If you are gearing up for reno's this season and require electrical work, how does one start the process? With so many changes and updates to the electrical code you may wonder what to ask your electrician? What should you do prior to hiring your electrican to do your electrical work?
Are they licensed for your community?
Most municipalities and cities require the electrician to have a license to do work so they can pull the required permits to complete your job and allows their work to be insurable.
Do you have insurance?
Taking into account the hazardous nature of this work it is important to confirm that your electrical contractor has adequate liabilty and worker's compensaion insurance before doing the job.
Are permits required?
Depending on the job, there may be the need to get a permit to complete your electrical work as a city inspector will need to put their stamp of approval before it is legal and insurable.
Request a breakdown of the Estimate or Quote?
So to avoid any unexpected added costs to your project request an estimate or a quote for the job prior to the job begins. Do make sure to have the outline what is included in the estimate or quote such as materials, labour and travel times. An estimate is a ball park figure and is generally provided sight unseen. While many experience electrical contractors can ask all of the most common questions up front to be as close to the total cost as possible, it is does pose some challenges to provide exact dollar amounts without seeing the jobsight, or blue prints for new construction. A quote on the other hand, is very different. This requires the contractor to provide you all-in costs and will not exceed these values unless there is something major that is uncovered through out the build process that was not foreseeable due to a number of variants. Ask your electrical contractor what those factors may be - if any, and also weigh that into your decision. Many times the cheapest estimate isn't the best option when all the cards are laid out on the table and full disclosure is provided.
What is the most common type of work they perform?
Many electricians and electrical companies will specialize in one area or another, such as residential, commercial or industrial. Inside each of these areas there are also segments such as remodeling, repair, service work and new construction. Make sure you find an electrical company that has experience doing the level of work you are requiring. This is not a one size fits all industry.
Training and Experience?
If the work you need completed requires a specific subset of skills, training or certification, do your due diligence and confirm that they have the credentials required to perform the electrical work. The nuances of the electrical trade has a vast spread of requirements to ensure safety.
Who will do the actual work?
Falling back on the point above, there are different levels of electricians and with each level is comprehension and aptitude to complete the job. If the work you require to be completed is one that requires a higher level of skill and expertise, ask the person who you booking the work with to confirm they have someone qualified to do the scope of work required. Don't assume all electricians are competent and can complete the job safely.
Ask to provide job references?
A qualified and reputable electrical company will be able to provide a list of references that you can call prior to hiring them for the job. Always look for testimonials on their website, Google reviews and even check out their social media platforms. While it is difficult to appease everyone 100% of the time, a solid electrical company should be able to provide a list of many happy customers they have serviced.
Guarantees and Warranty?
Also be sure to ask about the warranty on the materials, fixtures and components required for the overall job plus also ask if there are any guarantees in workmanship. There are many shody companies out there and the good ones have been around a while and will stand behind their work and materials.
Onsite access before completion?
If the job is a fairly large project, and if it is safe to be onsite, it may be in your best interest, and worth your time to request a viewing of the work completed before it is sealed up with drywall and such. Look for orderly running of wires, proper and clear labeling of circuit breakers, consistent anchoring of wires and all the boxes are installed properly to be flush with the drywall or surface area. Other items would be making sure the receptacles are perfectly level and line up nicely with each other. There are many electricians who have slight OCD and would be proud to show off their work as many times they do not get the credit for their 'art' that is soon to be hidden from plain sight.
As there are with all the trades, be sure to find a contractor that takes the time to explain the process and the methods they use .. and more importantly why. When the installation is complete make sure they will also take the time to explain how to use the new components and answer any final questions you may have. Keep their number handy as a good electrical contractor may be hard to find, depending on your location. Like the a good medical doctor, a trusted electrician will be someone you call on when an emergency strikes or when you want to upgrade your electrical system in the future.
Wireworks Electrical Services Ltd. is a leading electrical contractor serving Edmonton, Sherwood Park and Fort Saskatchewan dedicated to providing peace of mind electrical inspections and aluminum wiring upgrades since 2008.
For a more comprehensive list of our residential electrical services click here.