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Electrical Engineer allowed to do Electrical work?

  1. Mar 4, 2009 #1
    Have been reading in some other posts and the Electrical Safety Act 2002 that Electrical Engineers are able to carry out household electrical works? IS this true or have I misread the info? Also if this is the case, ie that electrical work can be carried out by an engineer, how does one get a cert of compliance.

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 4, 2009 #2


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    Is one refering to the act enacted in Queensland?

    If so - the Act maintains "Under the Act’s provisions, only the holder of a current electrical work license may carry out or supervise electrical work in Queensland."

    http://www.learningsystemsaustralia.com.au/SummaryOfElectricalSafetyAct2002.pdf [Broken]

    In the US, electricians must have a license to install electrical systems. They must also comply with the national building and fire codes.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  4. Mar 4, 2009 #3
    As Astronuc stated, not in the US, generally. Though in some places, like small towns that I live in, it used to be legal more than five years ago. And generally, if you are being supervised by a licensed Electrician, it's legal.

    I used to 'run wire' for a guy when building houses and he had no license until it became illegal without one. Though he was an old timer and has been doing it for years locally.
  5. Mar 5, 2009 #4
    in the US, i think it will depend on where you live and the local laws. i think where i live, anyone can do work on their own home as long as they live there for another 6 months or so, but that you can't service the utility feed and will need to call an electrician for that.

    even the electrical code is not consistent. most municipalities may adopt NEC out of convenience, but big cities have the resources to modify that and write their own.

    in general though, and i say this as an EE, engineers can't be trusted to wire houses. and i had the opportunity recently to replace a light fixture at my friend's mom's house recently, and his dad, an electronics technician had wired the house himself. it was a complete rat's nest. and i don't even want to talk about the light fixture in the shower...
  6. Mar 5, 2009 #5


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    In Maine you have to have a residential electrician's license to wire a house. You can wire it yourself if you are the homeowner, but it will have to be inspected and approved by a licensed electrician before everything is buttoned up and legal.
  7. Mar 6, 2009 #6


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    THIS!!! The sum of my (in class) safety knowledge was a lecture on case grounding, human conductivity, and what varying levels of current did when they went across your heart. On the other hand, I never took any of the power / electric machines classes (i.e. big AC and DC motors, transformers, etc.)

    IIRC, aren't you allowed electrical fixtures / switches within 1.5 m of the shower / tub IF AND ONLY IF these are protected upstream with a GFCI? I don't have my (reader's digest) code book on me, but this might only be a Canadian thing (or complete misremembering on my part). There was one in the house my mom bought--definitely not protected (though the house was built in the 70s). I ripped it out, along with the shower, and found out that there was black mold in the insulation above the shower since the light wasn't properly sealed.

    EDIT: I thought a course on household electricity / wiring might be a good addition (along with a million other things in the oh-so-relaxed six to seven courses per semester workload of engineering school) but this would probably be putting in action that old adage that a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2009
  8. Mar 6, 2009 #7
    In New York State, such decision are made by the town government. Most towns adopt the National Electrical Code as town law. The NEC has no authority until some level of government adopts it, because it's written by a private organization, the association of fire underwriters. In my town, no workers or contractors are required to have any licences, but to add anything to a building you need to buy a permit, and the inspector employed by the town has to inspect the finished job. To replace something that already exists, no permit or inspection is required.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2009
  9. Mar 6, 2009 #8


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    Are engineers able to do electrical work?

    Outside of the caveats already mentioned about the legalities in various locations, many EEs are quite capable of doing home electrical work. From an EEs academic training, there is an intuitive understanding how electrical systems work (Power-Supply, conductor, load).. If you have been fortunate to have worked on high power projects, it will be even easier. The key is to read up on any configuration you are not familiar with, learn the safety precautions, and be sure to exchange your thoughts with mentors with more experience, before jumping into a project.
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