Don’t DIY Electrical – What You Can Legally Do

Don’t be deceived by the array of electrical goodies at your local hardware store. You don’t need to be licenced to buy them, but you most certainly need to be licenced to install a majority of them. Sure, you may save a few bucks in the short-term, but what may seem like a simple ‘blue wire here, green wire there’ is actually highly dangerous, against the law and can have deadly consequences.

Did you know that over 25,000 people were hospitalised last year from completing their own DIY electrical work? Also, studies have revealed that males are 4 times more likely to be injured in a DIY electrical project. Despite these alarming statistics, many Aussies continue to underestimate the complexity of electrical tasks and attempt to do them themselves.

Under Queensland’s Electrical Safety Act 2002, tasks you are forbidden to complete if you are not a licensed electrician include:

  • Installing a new power point.
  • Replacing a light switch.
  • Replacing a batten holder with a new light fitting.
  • Repairing an appliance such as a heater.
  • Altering the location of an existing power point.
  • Replacing a light fitting with a ceiling fan.
  • Constructing an extension lead.
  • Replacing a plug on the end of a lead.

The only acceptable tasks for homeowners are:

  • Replacing a drive belt in a washing machine.
  • Cutting openings for, but not connecting, air-conditioning units.
  • Fitting, but not connecting, an electric wall oven in a kitchen cabinet.
  • Install garden lighting and pond pumps.
  • Install battery-operated smoke detectors.
  • Changing a light bulb or fluorescent tube.
  • Resetting a circuit breaker or safety switch.
  • Turning the main switch on or off.


What could happen if I do my own DIY electrical work?

DIY electrical work is regarded as unlicensed electrical work, which is illegal, and has penalties of up to $40,000 for individuals. It is also extremely unsafe for the person carrying out the electrical work who potentially risk contact with electricity, which can have deadly consequences. In addition, DIY electrical work can be unsafe for anyone else who subsequently comes into contact with the unsafe installation or equipment.

While it may seem like you have done everything correctly, electrical faults can also develop over a period of time or only become apparent in a crisis situation. This could then lead to property damage, injury, or even death. On top of this, completing your own electrical work to save money may actually cost you in the long run as you will forfeit your insurance cover if something happens.

So if you are renovating this weekend, it’s important not to complete any DIY tasks that are beyond your abilities or that you aren’t qualified to do. It is simply not worth the risk. Always call a licensed electrician; even for the small tasks that you think you could do yourself.

Sources: Allianz, Domain and Queensland Government

If you have any questions or would like an electrical safety check conducted on your home, please contact AMP’D Electrical & Solar, your local Gold Coast electricians, on 07 5522 5222 or email us at

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