What is an Electrical Contractor? A Complete Description

Many people identify the terms electrician and electrical contractor. Now, you might be wondering, how do they differ, and aren’t they the same? Well, not really! In this article, we will try to explain the definition of an electrical contractor and share his responsibilities.

What is an electrical contractor?

The easiest way to explain this term would be to say that an electrical contractor is a firm or an individual who is engaged in electrical work. Usually, his work is connected to an electrical system, maintenance, installation, and design.

Electrical contractors ensure that those systems work in an environmentally friendly way, are safe and efficient. Basically, these professionals power our world, and only a couple of projects don’t require their attention.

Electrical equipment
Electrical equipment

Electrical contractor – what does he do?

Depending on their specialty, electrical contractors can perform different types of tasks. However, he primarily works with wiring systems, machines, and electrical equipment. In contrast, his work area includes a variety of sectors, ranging from commercial to residential ones, and has specific requirements.

When you hire an electrical contractor, he will offer you input into a design and prepare a plan containing a higher level of details. This is the most important part of the job.

Once you approve the budget and design, get necessary permits, and check liability insurance, the electrical contractor can start electrical construction. In some cases, he might use software to boost project management.

Electrical contractor vs. electrician

Electrical contractor is fully trained and needs to have a license to conduct electrical work. He can either choose to be independent or work for a company.

A lot of electricians will get into this business as apprentices. Some of them might go to the trading school before starting an apprenticeship program.

After spending months training in installation and electrical repairs, they will earn their license and become journeymen. They can further choose to perfect their skills, continue training and education, and become masters in the electrical business.

Moreover, contractors need to choose what type of electrician they will become. For instance, whether they want to work with high or low-voltage installations or work inside or outside.

Making these decisions will significantly impact their licensing, training, or careers. An electrician contractor who has spent the majority of his life indoors working with low-voltage will assume different roles and responsibilities than an outside contractor.

Jobs and responsibilities of an electrical contractor

The electrical contractor has a huge set of duties and responsibilities to cater to. These professionals install electrical systems and wirings for residential and commercial objects and equip them with electrical power.

First of all, the contractor must understand the building structure and its needs. According to these needs, the wiring systems will be laid down. Additionally, the contractor will inspect outlets, panels, and blueprints, which determine the building layout.

After a full inspection, he will plan and set up an electrical system that isn’t only in accordance with the client’s demands but fulfills industry safety codes and standards.

One of their most important duties is maintaining, testing, installing, or assembling electronic wiring systems, apparatus, and equipment using either hands or tools. It’s crucial to diagnose malfunctioning systems, components, or circuits and locate the cause of breakdown.

Now, if we had to map out how one of his projects should look like, then it would look something like this:

  • Set up project: in this case, he will plan the necessary steps to get the permits and complete the project within the designated time frame.
  • Create milestones:  each milestone will serve him to check the process.
  • Administer resources: arrange resources to be available throughout the project.
  • Take care of budget: manage the budget to keep the project on the right track.
  • Handle relationships: these relationships include both the staff and key stakeholders, in this case, clients.
Electrical Contractor
Electrical Contractor

Type of electrical contractors

Video/Voice/Data electrical contractors

They are also known as integrated building electricians. Usually, they manage low-voltage systems, such as security systems, telecommunications, fiber optics, wireless networks, backup power, power controls, etc.

Line electrical contractors

Compared to the previous example, line electrical contractors manage high-voltage power distribution and transmission lines at power plants. They are responsible for power reaching buildings and homes.