As we all know, many professional renovators will do their own electrical work when it comes to “minor” jobs like moving electrical outlets and installing light switches. This, even though the law requires, in almost all Canadian jurisdictions, that a licensed electrician perform such tasks.
I know it’s very tempting to do basic electric work yourself. But I highly recommend against it. Not only is it illegal, it’s dangerous from many points of view, not least of which is the risk of a fire that could cause fatalities to your client and their families. It’s hard to even think about that, isn’t it?
Sometimes it’s hard to get an electrician out to your job right when you need them. Then you have to factor in their cost. But that’s business! Don’t take short cuts.
The huge liabilities you are leaving at every electrical job you do yourself, from now until you retire, can come back to haunt you even after you’re enjoying your retirement. Insurance companies will make sure, if there’s a fire, that an inspection fingers you the contractor, so they are off the hook.
Here’s a chilling news item from May 29, 2013:
An unlicensed contractor has been convicted in a Sudbury, Ont., court of charges related to performing electrical work illegally and failing to apply for an inspection.
George St. Louis, a sub-contractor working in Chelmsford, was found guilty on one count of performing electrical work without an electrical contractor’s license and one count of failing to apply for an inspection. St. Louis was sub-contracted by a siding company to replace siding and windows. In the course of the installation, he moved some light fixtures and an electrical outlet.
The total fine was $4000 for the violations, plus a $1000 victim impact surcharge. Under Ontario Regulation 570/05, Licensing of Electrical Contractors and Master Electricians, only licensed electrical contractors are permitted to contract to perform electrical work in Ontario.
“Unfortunately, there are individuals that are prepared to do electrical work when they don’t hold the appropriate license, and they don’t follow the rules and regulations,” said Doug Crawford, chief public safety officer with the Electrical Safety Authority.
I wish everyone a safe and prosperous fall renovating season – with the names of some good electricians saved on your cellphone.
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