Doing Your Own Work

Recently, I have received several letters concerning homeowners doing their own electrical or plumbing work. The point of all letters was the same - either the homeowner wasn't qualified, or someone else was really doing the work.

Plumbing & Electrical Work Permits

What can you do when the homeowner wants to do his or her own work? (This article addresses only plumbing and electrical work being done in an owner-occupied, single-family residence). You have the regulations available to deny a permit to a homeowner you believe to be unqualified.

  • The application jacket. Form F100B, has a Certification in Lieu of Oath. You are within your rights to request plans for the work to be performed. If the homeowner states that he or she personally prepared the plans, be sure that "B" in the Certification is checked.
  • If the homeowner states that he or she is going to do the work, either "C3" or "C4" should be checked. Please note that this indicates that the homeowner will actually perform the electrical or plumbing work - not just supervise as allowed for building and fire protection.
  • Be sure the homeowner signs and dates the certification and is aware of N.J.A.C. 5:23-2.3I(b)iv, which allows a penalty of not more than $500 for making a false or misleading written statement.
  • Finally, N.J.A.C. 5:23-2.15(e)Ivii gives you the authority to reject all plans that are not legible or complete for the purposes of ensuring compliance with the regulations.

Code Officials

Code officials have told me that they sometimes help homeowners with their plumbing and electrical plans. That is not your job and it can get you into serious trouble. There are reasons we have licensed plumbing and electrical contractors. (This could very well be a life safety issue.)

You have the tools available to protect the homeowner and to be sure you have code compliance. Use them!

Source: William Hartz
Chief, Bureau of Technical Services