All You Need To Know About An Electrical Permit

November 25, 2020 | Cristina Dinulescu

electrical permit

When planning to take on a major remodeling project, determining whether or not you need an electrical permit, often known as a building permit, can be quite difficult. The departments in charge of granting applicants with permits usually frustrate and confuse homeowners. Contractors, builders, and the trades are the majority of applicants and often the requests coming from homeowners come second.

Of course, the rules and regulations differ between cities and counties. If you are looking to find out what type of work is exempt from permits in California, you can find out more here. However, certain types of work may require you to determine whether or not a permit is mandatory. 

Generally speaking, work in areas like public and personal safety, electrical, plumbing, and natural gas, will require permits. In fact, given the many changes within existing safety codes, plus a need for a bigger revenue, more and more projects are moved to the “permit-required” list. 

What Is An Electrical Permit?

what is an electrical permit

The electrical permit represents an official approval issued by the local government agency, which gives you or your contractor permission to:

  • alter or install any permanent  wiring, or appliance;
  • install a light fixture, electrical outlet, or garage-door opener receptacle, run additional wiring, or convert a fuse box to circuit breakers;
  • alter or install low-voltage systems like security alarms, computer, or stereo systems.

However, the good news is that a permit is not required for appliances or electrical maintenance on existing installations. If you aren’t sure whether or not you require a permit for your project, you should call the building department responsible for your area.

When Do I Need an Electrical Permit?

when you need electrical permit

As mentioned above, not just any home renovation or construction requires a permit. You need to separate the types of work you will be doing to determine whether or not a Los Angeles electrical permit is needed. For instance, in most cases, replacements or simple repairs can be done by an expert, professional contractors, or even homeowners without having to apply for a permit beforehand. 

Projects that involve major changes to your home’s electrical or mechanical system, however, do require you to apply for the right permit from the local building department. On the bright side, if you hire an expert to do the work, he will also handle the process of obtaining a permit for you. Of course, you would have to cover the costs involved. 

If you decide to do the work all by yourself, then it will be your responsibility to apply for the permit. However, know that your building department may require that part of the work involved in the process be done by a licensed professional and not by you, the homeowner. 

Because the requirements for permits tend to differ from one region to the next, really the only way you can tell whether or not a permit is necessary and what the exact requirements are is to call your local building office and describe the type of work you need to do. 

Permits are usually required for: 

  • General electrical: installing new electrical wiring or adding circuits;
  • HVAC: installing an air conditioner or a new furnace; 
  • Water Heaters: Installing a new water heater. 

Permits are not always required for minor electrical work like:

  • replacing a light fixture or an electrical outlet; 
  • replacing a circuit breaker in-kind. 

What Is The Process of Applying for a Permit?

electrical permit process

As said, when you decide to hire a professional electrician, obtaining an electrical permit is no longer your concern. However, if you want to do the work by yourself, then here are the steps you will need to follow: 

  1. Get in touch with your local building office and explain what type of project you want to do. In case a permit is required, you will be provided with an application form, which outlines the requirements for the permit. You may notice that some jobs require more than one permit. For major remodeling projects, you might be required to apply for a plumbing permit, a construction permit, and an electrical one. 
  2. Prepare your permit application. Include details regarding the materials you may need to use and offer drawings of the work you plan on doing if required. 
  3. Submit the application and pay the required fees. The licensing office will grant you with the official permit certification. 
  4. Once you start the work, make sure you post the building certificate as required. You may need to tap the permit to a window or a door to ensure it is visible. 
  5. Make sure you contact an inspector to review the worksite. If the inspector requires changes to be made, complete them and ask him to review. 
  6. Once the inspector approves them, you no longer have to keep the permit on display. 

Can I Skip The Permit?

Unfortunately, skipping the entire process is something very common among homeowners. Some do not go through the trouble of contacting the local building office, collecting the necessary information, paying the requested fees, and calling an inspector to review the worksite. However, it is not advisable to bypass the official permit process. There may be consequences, which include: 

  • If you attempt to sell the house, the inspection may reveal certain remodeling or additions which were completed without having the proper permits and which may not be fully up to code. This may prevent you from selling the home and force you to undo the entire work and start all over again, only this time with the right permits. 
  • In case of a structural collapse, major plumbing problems, or a fire, if it is discovered that the cause of the issue is the result of the work realized with having a permit, it’s possible for the homeowner’s damage and liability policy to decline to cover the damage. 

A Simple Electrical Upgrade Can Upgrade Your Quality of Life

The right electrical upgrade can dramatically improve the value and appearance of any home or business. You’ll be amazed at what a difference the right electrical upgrade can make for your home or business. Make sure that when you select an electrical company to do the enhancement of your home and you have decided to take your enhancement to the level where you require an electrical upgrade that the technician at the company has a good working knowledge and the experience to properly guide you in this area.

When you decide to upgrade, our well-trained and certified electricians have all the experience and training needed to complete your electrical panel upgrade project from start to finish, with a minimum of fuss or disturbance. Please contact us right away at 310-800-2401

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