What is a Commercial Electrician? – Definition of a Commercial Electrician


Commercial electricians are electricians that perform electrical work in commercial buildings such as commercial offices, shopping malls, government buildings, hotels, retail shops and restaurants. More importantly, these properties are typically used as business workplaces and as a result, a commercial electrician would typically supply electrical services to these types of commercial properties.

To understand where a commercial electrician fits into the broader types of electricians, one would need to understand the differences between a lineman and wireman. Most importantly, electricians can be divided into two main categories: electrical lineman who will work on power supply lines and wireman who install, repair and maintain electrical circuits in buildings and premises. As a result, commercial electricians are classified as wireman and not electrical lineman.

Electrical wiremen can specialise further into industrial, commercial and residential electricians. Each of these specialisations require specific study and qualifications.

What work does a commercial electrician do?

A commercial electrician performs installations, maintenance, inspections and electrical repairs to keep electrical systems and components in good working order. Furthermore, they need to inspect and repair electrical wiring. Commercial electricians need to be qualified and licensed in South Africa and must belong to the Electrical Contractors Association of South Africa and the Electrical Conformance Board of South Africa (ECB).

Commercial electricians have the necessary skills for designing, planning and creating electrical diagrams of commercial workplaces and are therefore able to ensure the needs of commercial workspaces are met. Furthermore, they also ensure that electrical circuits of commercial workspaces are compliant with the latest codes and legislation.

The demands on a commercial electrician are higher when compared to residential electrician as they need to work with a wide range of clients including office people, builders and building owners. Commercial buildings require adherence to specific electrical codes and the commercial electrician will therefore need to have specific qualifications.

Some commercial electricians may also manage teams of electrical technicians and deploy them to multiple electrical jobs or projects.

Typical responsibilities of a commercial electrician are:

  • Designing, planning and creating new electrical systems in commercial premises
  • Keeping up to date with commercial regulations for electrical systems and safety
  • Being able to interpret technical drawings and electrical wiring diagrams.
  • Inspecting and repairing appliances, switches, lights, wall sockets and ensuring they are safe.
  • General electrical installations, maintenance and repairs.
  • Inspecting and repairing tripp switches, fuse boards, circuit breakers
  • Issuing Electrical compliance certificates (C.O.C) if the electrical installation is compliant with regulation
  • Large or small rewiring jobs including installation of new wiring.
  • Installation of lighting and other electrical components
  • Fault finding, diagnosis and electrical repairs
  • Inspection and testing of electrical installation and electrical systems.
  • Commercial electrical installations
  • Electrician maintenance jobs

What are the required qualifications of a commercial electrician in South Africa?

Commercial electricians in South Africa are required to prove that they have the necessary skills to perform their role by firstly having a Wiremans license and secondly, a registration certificate from the Department of Labour (DoL). You are only recognised as a legal commercial electrician when you have met the two requirements stipulated above. There are also further qualification requirements for an electrician which you can read by clicking this link.


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