While carrying out a quote for a customer recently, they indicated that they wanted to do some of the work themselves so that they could reduce their installation cost. For instance, they suggested that they could run cables and cut holes for light fittings.
My short answer was no!
While the answer wasn’t what they had expected or hoped for, after I explained the reasoning, they had a better understanding of why.
So why can’t customers help?
Under the Compliance section of our website we list that electricians must:
- Be licensed – http://fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/ftw/Tradespeople/Electricians.page?
- Comply with the current edition of the Australian Wiring Rules – AS/NZs 3000:2007 (soon to be updated to AS/NZS 3000:2016), and other associated Australian Standards.
The wiring rules are extremely specific, and cover all aspects of electrical work. This includes how the cables are run – where they are positioned, proximity to other services, mechanical protection and so on.
The moment we allow a non-qualified person, without any training, undertake electrical work that we are essentially responsible for, we put our license on the line.
The fines for breaking the law (non-compliant electrical work, illegal work, or breaking Fair Trading Law – amongst others) can be as high as $550,000.
While it might seem relatively innocuous for a customer to run some cables for instance, we cannot guarantee that all of their work is compliant with the regulations – we didn’t see them do it, we don’t know how the cables are run, or if they have been inadvertently damaged during installation. Once we submit our Compliance Certificate (CCEW – see the compliance section again) we are certifying that our installation is compliant with Australian Standards and is safe.
If the cables have not been run in a manner that is compliant, we can be held legally responsible and we would be putting our license on the line.
To complicate matters further, if the customer has made a mistake that wasn’t noticed by our team, then there is an increased possibility that someone could die, in which case, as we have certified that it was safe, we could be held responsible for that death and be prosecuted.
Therefore the long answer is still no… but for good reason.
While we appreciate that money is tight, we can’t allow customers to undertake any work for us without our direct supervision, in which case it would take twice as long and cost twice as much.
Sorry about that, but now you understand why.
Bye for now,
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