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An electrician is a tradesman specializing in electrical wiring of buildings and related equipment. Electricians may be employed in the construction of new buildings or maintenance of existing electrical infrastructure.
In the USA electricians are sometimes referred to as Inside Wireman as opposed to Outside Linemen who work on electric utility company distribution systems at higher voltages.
"Electrician" is also used as the name of a role in stagecraft, where electricians are tasked primarily with hanging, focusing, and operating stage lighting.
In this context, the Master Electrician is the show's chief electrician. Although theater electricians routinely perform electrical work on stage lighting instruments and equipment, they are not part of the electrical trade and have a different set of skills and qualifications from the electricians that work on building wiring.
In English slang an electrician is sometimes referred to as a "Sparky", "Sparks" or "Lecky."
Training and regulation of trade
In most countries, the job of an electrician is a regulated trade for safety reasons, requiring testing, registration, or licensing.
They are usually required to serve an apprenticeship lasting from 3 to 5 years under the general supervision of a Master Electrician and usually the direct supervision of a Journeyman Electrician. Schooling in electrical theory and electrical building codes is usually required to complete the apprenticeship program.
A Journeyman electrician is a well-rounded craftsman trained in all phases of electrical construction installation in various building styles and maintenance of equipment after installation.
A Master Electrician must first be a Journeyman and usually has a minimum of two years more experience and has to pass further testing. A Master Electrician is further trained in layout, estimation, and design of electrical installations.
In some jurisdictions a licensed electrician is required for permanent installation of any current carrying conductors, including low voltage alarm and data signal wiring, whereas in other places an electrician is only necessary for dealing with permanent connection at mains voltages,
and yet others permit unlicensed homeowners to do all of their own electrical work (not "in the trade"), although it may still be subject to inspection for compliance with the relevant code or regulations, such as the US National Electrical Code or the UK IEE Wiring Regulations.
For electricians in the construction industry the JIB Electrotechnical Certification scheme provides certification and qualification for the Electrical Contracting Industry (ECA).
JIB is in place to regulate and control Employment of electricians in the construction industry. It is responsible for skill levels, proficiency, wage levels and welfare benefits of its members.
A building code is a set of rules that specify the minimum acceptable level of safety for constructed objects such as buildings and non-building structures.
The main purpose of the building codes is to protect public health, safety and general welfare as they relate to the construction and occupancy of buildings and structures. The building code becomes law of a particular jurisdiction when formally enacted by the appropriate authority.
Building codes are generally intended to be applied by architects and engineers, but are also used for various purposes by safety inspectors, real estate developers, contractors and subcontractors, manufacturers of building products and materials, insurance companies, facility managers, tenants, and other categories of users.
There are often additional codes or sections of the same building code that have more specific requirements that apply to dwellings and special construction objects such as canopies, signs, pedestrian walkways, parking lots, radio and television antennas.