Electrical operating permits and the asset owner


Do you own, operate, or maintain an industrial, commercial, or institutional facility? If so, you are considered to be an asset owner and may be required to obtain an Electrical Operating Permit.

Operating permits allow operators of these buildings to install new equipment, relocate equipment, or make minor alterations to the electrical equipment or facility such as adding lighting, wiring or plugs, without having to take out multiple electrical installation permits. This can save owners time and money! Here, we answer some common questions about electrical operating permits.

Do I need an electrical operating permit?

If you own or manage any of the following sites, it is likely you need an electrical operating permit.

  • An educational facility such as university, college, public or private schools
  • Hospitals, nursing homes, or senior centers
  • Multi-occupancy buildings such as hotels, office high-rises, strata-owned condominiums and apartment buildings, or shopping malls
  • Manufacturing and industrial facilities such as warehouses and recycling plants
  • Recreational facilities such as stadiums, ice rinks, or bowling alleys
  • Facilities that operate equipment in hazardous environments
  • Wind farms
  • Greenhouses
  • Municipal sites

What kind of equipment warrants an electrical operating permit?

Those who own, operate or maintain the following electrical equipment, must have an operating permit when:

  • operation or design of electrical equipment is such that regular or ongoing maintenance is required
  • electrical equipment is operated within the class or zone designations for hazardous locations
  • electrical equipment is operated or maintained for emergency service
  • electrical equipment is part of a fire alarm system
  • supply is greater than 250 kVA
  • supply to privately owned equipment, except for high voltage neon signs, is greater than 750 volts
  • rated service capacity of an equipment as per the manufacturer’s nameplate rating is capable of handling electrical supply of over 250 kVA (e.g, main service switch, main transforming equipment, electrical panel, or transformer)

Who issues an electrical operating permit?

Technical Safety BC issues electrical operating permits and completes inspections for most areas of British Columbia, but there are several exceptions. See what jurisdiction area you are part of here.

What are the limits of permitted alterations?

With an operating permit, facilities with a main service rating of 250 kVA or less can make alterations that do not result in an increase of greater than 12.5 kVA in additional loads.

Facilities with a main service rating of 250 kVA or greater can make minor alterations that does not result in an increase of greater than 36 kVA in additional loads.

What is the role of a Field Safety Representative (FSR)?

An electrical Field Safety Representative (FSR) is named on every electrical operating permit. A FSR is a professionally qualified individual who is certified by Technical Safety BC. They can validate completed electrical work and can provide assurance that the electrical equipment has been safely installed and is being properly maintained.

What type of minor alterations or additions are included within the scope of an electrical operating permit?

Under the supervision of a Field Safety Representative (FSR), owners can conduct regular maintenance work, including:

Maintenance work is not allowed to result in the main service capacity being exceeded. Load calculations must be entered into the log book.

Can I change my FSR during the duration of the permit?

Yes. FSRs can be changed at any time. However, if you have an operating permit and your field safety representative (FSR) has changed, you must submit a notice of FSR Change immediately.

How do I get an operating permit from Technical Safety BC?

Clients registered for our online services can apply for an operating permit online or can complete and submit the Electrical Operating Permit Application Form to request one. Operating permits are renewed annually. You will be sent an invoice and FSR verification form, which registered clients can pay for and verify through our online services.

Note: Remember to name the Field Safety Representative (FSR) in your application. The FSR may be an employee of an electrical contractor.

What is the cost of an electrical operating permit?

View our Electrical Fee Schedule. Technical Safety BC is an independent, self-funded, not-for-profit organization. Fees associated with permits allow Technical Safety BC to work with industry to reduce safety risks through assessment, education and outreach, enforcement and research.

Research has shown that an equipment operated under a permit is four times less likely to develop a hazardous situation. Check with your contractor or electrician to determine if your equipment or facility needs an annual operating permit.

If you are in doubt, have more questions or want help in pulling a permit, please contact us.

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