We Did a Basement Development Without an Electrical Permit Featured Image

Finding a basement development completed without an electrical permit has become commonplace in our findings. Everything from adding a basement bedroom to a full-blown complete development. Realtors and home inspectors are discovering that this problem is becoming very serious. Due to Item 6.1 (g) of the Alberta Real Estate Association residential purchase contract, which states that the seller warranties that “any government and local authority notices regarding the property, and lack of permits for any development on the property, known to the seller, have been disclosed in writing in this contract.” This means that if you’re selling your home, you might get caught, and it may cost you dearly.

Types of Inspections:

According to the Alberta Safety Codes Act and permit regulation, if a homeowner is issued an electrical permit in the province of Alberta, two inspections must be done by an authorized inspector appointed by the people who issued the permit. The first inspection is done before the drywall is installed. This way, the inspector can see the type of wiring used and ensure the installation meets the requirements of the Canadian Electrical Code. If it passes, you receive an “acceptable” designation on the (rough-in) inspection report. When the job is done, an inspector must come again to do a final inspection to verify that all the finishing devices have been installed, and the electrical portion of the project is safe.

So what this means for the homeowner is that if you did your basement development, and the job is finished, an inspector is unable to do the two required inspections, so they are unable to legally issue an electrical permit. Now the answer to the question you have all been waiting for…”Now what do you do”?

The First Option:

Edmonton Electrical Permit Application Image

According to the electrical inspector I spoke with, you have two options. A master electrician can take out a permit on your behalf once the basement is finished because his permit only requires one inspection, not two like the homeowners. In this instance, if the walls are finished, a final inspection is all that is required. Having a master electrician do this is very risky because once he takes out a permit for your work, he is responsible for the installation. Without seeing behind the walls to determine if things are done right, this person would be taking a big risk. If something should happen and there is a fire or a death because of an unsafe installation, the master electrician will be held liable.

A Better Option:

A more widely acceptable second choice and usually the most economical is to have an authorized person, usually a master electrician, do an inspection of the basement to determine if the installation was done in a safe and acceptable manner. This way, you will get a report that can be given to your insurance company. Just a final note, at Robart Electrical Services Ltd, when we do these inspections, we have a trick for looking inside the walls. This ensures a complete inspection has been done. Contact us for a free quotation at 780-238-8195.

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

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