How to choose an electrician

Choosing an electrician should be easy, right? 

You simply type “electrician near me” and BOOM - thousands of options tailored just for you pop up. 

But how can you tell if the electrician you choose will be up to the task? And most importantly how do you know if the work they do will be safe? 

Here are the main things to look out for/ask any electrician before they commence work at your property:

Do they have the correct business registration/licences?  

It is important to ensure that any tradesperson undertaking work at your commercial or domestic property is appropriately registered. 

This is one of the main indicators that they have the right experience to carry out all required work safely and to the standard expected. 

Electrical professionals are licensed by Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) as a Registered Electrical Contractor (REC) while plumbers and gasfitters are licensed by the Victorian Building Authority (VBA). 

This REC licence is not just a suggestion, it is a legal requirement according to Australian Standard AS/NZS 3000:2007.

You are entitled to and always should ask to see an electricians REC licence prior to work commencing. 

This licence is your guarantee that the tradesperson is qualified and competent to undertake your electrical work and also it provides you with options for assistance if something goes wrong.

This is a copy of 181 Electricals licence. This can serve as a blueprint for what all electrical REC licences in Victoria should look like:

You can also cut out the middleman and search the Public Register of RECs prior to contacting any tradie to ensure they are already licenced. 

What insurance should my electrician have? 

As well as being registered and licensed, your chosen electrician should also have the relevant insurances to assure you are protected. 

In order to hold a valid REC licence in Victoria, electrical contractors must have current public liability insurance against personal injury and/or damage to property. The minimum cover on this public liability insurance is $5 million. 

At 181 Electrical we have $20 million cover for public liability along with other key policies to protect our clients. 

What training should my electrician have?

All licensed electricians in Victoria should have undertaken all of the necessary training - look for a Certificate III in Electrotechnology, which should include around a 4 year apprenticeship. 

When they have completed their apprenticeship, Victorian electricians will pass a final test after which they will be a fully qualified A-Grade electrician. 

A-Grade qualified electricians will have a silver card to prove they have passed all relevant tests. 

What you should get from your electrician

Whenever a licensed electrician completes any electrical installation work in Victoria, they must provide a Certificate of Electrical Safety (COES). 

COES are only available from qualified electrical workers who are registered or licensed by Energy Safe Victoria (ESV). 

As such, a Certificate of Electrical Safety provides assurance that the work has been done by an appropriately qualified person and carried out in accordance with the high standards demanded by the ESV. 

The work completed is also subject to audit to ensure it complies with the standards set by ESV.

This is what an average Certificate of Electrical Safety will look like: 

Certificates of Electrical Safety (also referred to as Certificates of Compliance) are now required to be completed bi annually for all rental properties in accordance with Victorian law. 

Read more about Certificate of Electrical Safety for Landlords here.

Final quotes provided before work commences that are easy to understand 

It is important to understand exactly what work is being done and how much it is going to cost before any electrical contractors begin their work. 

Ensure your electrician provides a final quote outlining everything that will be included in the job and you understand the cost breakdown - whether they charge by the hour or use flat rate pricing. 

Allowing tradespeople to begin working before you have been presented with a final quote to sign off on (constituting a contract between yourself and the technician) can leave you vulnerable to unforeseen additional costs. 

Never do your own electrical work

Electrical DIY is illegal in Victoria. It can also be deadly. 

In Australia, the average voltage flowing through a wire is approximately 220 - 240 volts. Incorrect exposure to this voltage is no joke. It can cause serious injury, damage to property and in some cases death. 

Therefore, electrical DIY in any capacity (beyond changing the batteries in your smoke alarms, light bulbs and testing your safety switches) is not permitted. 

You must engage a registered electrical contractor (REC) for all electrical work. 

Check the Public Register of RECs prior to contacting any tradie to ensure they are already licenced. 

Or make it even easier on yourself and contact us today to book your electrical work!

Who to contact if there are problems with your electrician

The first thing to remember is that if the electrician you are considering hiring doesn’t meet any of the above criteria, think twice before hiring them. 

If your electrical contractor does not show you their licence or does not issue you with a Certificate of Electrical Safety upon request, contact Energy Safe Victoria immediately.

Book a fully qualified, licensed and insured electrician today!

Here at 181 Electrical we operate in compliance with all Victorian laws and regulations and are Registered Electrical Contractors. 

We have a team staffed with both A-Grade electricians and apprentices receiving the highest quality training as they assist our fully qualified technicians. 

Get electrical work that is high quality and safe! Contact us today to book one of our highly skilled technicians using the button below.

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