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ESA Certificate/Inspections for Pot Light Installations

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[OP]
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Aug 25, 2011
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ESA Certificate/Inspections for Pot Light Installations

HI guys,

I have a pot light installation scheduled next week for about 30 4-inch potlights in my old condo townhome. This is my first time going through this, and I want to make sure I'm doing things right.

I'm a bit confused about certificate/inspections, and I asked the contractor but I also want to ask here on this forum, in case the contractor is biased.

My contractor says he is a LEC, but is there a way to verify this? I read that he has to obtain the necessary permits from the ESA before work - is that the easiest way? I see that there are fees, and I think this falls under residential between $79-$129. Am I correct in assuming that the contractor has to apply, and I will reimburse him this amount?

Additionally, for the inspection and issuing the certificate, he mentioned that the contractor has to be there to review with the inspector, and he said that his fee is $500 for the day. Is this mandatory? Does he have to be there? Or can I, the home owner be there?

Also, when reading the fees, what does "with service" and "no service"?
https://esasafe.com/assets/files/esasaf ... s-2020.pdf
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Jun 21, 2003
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sinasdf wrote: HI guys,

I have a pot light installation scheduled next week for about 30 4-inch potlights in my old condo townhome. This is my first time going through this, and I want to make sure I'm doing things right.

I'm a bit confused about certificate/inspections, and I asked the contractor but I also want to ask here on this forum, in case the contractor is biased.

My contractor says he is a LEC, but is there a way to verify this?

Yes. For starters his vehicle, business card and quotes must display his ECRA # so if it wasn’t on any of these things you should be concerned. Ask for the ECRA number if you don’t already have it. Call ESA to verify the number and company. You can also try to look them up at Contractor Locator though it may be a little awkward. That system is to help you find a contractor as opposed to looking up a specific one.

I read that he has to obtain the necessary permits from the ESA before work - is that the easiest way? I see that there are fees, and I think this falls under residential between $79-$129. Am I correct in assuming that the contractor has to apply, and I will reimburse him this amount?

Yes the contractor is the ONLY person in this instance that can pull the permit. If you do it you are in contravention of the Canadian Electrical Code. They will pull it and bill you for it. If they ask you to pull it OR do not pull it walk away immediately and find someone else. A permit is required for this job so make sure they are pulling it. Upon completion of the job and passing of the inspection they will provide a copy of the certificate.

Additionally, for the inspection and issuing the certificate, he mentioned that the contractor has to be there to review with the inspector, and he said that his fee is $500 for the day. Is this mandatory? Does he have to be there? Or can I, the home owner be there?

The inspector only needs access. The electrician does not need to be there. We routinely organize inspections with property owners, tenants, etc as it is expensive for us to sit on site all day waiting. They don’t give a window of time other than all day during COVID.

Also, when reading the fees, what does "with service" and "no service"?
https://esasafe.com/assets/files/esasaf ... s-2020.pdf

“with service “ means this work is being done at the same time as a service upgrade/install and “without service” is the opposite. In your case it’s just “without service”
see bold above.
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Jun 26, 2019
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@ChicoQuente is the authority here, and basically hits answers all the questions, but just to add a few small things:

A few things don't seem to add up, so as stated above, best to make sure the contractor is qualified and does everything correctly.

Further to that last point, to do this by the book, you're most likely going to have to pull new circuits from your panel as you will exceed your device counts (as the existing circuits won't be all fixed loads). So did your contractor include this in the pricing?
[OP]
Sr. Member
Aug 25, 2011
585 posts
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SCARBOROUGH
ChicoQuente wrote: see bold above.
To the point - I appreciate your detailed response!
[OP]
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Aug 25, 2011
585 posts
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SCARBOROUGH
SubjectivelyObjective wrote: @ChicoQuente is the authority here, and basically hits answers all the questions, but just to add a few small things:

A few things don't seem to add up, so as stated above, best to make sure the contractor is qualified and does everything correctly.

Further to that last point, to do this by the book, you're most likely going to have to pull new circuits from your panel as you will exceed your device counts (as the existing circuits won't be all fixed loads). So did your contractor include this in the pricing?
We did not review the electrical panel. We are installing potlights on the living room (which has no light fixtures currently but there is a nearby switch), the stairs to the basement (there is a light fixture at the bottom), and the basement (two existing light fixtures). If it makes a difference, our breaker panel is one of those old ones with the small screw on fuses
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sinasdf wrote: We did not review the electrical panel. We are installing potlights on the living room (which has no light fixtures currently but there is a nearby switch), the stairs to the basement (there is a light fixture at the bottom), and the basement (two existing light fixtures). If it makes a difference, our breaker panel is one of those old ones with the small screw on fuses
Yeah, so you're only allowed 12 devices per circuit, unless they are all fixed, then you can go with 80%.

That said, I'm assuming your living room is already has a number of things on it, same with the basement, who knows about the stairs, it could be on the same as the basement. Anyways, my point is, you're probably going to exceed 12 devices on a circuit, and in your case might be going over by a good amount, therefore you may not pass inspection based on that.
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Jun 21, 2003
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sinasdf wrote: We did not review the electrical panel. We are installing potlights on the living room (which has no light fixtures currently but there is a nearby switch), the stairs to the basement (there is a light fixture at the bottom), and the basement (two existing light fixtures). If it makes a difference, our breaker panel is one of those old ones with the small screw on fuses
I would be concerned if I were you. You’re allowed 12 devices ( 1 light = 1 device, 1 receptacle = 1 device) per circuit. You can go higher than 12 if the entire circuit is fixed load lights and you calculate. I’m all likelihood your 30 lights could go on 1 circuit. However that would need to be a brand new circuit so that you can prove there is ONLY fixed wattages on the circuit. 1 single light fixture with replaceable bulbs OR 1 receptacle and you’re immediately back down to a max of 12. If they are planning to just tap off your existing switches they are almost certainly NOT ensuring you are to code and staying at 12 devices max. There’s no way they are adding 30 new lights without a new circuit and still meeting code.
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SubjectivelyObjective wrote: Yeah, so you're only allowed 12 devices per circuit, unless they are all fixed, then you can go with 80%.

That said, I'm assuming your living room is already has a number of things on it, same with the basement, who knows about the stairs, it could be on the same as the basement. Anyways, my point is, you're probably going to exceed 12 devices on a circuit, and in your case might be going over by a good amount, therefore you may not pass inspection based on that.
After the newest information it’s almost a certainty they are not pulling a permit and doing this to code.
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Dec 25, 2006
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ESA is a joke. They do not have capacity to check all residential jobs. They may not even come to your site. Its an organized cash grab racket.

OP, get a good contractor and call it a day. Your current contractor seems to be giving you the run around. If it helps you sleep at night, ask the contractor to have the job ESA certified. This typically adds another extra $200-$300 to their fees.
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ChicoQuente wrote: After the newest information it’s almost a certainty they are not pulling a permit and doing this to code.
Yeah.... Something smelled off from the get go,and it's going in the direction I thought, sadly.
[OP]
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Thanks for the details guys, this is a lot of new information. So for the living room, the light switch is currently driving power to a nearby outlet. Is it same to assume that there is only one device on this circuit? Or is it possible that the circuit for the living room consists of multiple outlets and lights, and by installing 10 pot lights in the living room (10 devices), that may be potentially putting me over?
[OP]
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Aug 25, 2011
585 posts
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SCARBOROUGH
SubjectivelyObjective wrote: Yeah.... Something smelled off from the get go,and it's going in the direction I thought, sadly.
Well I guess you get what you pay for. His quote per light was about $30-$40 lower than the other ones I've seen on the market. My partner was the one who found him, and I was initially reluctant but he did a free pre-inspection and I didn't get any red flags
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sinasdf wrote: Thanks for the details guys, this is a lot of new information. So for the living room, the light switch is currently driving power to a nearby outlet. Is it same to assume that there is only one device on this circuit? Or is it possible that the circuit for the living room consists of multiple outlets and lights, and by installing 10 pot lights in the living room (10 devices), that may be potentially putting me over?
It is extremely unlikely it is only that device. To verify, find the fuse for that room and pull it out. Go around the house and find any receptacles or lights that no longer work. Count them up and you’ll know how many devices are on it. I would say with almost 100% certainty you will find close to 12 devices are off. You will be going over the 12 device limit for sure.
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sinasdf wrote: Well I guess you get what you pay for. His quote per light was about $30-$40 lower than the other ones I've seen on the market. My partner was the one who found him, and I was initially reluctant but he did a free pre-inspection and I didn't get any red flags
This should have told you everything you needed to know. If the price was $30-40 less per light than all other quotes you should have realized they must cut a corner somewhere to be that much cheaper. You won’t be getting an ESA permit with this job and you won’t be getting a job done to code. I am certain of that.
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kingsha wrote: ESA is a joke. They do not have capacity to check all residential jobs. They may not even come to your site. Its an organized cash grab racket.

OP, get a good contractor and call it a day. Your current contractor seems to be giving you the run around. If it helps you sleep at night, ask the contractor to have the job ESA certified. This typically adds another extra $200-$300 to their fees.
They don't need capacity to check all jobs because a lot of people don't use the service.

The "organized cash grab" is a bit of a joke. If you think charging $80 to coordinate a site visit, drive to site, have a qualified person inspect everything, provide comments, answer homeowner questions, then potentially have to come and do a second site visit, idk where you think they are making money in all this. The fees are set way below a fair market value so people will actually want to use them.

Every time I have used ESA, they have done so in a timely manner.

With how many bad wiring jobs there are out there, paying $80 to get your amateur work checked is a great deal. Not to mention the insurance implications and other considerations.

Also, any good LEC is probably ESA certified and has a good relationship with the inspectors in the area. Some charge extra for it, others not so much, more so just to cover the fees paid on their end.
[OP]
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ChicoQuente wrote: This should have told you everything you needed to know. If the price was $30-40 less per light than all other quotes you should have realized they must cut a corner somewhere to be that much cheaper. You won’t be getting an ESA permit with this job and you won’t be getting a job done to code. I am certain of that.
Hey so I got off the phone with the electrician, and I reiterated what you said, in that I need to have the permit arranged first from your (electricians) end before we can proceed with the installation. He had mentioned that he will obtain the permit and the inspection at the same time, which doesn't line up with what you had mentioned. I also suggested that for the actual inspection, I (the homeowner) can be there and he doesn't have to be there, but he pushed back and said that he would have to be there to answer any questions (i.e. how to wire)

Is this fishy? Is this correct?

Can you reconfirm that the permit needs to be arranged before the work has to be done, and that I can book the inspection myself with the ESA and be present myself during the inspection? I obviously won't be able to answer to the technical details on how it was wired.
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sinasdf wrote: Hey so I got off the phone with the electrician, and I reiterated what you said, in that I need to have the permit arranged first from your (electricians) end before we can proceed with the installation. He had mentioned that he will obtain the permit and the inspection at the same time, which doesn't line up with what you had mentioned. I also suggested that for the actual inspection, I (the homeowner) can be there and he doesn't have to be there, but he pushed back and said that he would have to be there to answer any questions (i.e. how to wire)

Is this fishy? Is this correct?

Can you reconfirm that the permit needs to be arranged before the work has to be done, and that I can book the inspection myself with the ESA and be present myself during the inspection? I obviously won't be able to answer to the technical details on how it was wired.
The permit MUST be obtained before the job OR within 48 hours of starting. It can not be more than 48 hours after starting the work. There’s no benefit to pulling the permit and booking the inspection at the same time to my knowledge. There’s no reason they can’t just pull the permit now and then call when they are ready for inspection.

I’m not sure why he is having an issue with you being there to allow the inspector access to be honest. I guess he just wants to charge you that $500 you mentioned. In my opinion he may be pushing on that because he doesn’t want to pull the permit as from what you’ve described I have a time believing they can pass inspection without a new circuit and his thought is if he insists on the $500 fee you’ll say don’t worry about the inspection.

You can’t book the inspection as you won’t be the one pulling the permit. They pull the permit and then they notify when it’s ready for inspection. ESA will then tell them what day of the week the inspector is in your area and you’ll have to be home that day. Someone has to be there the day ESA dictates. There’s no reason that can’t be you. I’ve had plenty of customers be the one present for their inspection. It’s expensive to pay an electrician to sit at a site, that’s money lost when they could be doing other paying jobs.
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sinasdf wrote: Hey so I got off the phone with the electrician, and I reiterated what you said, in that I need to have the permit arranged first from your (electricians) end before we can proceed with the installation. He had mentioned that he will obtain the permit and the inspection at the same time, which doesn't line up with what you had mentioned. I also suggested that for the actual inspection, I (the homeowner) can be there and he doesn't have to be there, but he pushed back and said that he would have to be there to answer any questions (i.e. how to wire)

Is this fishy? Is this correct?

Can you reconfirm that the permit needs to be arranged before the work has to be done, and that I can book the inspection myself with the ESA and be present myself during the inspection? I obviously won't be able to answer to the technical details on how it was wired.
ESA inspector came twice for our reno and electrician was not present for either.

The ESA inspector might ask you some questions to figure if you did work or if using space/reno that is not allowed. Answer truthfully as you have not done any of the work.

Inspector didn't really check much and was few minutes both times. Seems they do go by rep of electrician.
.......
July 13, 2017 to October 25, 2018: BOC raised rates 5 times and MCAP raised its prime rate next day each time.

2020: BOC dropped rates 3 times and MCAP waited and waited to drop its prime rate to include all 3 drops.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Aug 25, 2011
585 posts
231 upvotes
SCARBOROUGH
ChicoQuente wrote: The permit MUST be obtained before the job OR within 48 hours of starting. It can not be more than 48 hours after starting the work. There’s no benefit to pulling the permit and booking the inspection at the same time to my knowledge. There’s no reason they can’t just pull the permit now and then call when they are ready for inspection.

I’m not sure why he is having an issue with you being there to allow the inspector access to be honest. I guess he just wants to charge you that $500 you mentioned. In my opinion he may be pushing on that because he doesn’t want to pull the permit as from what you’ve described I have a time believing they can pass inspection without a new circuit and his thought is if he insists on the $500 fee you’ll say don’t worry about the inspection.

You can’t book the inspection as you won’t be the one pulling the permit. They pull the permit and then they notify when it’s ready for inspection. ESA will then tell them what day of the week the inspector is in your area and you’ll have to be home that day. Someone has to be there the day ESA dictates. There’s no reason that can’t be you. I’ve had plenty of customers be the one present for their inspection. It’s expensive to pay an electrician to sit at a site, that’s money lost when they could be doing other paying jobs.
Okay, thanks for the detail. I got off the phone with him again and he lowered his fee to $400, which covers the permit fees as well as his daily fee. I really pushed hard that he doesn't have to be there for the inspection, and that I'm fine with paying the administration costs for the permit.

His main pushback is that some inspectors are picky and will ask a lot of questions, and because I didn't do the installation itself I won't have any meaningful feedback.

So my question is this - when the inspector comes, and I'm there, is that going to be to my detriment since I can't provide feedback? Or will they be there just to tell me if the work is in violation and not up to code, and I will have to work with my electrician to fix iy?
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sinasdf wrote: Okay, thanks for the detail. I got off the phone with him again and he lowered his fee to $400, which covers the permit fees as well as his daily fee. I really pushed hard that he doesn't have to be there for the inspection, and that I'm fine with paying the administration costs for the permit.

His main pushback is that some inspectors are picky and will ask a lot of questions, and because I didn't do the installation itself I won't have any meaningful feedback.

So my question is this - when the inspector comes, and I'm there, is that going to be to my detriment since I can't provide feedback? Or will they be there just to tell me if the work is in violation and not up to code, and I will have to work with my electrician to fix iy?
They are inspecting work.

Any deficiencies will be addressed by electrician so all you have to do is open door and if asked any questions to truthfully answer.

BUT not expected [nor recommended] to answer technical questions pertaining to the work.
.......
July 13, 2017 to October 25, 2018: BOC raised rates 5 times and MCAP raised its prime rate next day each time.

2020: BOC dropped rates 3 times and MCAP waited and waited to drop its prime rate to include all 3 drops.

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