One of the most important activities in a construction project is electrical work. You must either hire electrical contractors or electricians to complete this job, especially those who are familiar with construction management software like Bridgit. This will help them efficiently manage electrical resources for all your projects.
However, many companies don’t know who fits their electrical project best. Although an electrical contractor and an electrician possess similar expertise, there are differences in their responsibilities and job requirements.
This article will help you understand the difference between an electrical contractor and an electrician.
Table of Contents
Who is an electrical contractor?
Electrical contractors are responsible for overseeing electrical projects. They are expert electricians, meaning they have spent several years as an electrician and completed the following stages:
- Academics – A degree in bachelor’s of electrical engineering or a diploma in the electrical major.
- Apprenticeship – On-the-job training under experienced electricians’ guidance. Electrical contractors get a certificate for completing their apprenticeship program.
- Journeyman – A skilled electrician who can work independently after acquiring a license from the local or federal authority.
You might not find the majority of electrical contractors with academic qualifications. Instead, you will know how long they’ve been working as electricians. Their experience made them experts who can easily get the necessary certification and license.
Once they become eligible to work independently, they start working on small-scale projects in the beginning years of the journeyman. Professional electricians undoubtedly trained them in the apprenticeship program, but they still need guidance to become master electricians.
Remember that all electrical contractors are master electricians, but you should not hire one before checking out their eligibility. Although they know regular maintenance and electrical system installation of residential projects, they still have yet to learn how to work on industrial construction projects.
Role of an electrical contractor
Let’s look at the electrical contractor’s responsibilities in detail.
Electrical contractors get the electrical job from the client and plan the project development. Then, they analyze the project requirements and keep in touch with the client if any query occurs.
Usually, they plan the electrical job, and before they start working, they ensure all the work-related queries have been answered. If the client is not sure about an electrical component or design, the electrical contractor suggests the client an appropriate solution according to the project’s nature.
Did you know the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries has imposed a $273,000 fine on unlicensed electrical subcontractors? The job included several electrical systems like electrical facility deployment and IT infrastructure.
Electrical contractors are responsible for getting the permit from the authority in your state. Unlike electricians, they know about the legal formalities and can save you from getting penalized due to unlicensed electrical work.
The electrical work needs several components to get the job done. Electrical contractors first document the required equipment according to the project requirements. After that, they collaborate with the construction or project managers to get the equipment considering the allocated budget.
Electrical contractors also check the equipment’s quality while procuring resources. They know the ongoing electrical market trends and wisely rent or buy equipment to deliver a quality project.
Since electrical contractors have spent years in this field, they are now at the most advanced stage and must supervise the projects. They guide the journeyman electricians during the electrical project and help them whenever any complexity occurs.
Electrical contractors supervise almost all types of electrical projects. Whether residential, commercial, or industrial, they are well aware of the project type and can devise a strong plan to execute and supervise the electrical job.
Factors to consider while hiring an electrical contractor
Check out the following factors while hiring an electrical contractor:
- Experience – Number of years the electrical contractor has served in the construction industry.
- Expertise – The electrical contractor must have expertise and skills in a particular electrical job.
- Reference – Other clients or electricians’ feedback on the electrical contractor’s performance.
Who is an Electrician?
Electricians focus on working at the jobsite and learning new skills and methodologies under a master electrician’s guidance. They are also responsible for completing electrical milestones assigned to them before the deadline.
An electrician might or might not have an academic degree. Instead, they join a senior electrician at an early age and learn the basics of electrical work. Their basics become strong, and they become eligible to work as subcontractors with time.
Remember that electricians who don’t have a relevant academic background lack electrical technicalities. For example, they might not know the requirements related to the following electrical aspects:
- Amperage – Electrical current flowing through a device or a system.
- Surge protector – A device that protects an electrical system from voltage spikes caused due to current overload or faulty wiring.
- Basic impulse level – BIL is the electrical threshold value determining how much voltage an equipment can withstand without damage.
That’s why electricians work with electrical contractors and keep learning until they become journeymen and master electricians.
Role of an electrician
Here are the four responsibilities of an electrician:
Electricians follow the wiring diagrams and spread wires accordingly. However, they might not know what type of electrical wires they should use. That’s why an electrical contractor provides them with the right wire type and its insulation.
Medium and large-scale construction projects have different types of electrical installation, for example:
- Electrical conductors
- Heating systems
- Electrical fittings
- Power sources
Electricians follow the project plan and install the electrical components after wiring.
Electrical systems sometimes run into problems, and the best practice is never to interfere with a faulty electrical system. Only electricians know how to troubleshoot the problem and take the necessary steps to solve the issue.
Electricians execute maintenance work in the electrical systems, which includes checking the systems’ performance and repairing the devices and equipment. They must also document an electrical maintenance report to record the changes made in the system.
Factors to consider when hiring an electrician
Consider the following factors while looking for an electrician:
- Skill – Ensure the electrician you hire is skillful.
- Professionalism – The electrician must work professionally and follow the best practices to ensure quality.
- License – The electrician must have a license if you hire them for a medium or large-scale project.
You can hire electricians for small-scale residential projects which don’t require them to be licensed or certified.
Always hire electrical contractors for large-scale or industrial projects. They will bring their team of electricians and arrange equipment to ensure timely and quality project delivery. This strategy will help you perform better and execute your projects way before their deadlines.