As a homeowner, you might be thinking that you can save a few dollars by doing some of the basic electrical work around your home on your own. Many people actually believe that DIY electrical work is beneficial for them. It’s not only risky but could also be illegal. Yes, most DIY electrical work is actually banned in Australia unless you’re holding an electrical license. If this is the first time you’ve heard of this, here’s a simple guide on what kind of electrical work you can do as a homeowner.
Electrical Work Explained
According to the Australian Electrical Safety Act of 2002, “electrical work” includes any of the following done on any electrical equipment:
Looking at that list, electrical work pretty much means any electrical job requiring the right tools, skills, and certification. So as a homeowner, you basically can’t do anything on your electrical equipment, even the most basic kind of maintenance or repair.
What Kind of DIY Electrical Work is Illegal in Australia?
Of course, some very basic electrical jobs like changing a lightbulb or plugging in electrical appliances are allowed. However, a lot of other electrical-related tasks are considered illegal if you don’t have the right license for them. Many ordinary homeowners and family members could actually be guilty of doing these seemingly more simple electrical tasks at some point in their lives. These include things like:
- Replacing a lead on an appliance
- Installing a new light fitting
- Installing a ceiling fan
- Repairing an electrical appliance
- Building your own extension lead
- Attaching a new plug to the end of a lead
- Replacing a light switch or powerpoint
Some of these tasks are quite simple, and you may be tempted to do some of them on your own. However, these electrical repairs are still considered dangerous and should be left in the capable hands of professionals.
What are the Consequences of Doing Illegal Electrical Work?
Personally, you risk endangering your life or your family if you perform electrical work on your own. You can get electrocuted, or you might blow a fuse and cause damage to your electrical system. Another is the possibility of causing a house fire.
Legally, there are various fines in place for anyone caught doing electrical work without a license. You’re looking at several hundred to thousands of dollars on penalties. In Victoria, if they cite you for illegal DIY electrical work, you could end up paying $40,000 in fines. Now that’s a lot of money for something small electrical work you did. This is why it’s not worth the risk.
There are also a couple of ways the authorities can check if you performed illegal electrical work. As you may know, all electrical components at home or at work must pass an electrical safety inspection. If you happen to fail the requirements for the inspection or they conclude that you tampered with the electrical equipment, you’ll be faced with a heavy fine.
Australian laws surrounding electrical work are a lot stricter compared to other countries. Due to the dangerous nature of electrical repairs and maintenance, the Australian government imposes heavy fines and penalties on those who attempt to DIY their electrical issues. If you don’t want to lose money and risk being electrocuted, it’s best to follow these regulations to the letter.
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