Can I DIY electrical work at my home in NSW?
The simple answer to this is unless you’re a licenced electrician, no. Australia’s laws are very strict for people who want to do DIY electrical work in their home. If you happen to be a licenced electrician, you can work on your own home, but unless you’re a certified professional in this field, you legally need to let an electrician do the work.
The laws do vary from state to state, but the majority of Australian states require homeowners to obtain a compliance certificate from an electrician who has carried out any work which complies with the appropriate Australian Standards regulations.
This is, so it covers you for any defective work, covers you in an insurance claim and let’s face it keeps you safe and protected.
What are the regulations for performing electrical work in NSW?
The law is NSW as stated in the NSW Fair Trading site states; “An electrical licence is required before any electrical wiring work can be undertaken in NSW, regardless of the cost of the work and regardless of whether the work is residential, commercial or industrial.”
Electrical work can be defined as ‘the manufacturing, constructing, installing, testing, maintaining, repairing, altering, removing or replacing any electrical equipment.
- Installing a power point
- Replacing a light switch
- Repairing an electrical appliance
- Replacing a plug on a lead
- Installing a ceiling fan
- Rewiring a room
- Installing an air conditioner
Basically, this indicates that the only thing you are within your rights to do yourself around your home is change the light bulbs!
Why can’t I do DIY electrical work?
There are some excellent reasons for these laws:
Unlike in the USA, where the electricity voltage is only 110 volts, it is 240 volts in Australia, which is enough to kill you if you are accidentally electrocuted.
High penalties exist as a deterrent for illegal electrical, but they can be as high as $40,000 in fines for individuals and up to $200,000 – or three-years imprisonment if deaths or injuries result from such illegal work.
Home and contents insurance will not cover any damage, faults or fire caused by electricity to your home unless a professional has carried out the work with a current licence.
Faulty wiring is a health and security hazard waiting to happen. It may go unnoticed for an extended period before causing a problem resulting in electrocution or fire, which could burn down your entire home.
If the illegal electrical job is done incorrectly and a fire results, you will not be covered for the loss of your house. In essence, a job that would probably have cost you around a hundred dollars for an hour of an electrician’s time will end up costing you your biggest investment: your home.
Risks of DIY electrical jobs
Even if an electric shock is a mild one caused by a faulty appliance or faulty wire, it can cause these health issues:
- muscle spasms
- nausea and vomiting
- difficulty breathing
- collapse and unconsciousness
- palpitations, cardiac arrest and damage to the heart
- serious and permanent burns to the skin and internal organs
- related injuries including falls from ladders or scaffolding
- fire and explosion
What electrical work can I do that’s legal?
There are few things you can do besides change a light bulb. Here are a few things:
- Installing low voltage garden lighting and Christmas lights
- Installing pond pumps
- Replace a drive belt in a washing machine
- Change out a blown light bulb
- Replace LED downlights
- Cutting openings for air conditioning units but not installing them
- Fitting an electric wall oven but not connecting it
- Install a battery-operated smoke alarm
Just because they sell a lot of electrical supplies at Bunnings and other hardware stores doesn’t mean you need to buy it.
Don’t be tempted, head to the gardening or power tool sections instead and let a licenced electrician safely handle your home electrical issues.
O’Brien Electrical Castle Hill are experts in their field. We operate in all sectors of the industry and are licenced professions with a depth of knowledge to help you with any of your home electrical needs.