When considering new construction or a remodeling project, one of the most important aspects is the electrical portion of the work. While many homeowners do some of the electrical work themselves, it is wise to enlist the services of a licensed electrical contractor. Electrical wiring, circuit boxes, and fixtures can represent a severe hazard, resulting in fire or injury if not properly assembled and installed.
Most local building authorities require that even residential electrical wiring meet local code specifications. An inspection must be performed upon completion of work before drywall is installed, and a “certificate of inspection” provided by the inspector or licensed electrician.
Finding the Right Contractor
When hiring an electrical contractor, make sure they meet these guidelines:
Provide a written quote for the price of the work they will be doing.
Provide references of completed projects, and proof of current liability insurance.
Are licensed for work in your locality
They will obtain the necessary permits and application for inspection
They will provide the signed certificate of inspection upon completion
After selecting a contractor, and when drawing up the contract, be sure to include detailed information on project specifics. Include such things as start and finish dates, specifications of fixtures and materials, and a detailed payment plan. It is normal for the contractor to ask for 10 to 33% of the project cost in advance.
The Inspection Process
Because wiring, circuit boxes, and fixtures must meet electrical code and be inspected before other aspects of the project can be completed, it is important to meet with all other contractors when planning and scheduling work, to insure the project progresses smoothly.
In addition to the mentioned inspections, if there will be any buried cable involved, that will also need to be inspected before trenching is backfilled. Wiring to the meter, the main disconnect, and grounding must also be inspected.
The three best resources for finding an electrical contractor are references from someone you know that recently have had work done, a list of local licensed contractors provided by the licensing authority in your area, and Internet referral resources. Canadians can go online at www.handycanadian.com to find a qualified, licensed professional in their area.
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