Commercial Electrician FAQ’s Everything You Will Ever Need to Know

We have put together some Commercial Electrician FAQ’s so you know everything you need to know if you are looking for a Commercial Electrician as we understand it can be daunting as it is such a specialist trade.

What is a Commercial Electrician?

A commercial electrician can design electrical wiring and system and work from electrical blueprints to ensure they are safe and compliant to support the needs of a commercial building, business and its electrical systems. They can also maintain, adapt, test and repair electrical wiring and circuits that control power for lighting, heating and cooling units, kitchen systems, refrigeration units and so on.

A commercial electrician can work for themselves, as an electrical contractor (both as long as they have the necessary qualifications and insurance), or for an electrical or facilities company that specialises in commercial electrics.

What does a Commercial Electrician do?

A commercial electrician designs, installs, maintains and repairs electrical wiring and electrical systems and will have the experience of working in large commercial properties, outlets or sites which have extensive electrical wiring systems. They will also have the skills to work alongside many other tradespeople on largescale projects with changing needs and timescales.

What types of jobs does a Commercial Electrician do?

Commercial Electricians will install, maintain and repair wiring systems that control the power in commercial properties including; schools, factories, retail units, leisure facilities, gyms, hotels, council offices, stage and theatres, hospitals, care homes etc.

What type of jobs would a Commercial Electrician be involved in?

  • Commercial Office & Industrial Installations
  • Remedial Specification & Installation
  • Maintenance & Repairs
  • Interior and Exterior Lighting
  • Power and Distribution Installation
  • Fire Alarm and Security Systems
  • Periodic Inspection and Test Services
  • Electric heating & Hot Water heating specialists
  • Energy consumption advice & recommendations
  • Fault Finding
  • Immersion Heaters
  • Water Heaters
  • Electric Heaters/Radiators
  • Commercial Kitchen Electrical Installation, Repair & Maintenance
  • Refrigeration Systems
  • Air Conditioning Systems
  • Towel Rails
  • Extractor Fans
  • Electric Commercial Kitchens & Cooker Points
  • Lighting & Power Installations
  • Fuseboard/Consumer Units
  • Partial or Complete Rewiring
  • Electrical Condition report
  • Earth Bonding Testing

What is the difference between a Commercial Electrician and a Domestic Electrician?

Commercial Electricians work in offices, retail units, factories, commercial buildings and sites installing electrical systems for power outlets, lighting and wiring. They will have the knowledge of wiring to support large buildings and systems compared to a Domestic Electrician who will have the experience of working in smaller residential properties.

What qualifications should a Commercial Electrician have?

A commercial Electrician will have an industry recognised level 3 qualification, for example, a level 3 diploma in electrotechnical services. Most people qualify as an electrician through an apprenticeship as they need both classroom training and work experience to gain the skills they need and it can take anything from two to four years to become fully qualified.

Anyone who carries out electrical work needs to be able to satisfy the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.

What skills should a Commercial Electrician have in addition they industry qualifications?

As well as their technical skills and qualifications, a Commercial Electrician should also have:

  • The ability to understand electrical plans, designs & blueprints
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Good communication skills
  • Excellent problem-solving skills
  • Be able to work as part of a team, working on large scale projects and builds with changing needs, plans and timescales
  • The ability to be able to deal with complex and demanding on and off-site situations

What should you do if you have a problem with your Commercial Electrics?

The electrics in your business or home should only be looked at by a qualified electrician as incorrect wiring and electrical systems can cause fire, damage to equipment and electric shocks. If an electrical system has surges or short circuits this can cause electrical fires, damage to the wiring which can cause problems and fires later down the line, as well as damaging electrical equipment connected to the same circuit. If you think you have an electrical problem or your electrics haven’t been checked and tested in your commercial property then you should contact a Commercial electrician quickly.

What are the signs or Electrical Problems?

  • Lights can dim or flicker
  • Warm or discoloured wall plates
  • A burning smell from switches or outlets
  • Circuit tripping
  • Fuses blowing regularly
  • Crackling, buzzing, humming or sizzling sounds
  • Any mild shock, spark or even a tingle from appliances, receptacles or switches
  • Tiny sparks when a plug is switched on

What should you look for in a Commercial Electrician?

You should look for a business or company that has been recommended by other businesses, has a good website which details their qualifications, insurance and other businesses that they work for, good customer reviews and have a friendly and professional response when you make contact with them.

How do you know which Commercial Electrician you should choose?

When you meet with a Commercial Electrician or business you can ask them a couple of questions and if they respond easily and without hesitation then this is a good sign. A good website with information about them as a business, along with a professional answering service and the offer to meet with you at your commercial business or property are all good signs. You will normally know if it is a business you want to work with when you meet them.

Questions to ask:

  • How long have they been in business?
  • How many people work within the business?
  • What electrical services do they offer?
  • What other services do they offer?
  • Do they offer electrical repair and maintenance contracts?
  • What electrical qualifications do they or their employees have?
  • What Health & Safety qualifications do they have?
  • What insurance and public liability insurance do they have?
  • What other businesses do they and have they worked for?
  • Why you should choose them?

What can cause an electrical fire?

Some of these can seem obvious, however, it’s a good list to check through:

  • Most electrical fires are caused by faulty electrical outlets and or old, outdated appliances and systems
  • Electrical appliances with worn or frayed cords can send heat onto combustible surfaces like floors, curtains, and rugs which can be the cause of fires starting
  • Running electrical cords under carpet and flooring can be the cause of electrical fires
  • Outdated wiring often causes electrical fires as it may not have the wiring capacity to handle the electrical systems within your commercial property
  • The overuse of extension cords can cause electrical fires and appliances should be plugged directly into a socket and not into an extension lead
  • Breakers should be triggered when circuits are overloaded by too much electricity, however, outdated breaker boxes often have worn connectors that don’t work as they should, causing electrical systems to overload which can cause electrical fires

If you have just moved into a Commercial Building then we would always advise that one of the first things you do is to get a Commercial Electrician to come in to assess and test your electrics.

Commercial ElectricianWhat are the Legal Requirements for businesses in regards to their property electrics?

All business owners, their directors, managers and employees need to comply with “The Electricity at Work Regulations” which can be found at www.hse.gov.uk.

What is The Electricity at Work Regulation?

In summary, The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 is the statutory legislation in place that states that employers ensure the safety of electrical devices in the workplace, and those in control of all, or part of an electrical system are required to ensure that it is safe to use and is maintained in a safe condition. The regulation dictates that all portable equipment must be inspected and tested regularly to ensure that it is safe for use.

How often should you have your Commercial Electrics checked and tested?

It is recommended that if you have moved into a commercial building that you ensure the electrics are tested and safe immediately and that they are tested a minimum of every five years. If you are renting a commercial property then your landlord should be able to provide you with the documentation that states when it was last tested and checked. You can ask for this to be done prior to you moving into the building as part of your tenancy agreement.

What is an EICR?

An EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Reportis an inspection of the condition of an existing electrical installation in a domestic or commercial property and it tells you if there are any deficiencies against the national safety standard for electrical installations. During an EICR assessment, tests are also carried out on any wiring and associated fixed electrical equipment to check it is safe.

An EICR is a formal document that is produced following an inspection of the electrics within a domestic or commercial property and it is carried out by a qualified and experienced electrician, approved contractor or business.

What does an EICR assessment include?

An EICR identifies any potential risks to health and safety that could be caused by incorrect and faulty electrics. The assessment and tests are completed by a qualified electrician to make sure your electrical installation is working safely and correctly and to the standards of the National Safety Standard identifying any electrical circuits or equipment that are unsafe to use

An EICR Report will list any electrical work that is needed and includes any electrical standards which have not been adhered to. It is vitally important that as a business owner or someone who is responsible for a business that you can demonstrate you have had an EICR report completed and taken action against any of the issues identified.

An EICR Report should be carried out every 5 years or at the point of installation to demonstrate the electrics in a commercial property are safe and in good working order. 
An EICR Report is completed and issued by a certified and qualified electrician and it demonstrates that all electrical circuits and appliances in a domestic or commercial property are in good and safe working order.
The EICR legal requirements in England and Wales are not legally required, however, they demonstrate that you are adhering to The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 which is the statutory legislation in place to regulate that employers ensure the safety of electrical devices and systems in the workplace.

What should you do if you are thinking about getting a Commercial Electrician?

We would recommend that you get recommendations from other local businesses to find a commercial electrician. Look at their website to see if it looks professional, details the services they offer and the businesses that they work and have worked with previously. Search the internet for reviews from their customers and always meet with them face to face at your property so you can get a feel for them as an individual or as a business. When you meet with them you can ask them:

  • How long have they been in business?
  • How many people work within the business?
  • What electrical services do they offer?
  • What other services do they offer?
  • Do they offer electrical repair and maintenance contracts?
  • What electrical qualifications do they or their employees have?
  • What Health & Safety qualifications do they have?
  • What insurance and public liability insurance do they have?
  • What other businesses do they and have they worked for?
  • Why you should choose them?

How do you maintain Commercial Electrics?

You maintain safe and legally working electrics by having them regularly tested and checked by a qualified and experienced commercial electrician and this includes having an EICR assessment a minimum of every 5 years or when you first move into a commercial property or unit.

Why should you have your Commercial Electrics checked?

Faulty and old electric systems can cause fires and damage to your property and appliances so it is vital you have them assessed regularly. Fixed wiring testing accurately identifies electrical faults, their locations and any recommended actions needed.

My business is a 24-hour operation, how can I test my electrics without any impact?

Qualified and experienced electricians will have experience of working in the constraints of 24-hour operations and most of their testing will normally include live tests which can be scheduled around specific working and production processes, for example; shift changes, weekends, holidays, process changes, and cleaning or maintenance breaks. Your electrical system can normally be switched off in stages to ensure you are never without your whole electrics.

Will testing cause a lot of disruption and loss of power?

Some short power outages can be expected within your system, however, a lot of the testing can be done whilst the system is still live and it can all be planned against your business’s operation.

Is electrical installation testing a legal requirement in commercial properties?

The law doesn’t require electrical testing to be carried out, however, it does state that you keep your entire electrical system safe at all times, therefore, regular assessment and testing is a must. If a fire or accident happens as a result of an electrical fault then as the person responsible you need to be able to prove that took every step you could have to have avoided the incident, and if not then it can be deemed as an offence. Test results, an EICR report along with maintenance and rectification records from a qualified electrician will provide this.

Is electrical testing a requirement for my business insurance?

A lot of insurers now are insisting that inspection and testing be carried out on a regular basis. If you suffer an avoidable accident and you are found guilty then by law you will have committed a criminal offence and insurers will not pay fines or compensation suffered as a result of a criminal offence.

Is electrical testing my landlord’s responsibility or mine?

It is usually dependent on the terms of your lease if you or your landlord are responsible for paying for electrical testing to be carried out. If you are going to rent a property then this is always something that should be agreed and included in the tenancy document beforehand. If you are on a full repairing lease then the cost will fall to you. Always remember that you are responsible to make sure that you and your staff comply with Health & Safety legislation and The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.

How long does it take to install Commercial Electrics?

It will depend if it is a new building or if there are existing electrics in place and if they comply with current legislation, as well as the size of the property and the electrical system needed to meet the requirements of your commercial business and property.

How much does it cost to install Commercial Electrics?

As in the above answer, it will depend on so many factors but the end system must:

  • meet all latest compliance requirements & testing
  • have the most efficient electrical, security and networking systems to match your premises and budget
  • minimise energy waste

What is Electrical Maintenance & Testing

Electrical maintenance covers all aspects of testing, monitoring, fixing, and replacing elements of an electrical system.

Large scale commercial buildings and operations can have their own on-site and employed electricians who manage the day to day issues, however, large facilities will have complex electrical systems that specialised commercial contractors need to be utilised for when it is beyond the day to day electrical requirements. Smaller businesses and properties can often find it more financially beneficial to use local commercial electricians for scheduled electrical maintenance and servicing. Professional Electrical Services will offer periodic inspection and testing services for either individual premises or multiple sites and estates.

What does a Commercial Electrician do in small to medium commercial properties?

A good commercial electrical services company will carry out all electrical work from smaller jobs, such as fitting lights and extra sockets, to complete rewires, new build installations, landlord testing & reporting, emergency lighting, shop/office refurbishments, automation and security systems and 3-phase commercial / industrial rewiring.

What do Commercial Electricians do in Industrial or Commercial Properties?

An experienced a qualified commercial electrician will design, install, maintain and repair electrical tasks of all sizes and shapes, working alongside you and your business to ensure minimal impact to your operations running at all times.

About BPS Facilities and Commercial Electrician Services

When you choose BPS as your Commercial Electrician we offer:

  • The highest standards of quality
  • A reliable service
  • Fully qualified, experienced and local commercial electricians
  • Trustworthy and reliable support staff
  • Competitive pricing
  • The highest standards of professionalism, workmanship and customer satisfaction

We provide emergency commercial electrician call out support 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.

Our Commercial Services Include Repair, Emergency Repair, Maintenance & Servicing:

  • Fault Finding
  • Maintenance & Repairs
  • Additional Points
  • Electrical Condition Report
  • Earth Bonding Testing
  • Lighting & Power Systems
  • Fuseboard/Consumer Units
  • Partial or Complete Rewiring
  • Immersion Heaters
  • Water Heaters
  • Electric Powered Heaters/Radiators
  • Air Conditioning
  • Towel Rails
  • Extractor Fans
  • Electric Cooker Points

If you are looking for a professional and reliable Commercial Electrician contact us on 029 20 484114 and one of our team will be able to help.

(All the answers in this article are given for guidance only)