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Commercial Electrician vs Domestic Sparky – What’s the Difference?

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commercial electrician vs domestic sparky – what’s the difference?

There are a number of jobs which are completely different at a commercial level compared to a domestic setting. Electrical installations and maintenance certainly fall into that category, with commercial electricians requiring a number of different qualities to your typical sparky.

But to a business owner or site manager, whose expertise lies elsewhere, it can understandably be hard to distinguish between the two. Read on as we discuss four differences between domestic and commercial electricians before looking at a few similar qualities that both should possess.

1. Scale

The most noticeable difference between a domestic and commercial electrician is the scale of projects they’re capable of taking on.

Domestic electricians will typically work on their own or be assisted by an unqualified Electrician’s Mate. This approach is ideal for flats and houses, ensuring that there aren’t too many cooks spoiling the broth, so to speak.

While commercial electricians may operate alone on certain jobs, they’ll have a larger team of qualified electricians to call upon. That makes them better equipped to work on larger projects, with commercial sites typically much bigger than your average home.

If you need LED lighting installing on a 10,000 square foot warehouse, for instance, a domestic sparky simply won’t be up to the task. Or if they gave it a go, you’d have a pretty long wait before it was finished.

With a commercial electrician, the job can be completed in a reasonable timescale. The main benefit of this is that it minimises downtime for your site. There’s no need to make alternative arrangements or shutdown operations for long periods, meaning less chance of reduced productivity or lost hours.

2. Regulations

Another thing that sets commercial electricians apart is their knowledge of the relevant regulations.

While most electricians will be up to date with the latest building regulations, commercial electricians also have specialist knowledge of electrical compliance rules like including PAT testing and Electrical Installation Condition Reports.

Crucially, they’ll be aware of the related legislation like the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) and Electricity at Work regulations (1989) too. That’s all complemented by knowledge of energy efficiency schemes like ESOS and SECR, which can keep your business compliant and even save you money.

All of this knowledge is vital to keep your business compliant. Even the smallest oversight when it comes to safety at work can result in serious harm, site damage and financial loss. Remember, your commercial electrician is the one recommending how often certain checks need to be done, so they need to know their stuff.

3. Knowledge of equipment

While it might seem easy to group all electrics together, there’s a lot of variation between the systems you’ll find in the home and the workplace. Unfortunately, your everyday sparky won’t have experience with the latter.

Emergency lighting systems are a case in point. They’re mandatory for commercial sites, so staff can safely exit a building in an emergency. But only a commercial electrician will know how to install, inspect, test and repair the system properly.

The same applies to the equipment electricians will use. Take electrical infrared devices, for example. They’re used by commercial electricians to check for an abnormal build-up of heat, which indicates stress within a commercial installation. Doing so saves time and minimises disruption, as well as reducing repair costs by identifying small issues before they worsen. This method isn’t typically used by domestic electricians, meaning you could miss out on those benefits with the wrong contractor.

4. Experience

Above all else, it comes down to the nature of an electrician’s experience. Commercial electricians will be used to working with three-phase wiring, running wiring through conduits rather than walls, and using extra insulation for greater protection.

While these may seem like small details, they are must-have skills that will come naturally to an experienced commercial electrician. A domestic sparky might know the fundamentals, meaning they could probably come up with a solution for your site. But they’ll lack the hands-on experience to get things done quickly, efficiently and in the best possible way at the first time of asking.

What about the similarities?

We’ve highlighted plenty of differences between domestic and commercial electricians above. But let’s not forget some electrical staples that both should possess.

1. Training

Whether someone becomes a commercial or domestic electrician, they’ll need the same fundamental training in electrical installations and maintenance. This can be attained through a Level 3 Diploma in Electrical Installation, for example.

Specialist knowledge and experience will then be developed after that point through in-work training, which is where an electrician will carve out their niche and master domestic or commercial work.

2. Customer service

Customer service skills are something you might associate with a domestic sparky more than a commercial electrician. Maybe the personal approach is easier when you’re working on smaller projects.

However, commercial electricians can and should still offer a friendly service which is tailored to your requirements. Don’t accept anything less than an attentive, pleasant experience when working with any electrician.

3. Accreditations

Accreditations are a must-have for both domestic and commercial electricians. While specific schemes may vary, NICEIC is the gold standard for both avenues of electrical work. The trusted certification body vets electricians who work on domestic properties as well as those specialising in commercial work.

Alongside experience, training and customer reviews, NICEIC accreditation is a simple box to tick when checking the reliability and reputation of a chosen electrician.

Commercial electricians in Leeds

Looking for an electrical contractor for your commercial site? Whether it’s a new installation, compliance checks or ongoing maintenance, you’re always better off with a specialist commercial electrician.

That’s where Volta Compliance comes in. With over 20 years’ experience in commercial settings, we provide electrical services you can trust throughout Leeds and the surrounding areas. To find out more or arrange a quote, simply contact us on [email protected].

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Richard Carr Volta Compliance
Richard Carr
Managing Director
Richard is the Director of Volta Compliance. He is a fully qualified approved electrician graded with the JIB. Richard has over 20 years electrical experience working on commercial and industrial installations.