A layperson might ask what does an electrical contractor do differently than an electrician? The work of an electrician and an electrical contractor might not be distinguishable for a layperson. This article will discuss the differences between an electrical contractor and electrician, as well as what a licensed electrical contractor does, and their importance in the construction industry.
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What is an Electrical Contractor?
The simplest definition for an electrical contractor is a business person or firm that performs specialized electrical construction work. Usually, this work is related to the design, installation, and maintenance of the electrical system. The type of electrical system that they work on or with doesn’t matter, the work that they do does. Electrical contractors are responsible for making sure that those systems work effectively, safely, and most of the time in an environmentally friendly way. They are responsible for powering our world, and there are few projects that won’t need an electrical contractor to make sure everything works and all safety requirements are met.
What Does an Electrical Contractor Do?
Electrical contractors can do a variety of tasks, depending on their specialty. When an electrical contractor is hired for a project, they will start the project. Oftentimes, the electrical contractor will provide input into the constructability of the design, or submit a plan with a higher Level of Detail. This is crucial in starting construction. With an approved design, budget, permit, and liability insurance, the electrical contractor will begin scheduling out the work and start construction.
With an approved design and budget, the electrical contractor will schedule out the work and start construction, oftentimes utilizing an electrical contractor software to improve project management.
If the project is using the Integrated Labor Delivery project delivery method, then the electrical contractor will be very busy during the initial building and design phase. The benefit to the project and for the electrical contractor is substantial and can reduce rework or several issues during the build.
How Does an Electrical Contractor Differ from an Electrician?
An electrician is a person who is trained and usually licensed to perform electrical work. Electricians can choose to work for themselves, for other companies, or electrical contractors. So while an electrical contractor can mean the business, an electrician almost always means an individual. Many electricians will start as apprentices.
They might have gone to a trade school before starting as an apprenticeship program. Depending on the state, some apprentices have to get an apprentice license. After their training in electrical repair and installation, they are able to get their license and become a journeyman. Electricians can choose to further their continuing education and training and become masters in the electrical business.
Additionally, they have to pick what type of electrician they are going to be, whether they will work with high-voltage or low-voltage installations and management as well as if they are going to work outside or inside. These decisions will impact their careers, training, and licensing. Someone who has spent most of their life as an indoor low-voltage electrician will take on different jobs than an outside technician.
Jobs and Duties of Electrical Contractors and Electricians
An electrical contractor’s job and duties will differ based on the job requirements and their position within the company. An electrical project manager will perform project management-based duties. The electrical project manager can be expected to:
Plan the Project -> they will determine the steps necessary to acquire a permit and finish the job, while factoring in the timelines and resources for those steps.
Create Benchmarks -> set the benchmarks for checking success.
Distribute Resources -> schedule resources to be available during the appropriate part of the project.
Manage the Budget -> manage the budget to keep the project on target.
Manage Relationships -> these are the relationships with both the contracting staff and key stakeholders, such as the customer.
The electricians they work with will have a different set of responsibilities and duties depending on their position within the company and sometimes on company preferences as well. Different types of electricians and electrical workers will have different responsibilities.
Voice/Data/Video Electrical Contractors – these electricians and electrical contractors are also known as integrated building system electricians. They work with low-voltage systems like power controls, backup power, wireless networks, fiber optics, telecommunications, and security systems, and more.
Line Electrical Contractors – this is typically outside electrical work and usually includes high-voltage power for transmission and distribution lines at power plants or similar locations. They will make sure that power is getting to homes and buildings.
Inside Electrical Contractors – these contractors and electricians work within a property, they do cabling, installation, wiring, repair, and maintenance within a lot of different buildings.
Electrical contractors’ tasks vary from those of an electrician. While an electrician might work for an electrical contractor, that doesn’t make them the same.