Listed below you will find answers to common questions - organized by category:
Any new electrical work that is to be done in your home needs a permit. It's the law. As a home owner, you have one of two options:
Apply for a home-owner's permit and perform the electrical work yourself. There are some restrictions as to what the home-owner
can and can not do on this permit. Any work done by the home-owner must meet the current code requirements and will be
inspected by an electrical inspector.
Have a Licensed Electrical Contractor perform the electrical work. As a licensed contractor, I apply for the electrical permit on your behalf.
The associated permit fees vary depending on the nature of the work performed and are built in to the quoted price for the job. Electrical
Inspections Branch reserves the right to inspect any or all work performed by a licensed electrical contractor.
Permit fees for home-owners and contractors are outlined in the Electrical Fee
Schedule. For contractors, permit fees are based on the installation charges (labour and material)
for the work being done. The minimum permit fee is $35.00.
New Home Construction
Typically, there are 4 stages to completing the electrical requirements of your home:
How much does it cost?
Service Installation - Service installation occurs after the basement foundation is built. This involves installing your meter socket, panel board,
electrical panel, service cable, and ground plate. Included is a construction plug (mounted on your panel board). Usually the service installation
is spread out over a couple of days. Day 1 to lay the cable (before back-fill) and day 2 to install the meter socket and panel (after back-fill).
When the service installation is completed, Sask Power (or local utility provider) attaches the supply side of the service to the meter socket
and installs the electrical meter. At this point, the framing stage of the new home begins.
Walk-Through and Rough Wire - When the framing stage has been completed, I typically do an on-premise walk-through with the home-owner.
The purpose of the walk-through is to verify that the electrical plan provided meets electrical code requirements as well as the needs of the home-owner.
Any last minute changes, deletions, or additions are noted on the work order. Following the walk-through, the Rough Wire can begin. This involves installing
device boxes for receptacles, switches, and lighting fixtures. Then the circuits are planned, pulled, and tied-in to the device boxes and electrical panel.
Installation of Devices and Temporary Lights - Generally, devices and temporary lights are installed after the primer or first coat of paint. At this stage,
the entire home is energized and tested to make sure everything is working properly. Temporary lights are installed to help facilitate the other sub-trades
in the final completion of your home.
Final Finish - The installation of cover plates, light fixtures, HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning), controls, etc. usually occurs after final paint, trim,
cabinets, and flooring are completed.
There are many factors in determining cost. Size and structure of the home, complexity of the wiring, lighting, kinds of control devices
being used, etc. Each project must be dealt with on a case by case basis. Contractors typically use the electrical plan to determine cost.
Elaborate floor plans, high ceilings, and engineered beams often make wiring a home more challenging and thereby more costly to complete.
One common means to determine cost is price per opening (ie. receptacle, switch, lighting outlets) plus the cost of: the electrical service,
any dedicated equipment or appliance loads, any specialty devices such as dimmers or GFI's, light fixtures, audio-visual, home automation,
permit fees, etc.
Renovations often present a unique set of challenges to the home owner and sub-trades involved. Factors that affect the time and
cost of electrical changes/additions are: age of the building, structure, accessibility, and extent of the renovation. Any new electrical work done in
a home must meet current electrical code requirements. Cabling, circuit loading, protection, and control devices have changed and will
continue to change with each iteration of the Canadian Electrical Code. As an experienced electrician, I am familiar with these changes
and can offer solutions that meet your needs as well as the current code requirements.
Old Wiring - Because any new electrical infrastructure must meet current code requirements, it may not be possible
to tie-into existing circuits (eg. Knob and Tube wiring, cabling with no ground wire present, circuit loading). New electrical infrastructure
in older homes often (but not always) means pulling new circuits back to the electrical panel (provided there is room in the panel for the
new circuits). If the old panel is full, it is possible to add a sub-panel or upgrade your service to accommodate a new and
larger electrical panel.
Building Structure, Accessibility, and Extent of Renovation - In new construction, wiring is considerably easier because the walls and ceilings
are open. In a renovation situation (particularly when the walls and ceilings are finished), it becomes much more difficult to add electrical
infrastructure. This problem is further exacerbated when these finished walls or ceilings contain insulation, mechanical (plumbing, duct-work),
or load bearing framing members. A good electrician with experience in renovation work has a good understanding of the anatomy of a home
and can offer the best course of action to complete your renovation project. But electricians are not magicians and they cannot see through walls.
Please bear this in mind when planning your next renovation project.
Cost - Providing an accurate quote for electrical work in a renovation project can be challenging because of the unknown element. The more I
can see, the easier it becomes to anticipate how much time and material a project will need to complete. Generally, the more open or accessible
walls or ceilings are, the less time I need to spend fishing wires in closed-in ceiling or wall cavities. Renovations are generally quoted based on
estimated time plus materials.
Service calls can include a wide array of miscellaneous electrical tasks including:
Cost - includes a nominal service call fee (to cover transportation time and fuel expenses) plus estimated material and time needed to repair
or install the equipment.
- troubleshooting malfunctioning circuits
- HVAC (heating, ventilation, air-conditioning) installation or service
- adding, moving, or replacing devices, fixtures or other types of electrical equipment
Whether you are building a new garage or adding wiring to an existing garage, I can help.
Changes to Existing Wiring in an Attached or Detached Garage - are dealt with as a service call (see above). Depending on your needs and code requirements, I may
be able to tie into existing circuits for the proposed changes. In other cases I may need to run new circuits back to the main or garage
Adding Electrical Service to a Detached Garage - Because of the distance and trenching involved in bringing power to a detached garage,
it is usually best to add a sub-panel in the detached garage. This sub-panel is generally fed from the main house panel via a sub-feeder
trenched underground. I am not equipped to do the trenching myself.
There are several trenching companies out there that would be happy to give you a quote or you may wish to take on this task yourself to save
some money. The depth of the trench can vary depending on whether the trench is subject to foot traffic or vehicular traffic. I can offer specific
guidance on this matter depending on your unique situation. Once the trench has been dug, the sub-feeder, sub-panel, and a few miscellaneous
receptacles, lights and switches can usually be installed in a day. Larger garages with more lights, receptacles, overhead doors, unit heaters, etc.
will take longer to complete.
If you are planning changes or additions to your home you may find that your electrical service or panel no longer meets your present or
future needs. Many of the older homes in Saskatoon (and area) were built in an era where electrical demands on the service were not as high
as they are today. If it is just a matter of making more circuits available, adding a sub-panel may be all that is needed. If you anticipate adding
heavier electrical loads to an existing service, then a service upgrade may be necessary. I can offer guidance on this matter.
Adding a Sub-Panel - is generally the less expensive option if you've simply run out of breaker positions in your main panel and you need
extra circuits for general lighting or receptacle circuits.
Service Upgrade - may be your only option if you are planning a major renovation and/or adding heavier electrical loads to your home. The
majority of older homes in Saskatoon and area are supplied with overhead service. The steps involved in upgrading an overhead service are:
remove the electrical meter, cut the overhead service conductors at the mast, remove and label the circuits from the old panel, remove the old
panel and service conductors, add the new panel and service conductors, re-install the circuits to the new panel, and re-connect the supply and
meter to the service. In most cases, a service upgrade can take place in a single day (albeit a long day). A service upgrade should be planned
in the summer months when the weather is warmer because you will be without power for a good portion of the day.
Last Updated: Nov. 2013