Construction versus Maintenance Electricians

While many electricians work as both construction electricians and maintenance electricians, most decide to specialize in one or the other. Here are a few of the differences.

What Is a Construction Electrician?

Construction electricians work in newly built homes and businesses. These new buildings must have their first wiring systems installed, and a construction electrician is the man or woman that they call for the job. Before an electrician comes to set up the place, no power can be used, so heat, light, and even air-conditioning are impossible without the electrician.

Construction electricians begin their job by reading blueprints and deciphering where the wires should go. Then, they install metal tubing in the walls and the ceiling for the wires to run through. Once the wires are in, they attach them to switches and outlets. These wires are then connected to a fuse box, circuit breaker, or the like. When that's done, all that's left is to test the new system out.

What Is a Maintenance Electrician?

Maintenance electricians work on existing electrical systems. They do anything from repairing electrical equipment (like circuit breakers, fuses, switches, or wires), to upgrading the electrical equipment to the latest model. Sometimes a home's wiring system will be out of date and may need to be rewired. Other times, the problem may be lighting. If the maintenance worker is repairing a factory, they might work on things like machine tools and industrial robots. If this is the case, they may repair motors, transformers, generators, and electronic controllers.

Maintenance electricians have a more secure job than construction electricians. When the economy turns bad, construction electricians will get less work because not as many new buildings are being built. When this is the case, many people will be holding on to old buildings and the old buildings will need electrical maintenance.

What Do Maintenance and Construction Electricians Have in Common?

Both construction and maintenance electricians must be properly trained. Many employers prefer to hire electricians who went to school. Finally, both construction and maintenance electricians must follow local building codes and the National Electrical Code.