Quoted from Bryan_Kelly:
That is absolutely not true. I dealt with inspectors my entire 40 years as an electrical contractor, as well as seeing them interact with all the other trades.
Are there some bad ones? Sure there are, just like there are in every profession. But for the most part, they're just like you and me just doing their job.
I don't know what it's like in other states, but in MN, I would advise taking out all permits necessary, especially on newer homes. The older the home, the less of a paper trail. Let's say you wired your own basement and did not take out a permit. When you go to sell your house, the third party inspection service (if they're any good) will call the city and also the state to see what permits are on file. Let's say the state says the only electrical permit was when the house was built and it did not include the basement. Yes, the inspector will always make that note. He will also always note how many circuits were in the panel on final inspection. The city building permit will also show the basement was not finished at the time the house was built.
Guess what happens now? You've just opened the ugliest can of worms at the worst possible time. And yes, as a contractor, I was involved in a few of those type jobs. It wasn't pretty and it cost the homeowner WAY more than than if he had done things the right way. It also delayed the selling of his house by months.
Didn't mean to derail the thread, just fair warning.
Good write-up. Here in CA (at least in my city) EVERY electrical job requires a permit. The homeowner is allowed to do their own electrical work here (but not in all places), but if you are doing it yourself, you are still supposed to get the permit and have your work inspected.
Even use caution when using licensed electricians who are pulling the permits for you. I had a shithead contractor who started the permit for some spa wiring. But unbeknownst to me, he never got the final inspection on the electrical, which was done in a trench. Like an idiot, I assumed he did everything right. Some years later I sold the house. During that process it was turned up that the electrical permit was not completed. A final inspection was required to confirm that the wiring was trenched to the proper depth. I had to pay to have things dug up so they could come out and measure that.
I have had a few experiences with our city inspectors (who in general seem to have a bad rep) that went off without a hitch. I attributed this to using solid contractors. I recently had a fairly big electrical job done (entire panel replacement) and I found a really good electrician. I could tell by the way he acted and worked that he was professional. When the inspector came and saw who did the work, he immediately said "OK, good, I've seen his work, this contractor knows what he is doing". He gave everything a quick once-over and signed it off no problem. Same thing when I did a major replumb, I hired a solid reputable company and the same thing happened, the inspector came, saw it was them, and said yeah, these guys are pros, they know what they are doing. Another quick inspection and it was done.
On the other hand, I would guess that during the course of their work day in and day out, they see all sorts of stuff that is no good. And if there is one off thing they spot then most likely that will trigger a close inspection of every little thing.