What You Need to Know About Home Renovations
(Recommended by ESA)
Planning a renovation? Updating the kitchen or bathroom? Adding new lighting? If your project involves new electrical wiring or devices, or repairing/replacing old ones, you need to know your obligations under Ontario law. Don’t let your home improvement dream become a nightmare. Follow the law and do it right. Here’s how:
1. FOLLOW THE ONTARIO ELECTRICAL SAFETY CODE
Electrical installation, repair and replacement work needs to be done in compliance with the Ontario Electrical Safety Code. The Code specifies how electrical work must be done. The Code is updated every three years to address emerging technology and improvements in safety practices.
2. TAKE OUT A PERMIT
Most electrical work requires a permit from the Electrical Safety Authority. An electrical “permit” (also called an Application for Inspection) needs to be taken out before or within 48 hours of when the electrical work starts.
Permits must be taken out by the party who is doing the work. If you’re doing the electrical work, you need to take out the permit. If you hire someone, they must take out the permit
Who Can Do Electrical Work at Home?
Homeowners in Ontario can do their own electrical work. If you choose to do the work yourself, ensure it is done according to the Ontario Electrical Safety Code.
A Licensed Electrical Contractor is also legally authorized to perform electrical work in someone's home or business in Ontario.
Remember to confirm the contractor has a valid ESA/ECRA licence.
A Licensed Electrical Contractor:
- Is fully insured to protect customers
- Employs only certified electricians
- Arranges electrical permits and inspections
- Can provide a Certificate of Inspection
3. GET IT INSPECTED
Arrangements for an inspection must be made as soon as possible after completion of the electrical installation. ESA's expert Inspectors will review the electrical work, sometimes at multiple stages if it's complicated. If the work isn't done in compliance with the Code, he or she will issue a defect notice which outlines what corrections must be made.
Once the inspection is complete, whoever took out the permit receives an ESA certificate of inspection. If your contractor took out the permit, request a copy of the certificate for your records.
4. HIRE ONLY LICENSED ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS
If you are hiring someone to do electrical work in your home, they must be a Licensed Electrical Contractor
General handymen and other service providers cannot do electrical work in residences unless they hold a Licence. If you hire a general contractor, confirm that the electrical work will be done by a licensed subcontractor.
A Licensed Electrical Contractor is required to display their ESA/ECRA licence number. Ask to see it.