Can you imagine the headlines if that were true! Would you allow a hair dresser to perform brain surgery on you? They might do a great job of making your head look pretty afterwards, right? How about your local mechanic, would you allow him or her to represent you in court when you have been wrongly accused of a crime? They might throw a spanner in the works at least!

Joking aside, when there is a specialist job to be done which carries any degree of risk, death, ill health, prison, whatever the case. You would check the credentials of the person whom you employ to help you through that situation and to ensure they can do so safely, professionally and lawfully. Wouldn’t you? I know I would.

Do you carry out the same level of background checking when selecting a tradesperson? Do you check both the contractor’s licence and the licence of the person the contractor sends to carry out the work? Often they are not the same person and having an electrical license doesn’t automatically allow you to contract electrical work. It is important to check both to ensure unlicensed electricians are not operating under the guise of their employers contractor licence. This obviously carries a risk to you and your loved ones as well as your property. It can also have implications to the contractors insurances, you know that document that tells you they are covered for up to 20 million public liability? Yeah that’s probably invalid……. Guess who is shelling out when it all goes pear shaped?

The sad fact is, this is reality. The market is so price driven at the moment that trades companies are doing all they can to save a few dollars where they can. Every year NSW Fair Trading receives and investigates over 200 complaints of unlicensed work being carried out in NSW. The vision of this company you have in your head right now is probably one of a shady looking old character, in an old clapped out van with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth……………WRONG, okay there probably is one or two like that but, it happens in the most unsuspecting of places. Reputable companies are known to be operating using this scheme in Sydney and greater NSW, all in the name of saving a few dollars, but at what cost?

NSW Fair Trading insists: An electrical licence is required before any electrical wiring work can be undertaken in NSW, regardless of the cost of the work and regardless of whether the work is residential, commercial or industrial. Under their definition, electrical work encompasses the manufacturing, constructing, installing, testing, maintaining, repairing, altering, removing or replacing of any electrical equipment. If you are unsure if your electrician, or any other tradesperson for that matter is licenced or not, you can check their licence status on Fair Trading NSW website. The link to the portal is here

The more information you have, name/company/post code etc, the easier it is to check. However, a person’s full name is enough to run a check. You should always ask a tradesperson for their ID before they enter your home for various other reasons anyway, which we will not go into right now (that’s a blog for another day) Ask them straight up to see their licence. Any licenced tradie would be more than happy to show it to you and, as an electrician who is licenced, we actually appreciate the fact that people are diligent about the matter. After all, we work hard and follow rules to have the right to hold the licence in the first place. We’re proud of our trade!

If you know or suspect an unlicensed tradesperson operating in NSW, please report them to fair trading. You may just save a life or at the very least, save someone a lot of money when it all goes wrong. Stay safe.

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