I’ve discovered that when it comes to building codes and permits, it doesn’t matter whether a project belongs primarily to Matt or to me. Either way, knowing the codes and obtaining permits are going to be my responsibility. Matt has many excellent qualities, but carefully reading the instructions ahead of time isn’t one of them. I don’t mind (now that I’m aware of this). Deciphering codes and getting permits can be interesting work, though often more complicated than seems reasonable. At least this step of the process carries very little risk of injuring oneself. Besides, its one of the ways we complement each other’s skills and interests.
The electric codes have been my highest priority. The requirements aren’t arbitrary; they are there to minimize the risk of electrocution and fires. Failure to comply could be life threatening and might result in other bad things like invalidating homeowner’s insurance. So before I did anything at all, I spent a lot of time studying up on wire gauges and types, proper wiring methods, circuit capacity, applications needing their own circuits, safety while working, permits, and more. A simple-sounding consideration is that wires have to be protected from damage from nails and screws, being pulled, rubbing against rough or sharp things, etc. We have run our new wiring through the crawl space under the joists, and approved methods of protecting such wire seems to be a matter of some contention. After reading the National Electrical Code section on unfinished basements, I was convinced that adhering to code would mean we’d have to install running boards everywhere the wire goes in the crawl space. Not the end of the world, but extra work and expense. Then I read the Seattle City Electrical Code and found that attaching the wires directly to the bottoms of the joists is allowed in crawl spaces (but not basements), which is what we wanted to do all along.
If you would have told me two years ago that I would be happy to find out that local code permits me to staple electrical wire to the bottoms of my floor joists in my crawl space, I would have said “I’m not going to deal with any electrical wires, and what’s a crawl space?” How things change.