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Do i need to pull a permit

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    Do i need to pull a permit

    After working for other electrical contractors for about 20 years I decided to go and become one myself. After a lot of studying and headaches I finally did it, but I'm still new to this. I've had my license for about 3 months now and I still haven't pulled my first permit. I'm in Florida and my question is for a service change, do I HAVE to pull a permit or is it an option?


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    #2
    Most power companies will require an inspection before they re connect you. I'm not sure about your location, but the inspection agency won't come without a building permit pulled. At least that's here in Nys.

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      #3
      Originally posted by oscarcolumbo View Post
      After working for other electrical contractors for about 20 years I decided to go and become one myself. After a lot of studying and headaches I finally did it, but I'm still new to this. I've had my license for about 3 months now and I still haven't pulled my first permit. I'm in Florida and my question is for a service change, do I HAVE to pull a permit or is it an option?


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      The NEC is silent on permits. However the AHJ or town/POCO will require a permit. In my area, anytime power is cut/disconnected for any kind of electrical work, there must be an inspection before POCO will reconnect.
      There are a lot of things you might get by with without pulling a permit but I don't think a service change is one of them.
      I know for sure that a couple of areas the POCO uses smart meters and they would know when you pulled power to do the change.
      [COLOR=navy]If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time![/COLOR]

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        #4
        Originally posted by oscarcolumbo View Post
        After working for other electrical contractors for about 20 years I decided to go and become one myself. After a lot of studying and headaches I finally did it, but I'm still new to this. I've had my license for about 3 months now and I still haven't pulled my first permit. I'm in Florida and my question is for a service change, do I HAVE to pull a permit or is it an option?


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        Congratulations, Oscar. One thing to keep in mind is just because you can "get away" with something doesn't necessarily mean you should. Now that you're the responsible party all liability falls squarely on your shoulders. Having the building department inspect your work is to have a second set of eyes checking your installation. Inspectors aren't cops, even though some act like it, they're code enforcement, making sure that your installation is code compliant and safe. Plus, having a permit and inspection adds resale value to the home, you also want to consider your customers best interests.

        Also, add the approximate cost of the permit and your labor for standing the inspection to your bid. It helps offset the cost of standing around and waiting for the inspector to arrive.

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          #5
          Originally posted by oscarcolumbo View Post
          I'm in Florida and my question is for a service change, do I HAVE to pull a permit or is it an option?
          The law says you absolutely are required to pull a permit for any change to a wiring system except very minor ones like changing a receptacle, GFCI, light fixture, or switch. This includes anytime you add wire such as extending an existing circuit. That said, it is rare to see an electrician actually pull a permit for very small jobs. However, a panel change is not a small job.

          Originally posted by vincentvigil View Post
          Congratulations, Oscar. One thing to keep in mind is just because you can "get away" with something doesn't necessarily mean you should. Now that you're the responsible party all liability falls squarely on your shoulders. Having the building department inspect your work is to have a second set of eyes checking your installation. Inspectors aren't cops, even though some act like it, they're code enforcement, making sure that your installation is code compliant and safe. Plus, having a permit and inspection adds resale value to the home, you also want to consider your customers best interests.

          Also, add the approximate cost of the permit and your labor for standing the inspection to your bid.
          I would add this. It's not unusual for inspectors who are driving through a neighborhood to stop when they see two of more tradesman vans at a residence to see if a permit is displayed. If you are caught doing work without a permit you will receive a penalty which ranges from paying double for the permit, to being reported to the electrical board who can fine you and pull your licence.

          You can also get caught by a home inspector or insurance inspector who looks up permits in the public records and finds none where pulled. This will cause the home owner concern and they might call up the county to ask questions. Questions you don't want them asking.

          Don't be afraid of the inspectors. Most are very nice and will answer questions about a job before you start it so you are sure you are doing it right. You will get red tagged a few times. This is a learning process. After a while almost all your jobs will pass first time.

          Originally posted by vincentvigil View Post
          It helps offset the cost of standing around and waiting for the inspector to arrive.
          I personally rarely wait for inspectors. You don't have to be there, but probably will want to for the first few so you can get a feel for what the inspectors want. My contracts include language advising clients they are responsible for being present for the inspector. This lessens my costs and the price of the job. If the panel is outside and accessible (no locked gate or dogs) then nobody has to be there.
          Last edited by Coppersmith; 07-14-17, 08:25 AM.

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            #6
            Were there not any questions on your contractor licensing exam about permits and inspections?

            The rules on this vary from one AHJ to the next, but exam questions on the rules of an AHJ are usually a part of a contractor license exam, and I would expect at least one question on most any contractor exam that deals with permits or inspections for that particular AHJ you are testing for.
            I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

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              #7
              Originally posted by Coppersmith View Post
              The law says you absolutely are required to pull a permit for any change to a wiring system except very minor ones like changing a receptacle, GFCI, light fixture, or switch. This includes anytime you add wire such as extending an existing circuit. That said, it is rare to see an electrician actually pull a permit for very small jobs. However, a panel change is not a small job.



              I would add this. It's not unusual for inspectors who are driving through a neighborhood to stop when they see two of more tradesman vans at a residence to see if a permit is displayed. If you are caught doing work without a permit you will receive a penalty which ranges from paying double for the permit, to being reported to the electrical board who can fine you and pull your licence.

              You can also get caught by a home inspector or insurance inspector who looks up permits in the public records and finds none where pulled. This will cause the home owner concern and they might call up the county to ask questions. Questions you don't want them asking.

              Don't be afraid of the inspectors. Most are very nice and will answer questions about a job before you start it so you are sure you are doing it right. You will get red tagged a few times. This is a learning process. After a while almost all your jobs will pass first time.



              I personally rarely wait for inspectors. You don't have to be there, but probably will want to for the first few so you can get a feel for what the inspectors want. My contracts include language advising clients they are responsible for being present for the inspector. This lessens my costs and the price of the job. If the panel is outside and accessible (no locked gate or dogs) then nobody has to be there.
              Good point on the penalties for working without a permit.

              In Colorado, there are several AHJs that require the EC, or a representative there of, to be present for inspection.

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                #8
                Originally posted by kwired View Post

                The rules on this vary from one AHJ to the next, but exam questions on the rules of an AHJ are usually a part of a contractor license exam, and I would expect at least one question on most any contractor exam that deals with permits or inspections for that particular AHJ you are testing for.

                We test for the state but there are 100s of AHJs within the state and they all can have slightly different rules.

                If you want to know if an inspection is required for say changeing out a panel it's best to call the AHJ. Most areas I would say it's required but there are some that don't care. When it comes to a service change I can't think of any that don't require a permit and even after the inspection the power company may send their own people out the check things out to make sure it meets their approval ( they also have their own rules).

                For the OP it would be a good idea to go to the local permit office where he is going to do most of his work and see if he has everything needed to pull permits and get on their computer. Saves time in the future.
                The 95% of people that you can't trust give the other 5% a bad name.

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by vincentvigil View Post
                  Good point on the penalties for working without a permit.
                  And you certainly don't want to go around cutting meter seals without authorization and you are not going to get it without a permit and the POCO may wish to do their own disconnect even with a permit.
                  The 95% of people that you can't trust give the other 5% a bad name.

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                    #10
                    Agree with most of what is written, her, but one point. If you call the building department and ask them if you need to pull a permit, my experience is the word no is rare or non-existent. They will default to yes.


                    I know what I don't know, and I know where to go to find it!

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by Strathead View Post
                      If you call the building department and ask them if you need to pull a permit, my experience is the word no is rare or non-existent. They will default to yes.

                      I agree but technically they will be right. The rules require a permit for almost anything and experience lets you know what you can get away with.

                      I'm not going to pull a permit to add to an existing circuit or install a few can lights but technically a permit would be required.

                      A few years ago I was caught changing out a panel without a permit. The inspectors didn't care and would not have bothered me. The POCO refused to reseal the meter without an inspection being called in. IN other areas the POCO doesn't give a darn and just charges the homeowner a reseal fee.

                      In most areas when doing a service change I cut the power and temp it back up myself but I do get things inspected and have it called in to the POCO. Not really legal but in many areas it's not questioned. They get a green sticker on the service equipment and the power isn't off for very long.
                      The 95% of people that you can't trust give the other 5% a bad name.

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by growler View Post
                        I agree but technically they will be right. The rules require a permit for almost anything and experience lets you know what you can get away with.

                        I'm not going to pull a permit to add to an existing circuit or install a few can lights but technically a permit would be required.

                        A few years ago I was caught changing out a panel without a permit. The inspectors didn't care and would not have bothered me. The POCO refused to reseal the meter without an inspection being called in. IN other areas the POCO doesn't give a darn and just charges the homeowner a reseal fee.

                        In most areas when doing a service change I cut the power and temp it back up myself but I do get things inspected and have it called in to the POCO. Not really legal but in many areas it's not questioned. They get a green sticker on the service equipment and the power isn't off for very long.
                        I can not confirm or deny at least in writing.


                        I know what I don't know, and I know where to go to find it!

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