Understanding the Role of a Commercial Electrician

Understanding the Role of a Commercial Electrician

Whether you are looking to train as an electrician or whether you are looking for an electrician for a job, it is important to understand the different types of electricians and the skills or experience that they may bring to a specific job.

Although it may seem that any electrician would do or that they are very similar to each other, there are in fact a wide range of differences. Just as different doctors may specialise in different areas of the human body whilst having general medical knowledge, electricians will also have general knowledge of the field but are likely to be specialists in different areas.

A commercial electrician can carve out a professional reputation for themselves by becoming known as a specialist in their field. This article will consider the role and the importance of the role of a commercial electrician, and how it differs from other roles.

Types of Electricians

There are a variety different types of electricians. The first distinction is between:

  • Inside electricians (wiremen)
  • Outside electricians (linemen)

Note: although these terms are gendered, an increasing number of electricians are women.

Wiremen are electricians who are specialists in working inside structures and buildings, working with the lower voltages that tend to be found in properties. Most commercial electricians are likely to be some sort of wiremen.

They specialise in installing maintaining and repairing electrical systems inside buildings. As the name may suggest, commercial electricians will specialise in working with such systems in commercial buildings, for example retail shops, offices, warehouses and other business premises.

Whereas linemen work indoors, wiremen work outdoors, on the higher voltages involved in electric transmission between properties, or even between towns and cities. This is more likely to be done by industrial electricians.

The second distinction is between:

  • Residential electricians
  • Commercial electricians
  • Industrial electricians

A commercial electrician is one that works with the electrical systems of businesses, rather than those of residential properties. Those are looked after by residential electricians.

The Role of a Commercial Electrician

Even within the role of a commercial electrician, there is a wide range of different specialities and tasks.

When a business is hiring a commercial electrician for a job, they must be careful to check that the electrician has the correct certifications and training to carry out the work, as well as the experience and the knowledge of the extra demands of commercial space.

Installing electrical systems in a residential property and a commercial property are two very different propositions.

Firstly, it is likely that there will be different legal requirements in terms of residential versus commercial properties. It is important for the commercial electrician to be aware of any local or national regulation with regards to electrical installation, as well as the needs of the business, which are usually more significant than for a residential property.

A shop, for example, will need to use more power than a home, so has different requirements. Many residential properties use single-phase installations, whereas many commercial properties will use multi-phases installations, which are more complex.

The role of a commercial electrician also has an extra aspect of public safety. Whereas of course safety is always vital when working with electricity, it is even more so in commercial properties, where members of the public are often coming and going during the day.

It is likely therefore that a commercial electrician is likely to find themselves regularly doing larger jobs than would a residential electrician, with a greater need for planning.

Indeed, planning is a greater part of the job for a commercial electrician in particular. This is the case for example when new office buildings or shops are being built.  If a number of office buildings are being built together at the same location, or a number of shops next to each, there will be considerable planning in how the electrical installation will take place for each individual business as well as the buildings as a whole.

The role of a commercial electrician therefore would suit a skilled and experience electrician who wants the challenge of a greater role than just installation and maintenance in smaller, easier, residential properties.

The commercial electrician may be asked to install or repair a wide range of different types of system. As well as installing the basic electrical systems that we would expect – plug sockets, lighting etc., – a commercial electrician may also be asked to install heating and cooling systems, specialist electronic systems, fire safety systems and security systems.

The role of a commercial electrician is a much more varied on than that of a residential electrician, and a commercial electrician can probably expect more variety in their daily work than many other electricians.

This means that customers looking to hire a commercial electrician can probably expect to find someone who has a wide range of experience in different systems, and who are likely to be able to rise to any challenge.

A commercial engineer may also specialise in internal electrical work in large factories, dealing with potentially higher voltages and more complex systems, such as repairing large machines or transformers within commercial properties.

Commercial electricians will usually cost more to hire, and such electricians are able to charge more for their services than is the case for residential electricians. However, this is generally good value for money, as they bring with them the extra skill and knowledge that is required for commercial electrical work that comes with dealing with more complex equipment and a wider range of legislative codes.

Commercial electricians will have the knowledge and experience of working with more complex blueprints than can usually be found in commercial properties, as well as how to interpret and work with them.


Commercial electricians fulfil a very important role in the planning, installation, maintenance and repair of electrical systems in commercial properties.

They can charge a premium for their services over residential electricians due to their increased skill and knowledge.

About Amanda

I love to buy a lot of products for the home, and dissect them out. I split them into duds and winners, and share the findings here on my site. As a reader of my site, I'm aiming for your next purchase to be an informed and inspired one.

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