Articles tagged with: renovations


Electrical Service Upgrade

Written by // Mike Devereux Categories // New Electrical Service, Panel Upgrades, Renovations, Sub-panels

Your electrical service is the system which brings power from the electrical utility provider (BC Hydro) to your home. There are 2 different types.

Overhead: Wiring is run on power poles then distributed to individual homes and buildings.



Underground: Wiring is in underground conduits or cables then brought to the individual homes and building through an underground conduit or cable. I personally prefer underground electrical services. Wiring is not subject to tree, wind or sun damage. Its more visually appealing, no one really wants to look at overhead wires. For rural or large properties a power pole can be installed at the front of the property with a meter base on it and the wires run underground to the house from there. Call us for a free estimate


Both systems consist of the electrical panel, circuit breakers, meter base, grounding and bonding system

The elecrical utility provider owns and is responsible for the meter installed in your meter base and the underground or overhead lines which bring electricity to the building.

There are a number of different reasons for upgrading your Electrical Service.

1) Renovations, additions, outbuildingsImage result for detached shop electrical

2) Adding significant electrical loads

3) Replacing an outdated or unsafe Electrical Service

4) Damage from wind, vehicle impact, grow-op etc.

5) Requirement by your insurance company or the electrical inspection authority

Panel Replacement or Upgrade

This involves disconnecting power to the building, removing the existing electrical panel, then installing a new panel. The grounding and bonding systems are inspected to confirm they are intact.

Grounding: Approximately 70% of the homes where we have replaced the electrical panel have had no grounding system when we arrived on site prior to our work. In older homes (25+ years old) the main water line has often been replaced. The original main water line was copper and this was also the grounding for the electrical system. When the original copper line is removed and the new PVC (plastic) water line is installed the home has no grounding system. The electrical system ground has essentially been disconnected from the earth. Check at your main water shut-off inside the building. There is a clamp that attaches a copper wire to the water lines. If you do not have a minimum of 10 ft of copper water line in the earth at this point you have no ground. The solution is to install an approved grounding plate or grounding rods.


Bonding: All metal plumbing, waste or natural gas lines in the building must be bonded (electrically connected) together. Usually natural gas lines installed after the home was built have not been connected to the bonding system. There should be a visible clamp connection from the metal plumbing and gas lines to the electrical panel. If not, the solution is to install a copper wire from the metal lines to the bond connection in the electrical panel.

Installing a Sub-Panel

Often this is all that’s needed if you need space for new circuits or an addition or renovation. The sub-panel is installed close to the original main electrical panel or where the new circuits will be needed (outbuilding, suite, new kitchen etc.).

Sometimes the existing breakers can be reconfigured or replaced to free up additional circuit space as well.

Service Rebuild

This involves removing the existing meter base, panel and (overhead service only) the conduit or cable attaching to the BC Hydro lines, then installing new components.

Suite Metering

Metering for a secondary suite can be done a number of ways. You can replace the single meter base with a duplex or double meter base

Image result for duplex meter socket

This way you can set up 2 BC Hydro accounts, no disputes over whos using the most electricity. One caveat, the existing wiring inside the suite must be isolated from the main residence. A great idea when doing a new house with a suite. You can also install a private meter within the home and track electrical usage that way. An electronic power meter can be installed as well


400A Electrical Service

400A services require a BC Hydro meter cabinet and CT's installed. Basically, there are no meters that are capable of mopre than 200A so the current must be stepped down through the CT (current transformer) so the elctricity usage can be determined

CT cabinet on the left, meter base on the right. CT's and meter still to be installed

For questions, or a free estimate on upgrading your electrical service click here:



Do I Need An Electrical Permit?

Written by // Mike Devereux Categories // Additions, Permits, Renovations

All electrical work, with some small exceptions, requires a permit whether done by a contractor or a homeowner. An electrical permit gives permission or authorization in writing to perform work regulated by the BC Safety Authority. Contractors must obtain permits and submit an  Electrical Contractor Authorization as the work progresses and upon completion of the installation.

An electrical permit is not required for:

1) The replacement of defective fuses, receptacles, switches or lamps with identical types and ratings.

2) Emergency work

Who Can Take Out an Electrical Permit?

The person or company doing the work takes out the electrical permit. If you hire someone to do the work, they must obtain the permit. If you're doing the work yourself, you need to obtain the permit and must reside in the  fully detached single-family dwelling.

A fully detached single family dwelling means any of the following if occupied or intended by the owner to be occupied as a permanent residence:

1) Any detached building containing only one dwelling unit;

2) A manufactured home as defined in the Manufactured Home Act;

3) A recreational vehicle

Hiring an Electrical Contractor

If you’re re-wiring your home or doing renovations that require new or altered electrical systems, the best way to proceed is to hire a qualified electrical contractor licensed with the BC Safety Authority.

All licensed contractors are, or employ, electricians who are certified Field Safety Representatives (FSR).  An FSR is the person who will be responsible for the permit issued to the contractor, with the class of the FSR determining the scope of work the contractor is allowed to perform.  

All FSRs have demonstrated to the BC Safety Authority that they have the necessary qualifications – and passed a written exam administered by us – before being issued a Field Safety Representative Certificate of Qualification. This allows them to install, maintain, operate and repair electrical products.

Areas of the Lower Mainland

Dependng on the area you live there are different requirements for obtaining a permit.

In Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, North Vancouver City, North Vancouver District, West Vancouver, Maple Ridge the municipalities themselves issue permits and do the inspections. They inspect 100% of the work.

In the remaining municipalities, Chilliwack, Coquitlam, Hope, Port Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Abbotsford, Mission, Whiterock, New Westminster, Richmond, Delta, Tsawwassen, Ladner the province issues the electrical permit and does the inspection. 25% of the work is inspected.

Permit Form Here

permit form.pdf (2.42 mb)

For more information or to request a free estimate click here: