Electrician Guide

A Complete Electrician Guide NSW

Electrician Guide New South Wales

What is an Electrician?

An electrician is a tradesman who designs, installs, maintains and troubleshoots electrical wiring systems, lighting systems, communication systems and control systems. These electrical systems can be located in homes, industries, residential and commercial buildings.

The electrician skill-set is required in almost every building project. Electricians work inside or outside buildings to make possible the use of everyday electrical appliances. The bulb over your head, the alarm system in your house, the washing machine you use to clean your clothes, every electronic component around you is working –thanks to the electrician. In today’s socielt an electrician must be licensed and qualified. Each state in Australia has it’s own process for applying to become an electrician. In the article we will concentrate on New South Wales.

History of The Electricity (And the Electrician)

Electrical history goes way back even before Christ and has gone a long journey to become the giant industry we know of today.

At a glance, we will look into the key people who were involved in discovering, improving and making changes to electricity to make it better every time. These people were revolutionary and were paved the way for every electrician working today.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

Benjamin was born in a family of seventeen children and he quit school at the age of 10 to become a printer. He was the first person to use positive and negative charges in his kite experiment where he demonstrated that lightning is electricity.

James Watt (1736-1819)

Watt was very instrumental in the development of power calculations. Watt was working in an old mine where he believed that steam engine would replace animal power. Up to today, the units of calculating electrical power are Watts.

William Thomson (1824-1907) 

William Thomson is best known for inventing a new temperature scale that incorporated the absolute zero measurement. Thomson came up with the idea that the energy emitted by radioactivity came from within the atom and was fiercely opposed. He however maintained his ground to the idea which would become one of the greatest scientific discoveries.

Thomas Seebeck (1770-1831)

The Seebeck Effect was named after this German physicist who twisted two wires made up of different wires. These way, he observed that a small current was produced which was as a result of heat flow from the hot to the cold region bringing about the idea of Thermoelectricity.

Michael Faraday (1791-1867)

Michael Faraday was an Englishman who made some of the most significant scientific discoveries in the history of electricity-Electromagnetic Induction. From his experiments, several other inventions stemmed up. His work dealt with how electric currents work. The unit of capacitance-Farad is named after him.

James Maxwell (1791-1867) 

The Scottish mathematician was one of the best mathematicians in history. In his honor, the electromagnetic unit of magnetic flux was named as Maxwell. He was the one who translated Michael Faraday Theories into mathematical expressions.

Nikola Tesla

The impact of Tesla in the electricity field was huge. He invented the motors which gave us mass production systems. He was instrumental in creating the radios and robots. He also created the radar systems, the neon lighting, and high frequency currents among other electrical wonders. He was regarded as an inventive genius.

Heinrich Hertz (1857-1894)

Hertz convinced people that there existed electromagnetic waves in space. He laid a foundation for future development of the Television, telegraph and telephone.

Albert Einstein

In 1921, Albert Einstein discovered the Photoelectric effect, a concept which is applied in solar cells to generate electricity.

As you can see the electrician has allot to thank the men above for. Without them the electrician industry wouldn’t be what it is today. We would all be living a very different life without electricity.

Electrician Licensing in New South Wales

An electricians license is mandatory before any form of electrical work can be undertaken in New South Wales. This rule applies across the board whether the electrician work is residential, commercial or industrial. You therefore need to be have a electrician license before you can work as an Electrician in New South Wales.

It is required to have a contractors license if the electrician is to perform any electrical wiring or re-wiring work. As outlined by the NSW Fair Trading, all electrical wiring work as defined in the Home Building Act 1989, has the same meaning as Electricity according to the Consumer Safety Act 2004.

Before an electrician can work they also require an electrical license. Unless you are already a certified electrician, you will need to complete various certificates and courses to get your qualifications.

You will need to provide the following.

  • Successfully completed the Certificate III in Electrotechnology (UEE30806 or UEE30807 or UEE30811).
  • Successfully completed Electrician or an Electrical Mechanic Certificate. This is available from the Vocational Training Tribunal or the Department of Education and Communities.
  • 12 months relevant electrical wiring experience as an apprentice as an employee of an Electrical contractor or certified electrician. This experience is to be in the residential or commercial industry using knowledge of the AS/NZS 3000:2007  as outlined by the NSW Fair Trading.

Residential Electrician

Electricians who fall under this category are responsible for coming up with electrical plans and designs for a family dwelling places. They determine the appropriate placement of lighting fixtures, air conditioning and ventilation systems. Residential electricians also;

  • Ensure that all wiring safety procedures are adhered to.
  • Maintain and repair residential electrical systems.
  • Ensure that power is safely distributed from the source through the circuit breaker to the home.

Commercial Electrician

Commercial electricians plan, design and diagram electrical systems. They work together with the general contractor who gives them blueprints from which the commercial electrician designs a viable electrical system of the building. Additionally, commercial electricians;

  • Designs and install conduits and the electrical wiring.
  • Design, install and repair wiring instruments that control power, lighting and heating units in buildings.
  • They ensure continuity of electricity using electrical test meters.

Emergency Electrician

Electricians who fall under this category are on standby 24 hours each day ready to be called upon in case of an electrical hitch which requires immediate action. Emergency electricians;

  • They repair sparking electrical systems.
  • They are called to insulate naked wires which pose a fire risk.
  • During power outages, emergency electricians are called upon to bring the power back on as soon as possible.
  • Emergency electricians are called upon if a place installed with electrical systems gets flooded with water.

Data Cabling

Data cabling is whereby several computers and data terminals are networked together so that their data can be easily shared between them. This way, data from several computers can be collected and analyzed centrally ensuring a smooth flow of systems. Data cabling has become very common job for an electrician as nearly all schools, institutions and businesses require systems to be implemented.

In data cabling, the electrician;

  • Advises you on the most appropriate locations where to install your various electrical components needed for data cabling.
  • Designs and installs monitored security systems, fire alarm systems and additional lines that carry new phone numbers.

Home Automation

This is a new concept which has revolutionized the way most of us do things around our homes. In home automation, all your devices and appliances are networked by an electrician to give you control over them using a mobile device from wherever you are.

From the press of a button away from home, you can operate the sprinkling systems, control security systems, carry out heat and air conditioning as well as switch food preparation appliances. Additionally, home automation can be exploited in automatic vacuum cleaning, answering machines as well as use of fax machines. The roles of the electrician in home automation are similar to the ones in data cabling.


Lighting is defined as the use of light to achieve aesthetic effects. This is usually seen at parties, concert halls and clubs. Also known as illumination, lighting exploits the ability of light to be split into its constituent colors.

In the modern era, lighting is normally done using Light Emitting Diodes, popularly known as LEDS. They are made up of a semiconductor which emits light when activated. If you are thinking of adding LED lights, ask your electrician about the products best suited for your application.


Electric switchboard is a device that directs electricity from a main supply to several small regions of usage. It is made up of several panels which contain switches which allow electricity to be redirected to areas of interest.

Electricians are responsible for installing, replacing and repairing the switchboard. Your electrician can also upgrade a switchboards to suit the modern day requirements. If a switchboard is overloaded, it might pose a fire risk. Only a certified electrician can install and repair switchboards.

Power Points

Power points are devices which allow connection of electrically operated equipment with the main power supply. Power points are high risk and need to be installed away from heat sources, water as well as shower roses. They should also be installed out of reach from small kids. Never attempt to fix or replace a power point yourself. It must be done by a trained electrician.

Electricians install repairs and maintain electrical power points. Unless you are an electrician, do not install or repair a power point as it is dangerous and risky.

Solar Power

Solar power has become a common term in the modern energy world. Solar power is the harnessing sunlight energy and converting it into electricity using photovoltaic cells. Apart from being a renewable source of energy, solar power has several other advantages. It is a clean source of energy which made it popular in the search for environmental friendly power sources.

An electrician is responsible for planning and designing a solar project from the scratch. He or she reviews the structure in which the project will be conducted and oversees the installation process.

Home Renovations

The renovation process involves upgrading the electrical systems in your home. If the house is over 20 years old it may require re-wiring to comply with the standards within New South Wales. You can ask an electrician about the state regulation requirements.

When undertaking a home renovation, it is mandatory to have an electrician on site that will carry out electrical integration, as well as offer you with energy and safety advice. Thy will be responsible for safely removing the old electrical systems and installing the new ones. A professional electrician can also advise on the installation of alarm systems, air conditioning systems, CCTV and many others.

Electrical Installations, Repairs, Maintenance

Never attempt to do any electrician work yourself. Only a trained and certified electrician can perform installations an repairs. Electrical maintenance and repair involves repairing of faulty electrical systems. Every now and then, you might require new electrical systems to be integrated to the already existing electrical system in your home. Additionally, repairs and maintenance practices are a must do. All these practices should be carried out by qualified electricians.

Dangers of the DIY Electrician

If you are a person of skills, you might be tempted to carry out your own electrical work. However, it is very dangerous and every instance any electrical work needs to be done, you should seek a professional electrician. DIY electrician jobs are illegal and dangerous. Do not out yourself or your family at risk.

Doing electrical work on your own is associated with several dangers as you will tend to overlook small but crucial details of electrical work. Below are the common mistakes we see from DIY electrician activities.

  • Wires and cables are often the incorrect size which may lead to overheating, shorting of the circuit breaker among others.
  • Incorrect fitting of outlets and switches and the might not work. Worse still, they might overheat and blow up, causing a fire.
  • Wrong fuse connections.
  • Wrong wattage of bulbs.
  • Overloading of outlets.

The above are just some of the mistakes that you can make when carrying out a DIY electrician work. It is therefore imperative to call your electrician every time an electrical repair or maintenance needs to be carried out.

Electrocutions In Australia

The term electrocution refers to an electric current running through the body. Electrocutions in Australia are common although the Regulations and Safety campaigns have been implemented to minimize electrocution deaths. Between the first July 2000 and 31st October 2011, there were 321 reported electrocutions in Australia. Many of which results if work being done without the supervision of a certified and qualified electrician.

Whether caused by accident or by a mistake, an average of 20 people dies each year in Australia due to electrocution. Among this, the highest percentage is males who make up 96% of all electrocution related deaths in Australia.

Western Australia has had a spike of electrocution cases making Master Electricians Australia call for a renewed interest in electrical safety training.

Electrician Associations

In Australia, electrician associations are dynamic and are well established. Their efforts are well recognized by the community as well as the government. The associations aim is to provide the electricity industry with a vast representation across Australia.

The industry can hence deliver first rate services and give expert advice. The mission of the electrician associations is champion for excellent services, safety and building trust in the electricity industry. A well-known association in Australia is the Masters Electrician who has been representing contractors for several years.

How To Become An Electrician

The electrical industry is a dynamic industry that is developing fast leading to a high demand of electricians. In order to become an Electrician in Australia, you need to complete an apprenticeship and gain a Certificate III in Electro-technology Electrician.

Electrician Apprenticeships

This title covers both electrician apprenticeships and electrician traineeships which combine paid work and training. Electrician apprenticeships generally take thirty six to forty eight months to complete. After completing the apprenticeships for four years, you are eligible for a grade A Electrician license. However, if you complete earlier, you qualify for a grade B license.

If you are a new immigrant into Australia and you possess an OTSR, you have the required technical skills and you can apply for the restricted workers registration where you will work under direct supervision of a qualified electrician or electrical contractor. If you do not have the OTSR, it becomes necessary to obtain the ARTC which is the recognized Australian Certificate.

Electricians can operate as self-employed workers or work under a contractor. If you opt for the latter, you will require obtaining an electrical contractors license. It is important for electricians to become trade recognized so that they can enjoy the several benefits that come with trade recognition. Such advantages include;

  • You become a qualified electrician and can train apprentices
  • You get recognised for undertaking further study in the electrical industry
  • You obtain a electricians license for working without supervision

Final Thoughts

The discovery of electricity was one of the biggest things that happened to mankind. Electricity has made our lives so much easier and comfortable. Imagine how boring life would be without electricity? Electricity has changed the dynamics of the world where man only operated during the day turning the world into a 24 hour economy.

Electricity has enabled people to produce goods in large scale, manufacture useful goods as well as run large factories. With the discovery of electric trains, electricity revolutionized the transport industry allowing people to move from one place to the other in a matter of minutes.

Electricity has also had a huge impact in the medical field. Almost every medical machine is run by electricity and this has helped save many lives as well as increase life expectancy. The extent to which electricity has impacted the lives of human beings is beyond measure.

This electrician guide was published by Nathan Griffiths from Pro Electrician Sydney. To find our more about how a electrician can help you, contact Nathan here.

If you need an electrician for any installations, repairs and just a consultation feel free to get in touch.