Doing your own electrical work

What electrical work can you do yourself?

There is a limited amount of electrical work you can do when wiring in your own home. This is listed in Regulation 57 of the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010 and includes:

  • Replacing switches, socket outlets, lamp holders, ceiling roses, water heater switches, thermostats and elements.
  • Repairing light fittings.
  • Moving, repairing or replacing flexible cords connected to permanently connected outlets or ceiling roses.
  • Disconnecting and reconnecting permanently wired appliances.
  • Moving switches, sockets and lighting outlets, but only if they are wired with tough plastic-sheathed cables.
  • Installing, extending, or altering any cables (except the main cables that come from the street to your switchboard). You have to get the finished job checked and tested by a licensed electrical inspector. You cannot connect your work to the electricity supply yourself. The inspector will connect it, test it, and issue you with a Certificate of Compliance (see below) if it complies with safety requirements.
  • Fitting plugs, cord extension sockets or appliance connectors to a flexible cord.
  • Replacing fuse wires and fuse cartridges.
  • Repairing appliances.

Before you do any work yourself, make sure that you are familiar with Electrical Code of Practice 51.

You can repair an appliance, but…

  • You, or a close relative, must own it,
  • It must be for use by you or a close relative,
  • It must not be for commercial or industrial use,
  • The work is carried out in accordance with the requirements of ECP 50.

Remember

  • Before you start work, make sure that the appliance is unplugged from the electricity supply.  It is dangerous to work on it if it is connected.
  • If the appliance is permanently connected to an electricity supply, ensure that the mains power is switched off before commencing work.

If you do decide to do some electrical DIY, make sure:

  • You have the necessary knowledge and skills.
  • The power is turned off.
  • You are not anywhere where conductors or terminals are live or could become live.

Doing your own wiring

When doing work on wiring in your home, you must:

  • Make sure that the power is switched off before you start.
  • Ensure that you do not work in any enclosure where conductors or terminals are live or could become live.
  • Ensure that if you install, extend or alter cables, you do not connect your work to the electricity supply yourself.  The finished job must be checked and tested by a licensed electrical inspector.  If it complies with safety requirements, the inspector will connect it, test it, and issue you with a Certificate of Compliance.
  • Never do any work on a switchboard apart from replacing fuse wire or fuse cartridges.

Important

  • Employers, employees, landlords, tenants and school staff (including caretakers) cannot carry out electrical work in their work place or any rented property unless they are registered electrical workers and hold current practicing licenses.

The owner of an electrical appliance may do any prescribed electrical work, or assist in doing any prescribed electrical work, in relation to that appliance under certain circumstances. Refer to section 80 of the Electricity Act 1992 for the detail of this exemption. This work must be done in accordance with Electrical Code of Practice 50.

If you are unsure about anything or think you might have made a mistake, make sure the main switch is off, and call a licensed electrician to check your work and correct it if necessary. If you do work that is unsafe you could seriously injure yourself or a member of your family or cause an electrically initiated fire. Furthermore you could be prosecuted and fined, if you commit an offence and fail to comply with the electricity legislation

Work that must be done by a licensed electrician

Any work not appearing in the list above must be done by a licensed electrician. This is a person registered by the Electrical Workers Registration Board (EWRB).

For any new work done, the electrician must issue you a Certificate of Compliance (CoC), a copy of which is also sent to the EWRB. The CoC is an assurance that the work has been done to New Zealand’s electrical and safety standards. Keep the CoC safe. You may need it for an insurance claim or when you are selling your house.

A CoC is not required for maintenance work such as replacing sockets and light fittings.

Note that you are not permitted to do any work on a switchboard, apart from replacing fuse wire or fuse cartridges.