DIY vs Professional Electrical Installation: What You Need to Know

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DIY vs Professional Electrical Installation

DIY projects may seem like fun. After all, who doesn’t like the high you get after successfully finishing a project from start to finish? However, when it comes to electrical installation, things aren’t as easy as they seem.

While people may want to completely DIY their electrical installation, there are a lot of nuanced and complicated technicalities that one must keep in mind to implement a new installation or fix an existing one.

It is recommended that you go for a professional electrical installation team to get any electrical work done because you can fix most DIY projects post-completion, but faulty electrical installations can put you, your family, and your assets at high risk.

In this guide, we will discuss the comparisons between DIY and professional electrical installations and everything that you need to know before you get your toolkit out.


Before we get into the differences between DIY and professional electrical installations, we first need to understand the importance of compliance and why modern electrical installations go through so much scrutiny.

While electrical installations may seem easier than they look, they require quite a lot of knowledge and, above everything else, experience. See, laying down a wire and hooking it up to an electrical socket is straightforward. However, when it comes to dealing with essential power lines, or any work that involves you getting into the main power box in your home, you best leave that to a professional.

There is historical precedent for this too! In fact, the British Standards were introduced primarily to deal with the standardisation of electrical installations and to reduce the effects of faulty installations.

The British Standards were introduced in 1901, but before that, electrical installations were usually a hit or miss. The reason for this was that everyone had their own take on how to install electrical equipment. Some followed a methodical approach, while others took on a cost-saving and head-first approach which carried a high risk of fault.

For example, you could compare two households with the same installation and you would notice a huge discrepancy in both installations, even though they covered the same electrical tasks. This problem was compounded by the fact that some homeowners wanted to bypass professionals and take matters into their own hands to save money.

This meant that they would not only do the work themselves, but they would also source the materials and electrical equipment on their own.

Some of these installations would work well, but most of the time, they would result in fires, damages, and even electrical-related deaths. The issue got so out of hand that around the end of the 1890s, the government had to intervene and figure out a way to standardise all installations.

It was clear that the future was electric, and if the nation is to fully embrace this future, it needs to have very strong foundations.

After a few years, a lot of resources, and a panel of experts, the British Standards were devised. These standards were held as the gold standard for all types of electrical installation.

It was the Holy Bible for all professional electricians because it covered all aspects of installation and provided professionals with a road map for how to accomplish complex electrical tasks in a standardised way.

The benefit of this standardisation was that even if there was a fault in the installation, any other certified professional could step in and quickly address the problem instead of taking time to reverse engineer the initial electrical installation.

The British standards accomplished this feat by standardising two things:

Standardising hardware was an important stepping stone because most of the time, electrical equipment would fail due to faulty hardware issues. This meant that everything needed to be controlled in the supply chain, starting with the manufacturers.

Manufacturers were given strict standards that they needed to follow for all electrical equipment. Once manufacturers started following the British Standards, they could then compete in the market using different pricing strategies.

The second standardisation was for electrical installations. This meant that the DIY mentality had to go out the window – at least for complex tasks. See, changing a light bulb is straightforward, but what happens if the electrical socket for the bulb burns out or the concealed wiring deteriorates and needs replacing?

These types of projects carried a lot of risks and required someone with experience.

Compliance allows professionals to conduct work using strict and tried-and-tested standards that can significantly lower risks associated with faulty electrical installations.

Some experienced DIY enthusiasts may have experience, but they will not be authorised to produce official Electrical Installation Certificates (EICs) that are needed to prove that the work was done using the expected standards and by a professional and certified individual.

Electrical Installation Certificates contain important information like:

1)           Details about the installation.

2)           Details about the material used.

3)           Details about the property owner.

4)           Details about the electrician or team.

5)           Date of issuance.

6)           Inspection schedules.

7)           Electrical tests and results.

EICs are incredibly important for legal reasons and can also be used to help other certified individuals identify problems in existing installations.


DIY projects seldom cover important topics related to electrical installations. When you attempt an electrical project yourself, you will likely be heading headfirst into the problem without consulting official guidelines.

However, with professional installations, every action is well documented, and the professional follows strict guidelines and furnishes different types of certificates.

There are four types of certificates of electrical compliance:

Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC)

As discussed above, a standard Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC) is a guarantee that ensures the safety of the installation.

These certificates are required for all major installation tasks which include the installation of new consumer units, circuits, additional sockets, switches, light fixtures in new areas, and more.

Minor Electrical Installation Works Certificate (MEIWC)

A Minor Electrical Installation Works Certificate (MEIWC) is a lightweight version of a standard Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC).

It is like an EIC; however, it is more commonly used for low-priority or small electrical tasks such as light fittings, socket installations in non-special areas, etc.

Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)

An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) is a detailed report that highlights all the particulars of the current installation at a residence. The report usually covers areas such as damage, defects, or deterioration due to depreciation of equipment.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of an Electrical Installation Condition Report is that it also records several observations in line with the BS 7671 along with providing recommendations for improving the installations to increase efficiency.

Under an EICR, the condition of an installation is classified using three codes:

–             Code C1: indicating that danger exists and immediate action is required,

–             Code C2: indicating that while the observation is not considered to be dangerous now, it could become a real and immediate danger if a fault or other foreseeable event were to occur, and

–             Code C3: indicating that while the observation is not considered to be dangerous now, improvements would contribute greatly to the overall health of the system.

Part P Certificate

Finally, a Part P certificate is issued as a requirement of Part P of the Building Regulations, which states that all electrical installations must be safe, meet the set standard, and give room for safe maintenance and future alterations.

A Part P certificate is an excellent way to cull mistakes and ensure the safety and integrity of a large electrical project. Together with all these certificates and a strict maintenance and inspection schedule, the British Standard Institute has created an ecosystem that promotes safety and security above everything else.


So, knowing that professional installations are the way to go for most electrical projects, what can property owners safely DIY without offending any legalities?

Here are some of the things that you can typically DIY for new or existing installations on a property:

  • Replacing plug sockets and switches.
  • Replacing light fittings (as long as it doesn’t involve adding new wiring)
  • Replacing fuses in simple plugs.
  • Installing decorative light fixtures that don’t require additional wiring.
  • Installing low voltage outdoor lighting.
  • Installing simple plug and play smart switches.
  • Configuring smart bulbs using mobile apps.
  • Making makeshift projects that aren’t part of the main electrical system in your property. (Like homemade incubators for eggs plugged into a battery, simple and educational electrical projects not connected to the mainline, etc).


DIY projects may seem like fun, and while you could swap out a simple socket or change lightbulbs on your property, it is essential that you go for professional services for the following reasons:

DIY Projects Cost Time and Increase Risks

Time is of the essence in electrical installations. On average, a typical electrical installation can take much longer because the individual will have to first source all the materials after extensive research and cost analysis. Even then, your own schedule may come in the way of the project which may cause further delays.

Furthermore, DIY projects require quite a lot of tinkering and can entail a lot of trial and error. This is perhaps the most concerning part of DIY electrical installations. Using the trial-and-error methodology, DIY enthusiasts may significantly jeopardise any existing installation.

For example, if you miscalculate the wattage or install the wrong fuse you might cause a cascading fault that can extensively damage a new or existing installation. By going with a professional, you can get the job done without wasting your time or resources!

You Won’t Get a Guarantee

The thing with going with non-certified electricians is that it can work for some, but for others, it can result in disaster.

Compliant electricians follow strict regulations and the latest IET Wiring Regulations set forth by the British Standards. Sure, you may get the job done, but there will be no guarantee of the work performed by a non-certified electrician.

This also makes the job more prone to mistakes. Think about it, one loose connection can result in significant damage to the socket and whatever is connected to the socket as well!

Furthermore, DIY projects often don’t entail extensive and documented testing which means that you will essentially be depending on your luck when it comes to the longevity of the installation.

Poor Planning

Planning is part of any job – and it is more important in electrical installation since installation tasks can be quite complex. DIY projects don’t usually have a lot of planning because people commit to the job with a bias that they are qualified and know how to approach the problem.

It’s only when you get into the thick of it that you realise that the project contains a lot of nuances that require a professional touch!

Certified electricians, like the ones at Calder Electrical, don’t dive headfirst into a task. They first assess the most efficient way to perform the task and then devise a strategy to perform it to ensure the integrity of the installation.

Material/Equipment Discrepancies

As mentioned above, an installation is only as good as the materials used in the process. From wiring to sockets, breaker quality, fuses, and much more.

There are so many sensitive electrical components that go into a regular installation that if you mess up by purchasing just one faulty component, you can ruin the entire installation.

Non-certified electricians commonly make the mistake of going with cheaper equipment. While again, this type of practice can get the job done, it will hardly ever guarantee the safety or integrity of the system.

Certified electricians at Calder Electrical provide an all-in-one solution where they handle everything from sourcing to installation. Thanks to their extensive experience, Calder Electrical has a blueprint for nearly every type of installation, which means that you will get the best rates and save a lot of time!

Lack of Inspection and Maintenance

The biggest downside of DIY projects is that they will always lack an official inspection and maintenance schedule.

Every electrical installation by a certified electrician comes with a separate inspection and maintenance schedule.

These inspections reduce (and likely eliminate) the risk of damage caused by electrical systems. Since electrical equipment is subject to deterioration, certified electricians can detect and fix a potential problem before it gets out of hand!


We have been providing electrical services to residential, commercial, and industrial properties for over 40 years and are specialists in all aspects of electrical installations, maintenance, and testing.

All our work is fully insured, and we work to meet the standards set by the NICEIC to make sure all your electrical installations meet the current regulations and all the notifiable work is signed off by the local authorities.

If you have unplanned issues within your home or business, we can provide a call-out service to rectify and solve any problems such as circuit tripping, loss of power, broken items that need repairing, or to check if you feel something is unsafe or a potential hazard.

Our team can generate a Visual Inspection Report (VIR) to identify anything visual that does not comply with the standards or looks unsafe, as well as a full Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) where we will identify and test each circuit to make sure they are not deteriorating and are safe for use within the current standards and regulations set by the BS 7671.

We can also provide PAT testing of appliances to make sure that any items such as kettles, computers, and microwaves are safe for use in the home and workplace.

Contact us here or call us at 0800 612 3001 to get in touch with our professional electricians for more information on professional electrical installations and how they can benefit you.

Photo by Антон Дмитриев on Unsplash