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I have a friend in New Zealand who said he hired an electrician to come and do some minor work and while at this he found an unused electrical installation that he said was "reportable" and had to be fixed. He then proceeded to spend the entire day fooling around with the installation and billed my friend $1000.

Is this how things work in commonwealth countries, electricians can basically force you to do work you don't want to do? What do they do if you refuse, come back with the police and break down your door?

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    That's not right, your friend certainly has the right to go get quotes and second opinions. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Mar 5 at 22:22
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    In Canada the ESA (Electrical Safety Authority) is like the mafia in kahoots with the tradespeople. Some electricians use them as a sales tactic. Enercare a big HVAC contracting company does the same with Enbridge. They even portray themselves as if they were a branch of Enbridge. – Joe Fala Mar 6 at 3:10
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    Your friend should have tell the electrician "just make the unused installation permanently out of service" Electrician could have done that by cutting feed wires and/or removing switches. Something requiring less than 1/4 hr work, so quite cheap. Or just that he would have asked for another quote before doing the job. – DDS Mar 6 at 9:01
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I can't speak for NZ, but here in the US, electricians could be held liable for the problem under what's referred to as the "last eyes on it" concept. He saw something, did nothing about it, so he owns it. That doesn't mean he HAD to fix it, just that he would have to tell the owner about it and if they have a permitting process (like we do in most states), the electrician would be required to tell the inspector about it.

What an inspector (again, HERE) could do is to "red tag" the site, basically shutting down all work until the violation is corrected. They can't bring in jack-booted thugs, beat your door down and cart you off to jail, but in SOME jurisdictions they could issue a non-occupancy order, forcing you to go to a hotel or something.

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