DIY of fixed mains wiring

© Volker Kuhlmann, 17 Aug 2003
Sometimes people ask on NZLUG about doing some mains wiring themselves, e.g. to add some extra power points. I was in the same position and looked into the issue more thoroughly. The following is the result, which I believe to be correct, but I do not accept any liability. It is not the "full story" and is only meant to give some direction.

Please note: This information is as of early 2002. There have been changes since. You'll have to read the paperworks anyway.

  1. Fixed wiring (the wiring leading up to a wall socket, light, etc) may be done by lay people on conditions that:
    1. they own the house
    2. they occupy it. (Landlords can't do wiring on their tenants' property.)
  2. No work to be done in or before the switchboard under any circumstances.
    Simple reason: it's in the circuit before the fuses in the house (which are 16-32A max). The pole fuse up the road is much stronger, and any shorts will blacken the whole road and blow up not just a screwdriver.
  3. All work to be carried out in compliance with the relevant regulations and codes of practice.
    These can be downloaded from here: codes of pratice, acts and regulations.
  4. A certificate from a registered electrician stating that the work has been carried out suitably must be obtained.
  5. Any added wiring to be connected to the live part only by a registered electrician. If the electrician is satisfied that the work is up to standard, (s)he will connect the new wiring to the live wiring and issue the certificate.
  6. Changing light bulbs, or replacing a broken wall socket, does not fall under the requirements of DIY fixed wiring.
In effect, the electrician is asked to sign for someone else's work as their own. I found most are not prepared to do this. It is a good idea to find an electrician and to discuss plans before going shopping for materials.

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Copyright © 2003 by Volker Kuhlmann
Created: 17 Aug 2003, last updated: 10 Nov 2003         URL: