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#143938 - 09/22/05 04:41 PM Ireland/England
GalwayElectric Offline

Registered: 09/22/05
Posts: 14
Loc: Rutherford, NJ
Hey all. I'm a US electrician moving to Ireland. (Could even stop in England for a spell). Any advice about getting into the trade there? Any Irish Electrical Contractors on this site? I actually more interested in becoming an electrical estimator in Ireland/England. I can't find any schools/courses to take? If anyone can be of assistance I'd appreciate it! Thanks! (Newcastle United Football Club!!!!)

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#143939 - 09/22/05 07:06 PM Re: Ireland/England
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 5305
Loc: Blue Collar Country
Yes, we have Irish members. Sometimes they even come to the chat room.

Prepeare to start learning from scratch. Everything is completely different. I'm not saying it's impossible- just more different than you can possibly imagine.

#143940 - 09/23/05 01:46 AM Re: Ireland/England
britspark Offline

Registered: 05/28/05
Posts: 54
Loc: southampton united kingdom
Galway Electric,
there are a few courses available at most local Technical Colleges to get you a foothold within the trade over here.

BUT they will only give you a `grounding` within the trade, you really should try to find an Electrical Contracting company to work with for a while so as you can get used to the `way we do it over here`.

its like one thing that i have had a bit of trouble with, Grounded and Grounding conductors?? it took me a while but i got it! we use an Earth (or CPC) and a Neutral conductor,

also the colour codes are a bit different, if you look some of us have posted a list of colour codes for England and Ireland, maybe PaulUK could direct you to the right thread link.

if you need any further help feel free to either e mail me or post here.

Good Luck Mate


#143941 - 09/23/05 06:26 AM Re: Ireland/England
GalwayElectric Offline

Registered: 09/22/05
Posts: 14
Loc: Rutherford, NJ
Thanks guys! I appreciate your insight. I for sure have the concept of grounded and and grounding conductors. From what I can tell the basic principles are the same. After all electricity is the same. The differences that I see are that dreaded metric system and the circuitry. The concept of a ring circuit is foreign to me for sure. We have GFCI's and you guys have RCD's. Pretty much the same. Also bathrooms have zones associated with them (well Ireland anyway) and we dont.
Any other advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again.


#143942 - 09/23/05 10:48 AM Re: Ireland/England
pauluk Offline

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
Hi Galway and welcome to ECN.

Obviously the basic technical theory applies over here, but as already noted circuit arrangements, cable sizing, color codes, and many other things are quite different.

Although the U.K. and the Irish Republic have much in common from an American perspective, , remember that the RoI has been completely separate from the U.K. since 1921, so things have evolved to give quite a number of differences in practical arrangements.

I'm also assuming that you are talking about moving to that part of Ireland which is the Irish Republic. Don't forget that six counties in the north of Ireland are still part of the U.K. and thus follow British Standards anyway.

We both use 4-wire wye distribution networks at 230/400V (or thereabouts), with residential supplies normally tapped off as simple 2-wire service. We both normally use separate branch circuits to feed fixed lighting points and receptacles, and we have the peculiar ring circuit, although apparently that's not so common in Ireland as in the United Kingdom.

Grounding arrangements differ considerably from American practice. In the U.K., for example, there are three distinct methods in use (there are diagrams illustrating them on ECN somewher -- I'll dig out the links to them later if you wish).

Dave (djk) is in the Irish Republic and can provide a lot more specific details on the most important differences in Ireland.

also the colour codes are a bit different, if you look some of us have posted a list of colour codes for England and Ireland, maybe PaulUK could direct you to the right thread link.

Here you go:
International Color Codes

Note that Ireland and the U.K. went separate ways with color coding to a degree. Now we both have to deal with the new "harmonized" European colors, so in both countries we have more than one system in use.

#143943 - 09/24/05 08:44 PM Re: Ireland/England
aussie240 Offline

Registered: 07/06/05
Posts: 221
Loc: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
that dreaded metric system

One of the best things to have come to Australia. Converting between 8th's, 16th's & 32nd's is a right pain in the arse.

#143944 - 09/25/05 12:55 AM Re: Ireland/England
Trumpy Offline


Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8532
Loc: SI,New Zealand
Welcome to the group and may I say, best of luck with your move to Ireland.
Cue Djk.
There was a site here a wee while back that explained the IEE Regs, would this help our friend?.
Here is the site here:

TLC Direct

[This message has been edited by Trumpy (edited 09-25-2005).]
Let's face it, these days if you're not young, you're old - Red Green grin

#143945 - 09/26/05 12:01 AM Re: Ireland/England
GalwayElectric Offline

Registered: 09/22/05
Posts: 14
Loc: Rutherford, NJ
Thanks again guys for all your insight! Maybe I'll become an Auzzie next!

#143946 - 09/26/05 10:24 AM Re: Ireland/England
britspark Offline

Registered: 05/28/05
Posts: 54
Loc: southampton united kingdom
if you become an Aussie, it will be a bit warmer downunder!!!!!

as i said before, if you need any advice, just post it here.


oh PaulUK
have now finished the Croydon re modle, will get you some pics of the finished job.

three phase 50mm incomers (2)
200 amp supply via a three phase panel board.

really nice job, took a long time but its finished now and on thursday we have the VIP night for all of the contractors, the club is a Lap dance bar!!! have got my hotel booked and friday off of work !!!


#143947 - 09/27/05 07:28 AM Re: Ireland/England
djk Offline

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 1269
Loc: Ireland
While the wiring and electrical standards in the UK and the Republic of Ireland are broadly similar there are some signifigant differences.

Wiring in Ireland is a sort of hybrid of UK and Northern European systems and the wiring rules used here are not quite the same as the UK standards, but are generally very similar.

The major differences you may notice:

Ireland's distribution system supplies 220/380V, in common with almost all EU countries. The UK on the other hand supplies 240/415V... Appliances are now all rated 230/400V which means that either system is within their spec. This allows equipment to be made for a pan-european market, including the UK.

Colour codes:

Irish colour codes are not identical to the UK although they do have the same origins. You'll find legacy installations with black(N), Green (E) and Red (L) cabling however, we moved towards a European standard system a bit earlier than the UK so you'll find a lot more homes with Blue (N) Brown (L) and Green/Yellow (E)

(some VERY old [now rare] installations may also follow other codes)

Circuit arrangements:

While ring circuits are permitted here they're not very popular among the electrical trade. The vast majority of homes are wired with radial circuits. Also, all socket outlets supplying up to 32A must be covered by an RCD(since 1980). There are no exceptions to this rule.

Irish distribution panels (consumer units) are not the same as their british counterparts. Historically we've used German VDE standards for fuses, so you'll find old installations have Diazed or Neozed fuses rather than the UK-style re-wirable types. These fusing systems are designed to prevent accidental over-fusing of a circuit by using different sized fuses and fuse holders.

The later versions of those fusing systems were still being installed in the mid 1980s in some instances and are still permitted in new installations. They provide protection that is totally comparable to MCBs and some contractors simply prefered them. They also install on the same boards in the same modular DIN rail installations as MCBs/RCDs.

All consumer units (distribution panels) here must have a main fuse rated at the maximum load for the installation. Breakers are now permitted if they comply with particular codes. (see wiring regs for details) however, in general, a simple single neozed fuse is used.

In terms of regulation of electrical contractors, a regime similar to the UK applies. Contractors should be members of one of the recognised organisations e.g. RECI. You will need to be a member of one of these groups to issue certificates of completion that are recognised by insurance companies / local authorities / ESB (PoCo) etc etc.

RECI etc will set out minimum standards of qualifications that are deemed to be acceptable, carry out inspections etc etc.. basically, it's a case of the industry regulating itself. Same system applies to professions here like accounting, law, medicine etc..

The national wiring rules are available from (electotechnical council of ireland) and all installations legally must comply with them regardless of who does them. If the installation doesn't comply with the code the contactor who carried it out would be fully liable for any consequences.

If you check out some of the ITs (Institutes of Technology) you will find courses that would give you a decent grounding (once again pardon the pun) in all aspects of electrical work in Ireland.

If you've already qualified as a contractor in the USA it would simply be a case of learning a different approach to the same problems. There are many differences between European and US installations but, obviously all of the electrical theories would be identical since they're just based on the laws of physics.

Oh yeah forgot this one

Electrical fittings:
All current installations use BS1363 outlets (the same as the UK) and fused plugs. (This is known as IS401 here)
Switch plates / boxes / etc are identical to the UK.

Legacy installations (pretty rare to be quite honest)
Schuko (german style plugs) on 16A circuits or BS546 (round pin UK plugs) on radial 10 and 16A circuits.
That is more of a historical footnote than anything else as those installations are pretty much dead and burried by now.

On the supply side of things:

electrical contractors here do not deal with the power network at all. i.e. you don't run services and you don't have any access to the wiring before the meter.

When an installation's complete the contractor leaves customer tails in a metering cabinet and these are connected to the meter by the PoCo. Any service upgrades / replacement / enhancements etc are done by the PoCo. The most recent installations have a demarkation point (an isolation switch) after the meter.
In this case, the contractor makes the connection to the switch, provides the PoCo with a completition cert. energises the supply (by throwing the switch) and places a seal on it which has an ID + date + signature etc.

Also, with regard to earthing/grounding you cannot change the earthing system in use under any circumstances, only the PoCo can do that and only one connection can be made between the earth and neutral in a PME (protective multiple earthing) system and that is done by the PoCo at a terminal before the meter. You simply leave a customer main earth tail ready for connection.

Oh yeah, if you're doing telephone installations they're rather similar to the United States and Canada. RJ11 is used. However, the wall plates are signifigantly different as they fit UK-style boxes and as telephone ringing voltage is about 75V, they're required to be shuttered so are protected by a gravity activated or spring loaded flap. However, you'll find a pleathra of US-spec'd accessories on the market that don't really comply with this and don' t have shutters. Anything provided by the telco will generally have the shutters present.

for TV installations coax is used, similar specs to the USA. Wall plates are different and you will encounter a "Belling Lee" connector which is similar, but not the same as an F-Connector. F-Connectors tend to only be used for satellite installations.

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