What it Takes to be a Commercial Electrician

electrician 1These days, commercial venues are often utilized for corporate events and conferences, and with the increasing number of commercial buildings being constructed each year, the demand for commercial electricians are at an all-time high.

What makes commercial electricians different from regular electricians? Well, because the regular work of commercial electricians requires dealing with the complex electrical systems of large commercial buildings, the required education and experience are higher for commercial electricians.

Most have an associate degree, and to be licensed, they are often required to put in extensive experience through apprenticeships. In most states, a license is required before one can handle any kind of electrical installation, much less offer such services to the public. The educational requirements are often quite rigorous, requiring completion of a prescribed curriculum that is approved by national standards, as well as the mastery of electric training standards. And even after finishing a complete commercial electrician’s educational background, one is still required to successfully finish an apprenticeship program.

There are also physical demands to being a commercial electrician – including visual acuity (and the ability to discern color), have the physical stamina to climb up and down ladders and lift heavy equipment while still being able to do delicate electrical work at close range. Algebraic skills are important because one often needs to do quick calculations, and a familiarity with the principles of hydraulics and pneumatics is helpful. Basically, the educational and experiential requirements before one can be licensed as a commercial electrician are such that when fully qualified, one can easily handle various electrical work with ease, whether it is dealing with power generators, alarm systems, lighting requirements, audiovisual equipment, commercial wiring systems, electrical codes, motor systems, and even gas delivery systems.


So, imagine that you are planning on holding a conference for a set number of people that will take place over several days. The events of this conference would include speeches, audiovisual shows, cameras, lighted signs, computers and other IT equipment, lectures and training, dining areas, and even provisions for musical entertainment and dancing. To be able to pull off a big event such as this, one needs the assistance of a professional electrician who can handle all the electrical requirements for each event, can do so quickly and efficiently, and at the same time keep all electrical wirings and installations safe for the public. This is not the kind of job that one can simply play at if they are even allowed to do so at all. Most states require a person to be a licensed electrician before one can even do any kind of electrical work.

It is projected that the job growth for all electricians will grow to over 14 percent in the ten-year period leading up to 2024, with a corresponding increase in salary rates. And because the growth in construction of commercial buildings is higher than that of residential construction, joining the field of commercial electrical work is a good career move for any aspiring electrician, or even for electricians who are already delivering general electrical work. Commercial electrical work has already been flagged as white-hot in the job market, and one of the top 10 hottest technical vocations in the United States.

Top Electrical Safety Practices for Events and Conferences

Dealing with or working with electricity is always a dangerous proposition. If you are not an electrician yourself, it might be difficult to identify potential electrical hazards without the professional advice or assistance of a licensed electrical contractor.

Even if you are only working incidentally with electricity, such as when you are setting up a specific venue for an event or a conference, it is always good to practice safe electrical practices whenever possible. Of course, the number one priority is to hire a licensed electrical contractor to help you set up and check your electrical systems and wiring, but on a personal level, you might also want to start with good practices in dealing with electricity yourself. In this area, mistakes can be fatal. Electricity can cause burns and shock, and it can also kill. This article contains some of the more basic safety practices when dealing with electricity.


  • Regular maintenance of electrical equipment and installation

Many of the problems you might find yourself facing could possibly be handled preventively – that is, by keeping our equipment well-maintained and in good shape, and making repairs immediately when necessary. By doing so, plenty of potential electrical and fire hazards are eliminated automatically.

  • Don’t overload your sockets.

If at all possible, alternative sources of power should be offered different people so that they do not overcrowd and overuse any available sockets and plugs. Ask your electrician  how you can safely offer different power sources to your guests while keeping down the electrical risks of overloading your sockets.


  • Use safety devices such as the RCD, or the Residual Current Device

The RCD is intended to be a safety device that attaches directly to the main socket-outlet. This offers a first level of protection to the main power supply cable. How it works is that should there be any fluctuations or faults in the electrical system, the RCD detects this and switches off the power supply.

Many electricians appreciate the use of an RCD as it prevents basic electrical problems from worsening before a professional has had to check things out. It is a very valuable safety device that is recommended for establishments or events where a professional electrician is not always present. It is recommended that the system not be turned back on again until after it has been checked out by a professional electrical contractor.

Just an additional word regarding RCDs, however. It may sometimes happen that an RCD trips frequently, but no discernible problem could be found in the system. If so, it may be a problem with the safety device itself rather than with the electrical system. When this happens, it may be a mechanical issue with the device itself, and you should consult with the manufacturer.

  • Common electrical safety practices

Sometimes practicing electrical safety means nothing more than being observant of your equipment and the people around you, and practicing general safety tips. For instance:

  • Anybody working with electricity or electrical equipment must be fully qualified to do so.
  • Switch off all electrical equipment before plugging or unplugging them
  • When handling, repairing, or making adjustments to any electrical equipment, make sure that the device is unplugged
  • Make sure dangerous or faulty or wiring are labeled appropriately to prevent other people from accidentally getting hurt.

Practice Safety by Hiring an Electrical Contractor Before a Conference

There are a number of things you need to see to in preparation for a conference, and that includes preparing activities, checking the number of participating guests, and booking and preparing the venue.


It is always advisable to hire a commercial electrician to check that the electrical systems are functioning well before the event itself, and this is particularly true when you are dealing with a conference that intends to consume a lot of power for various reasons: room and stage lighting, air conditioning, setting up a sound system, ensuring the proper setup of any audiovisual equipment, and making sure that all of this equipment is working well and can be used safely by anybody.

As with any other type of electrical work, the basic purpose of any electrical maintenance work is to ensure that everything is fully functioning and working efficiently, and that everything is safe. Safety is always paramount when it comes to dealing with electrical systems.


And when you are dealing with a venue such as those located in a commercial building, as opposed to a residential one, it is advisable to hire a commercial contractor that specializes in the electrical systems of commercial buildings.

As a basic principle, electricians and the specialized commercial electricians work with the same basic principles of electrical systems and maintenance. But handling the electrical needs of a huge commercial building requires specialized services that one can only get from a licensed commercial electrician.

This is because a large commercial building requires maintenance that goes beyond those required by most residential homes: a commercial building usually houses several different rooms, offices, function areas, toilets, kitchens, and offices, all requiring different electrical requirements of their own. One building alone can mean thousands of electrical devices that could require repair or maintenance. Even for a basic one to three rooms that you might require for a brief conference, there are potentially numerous switches, plugs, lighting, heating, CCTV cameras, lamps, installations, and other power-related issues and devices that need to be checked.

One other reason why it is a good idea to check with a commercial electrical contractor before a scheduled conference is that, should there be any kind of emergency, you already have a point of contact whom you have already vetted for their qualifications and experience. They have also already had the chance to look at the electrical systems and devices that will come into play during the conference and had time to gain some familiarity with how things work. Should there be any kind of emergency, whether a fuse blowout, an equipment malfunctioning, or even a power blackout, they would have gained familiarity with the electrical system of the said venue to enable them to implement whatever emergency electrical resolution is feasible within the circumstances. If for any reason there is equipment malfunctioning or an electrical short, they have the expertise to handle the situation, are pretty much already on call before the conference itself, and can resolve the matter as quickly and efficiently as possible as opposed to an electrician only being brought in for the first time after the emergency itself.

Ways to Ensure Electrical Safety During a Conference or Public Event

When organizing any kind of event such as a conference, convention, trade show, or other similar gathering, one should always ensure electrical safety. This is particularly true when you will be using any number of electrical equipment at the same time during the conference or event. Whether it is radios, televisions, sound systems, projectors, computers and laptops, phones, and various lighting and heating solutions, you are expected to be right on top of such electronic logistics, and to deliver as seamlessly and as efficiently as possible. This can only be done, however, with the assistance of a professional and licensed electrical contractor. It is not something that one can simply experiment and play around with, no matter how good you may be at basic electrical systems maintenance. The work required for checking, maintaining, and delivering emergency repairs to the electrical installations of a commercial building requires the kind of expertise that only comes from extensive education and experience.

All things considered, however, there are a few basic principles which you can double check yourself to make sure that electrical installations and systems will not be a cause of concern for public safety. This is important because unsafe or dangerous wiring or electrical work can lead to serious injury or death.

Some general measures by which you can ensure electrical safety during a public event include:

  • The location of an organization of cablespower lines or cables
  • Environmental conditions such as rain, and the possible exposure of wires to the rain
  • The layout of electrical systems and wiring, making sure all the while that public access routes are kept free and safe for the passage of people
  • Power requirements, given the equipment that are proposed to be used, and access to primary and secondary power sources in case of an emergency
  • The power supplies for non-permanent fixtures or equipment like cameras, lights, and makeshift booths, etc.
  • Clear communication lines between event organizers and yourself, which may involve battery-operated radios or speakers.

Protecting exposed cables is of particular importance during public events. First of all, such cables should meet electrical safety standards such that adverse environmental or weather conditions will not adversely affect the electrical systems and installations.

Should such cables be routed across open areas, it is also important to prevent potential mechanical damage that might come from heavy equipment being dragged across such cables. One would also need to prevent incidents of tripping over such cables. In most cases, the most feasible solution is running cables along routes that are not heavily trafficked such as the sides of walls or fences, and providing cable routes where necessary, and securing these with cable ramps. Should you choose to make use of cable bridges that consist of hoisted installations over which cables can be run, then it should be of sufficient height, generally not less than 5.8 meters if installed across a road, to ensure that most vehicles will be able to pass safely underneath it. Such cable bridges should also be equipped with sufficient warnings or notices to make sure that the public is aware of the potential danger, and knows to practice safety in where they walk or pass through.

Electricity Hazards and Risks, and the Causes of Electrical Accidents

Dealing with electricity is no small thing – so much so that being an electrician is widely considered to be one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.

Most of us will probably not have to be exposed to the kinds of risks that electricians go through in the regular course of their job, but it is a good idea to practice electrical safety tips ourselves, too – and this is particularly true in commercial establishments that host or serve a great number of people on a daily basis. It is to be expected that the daily electrical consumption will already be quite high. But when you are bringing a group of people into a closed area powered by electricity on practically all fronts, it is best to practice common electrical safety measures. The first thing you have to do is hire a commercial electrical contractor to check on the wiring and maintenance of the electrical system of the place, and eliminate possible sources or causes of danger or risk where possible.


On your own, there are some things that you can also do to help promote electrical safety practices. These include:

  • Addressing frayed, exposed writing whenever you find them. Should you find electrical cords with the wires exposed, bring this to the attention of your electrical contractor immediately, and request that maintenance steps be undertaken for all similarly situated wiring.
  • Check the cords and plugs. Never use plugs or cords that show evidence of burning or melting, or with missing insulation, or a plug where the cord has become loose. Have your Rockford electrician check and upgrade outdated or ruined plugs when possible. According to statistics, electrical cord and plugs account for the most civilian deaths each year that stems from electrical accidents. Most of us use electrical sockets and plugs at one point or another, and the chances of this happening at a commercial event are significantly higher. Don’t run the risk of someone plugging in a ruined plug, or a guest plugging a cord into a compromised socket. Comprehensive maintenance and repair work is key, so it is a good idea to hire commercial electricians whom you can trust.
  • Have the electrician check your wiring system. One of the leading causes of house fires is faulty wiring, whether due to improper electrical installation, overloaded circuits, and damaged wiring. You will want to eliminate these fire and danger hazards from your planned event, as well. Have the commercial electrical contractor you hired to make it a specific point to check the condition of the wiring of the venue’s electrical system.
  • Make sure that you are using your appliances and light fixtures correctly. Don’t use an 80-watt bulb in a 60-watt fixture, for instance. If you notice any of your appliances emitting smoke, a burning smell, or showing any cord damage or melting fixture wires, call your electrician immediately. Immediately unplug anything that can potentially be dangerous. And never handle electrical cords or operate electrical equipment when your hands are wet or when you are standing in water. In the same vein, keep water away from electrical sockets or outlets.