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Guideline for Installing Exterior Fixtures

 related pages: 
Safety Overview
Safety Resources
These guidelines are for installing an exterior light on the facade of a Bolton Hill house. They are intended to let you know what to expect and hopefully smooth the process. Unless you are simply replacing an existing fixture, it is highly recommended that you use a licensed electrician for this work.

1. Pick out several light fixtures that you like. The Bolton Hill Architectural Review Committee (ARC) and CHAP will need to approve the fixture, so try to select a fixture that is generally historically appropriate. Regardless of whether you select a fixture online or in a store, be sure to get a cut sheet or specification sheet to present to the ARC before you buy the fixture.

2. Prior to making changes to the exterior of your house, you need to fill out a CHAP Notice to Proceed application. You can download the form at where it says CLICK HERE. With the form, you will need to include a photo your house and pictures of the light fixtures that you are considering. The form must first be submitted to the ARC. Contact ARC by email at Once the ARC recommends approval, it should be safe to purchase the fixture. CHAP almost invariably follows the ARC recommendation on exterior fixtures.

3. After the ARC recommends approval of your light, they will send your application on to CHAP, which will review it and let you know about how to pick up the Notice to Proceed.

4. In the meantime, you can contact your electrician for an estimate. Having the cut sheet will be helpful for estimating purposes. Depending on your specific situation, installation could take up to half a day.

5. Once CHAP approves your application and issues your Notice to Proceed, you may need to obtain a permit. It is possible for a homeowner to obtain this permit, but considerably less complicated if you have your electrician take care of it. The permit office is on the first floor of the Charles L. Benton, Jr. Building at 417 E. Fayette St. Your electrician must be currently licensed in the state of Maryland or else he will not be allowed to pull a permit. Make sure to remind him of this before he tries to get the permit.

6. Once you have the light fixture and your electrician has the permits, you can install the light.

7. Baltimore City may send an inspector to check the finished work.

Other Things to Keep in Mind
• Ideally, the light should operate dusk to dawn on a timer or photo-electric switch. There are dusk-to-dawn sensors which can be screwed into the light fixture between the light bulb and the socket, but these may end up extending the length of the bulb beyond the fixture itself. It would be a good idea to try the sensor and a light bulb in the fixture to see how it would actually look. The other option is to install a programmable timer in your house; this is the more dependable and less unsightly option, but you may have to reset it periodically. Your electrician can purchase and install the timer for you.

• If you decide to use CFLs (the curly ones), the ARC will recommend that you buy the kind that has a regular shaped bulb around the curly part.

• Both Schoolhouse Lighting and Rejuvenation carry high-quality fixtures that are sensitive to historic character and that the Bolton Hill ARC has approved.

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