home project, hiring a carpenter out at $50/hr to help install a super heavy prehung interior door w/threshold for sound blocking purposes and I learned a lot, cost a lot though too).

I don't care so much about the "time is money" thing, I have accepted that new things take a good 10x longer than I thought they would, fine, because the more I struggle the more I learn. Maybe I should just do everything myself at my own pace and call in an electrician to inspect at the end, I don't know, thoughts? Thanks so much

Dan

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Old 07-29-2013, 03:52 PM   #2
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What exactly are you wanting to do?

In 'most' cases, swapping out outlets and switches does not require a permit...

What typically does require one....

1. Running new circuits
2. Installing a hot tub
3. Opening up a wall and moving a ckt.

Etc.

Basically, anything that involves the position of the installed wiring and/or the load center.

In my area....if you take out a light and put a ceiling fan in it's place...no permit...your not changing the wiring or ckt protection...just what hangs off the end.

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Old 07-29-2013, 04:13 PM   #3
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What exactly are you wanting to do?

In 'most' cases, swapping out outlets and switches does not require a permit...

What typically does require one....

1. Running new circuits
2. Installing a hot tub
3. Opening up a wall and moving a ckt.

Etc.

Basically, anything that involves the position of the installed wiring and/or the load center.

In my area....if you take out a light and put a ceiling fan in it's place...no permit...your not changing the wiring or ckt protection...just what hangs off the end.
I haven't spoken with the town electrical inspector, but did speak with someone from his office, and per the website it just says any new electrical work. Running cable for my new switches and fixtures probably needs a permit, and def. running new circuits in my garage would require one.

But since a permit is not required by law, and a lot of licensed electricians don't pull permits for the type of work I want to do, that is where maybe I just elect to go unpermitted, and try to find an electrician to work alongside for at least part of the job so I learn some nuances.
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Old 07-29-2013, 04:24 PM   #4
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Just spoke with the town electrical inspector since I was curious. His take: anything that requires running new cable would require a permit, and from his P.O.V. any electrician who is working on someone's house without a permit is a no-no (Im guessing they don't want unlicensed guys/gals working on other's houses). As far as my own house and doing unpermitted work? - Fine by him, he didn't try to convince me otherwise, as we both obviously know the law.
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Old 07-29-2013, 04:26 PM   #5
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Then you should be able to pull a permit as the homeowner.
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Old 07-29-2013, 04:59 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by aerodan1 View Post
I haven't spoken with the town electrical inspector, but did speak with someone from his office, and per the website it just says any new electrical work. Running cable for my new switches and fixtures probably needs a permit, and def. running new circuits in my garage would require one.

But since a permit is not required by law, and a lot of licensed electricians don't pull permits for the type of work I want to do, that is where maybe I just elect to go unpermitted, and try to find an electrician to work alongside for at least part of the job so I learn some nuances.
Your post makes no sense. Only licensed electricians can pull an electrical permit, the inspector's office said you need one, yet you contend one is not required by law? I'd get a bit more clarification.

Just FYI, this might be a good opportunity to learn some new skills. Nothing you want to do is all that difficult. The issue of unpermitted work when selling a house is overblown - in more than 40 years and owning ten houses, it has never once been an issue.

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Old 07-29-2013, 05:34 PM   #7
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I had a whole house generator installed 4 months ago. Contractor was responsible for pulling the permit and getting the inspection.
I had to pester him to get the inspection done (claims the inspector just wasn't returning his calls).
Inspector told me there never was a permit, which the town would find out when they got the inspection report, but he doubted I would hear any more about it; and I didn't.

The contractor is the biggest in the area, and I doubt many of his installs are either permitted or inspected.

That should tell you something about what permits are needed for around here; a whole house generator is fairly major.
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Old 07-29-2013, 05:50 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by aerodan1 View Post
Just spoke with the town electrical inspector since I was curious. His take: anything that requires running new cable would require a permit, and from his P.O.V. any electrician who is working on someone's house without a permit is a no-no (Im guessing they don't want unlicensed guys/gals working on other's houses). As far as my own house and doing unpermitted work? - Fine by him, he didn't try to convince me otherwise, as we both obviously know the law.
In Massachusetts all licensed electricians must pull permits unless they're just changing light bulbs,the guys that are telling you otherwise are either not licensed and insured ,or licensed and not insured and don't have the right to pull a permit and should not be working on your home without all the required insurance.

If one of them gets hurt YOU will pay because of this lack of insurance.

They should also be driving a marked truck with commercial plates and must also be displaying their license number,they must also have their license in their wallet and you should ask them to show you their electricians license and it should have an exploration date of 7/31/2016.

Real electricians in mass know that it is a felony to work without pulling permits,so if they're telling you otherwise it's a good bet that they are not licensed and insured ,,Remember they get hurt and they do not have workmanship comp,,,,you the property owner will pay the tab.

I'm willing to bet that the electrician that told you that he will work for $55 an hour does not have the proper insurance , but if he has the license and told you he will make you the helper ,he should know the it is illegal for him to assist an unlicensed person perform electrical work.

You have the right to do your own work as long as you own the home and it is not a multifamily,,you must live there.

Whatever you do make sure these guys have all the credentials to do this work before you hire them.
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Old 07-29-2013, 05:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toller View Post
I had a whole house generator installed 4 months ago. Contractor was responsible for pulling the permit and getting the inspection.
I had to pester him to get the inspection done (claims the inspector just wasn't returning his calls).
Inspector told me there never was a permit, which the town would find out when they got the inspection report, but he doubted I would hear any more about it; and I didn't.

The contractor is the biggest in the area, and I doubt many of his installs are either permitted or inspected.

That should tell you something about what permits are needed for around here; a whole house generator is fairly major.
Are you in mass?
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Old 07-29-2013, 06:35 PM   #10
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Are you in mass?
Quote:
Originally Posted by aerodan1 View Post
Hi, I have a few electrical projects I want to do around the house; I live in MA and in my town, only licensed electricians can pull a permit - per MA state law it is not illegal to do my own work (eg. king's castle law). I have been wanting to do permitted work for peace of mind (I don't have wiring experience, just lots and lots of research to get a basic understanding) and for disclosure purposes if I sell the house someday.
Using my powers of deduction along with my extensive training in forensics, I would say he 'might' be.....
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Old 07-29-2013, 09:09 PM   #11
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Using my powers of deduction along with my extensive training in forensics, I would say he 'might' be.....
I was asking Toller
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Old 07-29-2013, 11:48 PM   #12
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I was asking Toller
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Old 07-29-2013, 11:49 PM   #13
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Old 07-29-2013, 11:57 PM   #14
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In Massachusetts all licensed electricians must pull permits unless they're just changing light bulbs,the guys that are telling you otherwise are either not licensed and insured ,or licensed and not insured and don't have the right to pull a permit
This seems to me to be unlikely, but who knows - maybe Mass is special. There are lots of licensed and insured electricians not pulling permits all around the country.

The problems are these. First, it's just plain cost prohibitive sometimes. And furthermore, hardly anyone ever gets in trouble for not pulling one. It's about the equivalent of driving 56 in a 55.

Also, it's very frustrating, because you can make 4 different calls to your local office and get 4 different answers to your questions. Or you can have 4 different inspectors come to your house and get 4 different results.

Electricians know this (including the good ones). Many homeowners don't know this. Put that together, and it makes sense that hardly any small home work ever gets permitted.

The whole thing is a mess, really. Same for plumbing.
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Old 07-30-2013, 12:10 AM   #15
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This seems to me to be unlikely, but who knows - maybe Mass is special. There are lots of licensed and insured electricians not pulling permits all around the country.

The problems are these. First, it's just plain cost prohibitive sometimes. And furthermore, hardly anyone ever gets in trouble for not pulling one. It's about the equivalent of driving 56 in a 55.

Also, it's very frustrating, because you can make 4 different calls to your local office and get 4 different answers to your questions. Or you can have 4 different inspectors come to your house and get 4 different results.

Electricians know this (including the good ones). Many homeowners don't know this. Put that together, and it makes sense that hardly any small home work ever gets permitted.

The whole thing is a mess, really. Same for plumbing.
They run stings here to bag guys that are not pulling permits and they will revoke your licenses when they see fit and again it is a felony not to pull permits here.

Do guys pull permits 100% of the time ? Nope but if they get bagged your license will be marked forever on the boards web site,so it's not worth taking that chance in my opinion ,

I charge a fee for permits and inspections so at least I'll get something for the hassle.

The plumbing board here is really strict and will revoke first and ask questions later.

This is what I know here and have been working here for 39 years .

Some guys here talk tough and wonder why they just lost their license.

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