Is it required to pull a permit in MA to replace knob and tube wiring? If no, how can one determine if the work done adheres the the proper codes? Who should be sought after to confirm this if no permit was used to do the work? I'm assuming the town inspector would not inspect if there was no permit. That said, would the town inspector come and inspect work if asked, regardless of no permit? Town is Plymouth MA.

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    Hello, and welcome to Stack Exchange. I'm guessing anyone can remove K&T; it's the installation of the new which might require permitting. – Daniel Griscom Jul 14 '16 at 0:21
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    Why exactly are you asking this? Is your contractor not willing to get permits/inspections? If you request it, or it's mandatory make him, or find a real contractor who will. – Speedy Petey Jul 14 '16 at 2:16
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    I agree you probably still have fuse boxes and replacing these requires inspection in the 5 states I have worked in. However if your panel has been updated and now you are doing maintenance / updating the wires to NM with the wire sized to the breaker is correct and it is maintence work it is legal in 4 of the 5 states I worked in without a permit. It depends on if your state / county requires maintenance permits. – Ed Beal Jul 14 '16 at 3:23
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    Oops I tried to say if you have a new breaker panel the maintence work of replacing the K&T wiring if sized to the breaker would be legal , But you should check local code because from what I have found out on this site some States require an electrician to change a switch or outlet... Hope you don't live in one of those! – Ed Beal Jul 14 '16 at 3:47
  • There are some good answers to this question here: diy.stackexchange.com/questions/1592/… – kgutwin Jul 14 '16 at 16:37

For all of the questions you asked: Consult your town's building department (or equivalent if it goes by a different name where you are from).

They should be able to pull the permit history for your home if requested and tell you what type of electrical work requires a permit.

If you find the that work was done without a permit:

If you are solely concerned about safety and do not want to have to worry about an inspector forcing you to tear open your walls if previous work was unpermitted, you can always pay an independent inspector to come look things over as well. Many people have this type of inspection done prior to purchase of the home and these inspections should be able to tell you if the visible elements (e.g. wires at device boxes, electrical panel) look to be done to code which can serve as an indicator of the quality of the work hidden behind the walls. However, "after the work is completed" inspections on electrical can still miss a lot of potential safety hazards even when the visible elements look okay (e.g. splices done directly in the wall -- I personally discovered some of these on my home after having an independent inspection prior to purchase).

A city inspector may require the walls to be ripped open to inspect the previous work because of the limitations of an "after the work is completed" inspection. Some city inspectors may not require this if the visible electrical work appears to be up to code. However, the city inspector can potentially require you to rip open the walls regardless if the work was done without a permit.


No you don't need a permit to pull it out. Yes you do need a permit to put anything back, almost no matter where you are.

  • This doesn't add much and doesn't specifically answer the question of MA permit requirements. – manassehkatz-Moving 2 Codidact Nov 14 '18 at 5:41
  • On top of not being true, if no changes are made to the branch circuit ampacity / number of devices I have lived in states no permit is required. – Ed Beal Nov 14 '18 at 13:09

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