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I've just started an apprenticeship with a decent sized firm (I got taken on full time - hooray!) and was thinking this week about how a lot of people, mostly online, turn their nose up at people who do domestic work.

I was wondering why, since at my work everybody seems to do the bare minimum but with most decent domestic sparks i know, they tend to go the extra mile.

Is there a difference in quality of workmanship simply because people want to do a better job for their own customers as opposed to commercial sparks who are simply getting the job done and aren't personally responsible for the final job?

Just seems to be a lot more 'just get it done' mentality on the commercial side.

Another thing i noticed is hardly anyone has the correct tools for the job and the tools they do have are mashed up.

So people will be using blunt cutters where the tip of one side has shattered off, or drivers with half the shaft insulation hanging off. Then there are other things which not bad but just 'doing it the hard way' like cutting PVC conduit with a hack saw having 3m of it flapping about instead of just buying a £10 pipe cutter, or using hammer and chisel/pad saw to cut out for back boxes where the wall is double skinned chipboard/plasterboard because nobody has a multi tool. Putting up conduit? Simply measure out from some maybe straight maybe wonky reference point and use your 6 inch torpedo level to get it right, instead of simply using a proper spirit level, making the job ten times easier.

When in the domestic setting it seems most people have the basic tools that make life easier.

Is it simply a case of 'not my job, don't care that much' on site compared with running private jobs directly in people's homes?
 
Midwest

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I take it your employer does mainly domestic work?

Domestic work is pretty cutthroat, where the customers shop around for the cheapest price, without concerns for standards, so that doesn't help.

Well done on getting your apprenticeship by the way.
 
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I take it your employer does mainly domestic work?

Domestic work is pretty cutthroat, where the customers shop around for the cheapest price, without concerns for standards, so that doesn't help.

Well done on getting your apprenticeship by the way.
Cheers mate.

And we do everything - heavy industrial, commercial, domestic, call outs, emergency testing, the lot.

Right now i'm on a commercial job. The lads i'm working with are all great lads but i just noticed there's not much investment going on in the tool department and if appropriate materials aren't provided then they don't get used so ie if all they can find in their bag is a not-so-ideal-sized connector block, it will do.

Not provided with ferrules where imo they're needed, so they're not used. If wago's will speed the job up but the supervisor wants to save money then they won't be used and we have to join in other ways like blocks.

I just find it weird that instead of providing wago's that take literally less than 5 seconds you'll be made to use blocks with stranded cable which imo is shoddy and takes like 10 times longer. Or that there'll be one person on site with an SDS but its battery will be half dead at all times because it needs a new one but nobody will buy it lol.

Anyway the point of the thread was a lot of commercial sparks laugh at domestic sparks but i'm finding out that the commercial side is hardly a haven of electrical engineering so i'm wondering what gives. Is it just banter or is it just the typical tradesman thing of thinking you do it best and everyone else is crap? We all do it. I go in a house and i'm looking for one thing that's slightly out of shape or not quite level so i can go 'look at the state of that' - i've been a builder since leaving school so its bred into me haha.
 
loz2754

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I read it that the OP has got an apprenticeship with a commercial firm. And that he has noticed a difference in work ethic between commercial and domestic.
Either way, I'd guess it's more to do with whoever runs the company than it is the individual tradesmen. There are good companies and less good companies in both fields.
 
nicebutdim

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'Get it done' could stem from deadlines that entail financial penalties on commercial contracts, if handover isn't on time.

There's also the fact that materials supplied will tend to be the materials used - whether your colleagues are employed directly or sub-contractors, they'll have an uphill struggle claiming for additional materials. If 30A connector blocks are supplied, then that's most likely what they'll use as alternatives would be funded out of their own pockets.

Not sure I've ever seen a length of conduit installed using a torpedo level - generally it's quickest and easiest to throw up a line from a laser level.
 
Midwest

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With regard materials, your employer provides them for you, so you have to use them and make the best job of it you can. Remember connector blocks were around before Wago's, although I agree with you.

The tools, I take you provide your own hand tools? If you do, be careful of your envious work colleagues!
 
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'Get it done' could stem from deadlines that entail financial penalties on commercial contracts, if handover isn't on time.

There's also the fact that materials supplied will tend to be the materials used - whether your colleagues are employed directly or sub-contractors, they'll have an uphill struggle claiming for additional materials. If 30A connector blocks are supplied, then that's most likely what they'll use as alternatives would be funded out of their own pockets.

Not sure I've ever seen a length of conduit installed using a torpedo level - generally it's quickest and easiest to throw up a line from a laser level.
Yep....problem is literally nobody has one.

I take in a 4ft level because it does the job but everyone else uses torpedos. Very difficult to get it bang on straight with those.
 
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With regard materials, your employer provides them for you, so you have to use them and make the best job of it you can. Remember connector blocks were around before Wago's, although I agree with you.

The tools, I take you provide your own hand tools? If you do, be careful of your envious work colleagues!
I provide all my own tools (mainly because i have them all already) and so do the other lads but some of their toolkits are falling to bits.

There's one guy and i don't think he has anything that's not half broken or malfunctioned in his bag. You know like screwdrivers all taped up with mashed ends that don't fit properly anymore, he's using a 6 year old blade in his knife, he's got two pairs of cutters - one has half one cutting side snapped off and the others need a whole can of WD40 spraying on them because they're so rusty they can barely be used.

Regardless of fitting everything is tightened using one pair of grips, usually resulting in mashed up fixings.

That sort of crack.
 
westward10

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I've noticed on here people who have obsessions with hand and power tools with some threads stretching on for weeks, I really don't get it. Judge a person by their work and not the age and quality of their tools. Here are my cutters for everyday, the Channellock ones I bought in the early 1980s and the red pair seem fine to me. 20210918_155728.jpg
 
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CamoElectric

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I've noticed on here people who have obsessions with hand and power tools with some threads stretching on for weeks, I really don't get it. Judge a person by their work and not the age and quality of their tools. Here are my cutters for everyday, the Channellock ones I bought in the early 1980s and the red pair seem fine to me. View attachment 90189
Not saying yours are, but crap tools make the job miles harder, and longer.

What i'm saying is before i started at this company, from what people online say, you'd think commercial was the big holy grail where everything was engineering precision but it's not the case - a lot of these blokes carry around a barely functioning tool kit. I had to borrow a couple of things last week and they were almost unusable and made the job ten times harder.

Trying to strip 4mm T+E with a rusty pair of blunt cutters when a pair of £18 auto strippers are on the market..
 
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Congratulations on getting your apprenticeship firstly. 100 Percent agree with commenter above with the fact that the domestic work is in a cut throat world, to a point where buliders and kitchen fitters will "Bang" Electrical installations in to save money. Of course there are time served tradesmen who have a host of quality tools, and the knowledge, expertise & care to complete a good domestic installation, they are few and far between.
I do have to be honest in saying there is the mentality amongst "Industrial (Commercial)" of looking down on "House Bashers" - this has been the case for years. Being a standalone Industrial Electrician - you do have to have a way way bigger skill set than a Domestic Sparky, thats a fact! Both theoretical and practically they are two different worlds, you have to be competent in the design & installation of various containment systems - be able to instal to a good standard, Cable Tray, trunking, conduit systems, armoured cable, SY , Industrial lighting, Busbar Systems, Fire Alarms, Design & Instal Emergency Lighting its endless. This is the crux of the Gripes . Looking forward, i would 100 percent recommend you getting into the Industrial Commercial field. The Skill Set you will gain will see you through a prosperous happy working life-In the end you can work for your self and be able to tackle ANY Job, Domestic or Industrial.
 
nicebutdim

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I guess everyone has a preferred method of working and, by extension, preferred tools for each job.

OP does make a good point about grips being used for everything - in the right hands isn't necessarily a problem, but I'm not a fan of mashed fittings and everyone know someone who does exactly that.
 
7029 dave

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Yes well done on getting an apprenticeship, especially with a big outfit.
You are very lucky hopefully getting a good variety of both domestic and commercial/ industrial.
I was with quite a big firm in my experience tooling tools didnt make any difference, one week could be in a hospital/ office block /factory, few months later wiring up 200 house's, buying your tools was buying your tools for the job's you were on. The only tools that were provided for me by the firm was Conduit former/ some knackered old testing equipment (before the days of MFT).Bought my own
The boss pulled in good quality work I liked the variety but as an apprentice he pulled you on off jobs to suit the sparks.

The industry was not split into sectors back then. Electrical work was Electrical work tools as well , sure some company's specialised in certain area's. So to be honest I cant really relate to your OP.
 
OP
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CamoElectric

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Congratulations on getting your apprenticeship firstly. 100 Percent agree with commenter above with the fact that the domestic work is in a cut throat world, to a point where buliders and kitchen fitters will "Bang" Electrical installations in to save money. Of course there are time served tradesmen who have a host of quality tools, and the knowledge, expertise & care to complete a good domestic installation, they are few and far between.
I do have to be honest in saying there is the mentality amongst "Industrial (Commercial)" of looking down on "House Bashers" - this has been the case for years. Being a standalone Industrial Electrician - you do have to have a way way bigger skill set than a Domestic Sparky, thats a fact! Both theoretical and practically they are two different worlds, you have to be competent in the design & installation of various containment systems - be able to instal to a good standard, Cable Tray, trunking, conduit systems, armoured cable, SY , Industrial lighting, Busbar Systems, Fire Alarms, Design & Instal Emergency Lighting its endless. This is the crux of the Gripes . Looking forward, i would 100 percent recommend you getting into the Industrial Commercial field. The Skill Set you will gain will see you through a prosperous happy working life-In the end you can work for your self and be able to tackle ANY Job, Domestic or Industrial.
Thankfully, i've been put under the commercial industrial side. I've had one small job in someone's house but that's it.

I already know basically how to do domestic for most things single phase like sockets, lights, radials etc so i'm glad to be on the commercial side getting the experience there. I think it's much easier for a commercial industrial spark to walk into a house than the other way round. I really don't see how someone who has only ever done single phase domestic installs can walk into something with dozens of sub boards with a supply in the kVs.
 
nicebutdim

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Thankfully, i've been put under the commercial industrial side. I've had one small job in someone's house but that's it.

I already know basically how to do domestic for most things single phase like sockets, lights, radials etc so i'm glad to be on the commercial side getting the experience there. I think it's much easier for a commercial industrial spark to walk into a house than the other way round. I really don't see how someone who has only ever done single phase domestic installs can walk into something with dozens of sub boards with a supply in the kVs.

What it will also do is make putting together your portfolio much easier.
 
OP
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What it will also do is make putting together your portfolio much easier.
I've not had the portfolio chat yet as haven't started college but am i right in saying that a lot of lads are unable to finish it because they only do specific types of domestic work?
 
nicebutdim

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I've not had the portfolio chat yet as haven't started college but am i right in saying that a lot of lads are unable to finish it because they only do specific types of domestic work?

Probably more of a struggle for them to fulfill some of the requirements.

Maybe I'll get shot down for this, but it's quite likely that guys working on domestic installations will have a significant advantage when it comes to testing.
 
Midwest

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Thankfully, i've been put under the commercial industrial side. I've had one small job in someone's house but that's it.

I already know basically how to do domestic for most things single phase like sockets, lights, radials etc so i'm glad to be on the commercial side getting the experience there. I think it's much easier for a commercial industrial spark to walk into a house than the other way round. I really don't see how someone who has only ever done single phase domestic installs can walk into something with dozens of sub boards with a supply in the kVs.
Disagree with you there. I did my apprenticeship with a commercial & domestic company, then jumped ship for a company that just did house bashing, then left to work for a company working only at the British Leyland car factory in Cowley (you might need to Google that), which was purely industrial (then left the industry). And if I say so myself, did a pretty good job in all those fields 🥱

The thing is, not everyone has such picky high standards, unlike most of the sparks on this forum. That said those other sparks, don't spend their time pursuing forums such as this. They will spend their weekend enjoying what else life has to offer, outside wires, snips and Wago's.

Do what you do, as best you can, and don't bother what everyone else does; as long as you can meet your bosses expectations, which you'll find is key, whatever you think.

And don't pee others off, telling them they should be doing this that and the other, or this is the best way.
 
GBDamo

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Not saying yours are, but crap tools make the job miles harder, and longer.

What i'm saying is before i started at this company, from what people online say, you'd think commercial was the big holy grail where everything was engineering precision but it's not the case - a lot of these blokes carry around a barely functioning tool kit. I had to borrow a couple of things last week and they were almost unusable and made the job ten times harder.

Trying to strip 4mm T+E with a rusty pair of blunt cutters when a pair of £18 auto strippers are on the market..
4mm T&E killed my CK auto strippers on Friday, granted it was a particularly piggish LSF with sheath like granite and insulation that just stretched and ripped.

I was doing 30 double sockets in dado and got to about 25 when the mechanics failed.

I hope to get a year out of a pair and these have just about made it.

Not sure if to go CK again or try something new, the Klein ones in CEF have been giving me the eye for a while now.
 
OP
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Probably more of a struggle for them to fulfill some of the requirements.

Maybe I'll get shot down for this, but it's quite likely that guys working on domestic installations will have a significant advantage when it comes to testing.
How so? We do loads of testing at work on big 3 phase boards.
 
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And don't pee others off, telling them they should be doing this that and the other, or this is the best way.
Hell no.

For one i'm only an apprentice, i'm there to learn and do as i'm asked not shout the orders. And there's another guy who just started who is shouting the odds re: regs and people are already getting annoyed with him.
 
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4mm T&E killed my CK auto strippers on Friday, granted it was a particularly piggish LSF with sheath like granite and insulation that just stretched and ripped.

I was doing 30 double sockets in dado and got to about 25 when the mechanics failed.

I hope to get a year out of a pair and these have just about made it.

Not sure if to go CK again or try something new, the Klein ones in CEF have been giving me the eye for a while now.
I've got a pair of 'Dexter' ones that i got in Europe. Strips everything up to 4mm with ease even though i'm quite sure they're a cheapo brand.
 
nicebutdim

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Not sure if to go CK again or try something new, the Klein ones in CEF have been giving me the eye for a while now.


I'm sure it's not the case, but construction appears to be identical on all the brands of these automatic strippers that I've seen.
 
nicebutdim

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How so? We do loads of testing at work on big 3 phase boards.

Was thinking more from a fault finding perspective. Cables aren't easily accessible in domestic situations, and DIY bodges more common, so my thinking is that fault finding is more reliant on testing.

I could be wrong, but those are my inexperienced thoughts.
 

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