Electrical Permits

Electrical Permits

For your safety and the safety of your family and future occupants -- and to avoid expensive mistakes -- do not do electrical work that is beyond your skill level.

When is an electrical permit required?
A permit is required to do the following:

  • To install or alter any permanent wiring or electrical device.
  • To run any additional wiring, put in an electrical outlet or light fixture, install receptacle for a garage-door opener or convert from fuse box to circuit breakers.
  • To install or alter low-voltage systems such as security alarms or stereo or computer systems.

For homeowners, a permit is not required to replace electrical devices or to perform the maintenance on an existing electrical installation.

If you are not sure if you need a permit, call the Building Codes Division at (503) 338-3697.

How do I get a permit for electrical work?
Permits are issued by the Building Codes Division, located at 800 Exchange Street, Suite 100, Astoria. Or simply click on electrical permits to download a copy.

You need to know the structure's square footage, the panel's amperage and the number of circuits. Fees are based on these figures. An electrical inspector or office staff member can discuss your project with you. If you have the necessary information for the proposed project, you can usually leave with your permit. Electrical permit fees are paid when the permit is issued.

Drawn plans are not necessary to get a permit to do residential electrical work.

How do I get an inspection?
A certified electrical inspector must inspect any work done under a permit.

You may call the Inspection Line at (503) 338-3698 within 24 hours after completion of any phase of the project. A minimum of 24-hour notice is usually required for inspections.

When you call, you will be asked for the permit number, homeowner's name, project address, type of inspection needed and date on which inspection is desired. Be prepared to furnish detailed directions to the job site.

Unless all of the work is outside and accessible, an adult needs to be at the site to provide access for the inspector.

Planning to do electrical work on your one- or two-family dwelling?
You must be both the owner and the occupant of a dwelling to obtain a permit to do the electrical work yourself. You may not do work on a house or residential unit intended for sale, lease, rent or exchange. If you do not own or do not intend to live in the unit, a licensed electrical contractor must do the work.

Effective Oct. 4, 1997, a landlord, landlord's agent or the employee of the landlord or landlord's agent may replace an existing garbage disposal, dishwasher or electric water heater with a similar appliance of 30 amps or less, single phase, in residential properties, without an electrical license issued by the Building Codes Division.

If you have any questions concerning your eligibility to work on a building, call the Building Codes Division, (503) 338-3697.