There Oughtta Be A Law (Apologies To Radley)

Lynne Kiesling

OK, this is downright obscene:

Starting Aug. 1, when the 2004 California Electrical Codes automatically take effect, residents will have to apply for a city building permits to replace or add wall, porch and ceiling lamps, light switches, electric receptacles, and other common do-it-yourself chores.

So changing that noisy electrical switch with a quieter mercury switch will cost a lot more. Besides the costs of the new switch, there’ll be the $81 basic permit fee plus an additional surcharge of $2.15 for each receptacle, outlet or switch and—if you want to add more—$21.50 for altering or changing wiring.

Under the current city code, such small changes can be made without permits and inspections; starting Aug. 1, not so.

Hat tip: Let’s Fly Under the Bridge

There is no way this could pass a benefit-cost test, even if you cranked up the safety benefit estimate.


12 thoughts on “There Oughtta Be A Law (Apologies To Radley)

  1. This is contrary to safety. People will avoid the charges by using more temporary stuff, or they’ll be tempted to do work themselves to keep things quiet. And I’ve seen some homeowner installed electrical wiring stunts that made me want to run out the door.

  2. Exactly. At the margin this will induce lame homeowner do-it-yourself electrical work, which is terrifying. I speak from experience, having bought a 75-year-old home replete with cheapskate homeowner fixes. Thankfully they are more in the plumbing than in the electrical, though.

  3. This sounds like a money-grab on the part of the California IBEW; Home Power had a column recently which noted that IBEW reps went by homes with grid-connected PV systems which had been installed by non-union PV installers and locked them out.

    I predict that such permit requirements will be one of the most widely-ignored and, where enforced, one of the most outrage-inducing regulations ever.

  4. But people couldn’t evade getting the permit if
    hardware stores, etc, were required to give the government regular reports showing the names, addresses, fingerprints, etc of everyone who bought switches, etc. Doesn’t it work to keep guns out of the wrong hands..?

  5. EP: more likely, it’s the contractors that are behind it. At the level that this kind of repair is likely to be done, the contractors will benefit, and since they generally do not hire union for residential, it wouldn’t make much difference either way for the IBEW.

  6. Do it yourself, we need the money

    The People’s Republic of Berkeley scores again: Starting Aug. 1, when the 2004 California Electrical Codes automatically take effect, residents will have to apply for city building permits to replace…

  7. I predict that such permit requirements will be one of the most flag widely-ignored and, where enforced, one of the most outrage-inducing regulations ever.

  8. I predict that such permit requirements will be one of the most flag widely-ignored and, where enforced, one of the most outrage-inducing regulations ever.

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