Building electrician

A building electrician

Description

Building electricians install and maintain electricity cables and other electrical infrastructure in buildings. They make sure installed electrical equipment is isolated and presents no fire hazards. They understand existing situations and make improvements if called for.

The duties of a building electrician include, but are not limited to:

  • Routinely inspecting electrical systems such as wiring, fixtures, and appliances.
  • Identifying faults or hazards.
  • Troubleshooting system failures.
  • Reviewing blueprints to understand wiring placement.
  • Testing of electrical systems with oscilloscopes, voltmeters, and ohmmeters.
  • Conducting maintenance repairs on old or faulty fixtures.
  • Responding to fault requests.
  • Providing suggestions for equipment replacement.
  • Writing electrical maintenance reports.
  • Installing new electrical appliances in the building.
  • Adhering to safety and performance standards.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to building electrician:

electrical installer
commercial building electrician
installation electrician
electrical maintenance worker
industrial building electrician
building services electrician
building maintenance electrician
electrical systems installer
electrical services installer
electrical maintenance technician
maintenance electrician

Working conditions

Electricians work indoors and outdoors at homes, businesses, factories, and construction sites. Because electricians must travel to different worksites, local or long-distance commuting is often required.

On the jobsite, they occasionally work in cramped spaces. The long periods of standing and kneeling can be tiring. Electricians may be exposed to dirt, dust, debris, or fumes. Those working outside may be exposed to hot or cold temperatures and inclement weather. Those who work in factories are often subject to noisy machinery.

Electricians may be required to work at great heights, such as when working on construction sites, inside buildings, or on renewable energy projects.

Many electricians work alone, but sometimes they collaborate with others. Electricians employed by large companies are likely to work as part of a crew, directing helpers and apprentices to complete jobs.

Injuries and Illnesses

Working with electricity is dangerous. Electricians must take precautions to avoid getting hurt. Although accidents are potentially fatal, common injuries include electrical shocks, falls, burns, and other minor injuries.

To reduce these risks, workers must wear protective clothing and safety glasses. Electricians who are subject to loud noises, such as those in factories, must wear hearing protection.

Work Schedules

Almost all electricians work full time. Work schedules may include evenings and weekends. Overtime is common.

Self-employed electricians often work in residential construction and may be able to set their own schedule.

Minimum qualifications

A high school diploma is generally required to work as a building electrician. Some electricians start out by attending a technical school. Many technical schools offer programs related to circuitry, safety practices, and basic electrical information. Graduates of these programs usually receive credit toward their apprenticeship.

Most electricians learn their trade in a 4- or 5-year apprenticeship program. For each year of the program, apprentices typically receive 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training as well as some technical instruction.

Workers who gained electrical experience in the military or in the construction industry may qualify for a shortened apprenticeship based on their experience and testing.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Building electrician is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Building electrician career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to building electrician.

domestic electrician
industrial electrician
electrician
security alarm technician
electrical mechanic

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of building electrician. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of building electrician with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

electrical supervisor
insulation supervisor
paperhanger supervisor
construction painting supervisor
plumbing supervisor

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of building electrician.

  • Building systems monitoring technology: Computer-based control systems that monitor mechanical and electrical equipment in a building such as HVAC, security and lighting systems.
  • Electricity: Understand the principles of electricity and electrical power circuits, as well as the associated risks.
  • Electrical wiring plans: Pictorial representation of an electrical circuit. It shows the components of the circuit as simplified shapes, and the power and signal connections between the devices. It gives information about the relative position and arrangement of devices and terminals on the devices, to help in building or servicing the device. A wiring diagram is often used to troubleshoot problems and to make sure that all the connections have been made and that everything is present.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of building electrician.

  • Test procedures in electricity transmission: Perform tests on powerlines and cables, as well as other equipment used for the transmission of electrical power, in order to ensure the cables are well insulated, the voltage can be controlled well, and the equipment is compliant with regulations.
  • Work ergonomically: Apply ergonomy principles in the organisation of the workplace while manually handling equipment and materials.
  • Resolve equipment malfunctions: Identify, report and repair equipment damage and malfunctions; communicate with field representatives and manufacturers to obtain repair and replacement components.
  • Inspect electrical supplies: Check electrical supplies for damage, moisture, loss or other problems.
  • Splice cable: Join and weave electric and communications cable and trunk lines together.
  • Inspect construction supplies: Check construction supplies for damage, moisture, loss or other problems before using the material.
  • Install electrical and electronic equipment: Install equipment which is dependent on electric currents or electromagnetic fields in order to work, or equipment to generate, transfer or measure such currents and fields. This equipment includes switchboards, electric motors, generators or direct current systems.
  • Install electricity sockets: Install electricity sockets into walls or sub-floor compartments. Isolate all electric cables in the socket to prevent accidents.
  • Follow health and safety procedures in construction: Apply the relevant health and safety procedures in construction in order to prevent accidents, pollution and other risks.
  • Use precision tools: Use electronic, mechanical, electric, or optical precision tools for precision work.
  • Use measurement instruments: Use different measurement instruments depending on the property to be measured. Utilise various instruments to measure length, area, volume, speed, energy, force, and others.
  • Test electronic units: Test electronic units using appropriate equipment. Gather and analyse data. Monitor and evaluate system performance and take action if needed.
  • React to events in time-critical environments: Monitor the situation around you and anticipate. Be ready to take quick and appropriate action in case of unexpected events.
  • Install electric switches: Prepare wires for installation in a switch. Wire the switch. Install it securely in the right location.
  • Use safety equipment in construction: Use elements of protective clothing such as steel-tipped shoes, and gear such as protective goggles, in order to minimise risk of accidents in construction and to mitigate any injury if an accident does occur.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of building electrician. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Electromechanics: The engineering processes that combine electrical and mechanical engineering in the application of electromechanics in devices that need electricity to create mechanical movement or devices that create electricity by mechanical movement.
  • Energy performance of buildings: Factors that contribute to lower energy consumption of buildings. Building and renovation techniques used to achieve this. Legislation and procedures regarding energy performance of buildings.
  • Electronics: The functioning of electronic circuit boards, processors, chips, and computer hardware and software, including programming and applications. Apply this knowledge to ensure electronic equipment runs smoothly.
  • Solar panel mounting systems: Different ways of setting up solar panels, such as pole mounting, where the panels are fixed to a surface, ballasted mounting, where weights are used to keep the panels in place, and solar tracking, where panels are mounted on a moving surface in order to follow the sun through the sky for optimal insolation.
  • Automation technology: Set of technologies that make a process, system, or apparatus operate automatically through the use of control systems.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of building electrician. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Answer requests for quotation: Make up prices and documents for the products that customers may purchase.
  • Solder electronics: Operate and use soldering tools and soldering iron, which supply high temperatures to melt the solder and to join electronic components.
  • Use sander: Use different types of drywall sanders, automatic or manual, handheld or on an extension, to sand surfaces to a smooth finish or to rough them up for better adhesion.
  • Troubleshoot: Identify operating problems, decide what to do about it and report accordingly.
  • Maintain electrical equipment: Test electrical equipment for malfunctions. Take safety measures, company guidelines, and legislation concerning electrical equipment into account. Clean, repair and replace parts and connections as required.
  • Assemble electrical components: Assemble switches, electrical controls, circuit boards and other electrical components by using hand and soldering equipment.
  • Assemble electronic units: Assemble and maintain electronic components and electronic circuits.
  • Work in a construction team: Work as part of a team in a construction project. Communicate efficiently, sharing information with team members and reporting to supervisors. Follow instructions and adapt to changes in a flexible manner.
  • Calculate needs for construction supplies: Take measurements on site and estimate the amount of materials required for the construction or restoration project.
  • Install circuit breakers: Install electrical switches designed to switch off automatically in case of an overload or short-circuit. Organise circuit breakers in the panel logically. Make sure no foreign objects are introduced into the panel. Use only circuit breakers approved for the panel, usually the same manufacturer.
  • Replace defect components: Remove defective parts and replace them with functioning components.
  • Install construction profiles: Install a variety of metal or plastic profiles used to attach materials to each other or to structural elements. Cut them to size if called for.
  • Keep personal administration: File and organise personal administration documents comprehensively.
  • Order construction supplies: Order required materials for the construction project, taking care to purchase the most suitable material for a good price.
  • Process incoming construction supplies: Receive incoming construction supplies, handle the transaction and enter the supplies into any internal administration system.
  • Repair wiring: Find faults in wires or cables by using specialised equipment and repair these faults depending on type of wiring.
  • Maintain electronic equipment: Check and repair electronic equipment. Detect malfunction, locate faults and take measures to prevent damage.
  • Cut wall chases: Cut a narrow channel in a wall or other partition in order to run cables through it. Cut the channel straight and without causing unnecessary damage. Be sure to avoid existent wires. Lead the cables through the chase and fill it up with the appropriate material.
  • Install lightning protection system: Fix the electrodes deep in the ground, fasten the metal conductors such as copper cables to the walls, and install the lightning conductor on the roof.
  • Keep records of work progress: Maintain records of the progress of the work including time, defects, malfunctions, etc.
  • Write inspection reports: Write the results and conclusions of the inspection in a clear and intelligible way. Log the inspection’s processes such as contact, outcome, and steps taken.
  • Program firmware: Program permanent software with a read-only memory (ROM) on a hardware device, such as an integrated circuit.
  • Demonstrate products’ features: Demonstrate how to use a product in a correct and safe manner, provide customers with information on the product’s main features and benefits, explain operation, correct use and maintenance. Persuade potential customers to purchase items.

ISCO group and title

7411 – Building and related electricians


References
  1. Building electrician – ESCO
  2. Electricians : Occupational Outlook Handbook – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  3. Maintenance Electrician Job Description – Betterteam
  4. Featured image: Photo by Emmanuel Ikwuegbu on Unsplash
Last updated on October 7, 2022

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