Only a licensed Electrical Contractor can apply for an electrical permit from the City.
Electrical permits are required by the City to assure that electrical installations and repairs are performed by licensed personnel, and that the installations are in compliance with City and State Codes.
Electrical permits are required for the installation, alteration, replacement or repair of electrical and communications wiring and equipment within or on any structure and for the alteration of an existing installation.
An electrical permit IS NOT required for:
- Minor repairs and maintenance work, including:
- Replacing lamps, circuit breakers or fuses
- Repairing or replacing switches, lamp sockets, ballasts, drop cords, receptacles or bulbs, or for the taping of bare joints
- Replacing lighting fixtures in existing connections
- Connecting approved portable electrical equipment to approved permanently installed receptacles.
- Installing, altering or repairing the electrical equipment of a regulated public utility for its use in the generation, transmission, distribution or metering of electricity.
- Installing a temporary system required for testing or servicing electrical equipment or apparatus.
- Removing electrical wiring in the total demolition of a structure.
- Installing electrical components used in connection with the installation or reinstallation of partition systems listed in published reports of inspected electrical equipment listed and labeled by an approved listing organizations such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
- Installing low-voltage wiring in Zoning Group R-3 and U occupancies.
- Installations in railway cars or automotive equipment.
Apply for an Electrical Permit
The following information must be submitted with all permit applications. Permit applications will not be accepted without these documents.
- Tax Clearance Form from the Revenue Department for the Contractor – These forms may be obtained on line at www.phila.gov/Revenue. Please select “Tax Clearance” on the left side of the web page and select “Permits/Licenses” from the drop-down box and enter your name and SSN or EIN. Once printed, the form is valid for thirty (30) days.
- A current, valid Certificate of Insurance for the Contractor – The Certificate of Insurance must indicate current coverage for comprehensive general liability, workers compensation and automobile liability. The comprehensive general liability (including products and completed operations) must evidence a minimum limit of liability of $500,000 per occurrence. The Certificate of Insurance must describe the type of operations/work the contractor has coverage for, which must be consistent with the Contractor’s permit application. The certificate must also include a contact name and phone number of the contractor’s insurance broker or agent. The City of Philadelphia must be named Certificate Holder and Additional Insured under the contractor’s comprehensive general liability insurance policy.
Note: It is not acceptable for the additional insured requirement to be conditional upon there being a written contract.
Most permits require plans to be submitted with the application.
There are several electrical inspections that are required throughout the work process. These inspections must be conducted by Electrical Inspection Agencies licensed by L&I. The permit holder is required to call a licensed third-party inspection agency 48 hours in advance of the desired inspection date to schedule inspections.
Non-compliant electrical work may result in fines or suspension of the Electrical Contractors License.
Some projects may qualify for an EZ Electrical Permit, which do not require the submission of plans.
EZ Electrical Permit Qualifications, plans are not required for the following:
- One and two family dwellings (new construction, addition, or alteration where the connected load is less than 100 K.W. and/or 400 amps)
- All occupancies for telecom/data work except those requiring approval from The Department of Health and those found in Articles 490 (equipment over 600 volts), 500 through 503 (hazardous locations for classes 1,2, and 3, divisions 1 and 2) of the National Electrical Code.
In order to obtain an EZ Electrical permit an application is required to be completed and sealed by a registered master electrician along with a copy of current tax clearance and insurance certificates. All required documentation can be submitted in person or emailed to the mechanical services unit at email@example.com. Effective November 24, 2014, faxed Electrical and Plumbing Permit applications will not be accepted.
The Electrical Permit Process
- The Department will collect a non-refundable filing fee of up to $100 for each permit application. The filing fee will be credited to the final permit fee.
- You must be a licensed Electrical Contractor in order to obtain a permit with the City of Philadelphia.
- Applications must be completed in their entirety before submittal. Each application will include only one plan revision. A new application will be required if the revised plan does not meet the construction document requirements specified in the Code.
- You must have the legal address of the property, as established by the Board of Revision of Taxes (BRT), to file any application. Separate permits for each address will be issued.
- Pre-Paid Electrical Permits are no longer available.
- Construction plans need to be kept for the life of the building. Therefore the Department must collect a fee ($4 per page) to scan and store the approved plans for each project. This includes plans associated with zoning applications. The maximum size of submitted plans is 34” X 44”.
- The Department will also charge a state imposed $4.50 surcharge on all electrical permits, to be collected at the time of application.
- Inspections related to electrical permits are not performed by the Department of Licenses & Inspections. These permit inspections are performed by Licensed Electrical Inspectors who work for Licensed Electrical Inspection Agencies.
- Upon filing an application for an electrical permit, the Licensed Electrical Contractor must identify the Electrical Inspection Agency who will be responsible for the inspections related to the permit.
Solar PV System Installations
The installation of a Solar Photovoltaic (PV) System requires a building permit in addition to an electrical permit in order to ensure compliance with City Code. For a detailed overview of this permit process, please see the Standard Solar Permitting Process document.
Installations that comply with the Solar PV System Standard do not require a separate building permit. Such applications will be reviewed within an expedited timeframe of 5 business days provided that a Solar PV System Standard form is included with the submission. For a detailed overview of this permit process, please see the Expedited Solar Permitting Process document.
See the Guidebook for Solar Photovoltaic Projects in Philadelphia for additional information regarding Solar PV Systems.