Canadian Contractor

"I'm a Red Seal carpenter and I'm not permitted to wire a house… Why is it OK for an electrician to build a house?"

I'm not saying they don't have the skill (to frame a house) but it sure seems like a lopsided situation.


November 29, 2013
By Steve Payne
Steve Payne

Lee Boland of Inside/Out Construction in Ottawa copied us on this email that he has fired off to B.C.’s Safety Authority…

“A question that has bugged me for a long time…

As a Red Seal carpenter of 30 years’ experience, I’m not permitted to wire a house – even though I have over time gained the skills to do so. Fair enough, it’s about safety and (electrical) is not my field of expertise.

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Having said that, why is it ok for an electrician (or anybody for that matter) to build an entire house? I’m not saying they don’t have the skill but it sure seems like a lopsided situation.

Get a house wrong and there’s a huge safety issues to deal with. (Building inspectors do not see everything!)

Not only does it cut into my bottom line when any Joe blow can build their own sheds, decks, houses, etc., at some point it would have to be an insurance issue. “Not built by a qualified tradesman and it fell down. Sorry, no coverage.”

I’m constantly having to compete on price with people that just grabbed a tool belt at the local hardware store, while electricians and plumbers can sit back at rates at least 50 per cent higher than mine. They only have to compete with other qualified tradespeople.

Some sort of answer other than “Thats just the way it is” would be appreciated.”


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3 Comments » for "I'm a Red Seal carpenter and I'm not permitted to wire a house… Why is it OK for an electrician to build a house?"
  1. Gary Toole says:

    Hi … I am electrical contractor on Vancouver Island… unfortunately.. I feel im in the same boat on my end… “Qualified” does not seem to be a word that is recognized anymore (Not a government body but a privately funded safety branch or our so called Inspection department in BC now) … I agree with you … the simple fact remains “If you can get away with it” do it no body here gives 2 shits it seems.. now im facing the governments Transient Foreign Workers or TFWs as they are referred too. they are getting special Limited Tickets to preform Electrical Work…WTF (think you know what those abbreviated letters spell) allowed to be paid 15% less… don’t think they are not going to enter our respective trades and kill what’s left of being a self employed and actually being able to make money… I am at a loss for words for what this Government has done to the hardworking trades peoples of this Country… I just don’t think any body gives a crap about the quality of the work anymore.. regardless of the trade.. it is simply left up to… OUR OWN INTEGRITTY as trades people to do the work properly… Like traffic lights.. until somebody dies…there not going to do a damn thing about it…. I would like to think now all we have to back us is the insurance corporations… they are the only ones who have any balls to stand up and say we wont insure you unless it can be proven you have had qualified trades used in the construction of the building… WE WILL NOT INSURE YOU…pipe dream there as we know Insurance co,s don’t like to pay out… so in reality why would they care if someone pays them to insure it… and then cant come up with paper work to prove it…or find there were issues and you are not covered… you loose either way….. I have no idea why we have inspection departments at all unless they are going to uphold OUR INTEGRITY and work we have put into our Crafts….The Piece of Paper that says we are Technically Qualified… doesn’t seem to be worth the paper it is written on any more…I just don’t think this ends well for any of us… im beginning to become a problem child with my inspection department here… im asking too many questions and they don’t have any answers… so im giving them suggestions for improvement instead of just hacking on there abilities to do THERE JOBS…all we can do is fight for our INTEGRITY… SEEMS ITS ALL THAT IS LEFT… but it seems I have to spend more time fighting and less time working… I can’t keep this up im running out of energy myself… So the only thing left is to not pay the government until they correct the problems… yep there we go… 3 square meals aday in a frign cage… cause ill end up in jail or dead trying to fight with them…not sending them there cut weather ive collected and sent them there Tax money or not… WE ARE GETTING SCREWED BY A COMMUNIST CORPORTATE GOVERNMENT….

  2. Jeff Beckner says:

    I am an Red Seal Journeyman Electrician. I completely agree with the concerns raised by this article. A homeowner can take a permit out and wire his own home. He can then sell that home. The new owner does not know he is living in a home that was not built by trained trades people. I believe that all houses should get a certificate upon completion. Structures that use all trade qualified entities should be noted (kind of like energy approved homes get a special accreditation). Any home built, wired, plumbed, insulated, etc. by non recognized entities should have it noted and registered against the home.

  3. cw says:

    Short answer is because carpentry is considered to be much easier (more forgiving) than electrical and plumbing work. For example, take 10 plumbers and 10 carpenters. Have them switch jobs for the day. The plumbers should be able to do a passable job on framing. I don’t think the same can be said for carpenters doing plumbing.

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