Hire or Fire? The importance of using a licensed electrician

Picture this, you plug your brand new blender into the wall socket. You see a quick, cold blue flash and hear a soft crackle. You don’t think much of it at the time. But it happens again, and again, and later down the line you start smelling something burning. You sigh, grab your phone to google local electricians, and start sifting through the myriad of results. 

This is a pretty specific example we know, but let’s be honest, we’ve all had a similar experience. We’re not here to tell you why you should phone an electrician though — although you really should… We’ve said it before, DIY can be dangerous, but so can employing an unregistered and/or unqualified electrician. 

Below, we’re going to lay out how to find the right electrician. 

How to Identify a Licensed Electrician

First, you need to find a licensed electrician before employing them.

Do a basic background check. Visit their website and look at the services they offer. Look for anything stating that they are fully licensed, registered, and qualified electrical contractors.

Read through some of their customer reviews. Check the business’ google reviews and/or search their name on Hello Peter. It’s a good idea to look at the average ratings.

Check the Department of Labour (DOL) registry. All registered electrical contractors should be registered with the DOL.

Check the National Bargaining Council for the Electrical Industry (NBCEI) registry. This is a quick way to ensure your chosen electrical contractor is registered and conforms to South African electrical safety and compliance requirements. 

Questions to Ask your Electrician

After choosing an electrician or electrical contractor, you should ask them a few follow up questions about their qualifications and certifications. As the customer/client, you are well within your rights to ask questions. Any contractor who refuses to answer these questions should not be employed.

Are you qualified? 

All electricians need to have certain valid qualifications. First, they need to pass NQF levels N1, N2 and N3 for Electrical Engineering. Second, they need to obtain a Wireman’s license. Third, they need to pass the SANS 10142-1 National Exam. All of these qualifications must be held.

Do you have a valid wireman’s license? 

A wireman’s license certifies that the electrician has the necessary knowledge and skills, and is competent to conduct electrical inspections, repairs, installations, etc.

Are you registered? 

If the electrician is fully qualified and possesses a valid wireman’s license, they will be registered with the Department of Labour. All DOL registered electrical contractors have the necessary qualifications.

Do you have insurance? 

Having insurance will protect you and your chosen electrical contractor if any damages are incurred during or as a result of the electrical work. Things do sometimes go wrong, so it’s best to be covered.

Can you do the work I require? 

Some electrical contractors specialise in certain areas or are only equipped to perform certain tasks. Give your chosen electrician a good idea of the work you want done and ask them if they are 1) equipped to do the work, and 2) able to do the work.

Consequences of Hiring an Unlicensed Electrician

Bear in mind that most unregistered electricians are also unqualified, regardless of what they may claim. Finances often play a role in choosing an electrical contractor, however there can be very serious consequences to cutting corners, such as: 

Serious safety risks. Safety standards are set for a reason. Electrical systems can be very dangerous if not worked on carefully and properly. Safety risks include house fires, electrocution, equipment & system malfunction, and more. All of which can be (and often is) fatal. Safety risks are even greater when children and/or pets reside in the house.

Damage to property and electrical systems. Damage can be permanent and may result in the entire system having to be replaced. The cost of repairing damage will likely be more than the cost of having employed a registered, qualified electrician in the first place.

Your insurance won’t cover the cost of damages. If you knowingly employed an unregistered electrician and damage is incurred, your insurance company will probably refuse to cover the cost. The electrician’s insurance won’t cover it either, if they even have insurance.

Your Certificate of Compliance will be deemed invalid if issued by an unregistered electrician. Any other work done by said electrician will also have to be reevaluated. If you’re selling your building, this will delay the sale.

All in all, the stress and frustration resulting from hiring an unlicensed electrician is simply not worth it. We have a solution though — us, we’re the solution.

Sunburst Electric is a fully registered electrical service provider. All of our service professionals are qualified, licensed, and registered electricians. 

We have an exceptional track record of providing Expert Electrical Service.

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