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Electrical work done & completed - no ESA Permit was obtained

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Posted by: from Burlington
1/6/2017 at 12:47:23 PM

Does the general contractor & electrician get fined for this? If they can what is the penalty? I have confirmed with esa 100% no permit was issued. I have a final bill for the work but refuse to pay it, till I see the inspection certificate. Esa has started a work without permit investigation. Funny thing is on my invoice to this company they charged me for the permit!!! Total shady in my opinion. Permit cost is $79.00 they are charging me $130.00 for it to boot! I understand admin fees but a 65% mark up for making a phone call and getting a paid statement form esa to put in my file.

Also I need to ask - is a building permit required also? No major structural was moved but, a bulkhead was removed, and plumbing was moved and added. The city said a permit should of be required when plumbing is moved or added.

Thank-you in advance to the replies.

REPLIES (18)
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Date/Time1/6/2017 at 2:16:10 PM

The GC should have known better. If he was aware of what was happening then he should bear some of the consequences. If he was aware and participated in the actual electrical work he should have to deal with the same consequences that the electrician has to deal with. There is no excuse for the electrician's actions and he should have to deal with all and any consequences.

Regards,

Raymond

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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time1/6/2017 at 2:44:06 PM

Hi Thomas,

It depends on what kind of electrical work was carried out, but 90% of the time a permit is required. If he has charged you for it, the electrical company will be held liable and will certainly get fined for doing so without a permit if it is required. The normal cost for a permit based on a contractor rate is nearly half of what a personal permit would be, but there are annual fees that we have to pay on top of all of those permits. The actual price of the permit also depends on quantity of items installed, 1-9 items price 1, 10-39 items, price 2, etc, etc. so maybe he went over the original estimated quantity and had to adjust...or maybe the GC just decided to add a bit on top, who knows. The GC cannot be held liable for the electrical work UNLESS he did the installation himself, then he could be in for some serious fines. If you know the name of the electrical contractor, you can call him directly and warn him and give him a chance to come clean, or go full out (depending on how angry you are) and proceed with the ESA investigation and turn it ugly.

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Date/Time1/6/2017 at 3:46:04 PM

Hello Thomas

Like most legal issues there are escalating levels of deterrents available. The level of consequence will be different for a first time offence then for one that has been repeated. Also the level of safety risk (life / property) will be assessed before anything type of punishment is issued.

If it is simply an administrative issue , then nothing will come of it likely, especially if the LEC has a good history; they will simply pay the necessary fees and it all will be over and done.

Different LECs handle the permit process differently. Our company does not charge any additional mark-up for the ESA inspection permit / process and additional costs are included in our hourly or estimated rate as overhead. Others, as may be the case in your situation, charge a fee (mark-up) to cover those additional costs.

Having said all of this, if the electrician was not licensed or the work was not completed by LEC then that changes the whole story; including the impact for the GC.

As far as building permit, I cannot speak with authority, but for my experience almost everything needs a building permit; if not from the city from your insurance company. Both organizations want to reduce their risk and if there was no permit issued you could be open to reduced or no coverage if a problem should crop up.

Cheers

John Kuehnl-Cadwell

Master Electrician

Datawise Solutions Inc

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Matt from MLG Electric in Beaumont
Date/Time1/6/2017 at 4:18:58 PM

In order to get Electrical permit there has to be a development permit in place .... Can't have one without the other and yes I wouldn't pay untill you get your green sticker from Electric inspector.

Matt

MLG Electric

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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time1/6/2017 at 4:51:11 PM

Sorry Matt, building permits and electrical permits here in ontario are not reliant upon each other. You can get one without the other. And in most cases, electrical repairs can be done without any building work, but still require a permit from ESA, not the government office.

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Thomas in Burlington
Date/Time1/7/2017 at 10:48:29 AM

Hello all and thank-you for the input!!

-3 pot lights were installed ( new as never had them before )

- new switch was added for the new pot lights

-bathroom exhaust fan moved

-over the vanity light moved 12" to the left

ESA has open a WORK WITHOUT PERMIT investigation as of yesterday.

Sorry but I do NOT play nice when it comes to the wrong doing or illegal activity against my home and possible safety of my family!

Off I go to the GC now to tell them! I'll update you on Monday with the outcome.

Cheers! Stay warm!

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Thomas in Burlington
Date/Time1/9/2017 at 7:09:12 AM

Good morning all,

So the GC tells me "NO WAY we would never work without a permit, you are wrong and incorrect" there must be an ERROR at ESA they did not receive our fax or email.

so I asked him which was it a fax or email request? as you WILL have a paper trail, be it a sent email or a transaction report from your fax machine. he did not have an answer for that. from what I understand with him is this. ALL contractor, main installers, electricians, glass guys ALL work for him. the licence # is NOT of the actual workers but of the GC. so my question is this. does the electrician not have to have his own licence?

GC was upset that I contacted ESA directly as told me "WHY YOU HAVE TO CAUSE TROUBLE FOR ME? "

my reply to him was " why do you have to put my home and family possibly in danger? and why are you billing me for something you did not have ( permit ) ? I first started talking with a desk clerk then when I proved them in the wrong she did not want to deal with me anymore, and JUST by chance the owner of the business ( GC ) happened to walk into his building. her words were to him please deal with this guy!

Now can they still do a permit AFTER the fact? ESA is still doing a WORK WITHOUT PERMIT investigation from what I have been told by ESA .

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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time1/9/2017 at 8:10:32 AM

The general contractor is not responsible for the electrical permit EVER. If he has not hired a LEC (licensed electrical contractor), then HE is in the hot seat and has some serious issues. If the LEC filed a permit for your address, it would have been provided within 48 hours of the first part of work that was touched. Worst case is all of the drywall has to come down to satisfy the electrical inspection, except for anywhere the inspector can get access to (attic or T-bar ceiling). If he is trying to point a finger at you being in the wrong, he has something to hide. Maybe there is no LEC at all for your job.

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Thomas in Burlington
Date/Time1/9/2017 at 8:24:04 AM

Thank-you all for your input and replies. I will now I guess wait and see what the outcome will be. fingers crossed all will go smoothly. 48 hours? HA this work was completed Dec 16th (weeks ago). so I will see what ESA investigator will say. or what the GC comes back to me with. I guess I will never know if the GC hired a LEC.

I will update once it is solved or more info is added.

Cheers to all. Stay warm.

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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time1/9/2017 at 8:44:34 AM

Thank you for sharing the story, I hope others will take your story and learn. We (LEC's) try our hardest to transmit to the public the importance of hiring Licensed Electrical Contractors, but sometimes it also helps to have a customers point of view of this same issue. I've walked into multiple jobs over the years where someone has installed new wiring, only to have to completely remove it all as it was installed wrong and ended up wasting more money in the long run. Electrical and Gas installations should always be done by licensed people with permits provided. Every LEC can provide you with their ESA number, which proves they are licensed, have $2M liability coverage, have a master electrician working in the company and are legally bound by a detailed contract very specific honesty and customer detailed work ethics. All can be seen on the www.esasafe.com web site. good luck and update the outcome. Here are some outcomes of other cases:

https://www.thestar.com/life/homes/diy/2009/09/04/hiring_uncertified_electrician_not_worth_the_risk.html

https://www.esasafe.com/assets/files/esasafe/pdf/news_releases/LEC_Release_Apr_19_2012.pdf

https://www.esasafe.com/assets/files/Pro-Teck%20Conviction%20-%20Release%20FINAL.pdf

https://www.esasafe.com/assets/files/new2/esa/Individual%20Convicted%20and%20Fined%20for%20Doing%20Electrical%20Work%20Without%20License%20-%20Scott%20Millis%20042213.pdf

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Date/Time1/9/2017 at 9:03:58 PM

It will be interesting to see if ESA follows the work history of the GC and finds more work completed without an LEC; assuming this is in fact the case.

Robert is right (as usual), all of us struggle with the communications about ensuring that an LEC is used on projects. This is compounded that generally electricians are the most expensive trade to deal with. The trained professionals that electricians are, are generally paid very well and the material we use is expensive; add that to the cost of all the requirements to maintain a legitimate business (fees, insurance, WSIB, training, code updates, certifications, etc) it is no wonder people (GC and homeowners alike) search for alternatives.

I remember in the early days you could pretty much wire a 2K sqft home for about $2K. Now with all the additional costs of material and the increased wages required to pay quality people you are lucky if you can wire them up for $20K anymore. The two most costly recent additions to the code are the strobe smoke detectors (over $100 each) and the Arc Fault breakers ($40 to $150 each); just those two items alone can add to over $2K!

Even in my own business, I seem to be getting more and more surprised about how much the cost of doing electrical work amounts to. While I understand that homes do cost more to build; meeting the demands of the legislation (specifically in Ontario) in the provinces is costly for everyone in every aspect of home building or renovations. Homeowners and GCs alike will need to continue to prepare their budgets for higher costs related to electrical work and may have to start sacrificing the interior / finishing costs to pay for what is hidden behind the walls.

Sorry if this sounded like a rant, it was not intended as one; I share Robert's frustration on the communication aspect that our industry seems to be failing at.

Cheers

John Kuehnl-Cadwell

Master Electrician

Datawise Solutions Inc

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Dave from 360renos in Navan
Date/Time1/10/2017 at 10:19:27 AM

Thanks John and Robert for your input and advice to home owners. Always a pleasure to read your professional opinions.

Our business always has changes to building and electrical codes and that is why all home owners and G.C's need to hire licensed and insured trades!!

Latest change to ESA inspections that I was made aware of in early December from my LEC is the requirement know to have a rough-in inspection for heated floor installations. ESA inspectors now want to ensure that the electrical temperature sensors are installed properly prior to tile installation.

There is no place in our business for taking short cuts and I applaud Thomas for taking a course of action to have this resolved to his satisfaction.

Dave

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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time1/10/2017 at 5:19:11 PM

Thanks Dave, and the newest for homes (may 2015) is EVERY NEW OUTLET (except for fridge, kitchen counter top / island, and sump pump) MUST BE AFCI protected at the panel or by an upstream AFCI receptacle similar to a GFCI. and don't forget every bedroom must have a wired smoke detector that connects to all the other smokes in the home too...

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Thomas in Burlington
Date/Time1/18/2017 at 11:09:10 AM

Hello all,

I have not forgot about this. Tomorrow the ESA inspector comes in for an inspection and also talk about the investigation. I will update after.

Thank-you again for all the info and pointers!

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Thomas in Burlington
Date/Time1/26/2017 at 9:14:54 AM

UPDATE:

Still no certification done, so not certificate yet.

ESA was in and wants the electrician to come back to see and show a few things. ESA asked me to do a couple things for them. take some pictures for proof so up in the attic I went.

pot light in shower pulled down no vapor barrier

no "RUNNERS" in the attic to tack wires to

plug in bathroom IS protected by GFI in other bathroom, but ESA said they would like to see a double push in style plug??

ESA wants electrician to come back WHILE ESA is there and open fixture over mirror as it was moved about 10-12" to the left, wants to know if he made a connection in the wall or ran all new wire.

also while I was up in the attic taking some pictures for ESA I found the old bathroom ceiling fan the electrician tried to hide under insulation!! REALLY?? why not just take it out honestly!

ESA has also fined the GC as I have been advised for the work without permit.

Still to be continued..........

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Thomas in Burlington
Date/Time2/23/2017 at 12:33:37 PM

Hello all,

Still to this date nothing. no news no calls no nothing. I guess at this point seeing it has been almost 4 weeks past the last interaction I just drop it and leave it?? I have no problem paying the balance which is close to $1,700.00 but it is not being paid till all is completed properly and legally. so as of right now the GC is the one who is out the balance + the fine he got form ESA.

my next question is this. seeing a permit WAS issued well after the fact and after the work was done, is that permit sitting OPEN with ESA till it is closed with a certificate? does a permit have an expiry date? I am shocked that ESA themselves are not following up either to be honest.

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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time2/23/2017 at 7:03:26 PM

Thomas, remember these processes are going on all over Ontario, all the time, so patience is key. The permit will expire after 12 months and then be recharged to be renewed, otherwise a hazard defect will be issued to the address. Best to call ESA and ask for follow up. Worst thing could happen would be lien on your home, but that could easily be fought as there were non conformity issues.

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Thomas in Burlington
Date/Time2/24/2017 at 7:27:51 AM

A lien on my home??? For what? This GC has caused nothing but headaches. The actual guy who did the work did good work but the actual GC is an a$$hat. I don't this time is needed as the ESA inspector at the time was happy I did what I did ( contact them direct ) and he seemed like he WANTED to stick it to the GC in my opinion...

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