The Inspection Bureau, Inc.
Safety Since 1888"
In an effort to better serve you; IBI has prepared this informational packet entitled “Frequently Asked Questions”. Since we cannot possibly foresee all of the various field conditions that you may encounter nor can we begin to assess the reader’s level of electrical skills, please understand that the questions and answers are very general in nature.
Our inspection activity is performed in accordance with contracts with local building departments. Our inspection service is limited to performing a governmental function by conducting electrical safety inspections for the public in general and not for the benefit of any specific person or entity.
You are strongly advised not to use information contained herein as a “punch list” or a “check off list” for field inspections. This list of questions is provided only as a general informational guide and should only be used in this manner. Any technical information provided is only intended to be used by qualified individuals. We wish you much success in your electrical endeavors.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Click each question for an answer
1. When is an electrical permit required?
An electrical permit is required whenever wiring or equipment is installed or altered within or on any building, structure or premises. An electrical permit is not required for minor repair work, including the replacement of lamps or the connection of approved portable electrical equipment to approved permanently installed receptacles. If you have a unique situation and you’re not sure of the requirements, feel free to give us a call.(513-381-6080)
2. What is a rough-in inspection?
Rough-in inspections are simply inspections of portions of the wiring system that will be concealed when the project is completed. With proper planning, most 1, 2, and 3 family residential jobs only require one rough-in inspection. However, it should be noted that many factors determine how many rough-in inspections are needed on any particular job and that the builder primarily determines these factors. The thing to remember is that all wiring must be inspected before it is concealed. State and local laws require the inspection and approval of wiring installations. Rough-in inspections are our only opportunity to inspect the portions of the premises wiring that will be covered by insulation or by the building finish or otherwise concealed. It is almost impossible to gain approval of wiring installations involving construction or remodeling without rough-in inspections being performed.
3. What do I have to have completed for a rough-in inspection?
The simple answer is that whatever portion of the wiring (except for the
installation of devices) that is to be concealed has to be completed. Once
it’s concealed, it becomes inaccessible for inspection. A typical rough-in
inspection is for wall or ceiling areas that are to be permanently covered with
insulation, drywall, paneling, or other materials. During these inspections our
inspectors verify proper wiring methods, check for required supports, check
recessed lighting fixtures and similar equipment, check the installed wiring for
any damages incurred during installation or by other trades, check box fill (on
cable installations), check fittings, and check that the circuit conductors in
the boxes are properly “made up” on cable installations (jackets removed,
grounds spliced properly, etc.)
4. On commercial jobs, do I have to have the grid ceiling areas inspected before the ceiling pads are installed?
Yes. On a typical
commercial job almost all of the branch circuitry that supplies the wall outlets
is routed through these ceiling areas in addition to the lighting system wiring
and fixtures. Many installations contain feeders, transformers, HVAC systems,
and Fire Alarm cabling in these above-ceiling areas as well. These systems must
be inspected for electrical safety prior to the installation of the ceiling
pads. Our inspectors inspect these above-ceiling areas much in the same manner
as they would do any other rough-in inspection, including seeing that any
temporary wiring has been removed. The installer is required to provide access
(ladder, scaffolding, equipment access, etc.) as needed so these inspections can
be safely made.
5. On an underground installation can I just backfill the trench and leave "sight tubes" or "view tubes" in the trench for the inspector to use for his inspection?
The use of “sight
tubes” or “view tubes” is limited to the discretion and permission of the
field inspector and then only under very unique and specific job site
conditions. The only practical function of these tubes is to attempt to
“show” an inspector that the covered wiring method is installed at the
proper depth. It should be obvious that there isn’t much to “see” or
“view” when you’re looking down a 2” or 3” piece of pipe stuck in the
ground! Also, an underground inspection is not only about “depth”. During
the course of an underground inspection, in addition to checking the depth, the
proper wiring method is determined. For example, on direct burial installations,
verification is made that conductors suitable for direct burial are installed
and that the proposed fill will not damage the conductors. On conduit
installations, the type of conduit installed, the proper gluing of joints (PVC),
engagement of threads, determining that the conduit has not been damaged during
installation (crushed, flattened, or burnt by “Hot Boxes”) are among many
factors considered during inspection. Sometimes, a driveway needs to be
immediately reopened, or a portion of a sidewalk next to a school, store, or
church needs to be immediately reopened and for some uncontrollable reason an
inspection cannot be readily obtained. These are examples where you should
contact us early in the project so we can make the necessary arrangements to
address the specific situation.
6. What is a Temporary
Release? What is an Outage and Reconnect?
7. What is a 98%?
8. I'm filling out my electrical permit and I know that there are or will be other people doing electrical work at the same job site. Does my permit cover their work? Am I responsible for their work?
When you complete and sign your electrical permit you become responsible
for whatever work that you “check-off” on the permit. In some cases you can
add to the scope of the permit before it is finaled should you need to. It is
not uncommon for there to be more than one electrical permit on a job,
especially in commercial work. These issues involve liability and responsibility
concerns and are often contractual arrangements decided by the installers, not
by IBI. Separate permits are required for signs and pools. A separate permit is
also required for a fire alarm system unless it is included in the original
electrical permit. Except as noted above, one permit may be used for the entire
9. The building department has informed me that I need an electrical permit and an inspection for my electric sign. The sign is UL listed. Why do you need to inspect it? What are you going to look for?
The fact that the sign is labeled by a recognized testing lab does not
insure that the sign is properly connected in the field. Checking for a testing
lab label is only one of many items checked during an inspection of a sign
installation. Art. 600 of the National Electrical Code contains the basic
electrical requirements for a sign installation, including the requirement that
the sign shall be listed by a recognized testing lab. Items inspected include
proper circuit sizing, proper voltage rating, the supply wiring method, proper
grounding and branch terminations, and the installation of an approved
disconnecting means. Some signs come with factory installed switches. Please
note that due to variances in factory wire routing schemes that not all factory
installed switches will qualify as the required disconnecting means.
10. What all is involved for an HVAC equipment inspection?
Problems can be avoided by having open communication between the permit
holder and the inspection team. We must have access to the HVAC equipment and
the supply wiring so that we can perform the inspection. Upon request, we will
give you a time frame of within 1 hour of when we will be on site for
inspection. During the inspection we will also check for the presence of a
testing lab label on the equipment and we will check the manufacturer’s label
on each piece of equipment. The National Electrical Code provides that the
information on the manufacturer’s label shall be used to determine the proper
circuit sizing and the proper size and type of overcurrent protection.
11. How do I schedule an IBI inspection?
You can schedule your inspection when you submit your permit, by calling our office weekdays between 7:30AM and 3:30PM, or preferably online by following the links at www.inspectionbureau.com. Typically, if you contact us on any given day we can perform your inspection on the next business day. We do appreciate as much advance notice as you can give us.
12. How can I find out what time the IBI inspector will arrive for the inspection?
Our inspectors are in the office and available to you every workday
between 7:30AM and 8:30AM. If you call during this time period on the day that
you have an inspection scheduled, the inspector who has your job will give you
an estimated time of inspection within a 1-hour time frame. For example, you may
be told that the inspector will arrive between 1:00PM and 2:00PM. This means
that the inspector is planning on being there by 1:00PM but (due to many factors
that may arise during the inspections that are scheduled before yours) he may be
as late as 2:00PM. Sometimes special arrangements are needed for special jobs.
We will make every reasonable effort to accommodate your inspection requests for
these special jobs. Should this need arise, we will be happy to assist you.