Iowa Electrical Examining Board

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why is the state electrical licensing and inspections process needed?
    1. Answer: The primary goal of Iowa Statute 103 is to improve public safety by ensuring that buildings in which people live and work have electrical systems which meet or exceed the National Electrical Code. This goal is achieved through electrician licensing and electrical inspections.
  2. Can homeowners make application for an electrical permit on an existing house and install a new electrical service?
    1. Answer: The homeowner can request an electrical permit and install a new service if it is the homeowner’s primary residence and qualifies for a Homestead Tax Exemption. However if it is a new house, the work would have to be performed by a licensed electrical contractor.
  3. Is an electrician who only performs $2000 worth of work each year required to have a Contractors License and pull permits?
    1. Answer: Yes, the Iowa Statute 103 does not recognize any dollar amount in order to require licensing or permitting. If you do any electrical work in the state of Iowa you would need to obtain the proper Contractors License, Masters License and permit applications.
  4. Do electrical utility companies need to make application for licenses or permits?
    1. Answer: No, as long as the work they are performing is acting within the scope of their employment, utility companies do not need to obtain licenses or pull permits.
  5. How do I go about reporting someone that I think does not have the proper electrical licenses or permits, or that appears to be doing unsafe work?
    1. Answer: There are several different ways to go about reporting someone. You can call, e-mail, fax or even mail us the information about the suspected violation. You are also able to contact a State Electrical Inspector, an Electrical Inspector Supervisor or the Chief Electrical Inspector in Des Moines. We will need as much information as possible so that we can properly follow up on the suspected violation.
  6. How do I appeal an electrical inspector’s decision that I feel is unfair?
    1. Answer: You start by contacting the Electrical Inspector Supervisor from the project area. Secondarily, you contact the Chief Electrical Inspector in Des Moines and finally, if a reasonable resolution has not been achieved, you take the appeal to the Iowa Electrical Examining Board.
  7. Are state owned buildings and facilities exempt from the permit and inspections process?
    1. Answer: No, State owned buildings and facilities have to follow all of the same permit and inspection process that have been implemented by Iowa Statute103 and the Iowa Electrical Examining Board.
  8. Can an Apprentice or Unclassified License work under the direct supervision of a Special Electrician License with the Residential Electrician endorsement?
    1. Answer: No, according to Iowa Code 103.11 Supervising Apprentices – License Required – Qualifications, only a Master Class A, Master Class B, Journeyman Class A and Journeyman Class B can supervise an Apprentice or Unclassified Licensee.
  9. Can a secretary in my office make application for an electrical permit and request an inspection?
    1. Answer: Yes, the secretaries can pull the permits and request inspections as long as they are authorized by the Electrical Contractor to perform those actions.
  10. Is the concrete-encased electrode required on a new building?
    1. Answer: Yes, since the issue of the 2005 National Electrical Code, all grounding electrodes that are present at each building or structure (including the concrete-encased electrode) shall be bonded together to form the grounding electrode system. If this electrode was not utilized, the electrical contractor shall contact the Electrical Inspector or the Electrical Inspector Supervisor in the project area to reach an acceptable resolution.
  11. As a new contractor I have just taken on the job of wiring my first new house. Can you tell me what size service I need to install and how many circuits I should pull?
    1. Answer: No, the state electrical program can not be responsible for design of electrical projects. The needed information that you are looking for is available in the 2008 National Electrical Code.
  12. If a service is de-energized how long would it be before it would need to be re-inspected to get energized?
    1. Answer: The time limit is determined by each individual utility. If the service has been de-energized for longer then the utility company allows, an inspection will need to be done before the service can be re-energized.
  13. How long will it take to get an inspection?
    1. Answer: According to Iowa Statute103 inspectors are allowed 3 business days following the receipt of the inspection request to perform the inspection. This excludes weekends and holidays.
  14. Who will do my inspections?
    1. Answer: The State electrical inspector assigned to your geographical area will be responsible for completing the inspections.
  15. What are the costs of the electrical permits?
    1. Answer: Permit costs are based on Iowa Statute 103 and the associated administrative codes. You can access these fees on the link labeled “Inspection Fees and Examples”
  16. If we are in an area with local inspections who do we contact to make a request for an inspection?
    1. Answer: If you are in an area with local inspections you would pull a permit from the local inspections department and have them perform the needed inspections. The only way that you would call the state for an inspection would be if you were in a state owned facility. In this situation you would both pull the permit from the state and request the inspection from the state.
  17. At what point do we call for an inspection on a project?
    1. Answer: You need to call for an inspection before electrical work is going to be concealed in any wall or ceiling. You will request an inspection for any new service, existing service or temporary service. This inspection is required before the electrical company will energize the service. You will also request a final inspection once the project is completed.
  18. When do I need to make application for a permit on a small project?
    1. Answer: Any time that you add or alter anything in an existing electrical panel a permit will need to be pulled. You can access more information on this subject by clicking on the link labeled “Electrical Permit Requirements”.
  19. Do I need an electrical permit to do maintenance?
    1. Answer: An electrical permit is not required for routine maintenance. Routine maintenance is defined in the statute as “the repair or replacement of existing electrical apparatus or equipment, including but not limited to wires, cables, switches, receptacles, outlets, fuses, circuit breakers, and fixtures, of the same size and type for which no changes in wiring are made, but does not include any new electrical installation of the expansion or extension of any circuit.
  20. What will the state be using for code references during the inspection?
    1. Answer: The state electrical inspectors will be referring to the 2008 National Electrical Code for their inspections. The only exception to the 2008 NEC will be Article 210.8 (A) which has been replaced with the language from the 2005 NEC. This exception has to do with GFCI requirements.
  21. If it requires a State Contractors License to make application for a permit and I have a Special Electrician License, how do I pull a permit?
    1. Answer: At this time there is no provisions for a Special Electrician to pull permits. According to the standards of the license you are qualified to do the work but you would need to work for someone with a Contractors License to pull the proper permits.
  22. Will Area Mechanics, HVAC Mechanics, System Control Tech’s and Facility Mechanics at a large university have to have licenses?
    1. Answer: If the work being performed does not fit the description of Routine Maintenance as defined by the Iowa Electrical Examining Board, the work would need to be both permitted, and performed by a licensed electrician.
  23. What does the state require for an inspection of a temporary service?
    1. Answer: The first step in setting a temporary service is to check with your local utility provider and install per their specifications and in the location of their choice. Once the inspection has been requested, the State Inspector will verify the installation to be code compliant and notify the utility that the service is ready to energize. A new inspection will be required if the temp. service is moved to another location. The address should be posted on the temp. service.
  24. How will I make application for a permit and request an inspection?
    1. Answer: In order to pull a permit and request an inspection you will need to go to iowaelectrical.gov on the internet and follow the online instructions. You will both apply and pay for the permit online using a credit card. In order to request an inspection you will go to the same internet address as listed above and follow the online instructions.
  25. How do I apply for an electrical permit and request inspections if I do not have access to the internet?
    1. Answer: If you do not have access to the internet, we can either fax or mail you a set of manual permits. Once filled out, you will be able to fax or mail the permit applications back with check or money order for payment. Requesting an inspection will be done by either calling or faxing all of the needed information to perform the inspection.
  26. Are farms exempt from electrical inspections?
    1. Answer: Farms will not be exempt from electrical inspections. Farms will be inspected per the 2008 National Electrical Code.
  27. Can a home owner help wire his home?
    1. Answer: Who works for the contractor is up to him. A person can work up to 100 consecutive days before needing an Unclassified License. This person needs to be under direct supervision of a journeyman electrician at all times.
  28. Can a meter socket be inspected and approved before the Utility Company runs the underground service?
    1. Answer: Yes, the service can be inspected and tagged prior to the Utility Company feeding the service.
  29. Can a political sub-division operate on the 2005 NEC?
    1. Answer: All political sub-division must meet minimum State requirements. The State of Iowa has adopted the 2008 NEC.