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Permits and Electrical Contractors



Permits, depending on your local utility, aren't that expensive. When you consider that for a wiring permit there are several stages and visits from your local power utility team.

Normally, you call the permit department and apply for a permit. You have to give your COQ (Certificate of Qualification) to the permit department, and they will ask you what the civic number, or lot number you will be building on. If they are not familiar with you, they will have to call the local certification office to see if your construction electrical license is valid. If it comes back from the licensing office that you are valid, then they will email you with a confirmation wiring permit # that you were approved. Typically a wiring permit has cost me $350. This is dependent on how much the cost of the electrical installation is. Wiring a house for new construction normally will run at $7000-$12,000, depending on the square footage, method of heating, extras required by the client, and whether there are additional buildings or attached garages, etc.

Depending on your situation, they normally come out for a site scope to see if you have any issues with adding a service to the area. The first light pole is free (Nova Scotia Power), anything after that you'll be paying through the nose, so keep that in mind when purchasing land. Then you have to have an inspector inspect your Service. You will have to megger your panel. Directions for that are below. We usually call them after we have our rough-in completed. All wiring and service completed. With the exception of the circuits tied into the panel. The service feeders have to be connected, but we just normally bring our wires into the panel, but do not terminate them because they have to be off the breakers for testing anyway. The rest of the house would be completed though for the drywallers to start their part.

Then we'd call the inspectors back in for a final inspection, after all the drywall and painting is completed, our commissioning is done (we've verified all circuits are marked properly - where they are supposed to be, they have been individually meggered and the voltage is correct, and if GFCI or AFCI - that they are correctly tripping)

A word of advice. Don't argue with your inspector. If you have any questions before your inspection, it doesn't hurt to ask. It's better to ask a question before you do something, than to argue after the inspection fails. It's better to communicate anything that could be considered a murky area (interpretation of code). We have never had an inspector get annoyed by asking a question before inspection. They will get really annoyed if you try and take a short cut on doing the job the right way. They take people's lives seriously. Everything we do, equates to a potential fire hazard. That's no joke.


Insulation Tests for Electrical Inspection

Here is a step by step procedure for doing an insulation test on your residential service panel. The first one is if you don't have any distribution (house circuits) terminated in the breakers, and the second one is of you do. You're going to have to have a "test" sticker to place on the inside of the panel when you're done. Ours looks like this.



Megger a Panel Service Wires Only

Please note: (There is no meter present because this is new construction, so there is no chance of voltage on the line. Never megger a wire that has the presence of voltage)

We megger our hot and neutral cables before and after running through the conduit. It only takes a minute, so it's not a problem. This proves the cables were good before, and after installation. Better safe than sorry.

HOT SERVICE WIRES (Black)

1. If your service wires are terminated to the lugs, disconnect them and have them free from touching anything. Take one lead and place it on one of the service wires, and take the other lead and place it on the other black service wire and megger. Reading should be 2 M Ohms or higher. These are brand new wires, they should just ring at 1000 M ohms.

NEUTRAL (White)
1. Disconnect Main Ground and Main Neutral from the panel.
2. Disconnect Bond Strap from Neutral Bar connecting to the chassis of panel. This will separate the service neutral from the ground.
3. Set your meter to 250 Volts (M Ohm). Take one lead and place it on the ground bar, and the other lead on the neutral bar. This should be left on for twenty seconds. This should read 1.2 M Ohms to 1000 M Ohms. We have a fluke tester that normally ranges between 178 to 250 M Ohms for the new neutral.
4. If you read less than 1.2 M Ohms or zero, this will cause leakage to ground. They were brand new wires, so they either got damaged during the installation, or you're leads aren't making proper contact.
5. If you continue to get the 0.00 or below 1.2 M ohms reading, you will have to troubleshoot the cause or replace the wire.
6. If you get a proper reading, you can continue to your service conductors.



Megger a Panel with Circuits Terminated

Please note: (There is no meter present because this is new construction, so there is no chance of voltage on the line. Never megger a circuit/service that has the presence of voltage)

HOT SERVICE WIRES (Black)
1. If your service wires are terminated to the lugs, disconnect them and have them free from touching anything. Take one lead and place it on one of the service wires, and take the other lead and place it on the other black service wire and megger. Reading should be 2 M Ohms or higher. These are brand new wires, they should just ring at 1000 M ohms.

NEUTRAL (White)
1. Disconnect Main Ground and Main Neutral from the panel.
2. Disconnect Bond Strap from Neutral Bar connecting to the chassis of panel. This will separate the neutrals from the ground.
3. Disconnect arc faults neutrals from both neutral bar and breaker connections. These will have to have separate insulation testing.
4. Disconnect anything that might be connected to a plug in the house. Like a drill or something a contractor left behind.
5. Make sure that if you have a subpanel or another main disconnect (IE – garage) that is being fed from the main panel that the neutral is disconnected from the ground in that panel as well.
6. Set your meter to 250 Volts (M Ohm). Take one lead and place it on the ground bar, and the other lead on the neutral bar. This should be left on for twenty seconds. This should read 1.2 M Ohms to 1000 M Ohms. We have a fluke tester that normally ranges between 178 to 250 M Ohms for the new neutral.
7. If you read less than 1.2 M Ohms or zero, this will cause leakage to ground. They were brand new wires, so they either got damaged during the installation, or you're leads aren't making proper contact.
8. To narrow down which circuit has the offending ground (0.00) or low insulation reading, take one neutral off at a time, and meggar each one to ground at 250 V (M Ohms) individually. Whichever one gives you the 0.00 or below 1.2 M ohms reading will be the circuit you will have to troubleshoot.