Recently I just found out about the permit process for electrical and plumbing work in New York City.
You have to be a licenced plumber or electrician in order to get a permit. The NYC Dept. of Buildings will not give permits to Joe Random, even if you know what you're doing.
Electrical work is defined as any work involving wires, repair to the wires or alteration in addition to new work and only is to be done by licenced electricians. This would technically include replacing a broken switch or outlet or hanging a new light fixture.
Ditto plumbing. Technically, changing a washer is OK. But changing a faucet or a part of the pipe is to be done by a licenced plumber. Early this year we put in a new bathroom sink (don't ask why
). That sort of job would technically have to be done by a licenced plumber.
You also have to post a copy of the permit in a visible location if your work requires a permit (eg. renovation, new construction, etc.)
This doesn't stop people from doing their own work...at their own risk -- and you can certainly buy the supplies from anyplace (wire, breakers, plumbing supplies, etc.).
Two stores (a pizzeria and a bakery) up the street from me were recently gutted and renovated.
There were no permits visible. They would normally have to be placed in the window.
An old movie theatre down the street is also being renovated. They've been doing the work for almost two or three years now. No permits are visible. Occasionally you see things being done there late at night or on the weekends.
Frankly, I wonder how licenced contractors stay in business when you've got all of this stuff going on....
Following is my opinion on all this:
Yes, there are capable DIYers and they should be allowed to get permits if they show knowledge of what they are doing.
Maybe DIY installations would be better quality if they know that it has to be inspected.
But then again, the capable DIY will do it properly no matter what, and the cheap-skates will not care becasue they won't pay the permit fee anyway.
[This message has been edited by SvenNYC (edited 10-07-2003).]