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How to identify when an electrical job is too big for you

You probably don’t want to call your electrical contractor every time a lightbulb needs replacing in the staff room – there are plenty of small electrical jobs you can handle in-house.

But what about the larger jobs? How do you determine when an electrical job is too big for your onsite team?

Here are some of the things you’ll need to consider before you undertake electrical work yourself.

Size and complexity

The first step is to assess the job's size and complexity. Do you have the knowledge and skills in-house? Have you got the resources to manage larger projects?

By allocating your in-house team to large, complex projects, you’re taking them away from other tasks. If the project involves a large volume of work, outsourcing might be more cost-effective and efficient.

And if the job is time-sensitive, demands resources beyond your capacity, or involves intricate wiring systems, intricate circuits, or the installation of advanced electrical components, it may be too complex for a DIY approach.

Regulatory compliance

You might have a decent handyman in your team, but if they aren’t a qualified electrician, you shouldn’t let them loose on your electrics.

If you let an unregistered or underqualified electrician complete electrical works, it can invalidate your electrical inspection condition report (EICR) and breach safety regulations. You may also void warranties or insurance coverage if your electrical work is not performed by a licensed professional.

There are several electrical regulations to be aware of, including the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016, Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008 and The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER).

A qualified electrician will understand these regulations and ensure any work they carry out is fully compliant.

Safety Considerations

If the task involves working with high voltage or complex wiring, or it poses a risk of electrical shock, it may be beyond the capabilities of a non-professional. Electricity can be fatal and it’s not worth risking a life to save a few quid.

You'll also need to consider any additional safety regulations for electrical installations and equipment in hazardous areas. Not all electricians are CompEx-accredited. CompEx (meaning Competency working in Explosive atmospheres) accreditation means your contractor can work safely in ATEX areas (explosive atmospheres).

Specialised equipment or knowledge

Some electrical works require specialist tools and equipment that you might not have access to. If this is the case, bringing in a professional electrical contractor who already has the correct equipment will be more cost-effective than purchasing your own equipment.

Be honest about your own knowledge and experience in electrical work. If the job requires expertise beyond your skill level, seek professional help to avoid mistakes and potential hazards.

Financial risk

While DIY projects often aim to save money, a botched job can lead to more significant expenses in repairs and corrections.

Don’t be tempted to cut corners – get quotes for any electrical work needed and budget accordingly.

Putting proactive maintenance strategies in place can prevent the need for major electrical work. Make provisions for electrical maintenance in your annual budgets.

Quality assurance

Consider the long-term quality and reliability of the electrical work. Professional electricians are trained to deliver work that meets industry standards and ensures the safety and durability of installations.

They will correctly install, inspect and test equipment and provide certificates and reports where necessary giving you complete confidence in the safety of your electrical systems.

Is it time to bring in the experts?

There are several reasons you might need to bring in an expert electrical contractor.

Sometimes the requirement is urgent – perhaps you are worried about faulty wiring because you’ve noticed one or more of the following:

• Frequent electrical surges
• Circuit breaker trips
• Burning odours or smoky residue
• Hot switches or outlets
Buzzing, crackling or sparking
• Flickering lights
• Damaged insulation
• Diminished equipment performance
• Frequent equipment failures
• Outdated wiring systems

Sometimes you need support with a specific electrical project or requirement:

Emergency lighting testing and inspecting
Lighting upgrade
• Wiring or rewiring
Fixed wire testing (periodic inspections)
• Equipment installation
• Repairs and maintenance
Uninterrupted power supplies
• Planning a new factory or a factory extension

And sometimes you might bring in a contractor to provide expert recommendations for reducing energy consumption. These may include solutions such as:

Voltage optimisation
Variable speed drives
Control and automation
• Energy-efficient lighting
Battery storage systems
Re-using self-generated heat

Whether your electrical requirement is reactive or proactive, AES can help. We offer all the electrical contracting services you would expect, coupled with specialist services specifically for manufacturing businesses. We can test, inspect and rectify faulty wiring, install and maintain electrical equipment and lighting, and perform routine maintenance and repairs. We are also CompEx accredited, allowing us to work in hazardous areas.

We can scale our services to meet the needs of your business, from ongoing planned maintenance and fault repair to machinery installation and factory relocation.
And we provide expert advice and recommendations on energy reduction, control and automation, and safety compliance.
Contact our friendly team to discuss your electrical requirements.

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