The Inspection Bureau, Inc.

"Electrical Safety Since 1888"
Serving Cincinnati, Hamilton County and Northern Kentucky


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IMPORTANT NOTICE

 

 

Dear Installer,

           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.

Sincerely,

Gaylord Poe
Chief Electrical Inspector

 


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Click each question for an answer

When is an electrical permit required?

What is a rough-in inspection?

What do I have to have completed for a rough-in inspection?

On commercial jobs, do I have to have the grid ceiling areas inspected before the ceiling pads are installed?

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?

What is a Temporary Release? What is an Outage and Reconnect?

What is a 98%?

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?

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?

What all is involved for an HVAC equipment inspection?

How do I schedule an IBI inspection?

How can I find out what time the IBI inspector will arrive for the inspection?

 

 

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)

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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6. What is a Temporary Release? What is an Outage and Reconnect?

A temporary release is a notification to the utility company authorizing them to proceed with energizing a new or upgraded service. For all service upgrades, service replacements, and all new construction (excluding 1, 2, and 3 family dwellings), an approved “Temporary Release Letter” must be submitted to us and all service conductors, metering equipment, service equipment, bonding, and an acceptable grounding electrode system must be in place and successfully inspected before this notification will be made. For 1, 2, and 3 family dwellings (except for “fire jobs”) a “Temporary Release Letter” is not typically requested and in addition to the requirements outlined above, an approved load must be connected and properly protected. (See NEC Art. 305)

An “Outage and Reconnect” can only be issued for certain service equipment replacement components or when there is no physical way to build a new service without removing the old service first. If it is determined that a specific situation qualifies for an outage and reconnect and upon receipt of an approved Temporary Release Letter, the utility will be notified to disconnect and reconnect the service before inspection so that the necessary repairs or replacement can be accomplished in a safe manner. We will visit the job site the next day to inspect the work.

You can receive the approved letter format for temporary releases by calling our office.

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7. What is a 98%?

There are two basic types of 98% notices that we send to local building departments. The most common notice that we send is “98% Complete”. A “98% Complete” is our certification to the local building department that the wiring system for a structure or a portion of a structure is substantially completed, that any incomplete wiring is properly blanked off and not energized, that the fire alarm system (when required) is functional, and that the emergency lighting system (when required) is functional. Basically, our notification to the local building department lets them know that we have made an inspection and have found no obvious public safety issues with the wiring completed to date. Our “98%” helps them in determining if the building or a specific portion of the building is safe for permitting temporary occupancy.

Occasionally we are asked to issue a “98% OK for Stocking & Set-up only” for a retail business. This notice informs the building department that the finish wiring is only partially completed but is far enough along that if permission (for stocking & set-up) is given by the building department, it won’t result in an unsafe electrical condition for the workers nor will it impede our subsequent inspections. Please note that not all building departments permit “stocking & set-up” arrangements.

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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 electrical installation.

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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.

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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. Reading and complying with these labels before you schedule your inspection can help you avoid problems. Even on simple equipment change-outs using existing circuits, there can be differences in labeling information between the old and the new equipment that will warrant changes in the supply wiring.

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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.

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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.

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