gellfex

NJ plumbers and sparks-what is legal for a handyman to do?

Rate this topic

15 posts in this topic

I was recently startled by a local 'handyman' advertising plumbing and electrical work. I contacted him to discuss it, and he said he is legally allowed to do anything that does not require a permit. Is this true?  My original knowledge of this stuff may be outdated, but I thought while it was OK to DIY a lot of stuff in a single family, but it wasn't OK to do it for pay unlicensed or for a landlord like me to DIY. I remember being told that even though it didn't require a permit anything that broke the trap seal required a licensed plumber, and changing electric fixtures and devices you needed to hire a licensed electrician.  There's also an unlicensed guy clearing drains including 4" cast iron mains.

 

I found this doc about what's ordinary maintenance vs permitted work, but it says nothing about who can do such maintenance.https://www.state.nj.us/dca/divisions/codes/alerts/pdfs/OM_MW_03052018.pdf  Anybody got intel on this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, gellfex said:

I was recently startled by a local 'handyman' advertising plumbing and electrical work. I contacted him to discuss it, and he said he is legally allowed to do anything that does not require a permit. Is this true?  My original knowledge of this stuff may be outdated, but I thought while it was OK to DIY a lot of stuff in a single family, but it wasn't OK to do it for pay unlicensed or for a landlord like me to DIY. I remember being told that even though it didn't require a permit anything that broke the trap seal required a licensed plumber, and changing electric fixtures and devices you needed to hire a licensed electrician.  There's also an unlicensed guy clearing drains including 4" cast iron mains.

 

I found this doc about what's ordinary maintenance vs permitted work, but it says nothing about who can do such maintenance.https://www.state.nj.us/dca/divisions/codes/alerts/pdfs/OM_MW_03052018.pdf  Anybody got intel on this?

What about hot water heater, it's not clear on that, l did industrial plant maintenance for over 30 years electrical and pluming, l did my own hot water heater 10 years ago and I'm about do, my house is one family, cant tell from what l have read in that link, no pipes being move 40gl low boy just just slid it in and hook water and up elec.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited) · Report post

You can get a "Handy Man" license in NJ and do a lot. I know people who have them. 

Edited by Captain Lew

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited) · Report post

27 mins ago, LB said:

What about hot water heater, it's not clear on that, l did industrial plant maintenance for over 30 years electrical and pluming, l did my own hot water heater 10 years ago and I'm about do, my house is one family, cant tell from what l have read in that link, no pipes being move 40gl low boy just just slid it in and hook water and up elec.

See, I've been told over the years it's definitely a 'permit' item. I even had an inspector come around when I left one in sight in the driveway. So this change is hard to parse. I tend to doubt it's covered there, changing a gas heater usually involves moving pipes since heaters are rarely identical after 10 years or so. I've never been able to figure out why Eastern plumbers ALWAYS hardpipe gas house and water heating equipment, when that would be code violation in the earthquaky West, and you need flex on the feeds too. 

 

The 'handyman licence' is nothing more than revenue, there's no certification that they actually know anything.  Years ago I had a general contractors license back when the cities regulated it, and you could have a bond for just $100k. It was just for pulling my own permits in my rentals.

Edited by gellfex

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you promote elec or plumbing work, you must be licensed. There is no limit as to the amount of work you can only do mentioned when you say you can do elec or plumbing. Elec side of no lic, is changing light bulbs and running conduit. Even low voltage has its limits to what is not inspected. 

 

The game he’ll play is have the homeowner call for inspection and tell them to tell the town they did it.  The town will know better with a couple questions asked. 

 

At the same time the lic/business number must be listed on all paperwork you hand out and the vehicle must show the lic/business number shown clearly. 

 

Once the DCA catches up with him the fines are very significant. They will. This economy now will bring the officials out looking specifically for this. It happens each time after a down turn. He’ll loose his current business lic once they are done with him. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you have gas piping or electrical work done by an unlicensed person and there is a fire or other problem with the equipment your insurance company will investigate and ask for license numbers and names.When they find out a handyman did the work you will receive zero payment for damage done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, JohnQ said:

If you have gas piping or electrical work done by an unlicensed person and there is a fire or other problem with the equipment your insurance company will investigate and ask for license numbers and names.When they find out a handyman did the work you will receive zero payment for damage done.

I have always heard this said but never heard of an actual case. Where I live many of the rowhouses are 100-150 years old, and are filled with all sorts of horrifying DIY plumbing and electric work.  Once on a sale tour I saw zip cord embedded in the plaster running from the wall sconce to a DIY ceiling light!  So if these houses were basically uninsurable without gutting, no one would be able to buy them.

 

But in the case of this handyman, they're claiming they do NOT do that kind of work, only work that does not require a permit. So there's a huge area of repair work, especially after the revision, that falls in that category. I've always understood the law to make a big distinction between an owner doing DIY in his own single family, and anything else involving residents other than the owner and his immediate family, like rentals.  But I could be wrong.  I'm pretty sure it's illegal for a SFR owner to file the permit as he's allowed, but hire someone unlicensed to actually do the work.

 

I once found this tape wrapped 'splice' above a drop ceiling. Simply horrifying in every way, yet it lasted for decades without burning the place down. 

 

splice.PNG.0f0c4faf93701b97687ade5c3a0358d1.PNG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmmm

Is this the same in other states?  I'm in Pa with one townhouse I rent out.  I have done plenty of DIY projects there for years.  Where do I look this up?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 mins ago, Skeeterbait said:

Hmmmm

Is this the same in other states?  I'm in Pa with one townhouse I rent out.  I have done plenty of DIY projects there for years.  Where do I look this up?

If you have a Code office that answers the phone, unlike my city, you could try there. It's not any DIY, but stuff that should be permitted, or done by a licensed person if they make a distinction between the 2.  The strange logic is it's OK to put your own family at risk, but not your tenants.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I did a quick look up at our Borough web site.  They want permits for structural changes to the house, pools, driveways, fences, shed, additions.

 

But I did not find anything that says - if you play with wiring (say add a ceiling fan to a bath room) that you need to be a certified electrician.

I wonder if that is more state than locally administered.

 

I did look at the Pa Labor and Industry site and they have a listing by municipality as to whether the municipality has opted in or out of having L&I have jurisdiction.  It seems my locality has opted in - meaning they are in charge of having stuff permitted and inspected etc.....

 

Seems we may not be as tight as NJ? (big surprise there I know)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 mins ago, Skeeterbait said:

So I did a quick look up at our Borough web site.  They want permits for structural changes to the house, pools, driveways, fences, shed, additions.

 

But I did not find anything that says - if you play with wiring (say add a ceiling fan to a bath room) that you need to be a certified electrician.

I wonder if that is more state than locally administered.

 

I did look at the Pa Labor and Industry site and they have a listing by municipality as to whether the municipality has opted in or out of having L&I have jurisdiction.  It seems my locality has opted in - meaning they are in charge of having stuff permitted and inspected etc.....

 

Seems we may not be as tight as NJ? (big surprise there I know)

If you are, say,  just changing a light for a fan, no problem.  But if you are running new cable, it's supposed to get a permit in most places. The key is new. Here, you can replace kitchen cabinets without a permit, but are supposed to get one to hang one where there wasn't one before.  Replace some drywall, no. Build a studwall closet? Yes. Heres a great one: Taking down a certain percentage (like more than 50%) of the home's ceiling drywall will require you to upgrade the electric!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ive only ever looked at it from the perspective as a homeowner, pretty sure you can diy whatever you want to your own residence, but you're still supposed to pull permits, thats where the work gets checked, in theory anyway. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited) · Report post

18 hours ago, gellfex said:

Heres a great one: Taking down a certain percentage (like more than 50%) of the home's ceiling drywall will require you to upgrade the electric!

Leave it to NJ.

 

Now when the town comes around to reappraise your house they walk around with a tablet and take pictures. 

Edited by LB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 mins ago, LB said:

Leave it to NJ.

 

Now when the town comes around to reappraise your house they walk around with a tablet and take pictures. 

We had the 1st full revaluation in 30 years in a city of 250k a couple of years ago. What a sh*tshow. A lot of the appraisals were drive-bys. When they did get in they basically checked it off as one of 3 levels of niceness, and counted rooms, especially baths. The people who had added a bath without a permit were especially hard hit with a tax hike.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to register here in order to participate.

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.