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    Default Electrical work, US versus Oz

    Does any one know why it appears you can do a large percentage of your own electrical work in the US, or at least that is the impression I get after reading Fine Home Building, and why you can't change a pendant fitting here in Australia. Even though most electrical equipment can be bought from Mitre 10 or an electrical wholesaler, no questions asked?

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    You will find at Bunnings in the electrical section clear notices to the effect that installation of electrical cable and fittings sold at their store must be performed by a licensed electrical worker.
    Juan


    "If the enemy is in range, so are you."

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    1K Club Member Master Splinter's Avatar
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    The quick answer to your question is - lobbying from special interest groups.

    Can someone go and stick some extra beer in the fridge? I'm'a gunna sit down and watch....

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    Yeah its a bone of contention with the CHIEF ELECTRICAL INSPECTORS OFFICE here in Vic for a while now
    They have been trying to stop Hardware store stocking electrical goods and it will come one day.

    The compromise was the sign saying all electrical work must be done by a qualified person

    Incidental a bunning store worker in Queensland got sued last year for giving someone advice on wiring in a power point that they bought from Bunnings.
    The customer when home and electrocuted himself and then sued bunnings for giving unqualified advice.

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    most wholesalers these days will give zero advice for the same reason, it only takes one clown to make a mistake and sue.

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    I guess most people on this forum would understand how dangerous it can be, but heck we all use circular saws and chainsaws without a license.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Notsquare View Post
    I guess most people on this forum would understand how dangerous it can be, but heck we all use circular saws and chainsaws without a license.
    However, if we make a mistake with a power tool now, it will only injure those in the vicinity at the time, who knew the risk that they were taking, and had the option to walk off if they felt it was unsafe.

    With lectricity, you could make a not immediately fatal mistake in fixed wiring today (say broken earth to a pp), sell the property in five years time to someone who has also made a not imediately fatal mistake in an appliance, and when the mistakes accumulate someone gets fried.

    Similar caper with plumbers and drainers, lots of DIY people seem to manage to dump stormwater into sewers. Get some persistant wet weather and there's sewer manhole covers popping and brown and white stuff all over the ground.

    No particular barrow to push myself, but its amazing how many people know enough to create a hazard, but not enough to recognise it. As an example, I spent 15 years as the Lab Manager for the media training section of one of Melbournes big uni's. Among duties was inspection and issuing of loan equipment for student radio, film and TV productions.

    One production group booked out a big 3 phase panel light array for a weekend and bought it back on the Monday, without the three phase connection. In its place were three lengths of 7 amp figure 8 lamp cord with 240 V sockets fitted, and a group of extension leads with 240V male plugs on both ends. Neither the culprit nor the supervising tutor could understand the problem that they had created.

    Remember when you could get piggyback plug/socket combos years ago? Some groups in the community decided that since they were so good on one end of an extension cord, it would be fabulous if they were on both ends, as they could run the cord out without having to get the plug and socket at the right end. Pity about the live pins hanging at the load end.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Master Splinter View Post
    Can someone go and stick some extra beer in the fridge? I'm'a gunna sit down and watch....
    And pizza. Don't forget the pizza.
    Cheers,

    Bob

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    --Dr George Macakness (1806)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Notsquare View Post
    Does any one know why it appears you can do a large percentage of your own electrical work in the US, or at least that is the impression I get after reading Fine Home Building, and why you can't change a pendant fitting here in Australia. Even though most electrical equipment can be bought from Mitre 10 or an electrical wholesaler, no questions asked?
    In some states in the US (not all states), homeowners are permitted to do their own electrical work, provided that they have an appropriate permit.

    The US electrical system is somewhat more difficult compared to the IEC system, which Australia uses. The US electrical regs is known as the NEC (National Electrical Code). The NEC can be viewed online at;

    http://www.nfpa.org/itemDetail.asp?c...NEC%20Editions

    Enjoy .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Notsquare View Post
    Does any one know why it appears you can do a large percentage of your own electrical work in the US, or at least that is the impression I get after reading Fine Home Building, and why you can't change a pendant fitting here in Australia. Even though most electrical equipment can be bought from Mitre 10 or an electrical wholesaler, no questions asked?
    In answer to your question, yes and you would as well if you did a search for this question is raised at least every couple of months.


    Peter.

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    Never mind the USA, different voltage and (personal opinion, and with all due respect), lousy system designed to run a few light globes. So how about NZ? Same voltage, same CODE even. One country you're allowed to do a significant amount of electrical work, the other country absolutely nothing. Explain that one

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete F View Post
    Never mind the USA, different voltage and (personal opinion, and with all due respect), lousy system designed to run a few light globes. So how about NZ? Same voltage, same CODE even. One country you're allowed to do a significant amount of electrical work, the other country absolutely nothing. Explain that one
    NZ has the same voltage & code as where? Australia?

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    Quote Originally Posted by elkangorito View Post
    NZ has the same voltage & code as where? Australia?
    Sure does, there a few differences such as labelling where cables enter buildings.

    Stupid isn't it.. bloody safety rules hidden away in standards australia. It's like hiding the CPR info in medical textbooks just so nobody gets hurt by someone doing it wrong...

    Pulse

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pulse View Post
    Sure does, there a few differences such as labelling where cables enter buildings.

    Stupid isn't it.. bloody safety rules hidden away in standards australia. It's like hiding the CPR info in medical textbooks just so nobody gets hurt by someone doing it wrong...Pulse
    Yes, it is stupid. And BTW, I do know that Aus & NZ regs are similar, thus the standards called AS/NZ blah blah.

    The only real differences between Oz & Kiwi regs are ambient temps .

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    Quote Originally Posted by malb View Post
    Remember when you could get piggyback plug/socket combos years ago? Some groups in the community decided that since they were so good on one end of an extension cord, it would be fabulous if they were on both ends, as they could run the cord out without having to get the plug and socket at the right end. Pity about the live pins hanging at the load end.
    Yeah it was a sad day when they banded those
    I worked in the audio production area before going back to my trade as a Sparkie
    Banning the plugs in question made it hard to rig lights and chain amplifiers etc
    Banded just because some idiot decided to put the same plug on each end of an extension cord and liven himself up.

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    Of the electrocutions that occur in Australia, I would certainly like to know how many are caused by dodgy appliance (dis)repairs/extension cords/etc etc all of which a person can legally do themselves. Apparently as long as it's not part of the fixed wiring 240v is quite safe

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    Quote Originally Posted by elkangorito View Post
    The only real differences between Oz & Kiwi regs are ambient temps .
    And they change all the vowels in the NZ regs
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS][FONT=Arial][COLOR=blue][I][B]Learn from the mistakes of others. You canít live long enough to make them all yourself. [B]

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete F View Post
    Of the electrocutions that occur in Australia, I would certainly like to know how many are caused by dodgy appliance (dis)repairs/extension cords/etc etc all of which a person can legally do themselves. Apparently as long as it's not part of the fixed wiring 240v is quite safe
    Good question. And while you are asking questions, ask what proportion of the fatalities are qualified and licensed electricians - you might be surprised by the percentage. (The answer can be found on the web).

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    Help us out Chris. Is this a serious problem are people both professional and diy getting fried regularly?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Notsquare View Post
    Help us out Chris. Is this a serious problem are people both professional and diy getting fried regularly?
    The overall fatality rate is very low, have a look at this thread for some numbers.

    http://www.woodworkforums.ubeaut.com...ad.php?t=51292

    For electrical fatality figures in Australia, you can go the the various State/Territory electrical authorities web sites for annual fatality figures. The figures are very low, and very "noisy" (i.e. they vary a lot from year to year) but some years electricians made up about 50% of the fatalities.

    As to the causes, it is hard to tell from the figures. A crane driver dying after hitting an overhead power line counts as an electrical fatality. This that an electrical wiring fault?

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    Watched Holmes On Homes last night and his electrical nightmare.

    Landlord recently had to have a repair to kitchen normal bayonet type and dinning room down lights lights wired to same dimmer switch.

    In 6 months we had 6x2 lots of bayonet globes blow and 2x2 sets of down globes blow. Flickering etc over 8 months.

    Electrician came and had trouble sorting wiring out.
    All was the for separate switches which he put in doing away with the dimmer altogether.
    He couldn't understand why the electrician who wired the place had installed it that way saying they should have been on separate switches with a dimmer only on the dinning down lights.

    Then he repaired the ceiling plug in the garage for the garage door opener it was hanging loose, he had to come back the next day to fix it again.
    He the licensed electrician hadn't attached the earth wire correctly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Notsquare View Post
    Does any one know why it appears you can do a large percentage of your own electrical work in the US, or at least that is the impression I get after reading Fine Home Building, and why you can't change a pendant fitting here in Australia. Even though most electrical equipment can be bought from Mitre 10 or an electrical wholesaler, no questions asked?

    The regulations vary from state to state in the US so you have 50 possibilities.

    However, I have personally been across the 110/120V 60 Hz from the US AND the 220/240V 50 Hz from Australia and I can unequivocally state that being in contact with the Aussie mains shakes you harder but a slower rate.


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    People in high risk situations are naturally going to have a statistically higher incidence of electrocution, however it is still remarkably low when compared to other forms of job related death.

    I have just purchased a new house and was shocked to find that, in spite of what seems to be reasonably recent electrical work, there was no RCD fitted. Personally I feel they should be absolutely mandatory in every house, not just new houses.

    The government and its agencies can bury their heads in the sand and claim that fixed electrical work is only done by appropriately licensed people, which we all know is absolute BS. I think the regs in NZ make a lot more sense, though maybe make DIY work contingent on having an RCD fitted. While they may not provide 100% protection, they certainly go a long way.

    Dream over

    The regulations vary from state to state in the US so you have 50 possibilities.
    Isn't the NEC generally followed?

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    Well I think we have two issues here: whether any regulations are needed at all; and whether the regulations as they stand are working.

    People get these two issues mixed up when they argue that the current regulations are not working and so therefore we should get rid of them.
    "I don't practice what I preach because I'm not the kind of person I'm preaching to."

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    Lets really heat things up shall we. How do I sharpen the end of the copper wire and then hook up a GPO to it. Should I use the scary sharp method and buff or water stones and ceramic. Wondering if a micro bevel will increase resistance. Which should I sharpen first the green and yellow or the brown wire. SHould I disconnect the wires first if I use water stones...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toolin Around View Post
    Lets really heat things up shall we. How do I sharpen the end of the copper wire and then hook up a GPO to it. Should I use the scary sharp method and buff or water stones and ceramic. Wondering if a micro bevel will increase resistance. Which should I sharpen first the green and yellow or the brown wire. SHould I disconnect the wires first if I use water stones...
    Toolin,

    I hope you are kidding...
    If not, I wouldn't advice sharpening copper on a water stone as it may clog the stone

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toolin Around View Post
    Which should I sharpen first the green and yellow or the brown wire. ..
    Definitely the green and yellow first, then you will have a good earth.



    Peter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sturdee View Post
    Definitely the green and yellow first, then you will have a good earth.



    Peter.
    i'd disagree with that, unless you are intending to connect it before you bevel/sharpen the others.

    the longer the copper is exposed to the atmosphere the more likelihood corrosion will build up [only minutely in say... 5 minutes] which increases the resistance of the join.

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    I can't see how you can get three colours wrong. I wonder what these brown and blue wires do?

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    I must say this version of the Great Electrical Rules Debate has been a fizzle.
    Cheers,

    Bob

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    New regulations due in next year means that DIY'ers in NZ won't be able to do any electrical work - same as Oz.
    The goverment's also gone one step further in that all houses need to be built by qualified builders so it's goodbye to the owner builder from late 2008.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tims View Post
    The goverment's also gone one step further in that all houses need to be built by qualified builders so it's goodbye to the owner builder from late 2008.
    It's not long to go here either....

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    As was said in a humorous vein above the primary technical difference is the voltage - 240-250 volts vs 110 volts. It is a little more complex than just that difference, but getting zapped at 110 is way less damaging and less injurious than electrocution by higher voltages such as 240-250.

    I lived and worked in the US for some time. The regulatory environment in the US states varies widely, but generally when compared to Australia is compliance based rather than using licensing of the installers. So anyone can do the work - but only licensed people can certify the work as compliant with statutory rules and regulations. This is so for residential building work as well as for electrical & plumbing work.

    In the case of electrical installations it is usually OK to run cables and even connect GPOs and fittings - but they are left exposed and unconnected to any power source until inspection by an authorised certifier (who are often electricians who will do the work too). In some states that final connection must be done by the certifier or another authorised person.

    That approach makes a slot of sense. Here we have the history of guilds who convinced governments to regulate to protect employment and business rather than to be most efficient and effective and bureaucracies that were established then maintained to oversee all the rules & regulations.

    Like all legislation it comes in too easily and is damn hard to remove - as Sir Humphrey Appleby says: public services have engines of a Rolls Royce and brakes of a billy cart. Even the changes made to try to get rid of the bureaucratic overload have have made things worse. The building trades especially are restricted and the closed shop of the trades even more constrained while owner builders are a dying breed as it is made all too hard to comply.

    A compliance-based system would be a better way to go - but how do individuals compete against organised lobby groups to get fairness in legislation?

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    In the case of electrical installations it is usually OK to run cables and even connect GPOs and fittings - but they are left exposed and unconnected to any power source until inspection by an authorised certifier
    In the case of NSW, you can do that, but only if you are under the direct supervision of a qualified person and that person must be on site at all times that you are doing the work.

    I think it's all too hard for governments to implement anything more flexible. The way things stand, the licensed person is responsible for the work they do. If there is a problem, they have to fix it. They are self-certifying, so no other party can be held accountable. If you introduce a system that lets an unlicensed person do the work and have it certified by someone else, then you introduce another party into the equation. This way, all the onus is on the licensed person. I think this is the way things are heading in general.
    "I don't practice what I preach because I'm not the kind of person I'm preaching to."

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    Can anyone in Queensland verify this please? About 6 years ago I was talking to a "Handyman" ie he worked as a professional handyman doing minor building type jobs and maintenance. He told me he had a special permit that allowed him to install a new replacement hot water service ie both the electrical and plumbing side of things provided he was connecting to existing supply and not installing new pipework or connecting to the fuse board. He did say that although it was intended he only replace in existing location he intimated he could put it elsewhere so long as he connected back to the original supply point at the old location. I haven't been able to find out how you can do such a course and if it is in fact valid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wombat2 View Post
    Can anyone in Queensland verify this please? About 6 years ago I was talking to a "Handyman" ie he worked as a professional handyman doing minor building type jobs and maintenance. He told me he had a special permit that allowed him to install a new replacement hot water service ie both the electrical and plumbing side of things provided he was connecting to existing supply and not installing new pipework or connecting to the fuse board. He did say that although it was intended he only replace in existing location he intimated he could put it elsewhere so long as he connected back to the original supply point at the old location. I haven't been able to find out how you can do such a course and if it is in fact valid.
    Go here:

    http://www.deir.qld.gov.au/electrica...x.htm#restrict

    According to the website - there is a national restricted licensing system, see the link at the bottom of the page.
    Last edited by Sideshow; 2nd Nov 2007 at 11:04 AM. Reason: add further info

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    Thanks Sideshow

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sideshow View Post
    Go here:

    http://www.deir.qld.gov.au/electrica...x.htm#restrict

    According to the website - there is a national restricted licensing system, see the link at the bottom of the page.
    There is a Restricted Electrical License but it is hard as hell to get. I was talking to a TAFE teacher that ran the course and he said that there was a lot of people that did the course but couldn't get the license. Even instances like sparkies offsiders not being able to get it.
    Have a nice day - Cheers


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    Default 2 phase 220v in the U.S

    hi all, having read all the posts so far..
    I did the restricted electrical licence course in Melbourne. I didn't go on to get the licence cause its such a pain in the ???? to keep hold of. I work as a transport refrigeration tech. The licence would of been restricted to this occupation only. Which is fair enough. They wanted you to buy the compliance certificates and fill out and log at least one out a month.
    These were $5 a pop, and my boss didn't want to go there. Furthermore the course points out that you don't need a licence to plug in and work on things not part of the hard wiring. So as stanby refrigeration on a truck plugs in to 3 phase. I'm allowed to work on it. Similar with any appliance that plugs in.
    -next thing, in the UK you can do you own electrical work and plumbing etc.. apparently its soon to be changed to like here. They have fuses in there appliance plugs from 3 to 13 amps. All sockets there are 13 amp outlets. A nice 3120watts

    - I was looking at the web for a travel plug adapter for morocco. There was a nerdy web site that showed every plug and socket of the world. Anyway they said the yanks have 220V two phase, to operate things like fridges, washers etc.. any experience of this? only four countries had the wisdom to have 240v 60hz. All the Germans fault for 50hz. Check out this site for all you need to know

    http://users.pandora.be/worldstandards/electricity.htm

    Paul

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    Paul, Yes they do have 2phase 220V in the US. Two 110V actives, 180 degrees phase difference, with a common neutral. Used for "High Power" loads like stoves, heatershot water etc. Seems to be derived from the pole transformers using a centre tapped 220V winding, with the centre tap being the common neutral. Because it has 180 degrees phase difference between actives, its possible to bridge loads between actives like bridging audio amps into high powered speakers, giving up to 4 times the load power for a given voltage and current capacity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by malb View Post
    Paul, Yes they do have 2phase 220V in the US. Two 110V actives, 180 degrees phase difference, with a common neutral. Used for "High Power" loads like stoves, heatershot water etc. Seems to be derived from the pole transformers using a centre tapped 220V winding, with the centre tap being the common neutral. Because it has 180 degrees phase difference between actives, its possible to bridge loads between actives like bridging audio amps into high powered speakers, giving up to 4 times the load power for a given voltage and current capacity.
    I'm sorry but the USA does not have a 2 phase 220v supply, which is derived from a transformer. The only way that a true 2 phase supply can be produced is by rotating machinery or electronics. In this case, each phase will be 90 degrees out-of-phase with respect to each other.

    The US manufactures its' electricity, like Australia does, in 3 phases, each 120 electrical degrees apart. Each phase-to-phase voltage is 208v. Each phase-to-neutral voltage is 120v. The centre tap (split phase) transformer you speak of, only delivers 110v (120v) single phase with respect to neutral since both supply windings are 180 degrees apart. Both of these '180 degrees out-of-phase' transformer legs will produce a net 0v if vectorially (phasor) summated, therefore they cannot be used to supply a "2 phase" load.

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    So how do they get the 220V that they talk of?

    Mick
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    tomorrow you will have paid for it and not have it."

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    Default USA electrical system

    The following only applies to the USA.

    Firstly, are we talking single or multi phases?


    Transformer supply - 3 wire (AKA Split Phase supply).
    1] 240v centre tap with dissimilar ends connected - phase to phase = 240v
    phase to neutral = 120v

    2] 240v centre tap with similar ends connected - phase to phase = 0v
    phase to neutral = 120v


    Transformer supply - 2 wire (single phase).
    1] phase to phase = n/a.
    phase to neutral = 120v or 277v.

    Transformer supply - 3 phase 3 wire (Corner Grounded Delta, Open Delta & Ungrounded Delta).
    1] phase to phase - 240v, 480v & 600v.
    phase to neutral - n/a.

    Transformer supply - 3 phase 3 wire (Ungrounded Star).
    1] phase to phase - 480v & 600v.
    phase to neutral - n/a.

    Transformer supply - 3 phase 4 wire (Grounded Star).
    1] phase to phase - 208v, 480v & 600v.
    phase to neutral - 120v, 277v & 347v.

    Transformer supply - 3 phase 4 wire (Centre Tap Grounded Delta & Centre Tap Grounded Open Delta).
    1] phase to phase - 240v.
    phase to neutral - 120v (A & C phases), 208v (B phase to neutral - High Leg).



    General purpose Australian electrical supplies use Delta (Primary)/Star (Secondary) transformers (3 phase) & subsequently have a simpler voltage/phase arrangement compared to that of the USA. Australia does not generally use 2 phase loads, which must not be confused with "split phase" loads or "split phase" transformers.

  44. #44
    Member rileyp's Avatar
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    There is a simple reason why you can go to bunnings and buy powerpoints.
    Its called restriction of trade.
    This is illegal in Australia.
    The powerpoint by itself is harmless and so is on the shelf.
    Its the wannabe sparky thats dangerous!
    If powerpoints were to be taken off the shelf everything else would have to be too!
    Eg knives petrol long pieces of wood etc.

  45. #45
    A Member of the Holy Trinity silentC's Avatar
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    True, there's no law against buying power points. The legislation covers the installation of them, not the purchase.

    It's no different for plumbing fittings - you don't need a license to buy the stuff. You can buy gas fittings, sewer fittings. You can buy a hot water system - even get it delivered to your house. What you can't do is connect it yourself.
    "I don't practice what I preach because I'm not the kind of person I'm preaching to."

  46. #46
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    to be fair, if all the light fittings and powerpoints and what not that were sold in australia were all installed by electricians, we'ed need about double the number of sparkies we have now, or a 12 month waiting list and $250 call out fee LOL!

    imagine how hard it would be to get a plumber if all the washers in australia had to be replaced by journeyman plumbers - -the joint would grind to a halt

  47. #47
    A Member of the Holy Trinity silentC's Avatar
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    if all the light fittings and powerpoints and what not that were sold in australia were all installed by electricians
    I bet not even half of the ones sold places like Bunnies are. The NSW government would be pretty naive to believe that no-one ever does their own wiring. As has been said, if they were concerned about it, they'd crack down on retailers.

    It is nuts to think that you need a plumber to change a tap washer. I'm not 100% sure on that - I've never found anything like the Electricity Act that covers plumbing. You're not allowed to contract without a license, but I can't find anything that says you can't do plumbing work on your own home. Doesn't mean it doesn't exist, but I've yet to see it.

    Yes there is already a shortage of sparkys and plumbers. If everyone did it by the book, well I just don't think it would happen because you'd never get a trade to come around to all the little jobs.
    "I don't practice what I preach because I'm not the kind of person I'm preaching to."

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by silentC View Post
    It is nuts to think that you need a plumber to change a tap washer.
    Actually I believe you no longer do. I understand there was an amendment to the legislation which allowed home-owners to conduct "minor" maintenance on their own properties or tenants to conduct the same extent of maintenance following permission from the landlord. Minor maintenance would include such things as replacing tap washers, fitting new shower heads and water saving devices. However I could, as usual, be talking out my clacker.

  49. #49
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    As I said previously

    Quote Originally Posted by nev25 View Post
    Yeah its a bone of contention with the CHIEF ELECTRICAL INSPECTORS OFFICE here in Vic for a while now
    They have been trying to stop Hardware store stocking electrical goods and it will come one day.

    The compromise was the sign saying all electrical work must be done by a qualified person

    Incidental a bunnings store worker in Queensland got sued last year for giving someone advice on wiring in a power point that they bought from Bunnings.
    The customer when home and electrocuted himself and then sued bunnings for giving unqualified advice.

    I also don't believe thee is a shortage of tradesmen.

    I'm an electrical contractor (admittedly in the country) but my phone doesn't ring everyday and I don't have work everyday.

    What there is a shortage of is honest and genuine people that pay there bills and pay them on time.

    I currently have 3 customers that Ive got legal proceedings against
    The first one is for only $445 they just simply didn't pay and wouldn't answer the phone when I rang to ask for payment.

    Why would a trademan take on small Domestic work when they have to spend more time and money chasing payment when they could be working for a builder or big company that pay within a few days of completion.

  50. #50
    A Member of the Holy Trinity silentC's Avatar
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    I also don't believe thee is a shortage of tradesmen.
    Why would a trademan take on small Domestic work ...
    Perhaps this is why people think there is a shortage. Maybe what we have is a shortage of tradesmen prepared to take on the small jobs.

    When I needed a sparky in Sydney for a kitchen rewire, it took me three goes to get someone to even come to look at the job that's after trying the two guys recommended by the kitchen place. The guy who did eventually come couldn't get out quick enough, did a crap job, and wouldn't come back to finish it.

    Fortunately, I know a retired sparky down here, so I get him to do my work.
    "I don't practice what I preach because I'm not the kind of person I'm preaching to."

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