British Columbia Safety Authority

British Columbia Safety Authority

October 03, 2007 12:30 ET

British Columbia Safety Authority: Hire a Licensed Contractor for Gas and Electrical Renovations

BC Safety Authority urges homeowners to put safety first

NEW WESTMINSTER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Oct. 3, 2007) - Before you consider rewiring your home, installing a propane heater or doing any renovations that involve gas or electricity, think twice about doing it yourself. You wouldn't risk your children's safety by making them a car seat or helmet, so why risk their safety when you're renovating or remodeling?

That's the question the British Columbia Safety Authority is posing to homeowners in an awareness campaign launched province-wide today after a successful pilot project in the Okanagan Valley this past spring. The Heads Up for Safety campaign aims to educate homeowners about the importance of hiring licensed contractors and obtaining the necessary permits for electrical and gas renovations.

The shortage of skilled labour in BC coupled with the growing popularity of do-it-yourself projects means more homeowners are doing their own renovations, or hiring unqualified people to do the work for them. What most homeowners don't realize is that gas and electrical installations pose some of the greatest safety risks.

"Electrical and gas installations are complex and can be dangerous if you do it yourself," said Pearse Walsh, the BC Safety Authority's business development leader. "Hiring a licensed contractor helps ensure the work is done correctly, and under the necessary permits as required by law for regulated work."

Walsh quoted a Royal Bank survey that found of the 65 per cent of homeowners planning renovations in the next year, 48 per cent intend to do the work themselves (1).

"These are generally well-intentioned homeowners, but few have qualifications or experience to do the work," added Richard Campbell, Executive Director of the Electrical Contractors Association of BC. "The best way to safeguard your home and family is by hiring a licensed contractor who will obtain a permit and ensure the work is done to the highest standards for quality and safety."

When hiring someone to do the work for you, Walsh and Campbell both stressed the importance of making sure that person is a licensed contractor.

"We've all heard stories of people who have had problems with contractors," Walsh continued. "By hiring a contractor who is licensed by the BC Safety Authority, you can be assured the contractor has met specific qualifications, which includes employing qualified trades-people and providing a $10,000 surety bond."

The Safety Authority now lists all licensed electrical and gas contractors on its website. Homeowners should check whether the contractor they are considering is licensed by visiting or phoning 1-866-566-SAFE (7233).

Before work begins, homeowners should also ask to see the permit, or they can confirm one has been taken out by contacting the BC Safety Authority.

If homeowners are committed to performing their own electrical and gas work, they should first check with the BC Safety Authority if a permit is required. A BC Safety Authority Safety Officer will be available for advice and will inspect the work once completed to ensure it is done properly and meets all code requirements.

The British Columbia Safety Authority is an independent, self-funded corporation that provides cost effective and essential safety services to business, industry and the general public throughout the province.

To view the Fact Sheet accompanying this release please click on the following link:

(1) RBC Royal Bank Survey, conducted by Ipsos Reid, October 2006

Contact Information

  • BC Safety Authority - Media Inquiries or Photos
    Pearse Walsh
    Leader, Business Development
    (250) 861-7320
    BC Safety Authority - Media Inquiries or Photos
    Roger Young
    Leader, Public Affairs and Marketing
    (604) 660-6235
    Contemporary Communications Ltd. - Media Inquiries or Photos
    Andrea Manchon
    (604) 734-3663