When someone says "licensed electrician", as in "you have to be a licensed
electrician to get this permit to add the 240V outlets to your shop", what
exactly do they mean?
I know in most states (for example, Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan), a
state agency issues a license after successfully passing an exam. This
makes perfect sense.
But in Illinois, the state does NOT issue electrician's licenses. It issues
licenses to doctors, lawyers, realtors, hair dressers, etc., but not
Yet many local Chicagoland building inspectors insist on license
electricians. What license are they referring to?
In Pennsylvania and California, A 'Licensed Electrician' was one who owned
an electrical business and passed a test to obtain the license. Others could
work for them however the responsibility that the work was completed
satisfactorily falls upon the owner of the business. No permits can be
obtained without the license. (Except by the home owner). In Pa. this only
held true only for the larger cities with payrolled inspectors. Outlying
areas did not require licensing and used NBFU inspectors or a private
recognized inspection company, They also issue the permits. Wash. Ore. Idaho
and Utah require that all work be done by or under direct supervision of a
working licensed individual. (The same license is valid in all those
useours, yours won't work
I used to live in Utah, and now reside in Washington State. One could do
his own wiring as long as it was not commercial, so a license was not
required. That may be different in Utah now, but I still have an open
permit for our home here in Washington, and no license is necessary. You
do have to work to code, however. In Washington, the State oversees
electrical, whereas in Utah it was left to the counties. Could be
different there now, I've been gone for over 8 years.
.>I used to live in Utah, and now reside in Washington State. One could do
In Florida "owner builders" can get permits for their residence, not rentals,
if they don't sell it for a year or for a business if they own the building and
the total project is something like $25,000 or less.
I currently have an owner/builder permit in my yard for a pool and the
associated deck, electrical and stem wall. It really was pretty painless.
The only rule was that any people I "hired" had to be licensed but anyone who
worked for free was OK. If I did hire an unlicensed person I had to buy
insurance for them, pay FICA etc. In another law there is a $500 per employee,
per year, exemption for "casual labor" but you still own their ass if they get
I hired a few guys to move dirt but I got them from a licensed labor pool. It
was still cheaper than getting a machine
I'm damned jealous of you folks who are allowed to do your own wiring.
I'm doing a major reno of my house and I need to use a licensed elec
outfit for ALL of the work. My quotes have ranged from 15 to 45k.
Granted, I need new service and that shouldn't be performed by a
homeowner. But for the branch circuits I am very capable, just not
allowed in Chicago. Hell, we can't use anything but conduit in the
walls. No Romex, no armored cable (bx), only pipe. :-( Strong
building codes are a good thing, but this is just to keep the
electricians working OT. Just MHO. Mark L.
Harold & Susan Vordos wrote:
Yup, we in Chicago have to run pipe in walls, even if they will be
drywalled. Like I said, mainly to keep the unions happy. Most
homeowners don't want to learn how to bend pipe. Although, I do admit
pipe makes it very easy to upgrade/make wiring changes down the road. I
just think the code should be written to allow homeowners the choice.
Lazarus Long wrote:
Rules change from county-to-county and city-to-city but what you just
described is an electrical contractor, which is different from an electrician.
In my county, they license electricians (like me), master electricians, and
electrical contractors. Each have a separate exam (among other requirements)
and differing privileges.
"Licensed electrician" can mean several things but for the purposes of pulling
permits (in Fliorida) this means the person is a licensed electrical
contractor, they have met experience requirements and have passed the tests,
have insurance and they carry at least $75,000 in performance bond. That also
includes all the other local occupational licenses, unemployment etc.
There are also places that have journeymen licenses for the people who work for
the contractor which mirrors the union structure in places with a "right to
work" law and they can't compel people to be unionized.
The reality is a lot of "licensed contractors" are just figureheads who may not
even live in the state with real bozos working under their license and a good
lawyer to fend off the unpleased customers.
You are correct that the state does not register or license
electricians in Illinois. Electrical tests for licenses and
registration is handled by municipality. Most cities have their own
electrical inspectors or departments that administers the electricians
exam and grant licenses. Most other cities or municipalities
recognize the license and only require a small fee and insurance to
work there. The exception is Chicago, where you must pass a separate
exam to do any electrical work, including low voltage.
Chicago, L A, New York City and others are considered high fire hazard
zones. That's the reason for the ridged rules and wiring methods. If you
make a mistake in your country home, You might also burn down your
garage... In crowded cities lots of lives and real-estate are at risk. The
IBEW has an acceptable apprentice program. Hmmm. I guess that's better than
just reading a book.
Since most fires are caused on the user side of the receptacles by extension
cords and space heaters I don't see how pipe in the wall is making you safer.
By making renovation so much more expensive, by banning fished cable, they are
actually encouraging an extension cord instead of just installing another
In Illinois each city has its own licencing exam but except for Chicago,
most recognize eaach others. Here is a link to an application for a
Chicago electrician's license:
I'm building a 45' cutter in strip/composite. Watch my progress (or lack
These days you might find everything you need on the internet site for your
local government. When I pulled my permits I got all the instructions,
checklists and application forms online. It made things real easy when I got
downtown because I had all my ducks in a row before I went in.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.