What Is The Difference Between Commercial And Industrial Electricians?

Nov 11, 2022

When it comes to electrical work, it’s imperative to hire the right electrician to ensure your safety and suit your various needs. Additionally, with the unprecedented high demand for skilled commercial electrical services in Perth, you want to ensure that you’re hiring the right one from the get-go.

When you have an electrical issue, who are you going to call? 

Here at WACOMM Electrical Services, we have a range of electrical contractors to suit your business and organisational needs. From high voltage maintenance to fit out of lighting within a commercial retail space, WACOMM Electrical Services are able to help. 

While commercial and industrial electricians are often spoken about interchangeably, the two have very different training and perform very different tasks. So, in the heat of an emergency are you going to know who to call?  

From training, daily activities, and work environment, we will outline all the differences between industrial electrical contractors and commercial electricians so that when the time comes you will know who to call. 

Due to the hazardous nature of commercial electrical services both industrial electricians and commercial electricians must be safety focused. Therefore, it’s important to note that in Western Australia, the Electricity (Licensing) Regulations 1991 state that electrical work is to be conducted only by licensed individuals with a license or permit which has been issued by the Department of Mines

Industrial Electrical Contractors


To become an Industrial Electrician you must undertake a Cert III in Engineering – Industrial Electrician at Tafe in order to become successfully licensed. At Tafe, they learn all the theories within the field and the technical knowledge. 

In addition to the classroom learning, trainee Industrial Electricians complete a four-year apprenticeship with the help of an approved experienced trainer who has been in an industrial workplace setting for many years.  During an apprenticeship, trainees learn on the job skills and are required to spend time training in various locations and different categories to gain workplace experience. 

Once a trainee industrial electrician’s study is complete, they must apply for a license and pass three different assessments: the Licence Electricians Theory, Licensed Electricians Practice, and the Safe Working Practice.

What they do 

Industrial Electrical Contractors generally have a higher level of expertise and work within an industrial setting, think warehouses, large factories, and heavy machinery. An Industrial Electrical Contractor is vitally important to ensure the safety and smooth running of all industrial workplaces. Often Industrial Electricians run safety inspections on electronic and electric components within an industrial warehouse and undertake general maintenance, replacements and repairs which ensure the security and operational efficiency of the business. 

When do you need an Industrial Electrician?

Industrial Electricians are hired to keep large industrial warehouses and factories running in good order, and most importantly, safe order. Some examples of jobs that an Industrial Electrician contractor will be hired to complete include: 

  • Safety testing of electric components on heavy machinery. 
  • Maintenance and repair of electrical and material handling equipment. 
  • Provide recommendations, solutions, and support on required repairs and maintenance within the factory or warehouse. 
  • Attend to routine assessments and preventive maintenance on all electrical equipment within the organisation. 
  • Ensure a safe electrical environment is upheld within the organisation. 
  • Troubleshooting electrical circuits 
  • Perform root cause analyses on electrical issues. 

By law, Industrial Electricians must provide an electrical safety certificate to the person or business for whom the work was completed. Electrical safety certificates are legal documents that must be provided for all notifiable work. These certificates state that the electrical installations which have been carried out are complete, comply with regulatory requirements and that it is safe for the electricity supply to be connected. Electrical safety certificates provide the client with a guarantee that the electrical installation they hired for has been completed by a licensed electrician.  

Electrical safety certificates are not required for maintenance work, addition, or alteration of one final sub-circuit including the addition or alteration of its protective device or the alteration of one or more final sub-circuits. A full list of notifiable electric work can be found on the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s website. 

Commercial Electrician Contractors 


Like their Industrial Electrician counterparts, commercial electricians have to undertake an apprenticeship and Tafe course in order to become licensed. An apprentice or trainee position is a formal contracted position with an experienced and approved employer. Here they learn practical skills whilst on the job being supervised by a registered training provider.  

Once their study and apprenticeship have been completed, all electricians in Western Australia must apply for an Electrical Licence which is issued by the Energy Safety division of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety. Additionally, for an electrician to work within the construction industry within Western Australia they must also obtain a Construction Induction Card -otherwise known as a white card, also authorised by the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety. 

What they do 

Commercial Electricians work on a smaller scale than Industrial electricians but are of equal importance. Commercial electricians often work within a business setting and generally not within a warehouse or industrial setting like an industrial electrician. Commercial Electricians routinely service office buildings, retail spaces, gyms, restaurants, and other business spaces which are attended by the general public.  

Commercial Electricians complete similar safety tasks to that of an industrial electrician however on smaller scale electronic and electrical products. Commercial Electricians use hand tools such as screwdrivers, power tools, knives, and drills. 

When do you need a Commercial Electrician? 

Commercial electricians are similar to residential electricians, however, perform most duties within a commercial business setting. Therefore, if you own a business or are planning on opening one, you’ll need to hire a commercial electrician for all your electric needs. Common tasks for a commercial electrician include: 

  • Planning of electric conduits in new establishments. 
  • Installation of electrical wiring and conduits. 
  • Certifying electrical wiring and electronics are up to code. 
  • Installation and/or upgrade of air conditioning and heating systems.  
  • Replacement or repairs of existing lighting and wiring. 
  • Installation, diagnosis and maintenance of security cameras and security measures.  

Like their industrial counterparts, commercial electricians must provide a certified certificate stating that the work in which they have completed has been done by a professional, licensed contractor. This certificate is lodged with the Department of Mines, Industry Regulations and Safety. 

The main differences between an industrial electrician and a commercial electrician 

Even though both industrial and commercial electricians, work with electronics and electricity, the two electricians perform vastly different roles.  

The main differences between an industrial electrician and a commercial electrician are the workplace setting in which they work. An Industrial electrician will work within a large factory or warehouse settings. Here they problem solve electrical issues and repair and maintain heavy machinery not usually seen outside of an industrial setting. The electrical components that an industrial electrician will work on are not generally found outside of an industrial setting as they deal with high voltage systems and extremely critical electrical components which keep entire factories running. 

A commercial electrician on the other hand will work within a commercial setting, say an office building, on electrical jobs which might also be completed within a residential home. 

Additionally, even though both industrial and commercial electricians undertake similar training and study, industrial electricians must complete additional educational courses which take longer to complete to be fully qualified by the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety in Western Australia. 


In need of a commercial or industrial electrician? 

Here at WACOMM Electrical Service, we can help you with all your Commercial and Industrial Electrical needs. Servicing the Perth market for over 20 years, WACOMM is the first choice for Commercial and Industrial Electrical services with medium to large scale projects.  

When seeking a quality, professional and efficient service that also provides skilled knowledge and experience, call WACOMM on (08) 9201 9901. 

Don’t leave your projects up to just anyone, contact WACOMM Electrical Services today and see how we can take care of your electrical needs. 


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Trusted Electrical Contractors In Perth

Since 1997, WACOMM has been providing Commercial and Industrial Electrical services in Perth, Western Australia. Experienced and efficient, David and the team at WACOMM have the skilled knowledge to complete medium and large scale projects to the highest possible standard in Perth.

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