Any Risk To Asking For Professional Advice

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shopguy

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I'm working on a major home renovation and am debating calling an electrician for advice. Nothing I'm doing is going through permits, except for new HVAC system and pool renovations, and this 40 year old house has tons of unpermitted work already. This is typical of all houses in this area, nobody pulls permits for remodels, including additions -- permits are just for major new appliances, new gas furnace, swimming pool, new A/C (but technically a permit is required for everything, even just moving an outlet 2 feet). So I don't want to get inspectors out here, since I'm not sure what they will say about all the other existing stuff. If I have an electrician come out to give me advice, and again to inspect my work later, are they going to report me for doing unpermitted work, or not be willing to help me anyway because I'm not pulling permits?

Also, I may want to upgrade the panel (100amp to 200amp), which will require a permit. If I do all the inside wiring (correctly, with help) and close the walls back up, then after that have someone upgrade the panel, would it matter that I just upgraded all the wiring inside the home (without permits)?

Lastly... if I did want to do everything fully by the book, permits and professionals, how bad is it to rewire a home that has additions and remodels that didn't have a permit? For example, if the home had a room added 20 years ago, and now I want the electrical inspected, are they going to tell me I have to tear down the room because it doesn't have a permit? I mean, a lot of these things have been here before I bought the home, and it wasn't an issue for the appraisal or sell process, so is it really an issue 20-30 years after the fact?
 

Snoonyb

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Welcome.

Well, you have a quandary of your own making, in that, "general advise" when repeatedly sought, will probably illicit a referral to the purchase of code books, for the subject.

You see, most lic. individuals will not risk their lic.

As for the 20yr old room, it would depend. upon the current administrations view of, and how much you exposed of the structure, in upgrading the elec.

In increasing the service entrance panel, if there are obvious new home runs, they will require further investigation.
 

shopguy

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You see, most lic. individuals will not risk their lic.
..and I wouldn't want them to. I guess that was part/most of my question, just didn't word it well. If they can get in trouble for this type of thing, I'll not attempt it. Now off to get everything closed back up before someone notices... :D
 

Snoonyb

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There are situations, that you act as their laborer and they inspect, direct and call for, and appear at all the trade specific inspections.
 

bud16415

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This is just my opinion on the subject and I’m far from an expert, just a handyman home owner like yourself.



From what I can see this issue varies widely from state to state and city to city. Tucson is a big city and they may view this different in the city proper compared to more rural towns outside the city even. It is becoming more that way here even.



I grew up in the 50s-60s with my dad building his own home from the footer up as did half the dad in the little town we lived in. There was code and there were permits but for the most part what people did on their own land with their own money was their own business.



That is not today’s world over a lot of the country and was a big reason when my nephew decided he wanted to build a home with my help he picked the county where I live rather than the county he lived in. That was just 25 years ago and things were changing rapidly then even. The first big item to become really controlled here were how you deal with septic waste. I wonder if we did now what we did then what the difference would be in time and money and we did build to code but it was lightly enforced out in the county.



Going on ten years ago we bought a distressed home off short sale and did everything to it and no one questioned anything we were doing. Neighbors were just glad someone was making the neighborhood better. We had her Grandfather a builder helping us a little and he was constantly worried when we were making changes to the outside like adding a door that we do it as fast as we could opening and closing the outside in just a few hours. He would say we don’t need them snooping around asking questions. So him being a builder by trade had a different feel for it than I did even.



Even today I have mixed feelings because many people can do the right things on their own and should be allowed, but then again I see so much that people think they know what they are doing and don’t and then flip it off on some unsuspecting buyer who gets stuck with a mess.

The bottom line is if you hide stuff and get caught most of the time they will come down harder on you than if you play by the rules. Something like the panel upgrade I would hire it done first thing and not have a bunch of new runs ran to where it is going. Do it first for what is there now and get it approved and then add in what you are doing after if you want to take that road.
 

afjes_2016

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We will always tell you to get a permit as that is really what is required because then there is an inspection of the work. This is what is important.

As far as working with an electrician where they offer you advise and you do the work then they inspect the end product is not done that much. As stated already they don't want to take on your work on their liability insurance. I know I would not want that.

In my town I don't have to pull a permit for electrical when the home owner does their own work. The home owner just has to pay an inspection fee. The work must be inspected even when the home owner does it.

If you plan on doing a lot of the electrical work yourself and then try and find an electrician that will come in an inspect it for you before the actual inspection this may not work in your favor. I would suggest that prior to doing any work you find an electrician who may be willing to do this so you don't end up doing work and then can't find one to either finish your work or sign off on your work.

I tried helping a home owner out by giving him advise on wiring his workshop. A detached barn; no animals or hay. I only agreed to do this because he hired me to upgrade his service panel at the workshop/barn (it had its own service). Bigggg Mistake!! Letting him purchase and do the wiring himself. Instead of following my list of parts to buy at the Home Depot and installing them the way I instructed him to do so he side-stepped and followed the advise of the person in the electrical department at the Depot who knew absolutely nothing about what they were telling him to do. I came back to this home owner 5 days later to do the upgrade on the service panel and could not believe what he did with the wiring. Not only did he purchase the wrong parts but the parts he did purchase he did not even install correctly. Urgh!! Last time I ever did that. The guy in the electrical dept was probably covering for the guy that normally worked in that dept while he was at lunch and this guy normally worked in the plumbing dept.
 
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Eddie_T

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It also depends on the area. In highly unionized areas an upgrade might require a whole house code compliance inspection. I hired an electrician to replace my 200 amp panel because one main contact had failed and damaged that rail. I needed the work done in one day so I didn't want to do it myself. He gave me a price of $600 for labor and material. He said if he pulled the meter it would require inspection and that I didn't have the the panel clearance that the code now requires so he wired it hot rather than pulling the meter.

Sometimes consulting an electrician that knows the inspectors can provide some solid advice. My county is pretty much a diy kind of community. I built and wired my house myself but hired a licensed plumber.
 

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