Why Do I Need An Electrical Permit?

permitAs mentioned in our blog  5 Tips to Avoid An Unlicensed Electrician  Busting Your Budget, the ONLY way to ensure that your electrical installation is installed to the requirements of the National Electrical Code (NEC) is that a permit be taken out by the electrical contractor and the work performed by your electrician has been inspected by the authority having jurisdiction. There are actually very few exceptions when an electrical permit is not required.
It is imperative for your safety and protection that any electrical alteration is inspected by either the City or State having authority.  As per Washington State law, the only two people who can obtain an electrical permit for the property and complete the installation is the homeowner or a licensed electrical contractor.

That’s it. So if side job Sam is working under the table and doesn’t get an electrical permit, chances are he is not a licensed electrical contractor.  A couple of questions that you might ask are:

  •  Do ALL electrical contractors need to get a permit to complete my installation? If your installation requires an electrical permit, then the answer is, yes. Absolutely. It is the law and most reputable contractors will do things above board, with a permit. Be wary of those who do not. Not only are you at risk for property damages or loss but your life could be in danger. Electricity isn’t a joke nor should it be taken lightly.
  • How do I know if an electrical contractor has taken out a permit on my job? Simple. It should be posted onsite on your service panel. If you don’t see one, you can check public records online or by placing a phone call. Do not just take the electrician’s word for it, do your research!
    If you haven’t hired an electrician for your project yet another good indicator to see if they are legit is to look them up with Washington State Dept of Labor and Industries.  Do they have a history of taking out permits for their work or is there just a few here or there? And of the permits that they have purchased, how many have been approved and completed? If each and every permit you look at has multiple corrections attached to it, you might want to rethink your choice in contractor.

Another time we run into electrical installations that are completed without the proper permits is when you are purchasing or selling your home. If permits haven’t been taken out for work completed, this could hinder or impede your sale or purchase. If you are the buyer of a home and the Home Inspector reports that electrical issues need to be addressed, YOU have every right to be sure that the work is completed by a licensed electrical contractor and properly inspected by the authority having jurisdiction. Many times in our current market, houses have been bought and flipped in a rather short turn around with the intention of the seller making a few bucks. He may not want to draw attention to work or repairs that he did himself so may try to hire an electrician who won’t take out an electrical permit to complete Home Inspection Repairs. In this case, YOU as the buyer of the home, must do due diligence and make sure that the proper permits are taken out. Don’t just take the seller’s word for it. Do your research!


If you have had electrical work done without a permit and would like help getting it passed through the inspection process, contact us for more information!

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