Important differences between residential & commercial electricians

Depending upon your needs and the requirements of the particular job, it is important for you, the customer, to have a clear understanding of the scope and type of work and a variety of skills needed when engaging either a residential or commercial electrician.
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Posted in Electrical, Electrical Insight

With this information, you can make an informed choice about who might best meet your needs in the most cost-effective and qualitative way. We have highlighted below six major points aimed at assisting you to be able to make an informed decision.

What's the difference between a commercial electrician and a residential electrician?

Essentially the differences come down to the type of wiring and need for access to that wiring along with the workplace setting for either type of electrician. There exists a significant difference in the specialised nature of the work though there also exists commonality in that the role of both types of electrical work is to take care of the wiring and other electrical componentry of the building or residence.

What is a residential electrician?

The residential electrician cares for, oversees and services electrical and insulation systems in residential buildings. They might be involved with

  • Wiring and construction of a new residence
  • Restoration of wiring or rewiring in older premises
  • Servicing of existing electrical systems or componentry
  • Reviewing, design and consultation regarding electrical and insulation systems for residences
  • Aesthetic considerations for “out of sight” wiring and cabling

What is a commercial electrician?

The commercial electrician on the other hand may be an employee of a large manufacturing business or may be an independent electrician who is responsible for from a commercial/industrial or agricultural viewpoint

  • Installation of cabling to Australian Standards and to meet the load needs of the equipment or componentry in use
  • Installation of security and alarm equipment
  • Repair and servicing of existing electrical equipment
  • Repair and servicing of heating or cooling equipment
  • Construction and installation of new electrical equipment or components
A man standing on a platform installing electrical wiring

Is Residential Wiring the Same as Commercial Wiring

There are considerable differences in the capacity of residential and commercial wiring in that commercial wiring needs to carry far heavier loads particularly that wiring needed to run heavy machinery as opposed to the wiring necessary to run your home juicer. Loads differ greatly in that residential wiring usually carries only single-phase and commercial carries three-phase for heavier workloads needed.

Can any type of Electrician Work on Commercial or Residential Systems?

The short answer is NO, but the reasons are a little more in-depth than that. There is a considerable difference in the level of specialisation needed for working on each system. A residential Bundaberg electrician places cabling and wiring in a way that makes it “out of sight” so that the end-user accesses it through outlets rather than being exposed to open cabling. Commercial cabling however needs to be accessible so that work can be carried out on it throughout the complex in which it exists. Additionally, it carries a much heavier load than that used in a residential application.

Electricians scope and duties

An electrician is responsible for:

  • Reading and interpreting electrical, architectural and mechanical plans
  • Understanding those plans and planning electrical layouts for wiring and systems
  • Understanding specifications to determine what is required for a particular job
  • Understanding electrical theory to determine parameters for a job
  • Determining correct electrical equipment for a job
  • Carrying out fault finding and correction
  • Testing, repairing and maintaining electrical componentry
  • Connecting electrical appliances and equipment
  • Installing electrical outlets, lighting and circuit breakers
  • Planning and installing conduits, cable trays and ladder races
  • Installing emergency lighting
  • Installing electrical motors and switchboards and automated electrical controllers
  • Installing voice and data cabling
  • Liaising with clients regarding job requirements, contract negotiations and job payments

Type of work difference table comparison

Residential Work

Commercial Work

Fan Installation

Fan Installation

Residential wiring plans

Large Scale Electrical Planning and install

Air-conditioning or heating

Large air conditioning or heating equipment

Servicing of electrical componentry

Servicing of Processing equipment

Installation of wiring new or upgrades

Testing and Tagging

Data and fibre installation

Safety switch testing

RCD installation

Switchboard maintenance

Power and lighting installation

Emergency and Evacuation lighting

Maintaining household appliances

Testing and repairs to componentry

Lighting upgrades for home restoration

LED lighting

Extractor fans and cooking systems

Retro fitting

Switchboard installs and maintenance


Security and alarm systems

Data and fibre installation

Electrical installation

Agricultural electrical work

Security and alarm systems

3 phase systems

7 skills needed for both a residential or commercial electrician

A person working on an electrical switchboard

7 skills of a good electrician

  1. Good communication and people skills
  2. Ability to work in a team environment or independently
  3. Problem-solving skills
  4. Maths and calculations skills for current/voltage and cabling estimations
  5. Understanding and staying abreast of electrical regulatory requirements
  6. Good work ethic and pride of workmanship
  7. Trustworthiness and commitment to quality assurance

In Summary

No matter which type of electrician you need for the job, you should keep in mind that your licensed Bundaberg electrician is a highly skilled professional. As such they are aware of and focused on providing you the end-user, with the safest and most workable environment possible so that you and your family or workmates can have the security of knowing you can operate that switch or machinery without being in danger of being zapped or more importantly of electrocution. You now are more informed about the differences between the types of electricians and their respective roles and scopes of service.

Finally, the important thing to remember from this article is that your electrician is a person who is focused on helping your household or business use electricity in a safe manner. They will give you peace of mind by adopting best practices and quality standards of all electrical work carried out at your site.