Can LBPs do prescribed electrical work?

Posted: 23 March 2017

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Prescribed electrical work (PEW) is very similar to restricted building work (RBW). However, while LBPs will be very familiar with RBW, it’s important you also know the rules around PEW.
Article relevant to: Carpentry, Site, External Plastering, Brick & Block Laying.

While the focus for RBW is on residential work (for example, the construction of a new small to medium sized home), PEW covers a wider range of work including commercial and telecommunications.

No one can carry out PEW unless they are a licensed electrical worker. There is an owner-exemption for PEW that states that you can only do some types of electrical work without a licence if you are the owner of premises and that you will occupy those premises as a residence for you and members of your family.

This means that you can only carry out PEW if you are a licensed electrical worker or are operating under the above owner-exemption. This is similar for LBPs as well.

What can homeowners do?

Work that can be done by the owner of the premises is listed in Regulation 57 of the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010 and includes:

  • removing and replacing fuse links
  • connecting and disconnecting permanently wired appliances
  • moving switches, sockets and lighting outlets, but only if they are wired with tough, plastic-sheathed cables
  • replacing switches, socket outlets, light fittings, ceiling roses, water heater switches, thermostats and elements.

Before you do any work yourself, however, you need to make sure that you are familiar with Electrical Code of Practice 51 on the WorkSafe website.

Other than these exempt tasks, doing it yourself or having electrical work done by unlicensed tradespeople is not only unsafe, but illegal and you could be fined (if convicted) up to $10,000 if you:

  • do PEW while not licensed to do so
  • cause, intend to cause, or may reasonably cause any other person to believe that you are licensed to do PEW
  • hold yourself or your company out as being licensed to do PEW.

What can you do on the building site?

If you need to use an electrical worker, you should check that they are licensed. You can check the public register for electrical workers or ask to see the electrical worker’s licence card before work starts. Having a current practising licence means that your electrical worker is up to date on current safety procedures and has access to electrical standards.

When work is finished, ask for a Certificate of Compliance and Electrical Safety Certificate. Electrical workers are required by law to certify particular work. The certification is a public assurance that the work has been carried out by an authorised person and that it complies with the safety requirements.

You can find out if an electrical worker is registered or licensed on the Electrical Workers Registration Board website.


1) What is the similarity between prescribed electrical work and restricted building work?

a. They are both required to be carried out by appropriately licensed people.
b. You would encounter them both on a new small to medium residential construction project.
c. There are exemptions in both regulations for owners of properties to carry out work.
d. All of the above.

2) When can an LBP carry out prescribed electrical work?

a. When no one else is looking.
b. Only if they are a licensed electrical worker or are working under the exemption.
c. Only if they provide a record of work for the prescribed electrical work.

3) What are the risks if an unlicensed person carried out prescribed electrical work?

a. It is illegal and the work may be unsafe.
b. They will be given a Certificate of Compliance.
c. There are no problems if an LBP does prescribed electrical work.

Check your answers

This information is published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Chief Executive. It is a general guide only and, if used, does not relieve any person of the obligation to consider any matter to which the information relates according to the circumstances of the particular case. Expert advice may be required in specific circumstances. Where this information relates to assisting people: