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Information you need to do building and remodeling projects right the first time and protect the safety and value of your home.
 

When do I need an electrical permit?

Safety first
For your safety, your family's safety, and the safety of future occupants - and to avoid expensive mistakes - do not perform any electrical work that is beyond your skill level.
When do I need an electrical permit?
How do I get a permit for electrical work?
How do I get an inspection?
When do I need an inspection?
Planning to do electrical work on your one- or two-family dwelling?
 
When do I need an electrical permit?

A permit is required to do the following:

  • install or alter any permanent wiring or electrical device
  • run additional wiring, put in an electrical outlet or light fixture, install a receptacle for a garage-door opener, or convert from fuse box to circuit breakers
  • install or alter low-voltage systems such as security alarms or stereo or computer systems

For homeowners, a permit is not required to replace electrical devices or to perform the maintenance on an existing electrical installation.

If you are not sure if you need a permit, call the building department responsible for your area.

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How do I get a permit for electrical work?

Permits are issued by Building Codes Division (BCD) field offices or your local building department, depending on the jurisdiction responsible for your area.

  • Drawn plans are not necessary to get a permit to do residential electrical work.
  • Drawn plans are not necessary to get a permit to perform residential electrical work, unless the service involves 400 amps or greater. Some building departments require a plan review for service over 400 amps.
  • An electrical inspector or office staff member can help you make sure you have all the necessary information for the proposed project. If everything is in order, you can usually leave with your permit.
  • Electrical permit fees are paid when the permit is issued.
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How do I get an inspection?
Any work performed under a permit must be inspected by a certified electrical inspector. You may call the inspection request line at the building department in your area within 24 hours of completion of any phase of the project. A minimum of 24-hours' notice is usually required for inspections.
When you call, you will be asked for the permit number, homeowner's name, project address, type of inspection needed, and date on which the inspection is desired. Be prepared to furnish detailed directions to the job site and a detailed description of the electrical work performed.
Unless all of the work is outside and accessible, an adult needs to be at the site to provide access for the inspector.
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When do I need an inspection?
Most electrical permits require three inspections: rough-in, service, and final. Call for a rough-in inspection when all of the new circuits are wired, grounding wires are in, the raceways and boxes are installed, and any necessary nail plates are put on. Do not cover any work with insulation, receptacles, or wall switches until the inspector has approved it. Call for a service inspection when the service electrical mast, the electric meter base, the service panels, and the grounding electrodes and terminals have been installed. Wires must be visible without removing cover devices. Sometimes, the inspector is able to inspect these items during the rough-in inspection. Call for a final inspection upon completion of the electrical work. Be sure that panel boxes are covered and circuits are labeled in the correct spaces on the box. All of the equipment, fixtures, switches, and appliances must be installed, grounded, and energized for the final inspection.
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Planning to do electrical work on your one- or two-family dwelling?
You must be both the owner and the occupant of a dwelling to obtain a permit to do the electrical work yourself. You may not perform any electrical installations or modifications on a house or residential unit intended for sale, lease, rent, or exchange. If you do not own or do not intend to live in the unit, a licensed electrical contractor must do the work. A landlord, landlord's agent, or the employee of the landlord or landlord's agent may replace an existing garbage disposal, dishwasher, or electric water heater with a similar appliance of 30 amps or less, single phase, in residential properties. If you have any questions concerning your eligibility to work on a building, call the Building Codes Division, (503) 378-4133 or (800) 442-7457, or your local jurisdiction.
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