Dodgy electrical work and the blame game

  • 26/03/2018
Homeowners need to be really careful when getting electrical work done on their property.
Homeowners need to be really careful when getting electrical work done on their property. Photo credit: Getty

Master Electricians has a warning for homeowners.

If you don't get electrical work certified by a registered sparkie, "you may as well have tied two wires together yourself, in the eyes of an insurance company".

And that’s not all. If you sell your house and it has electrical work that hasn't been certified, you could find yourself legally liable.

"If there's a fire or someone gets electrocuted then the liability comes back on the homeowner,"  says the organisation’s chief executive Bernie McLaughlin.

"That's what you pay a [registered] electrician for; you pay them for certification, so that it's safe. The same risks apply to those people who watch a youtube video then do their own work, which a surprising number of people do!"

Certification needs to be issued by a registered electrician

A Certificate of Compliance (CoC) is required for any major work and if they have anything connected to a power source done, they need an Electrical Safety Certificate (ESC) 

"It includes heated towel rails that are wired in. Also, items like wall heaters, security lights or other appliances available at hardware stores that are required to be hard-wired in. Things you'd be tempted to wire up yourself," says Mr McLaughlin.

"Installing or removing them requires a ESC and isn't something you should be doing yourself," he said.

"The risk is that if there's a fire, your house insurance could be rendered null and void."

People get caught out when selling

"If an inspection is done, which 9/10 times is done at point of sale, an inspector WILL pick that up, and you could be required to have the work redone."

What to know and check

There are a few key steps homeowners should follow to ensure electrical work in their home is done safely and the liability is in the right place, with the electrician.

  • All registered electricians are self-certifying. Sparkies need to be a registered electrician with a current Practising Licence from the Electrical Workers' Registration Board website.  
  • Check that the individual electrician, not the company owner, has a current Practising Licence before commencing work. You can check that it's current on the EWRB website.
  • A licence expires every two years. "If a licence has lapsed at the time, any CoC or ESC issued by that electrician will be invalid," says Mr McLaughlin.
  • Ask for a copy of your CoC (Certificate of Compliance) and/or ESC (Electrical Safety Certificate) after work has been completed.
 Sparkies need to be a registered electrician with a current Practising Licence from the EWRB.
Sparkies need to be a registered electrician with a current Practising Licence from the EWRB. Photo credit: Getty

Changes to the 'Wiring Rules'

With new wiring rules set for release soon and the unanswered question as for when electricians will be required to comply with the 200+ change, Master Electricians says it's a really important time to be making sure you get the right certifications from electricians.

Doing this can safeguard you and your home down the track.

"What concerns us, is the lack of information around changes to a standard about wiring. It's not a small topic and we are predicting a backlash. How are electricians meant to comply with standards they don't know about?" says Mr McLaughlin.

"The new changes were scheduled to be released in March, by official bodies. We have yet to see anything come out and have had no official statement otherwise."

Worksafe said in March, "it's likely to be a couple of months before The Wiring Rules are published."

Roadshows about the changes are taking place across the country for electricians wanting to get up to date.

This article was created for Master Electricians