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State of Safety 2019 - Electrical

Save time and money with electrical operating permits


Property managers know that each time they have electrical work done in their building, it must be done under permit. What many do not realize is that by having an annual operating permit in place allows numerous maintenance tasks and alterations to be completed, all under one permit.

There are great benefits that can come from having an annual electrical operating permit,” explains Technical Safety BC’s Adam McKechnie, Product Leader.

If you’re taking out multiple installation permits for smaller jobs, you could save time and money by getting an annual permit in place.

Also, sometimes an operating permit is required. Most large, multifamily residential sites, mid- to large-sized commercial developments, all areas within hazardous locations, and any building, site or development that has a supply greater than 250kVA requires an electrical operating permit.

What work can be done under an electrical operating permit?

With an operating permit, facilities with a main service rating of 250 kVA or less can make alterations that don’t result in an increase of greater than 12.5 kVA in additional loads. Facilities with a main service rating of greater than 250 kVA can make minor alterations that don’t result in an increase of greater than 36 kVA in additional loads.

Under the supervision of a Field Safety Representative (FSR), owners can conduct regular maintenance work without the need for installation permits, including:

  • replacement of existing equipment with equipment intended to perform the same function
  • installation, relocation, and alteration of specific electrical equipment.

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

First, confirm your location. Technical Safety BC issues electrical operating permits and assesses most areas of British Columbia, but there are several exceptions including City of Vancouver, City of Burnaby, and City of Victoria. Contact Technical Safety BC to learn more, or learn more about our jurisdiction.

If you don’t know if you require an operating permit, reach out to Technical Safety BC or your certified electrical professional. Once you know you require this permit, please contact us at 1 866 566 7233, or email We can help with your application.