What's that "ESA" cost on my estimate?

Renovation projects can be expensive, and there are definitely ways to work with a budget, but there are certain costs that can't be avoided.  One of these unavoidable costs is the charge for the ESA (Electrical Safety Authority) permit.

When doing a renovation in your own home, whether you hire a Licensed Electrical Contractor (LEC) or do the work yourself, it will require a permit from the Electrical Safety Authority.  If you've hired an LEC, he or she will take care of pulling the permit for you.  Your LEC will also schedule the inspection(s) for you.  Every project will require a minimum of one inspection.  Larger projects can require two or more inspections depending on the scope of work.

If you are undertaking a large electrical project, one requiring two inspections, the first inspection will be the "rough-in" inspection.  This inspection must be completed and passed before this initial work is covered up.  This means, for example, that insulation and drywall can't be done until the first electrical inspection is passed.  If you're hired an General Contractor, they will ensure this is all scheduled appropriately.  If you are running the project, make sure you coordinate all the trades accordingly.   The pass for this initial electrical inspection will not be received until the day after the inspection was completed, so appropriate time needs to be left for all the trades to do their part.

When all of the electrical work is completed and passed, depending on the type of renovation or repair work you had done, you may require the ESA Certificate of Inspection for your bank or insurance company.  This is an official document and there is no substitute.

Pulling the ESA permit, booking the inspection(s) and sending the Certificate of Inspection is a time consuming process.  The ESA cost that you see on your estimate from your LEC covers this, including the costs your LEC pays the ESA for the actual permit, inspection(s) and Certificate of Inspection.  The cost of the actual permit from the ESA is determined by the scope or work being done.  Generally speaking, the larger the project, the higher the cost of the permit.

When you hire an LEC to do your electrical work, they will easily be able to determine exactly what permit you require.  If you are doing work on your own home, you should speak directly with the ESA to determine exactly what permit you require, and if you are eligible to complete the work yourself.  There are some instances where you must hire an LEC and cannot perform the work yourself.  There are also some instances where it is simply a strong recommendation to hire a professional.  You can get more information by visiting the Electrical Safety Authority's website at:


You can also contact ESA by phone at: 1-877-ESA-SAFE

If you have hired an LEC and have questions about the ESA permit or inspection(s), do not hesitate to ask.  We're here to help!

If an electrical renovation is in your future and you have questions or would like to schedule a free, onsite estimate, contact Verve Electric Inc. at 519-362-5598 or info@verveelectric.com