Electrical Tip Of The Day – ‘Do I Need A Permit?’

There are always important questions to ask and a lot of confusion regarding build permits in Western Washington.  I was recently told by one of our clients that it would be nice to know how all this “permit business” actually applies.

From the City of Seattle web site:  “You need an electrical permit any time electrical wiring is installed, altered, extended, or connected to any electrical equipment. As long as the circuit wasn’t altered or changed, and met the code at the time of installation, you don’t need an electrical permit to replace:

  • Snap switches
  • Fuses
  • Lamp sockets
  • Receptacle outlets
  • Electric ranges
  • Cook tops
  • Wall heaters
  • Baseboard heaters

You may not need a permit for some residential and minimally-sized communications systems”.

Now, making that more specific to the electrical world.  We are typically required to pull an electrical permit and have an inspection as follows:

  • Whenever the electric service must be disconnected to do the work
  • Whenever the electrical meter must be pulled to do the work
  • When making alterations to service entrance equipment, typically including repairs
  • When performing total building remodels
  • When making changes of structural nature or “re-purposing ” of any occupancy
  • When more than 100′ of new wall is constructed or the construction process is structural in nature
  • New construction projects / new buildings / new build-outs (which can also require a State permit as well as a local one)

So who can pull a permit you ask?  It can work out a couple of ways.  A homeowner or property owner can usually pull a permit for any project they own.  In the case of an electrical contractor, the company doing the work must have current bonds in place and current licensing on file (if required) with the municipality or county issuing the permit in order to be able to make application.   As I have stated in earlier entries, do you homework when hiring an electrical contractor.  Make sure they are licensed and bonded in the. State of Washington.