The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is behind a new scheme aimed at reducing the risks taken by consumers when they employ a tradesman to work in their home. The aim of the scheme is to reduce the number of consumers being conned by rogue traders who produce shoddy workmanship or simply disappear with a customer’s money.

The new RICS Client Money Protection Scheme will act as a ‘referee and ombudsman’ and sit between the customer and the tradesman holding monies on larger scale works. However, whilst this is aimed at the consumer, it will be of great benefit to those people currently undertaking construction courses as well as qualified plumbers, trained electricians, certified carpenters and other trades people.

How will the scheme work?

A large deposit is held by the scheme having been paid in by the consumer and not paid directly to the builder and this money will not be released to the builder until the work is complete. There are certain caveats that both parties must adhere to - the value of the project needs to be worth more than £2000 and consumers will need to pay a small amount into a consumer protection guarantee account to begin with.

This will mean that both parties are covered in the event of any dispute as the tradesperson will be safe in the knowledge that the money has been deposited and is being held securely whilst the consumer is happy that the tradesperson will only be paid once they produce work that is satisfactory. It also protects the consumer from being pressured into paying by the tradesperson.

The man who brought this idea to life is Harvey Ellington, who spoke to mycouncillor.org.uk, ‘the concept is simple. This Escrow account is fully protected by the RICS Client Money Protection Scheme meaning your money is totally safe. This removes all the elements of risk for the consumers and traders too. Cowboy builders and rogue tradesmen will be quickly caught out. This is a major step forward for consumers in this country.’

However, tradesperson and consumers must also be aware that cowboy builders are rarely qualified. So before the consumer settles on a tradesperson they should ask them whether they are a member of any professional organisations and what qualifications or construction courses they have completed. For instance, gas engineers by law must attend relevant training and courses to become Gas Safe registered. Electricians working on domestic properties must either be working for a company or personally qualified to Part P of the Building Regulations. Most reputable electricians will also be part of a competent person scheme such as the NICEIC.

If you are a tradesperson looking for construction courses call Access training today and we’ll get you qualified quickly and efficiently.

In a recent article published in She magazine, one of the UK’s largest selling woman’s magazines, six woman were featured who had varied jobs but with one common factor... a very high salary. One such woman, Jane Graham from London, works for Pimlico Plumbers, having completed her plumbing training. She earns a quoted £75k per year. That’s £4,176 per month or £964 per week or £193 per day after tax! Not bad at all.

This just goes to show not only that women are just as suited to a career in plumbing as men, but also the tremendous financial rewards working as a plumber can bring, making plumbing training a worthwhile undertaking.

Jane Graham stated: “As I’m very hands-on I decided that university wasn’t for me, so I thought instead about training to be a plumber. It was tough being the only woman on the plumbing training course, but now I love my job with Pimlico Plumbers. In a typical day I will have three different customers, and many of my female customers are delighted to see a female plumber. There is nothing better than solving a problem and making sure the customers are happy; plus the money I earn working in this affluent area of London is a real bonus.”  

Here at Access Training we have seen a marked increase (134%) in the enquiries we are receiving from women about our trades training courses, and these enquiries are fairly evenly spread between the plumbing training, electrical courses and the other trades we offer. They will usually be keen to discuss their suitability for the work, to which we always offer the same reply: a career in plumbing or any other trade for that matter is just as suited to women as it is to men.

The age old stereotypes are no longer relevant. Women can be up there with the very highest earners in the trade. Once industry recognised plumbing training has been completed men and women alike in a position to reap the financial rewards.

If you’re interested in becoming a plumber then Access Training’s plumbing training is the best way to kick start your career. Our purpose built, state of the art facilities accurately replicate scenarios will you find yourself in whilst out on the job, giving you a thorough grounding in all aspects of plumbing. Call 0800 345 7492 today.

The NICEIC has just has published the results of a survey which asked registered electrical contractors their thoughts on Part P of the Building Regulations. Around 1,500 completed the survey. The results obtained, which reflected a wide spread of electricians’ views, are to be considered by the Government in their latest review of current Building Regulations.

As discussed in previous posts, the effectiveness of Part P is currently being looked at and re-examined by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, who published the initial legislation back in 2005. This dictated that electrical courses graduates working domestically must have attended one of a specific range of electrical courses to become a qualified installer. They also had to be part of a Competent Person Scheme.

There has been much debate regarding the changes needed, with most agreeing that Part P electrical courses should be amended to improve the current model. The responses received from the NICEIC survey support this view with 85% believing it should be retained. Three quarters of contributors said that there should be a pubic list of approved electrical installers for consumers to use, preventing unqualified electricians from carrying out domestic electrical work.

One of the most telling findings was that half of the respondents have seen a marked increase in the standard of electrical work since Part P was brought in as an essential element of electrical courses.

Other notable findings were that 75% of contributors said they wanted firmer action to be taken against those individuals who did not comply with the scheme. At present prosecutions are virtually non-existent.

Finally, an important point the electrical courses graduates wanted homeowners to understand was which DIY tasks they can carry out themselves as opposed to those they need a qualified electrician to complete.

Here at Access Training we feel that safety comes first and that, despite its numerous faults, Part P has been an undoubted success since its introduction, increasing the quality of the workmanship being carried out in people’s homes.

Here at Access Training we offer Part P electrical courses which will enable you to reach the industry required standard. If you require any further information regarding Part P electrical courses, or any of our other courses for that matter, please call 0800 345 7492 or email enquiries@accesstraining.co.uk.

On the electrical courses we provide here at Access Training, we believe an integral element is the preparation of students for future developments in the industry. Currently the subject of solar photovoltaic or solar PV is a particularly hot topic of conversation. As part of our training we ensure that students on our electrical courses are fully aware of the technology involved, however, we are finding some students have concerns about its longevity and are worried about what to say to customers if they enquire about the benefits of investing in a solar PV system.

Solar technology is widely expected to be one of the key methods of producing environmentally friendly power in the future, but what is not clear from the information currently available to the general public and electrical courses students alike is the current benefits for the customer and installer.

The benefits of solar PV installation can be summarized thus:

•    Feed in Tariffs backed by the Government
•    Electricity which can be consumed for free
•    Gain an income by selling surplus back to the grid
•    A reduction in carbon footprint and CO2 emissions
•    Ideal for the UK climate as the technology works all year round

One of the benefits that students of our electrical courses have found to be most impressive is that customers earn a guaranteed 41.3p from their electricity provider for every unit of electricity they produce. This allows some individuals to earn anywhere from £600 to £1250 a year, representing a return of 8% to 14%. However, the exact figure will be dependent on the position of the panels, the amount of sunlight to which the property is exposed and the overall size of the installation.

If you would like to find out more about solar PV installation and its benefits, or for more information about the electrical courses on offer here at Access Training then call our course advice team today.

The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) has reported that 1 in 5 fires in UK homes are caused by electrical installations. This worrying fact is something Access Training is now telling all the students on their electrician courses as a warning to the potentially fatal risks of lax workmanship.

The ESC has pinpointed landlords as a main area to target with their campaign for safer homes across the UK. The organisation believe that it is the vulnerable members of our society such as migrant workers who are most at risk to the danger of faulty electrical installations, as they are not as aware of the risks of coming into contact with faulty equipment. An important aspect of the electrician courses here at Access Training is to make students fully aware of the responsibility they carry.

Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs), which form an integral part of Access Training’s electrician courses, are a particular area which the Electrical Safety Council wishes to have thoroughly checked before further accidents occur. They have urged landlords to live up to and fully understand their legal responsibilities towards the individuals occupying their properties. They are urging tenants to ask for a Periodic Inspection Report from their landlord, which should be produced every five years. This process includes the testing of all sockets, wiring and light fittings throughout the property. 

The electrician courses run by Access take the time to cover Periodic Inspection Reports extensively, paying particular attention to how and why the checks are conducted. The electrician courses cover exactly what you should be looking for in terms of damage and wear and tear, such as checking for damaged light fittings, signs of burning and loose sockets.

If you are interested in comprehensive, industry recognised electrician courses which teach you everything you need to know about Periodic Inspection Reports then contact Access Training today.

Have a quick look at the following headline which appeared in The Sun newspaper on May 31 2011: Jobs Idea ‘Fail’

“Labour blew £180 million on a workplace qualifications scheme branded “not fit for purpose.”

Completely regardless of the political connotations of the above headline, let’s have a look at the newly conceived QCF qualifications scheme and examine just why it was such an expensive failure.

The previous government decided that the qualification structure surrounding electrical courses and other trades training needed to be changed and standardised. In reality it caused so many issues and arguments between the awarding bodies and the educational centres running the trades training and electrical courses that the whole scheme had to be shelved. The ill fated qualifications were scrapped just before they were due to go live wasting a lot of time and resources.

The Sun article stated: “Official figures reveal the huge level of funding by the last government for the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). But an independent review of electrical courses and other vocational courses this year called it ‘entirely inappropriate’.

“Professor Alison Wolf, who published the critical dossier, said the QCF had no relevance for learners ‘likely to switch jobs and entering decades of employment in a rapidly changing economy’.

“Her report went on: “This should not be the main, let alone the only, type of vocational qualification offered. Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi, who uncovered the bill, said: Labour simply doesn’t understand what employers want.”

So what does this mean for those individuals considering training courses such as resettlement training, gas, plumbing or electrical courses? Absolutely nothing. It merely ensures that the current tried and tested qualifications and methods of training remain the same. For example, City & Guilds electrical courses are still the courses to look for if you wish to qualify to complete domestic, commercial and industrial electrical installations.

You can therefore rest assured that the electrical courses offered here at Access Training are the most up to date available, allowing you the opportunity to gain qualifications recognised and respected throughout the industry. If you are looking for all encompassing electrical courses, or you are just starting out and looking for something at more of a beginner’s level, here at Access Training we have something for everyone.

The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) has just published a survey stating that women may be at greater risk than men of having an electric shock whilst working in the garden as they have not heard of an RCD (Residual Current Device), something covered in all electrical courses. The report published by the ECS was derived from Government data which found that 70 people a year die from accidents in and around UK homes and that if an RCD was fitted it could have prevented some of these accidents. If you have attended an electrical course with us then you will understand the importance of RCDs already but to those who don’t know it appears they could be putting themselves at some risk through a simple lack of understanding.

So what is an RCD? The ESC website gives a wealth of information regarding this but essentially it is a sensitive switch device that trips (or switches off) if there is a fault. An RCD protects people against the risks of electrocution and fire caused by an earth fault, an area that is covered on our electrical courses. The most obvious scenario for this being that a cable is cut when mowing the lawn.  Obviously this situation could occur this coming weekend of all weekends as a bank holiday means more people will be working in the garden preparing lawns, flower beds and hedge rows for the summer. No doubt many people will be using electrical devices such as mowers and hedge trimmers for the first time this year. An RCD would protect the user if the device was faulty and the appliance overheats causing electric current to flow to earth.

The ECA found that almost 50% of the women surveyed for the report have either never used (23%) or never actually heard of an RCD and what it does (26%). Surprisingly however, women were less likely than men to appreciate the dangers of using electrical equipment in the garden. A Mori Poll also reported that 25% of women have actually experienced at least one electric shock in the garden during their lifetime which should be a reminder to us all of the potential dangers over this coming bank holiday weekend.

Access Training’s electrical courses teach the importance of RCDs and explains the application, installation and testing of these devices during the electrical course curriculums with the emphasis being that it teaches you to work that at all times you must work safely after attending a domestic electrical course.

After our last post regarding how the proposed changes to Government red tape are likely to affect electrical courses graduates, it has become apparent that there is widespread confusion among many of our current electrical courses students, as well as those currently working in the trade.

So here, by way of explanation, is exactly how Part P applies:

1) You will not need to notify your local authority if you do limited minor electrical work such as:

a. Replacing or repairing a socket, light or cable in a room;
b. Adding extra spurs, sockets or lights to an existing circuit (except in a kitchen, bathroom or outdoors);
c. Adding lights to an outdoor wall on an existing circuit (provided there are no exposed outdoor connections, and the circuit is not extended from a kitchen or bathroom).

2) Before you start other electrical work, you must notify your Local Authority Building Control Department, which has responsibility for ensuring the work is inspected and tested. This work includes:

a. Adding new circuits to your existing installation;
b. Any work (other than repairs / replacements) in a room where there is water (e.g. kitchen, bathroom, etc);
c. Any work (other than repairs / replacements) outdoors (e.g. installing outdoor sockets or non-pre wired garden lighting etc).


And remember, Building Control will charge you a fee. Diynot.com has some interesting discussions by contributors on this subject, such as: “My local authority charges £202 + vat for work up to £2000 and it goes up from there and they won't inspect or test - they want an EIC/MWC [electrical certificate] signed by a qualified electrician”, which essentially means the process could become very expensive.

However, when you perform any electrical installation after attending one of our electrical courses and become a member of a competent person scheme, you will be able to self certify your own work with no need to inform Building Control, thus avoiding such high costs. Therefore it makes sense to undergo electrical courses with us here at Access Training and join a Competent Person Scheme. This will ensure you are able to perform many different types of domestic electrical installation in accordance with Part P.

We hope this clears up any confusion for our present electrical courses students and for those electrical courses graduates we have taught in the past. If you require any further information regarding Part P, our electrical courses or any other of our services for that matter, please do not hesitate to give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

In our last post we talked briefly about the Government’s review of current building regulations and the emphasis of Part P, as well as how this applies to those individuals undergoing electrical training. We mentioned the building regulations exercise which was conducted with over 800 direct and indirect responses which produced some interesting results. We felt it was important to inform our electrical training graduates as well as our potential electrical training students of the future of the details and timescale of any prospective changes so you know exactly what is expected of you. 

The key finding is that current building regulations are far from perfect; there is plenty to be improved upon, although, for the most part, they are in pretty good shape. The Part P section of the regulations seemed to be a contentious point amongst many, especially those who have recently completed electrical training. The following viewpoints were highlighted on the Government website:

  •  Large-scale support for reducing cost of compliance with Part P;
  •  A questioning of the role of regulation and its scope e.g. why do we control what people do in their own homes (e.g. water temperature);
  •  Make building regulations less bureaucratic and restrictive;
  •  Review Part P home DIY electrical.

There was a common misunderstanding:

  • Have you ever wanted to change that socket from a single socket to a double? Well you can’t, it’s illegal.

The regulations for DIYers left the following general complaint:

  • Competent DIYers must pay to have work inspected by building control, or pay to have work carried out by perhaps less competent individuals who have completed the relevant electrical training.

Competent registered electricians also commented:

  • Electricians who comply, register and have undergone thorough electrical training are undercut by cowboys who ignore rules and regulations
  • Regulations are not enforced – cowboys are never prosecuted

There were also some broad views expressed regarding Part P rules:

  • Electrical installation work in new and existing dwellings, however minor, must follow rules in BS 7671: 2001. (There is currently no technical guidance in Approved Document P)
  • Riskier jobs are ‘notifiable’ and must either be:
    • inspected, tested and approved by a building control body, or
    • self-certified by a registered electrician who has undergone the relevant electrical training (‘Competent Person’)
  • Notifiable jobs are:
    • new circuits and new/ replacement consumer units
    • extensions to circuits in kitchens, bathrooms and outdoors
  • Repairs and replacements are not notifiable
  • Rules too confusing and not well understood by general public
  • High building control charges discourage notification (especially simple jobs in kitchens)


Having reviewed the responses, MP Andrew Stunell, said: “For me this is just the start of the process - their contribution has informed my programme of work for the next year, and I want to work with them further to ensure building regulations are fit for the 21st century."

The programme of reform has also now been set out with the following actions:

  • Set up Building Regulations Part P Technical Working Party
  • Develop proposals for amending regulations and guidance
  • Prepare formal Impact Assessment
  • Publish consultation document – December 2011
  • Conduct formal three month consultation
  • Publish analysis of responses – July 2012
  • Publish amended regulations and Approved Document – October 2012
  • Bring new regulations and guidance into effect – April 2013

At Access Training we will, as ever, continue to monitor and report on statements from the Government as well as electrical training awarding bodies to bring to you the latest and most up to date information. Upon reflection it appears that Part P of the building regulations will receive further scrutiny over the next few years, culminating in a more refined set of regulations being implemented in a few years time. What is certain is that Part P electrical training courses will continue to be essential for the safety of consumers and installers alike.

Here at Access Training we aim to bring you all the latest industry news for electrical training graduates and prospective students alike, so you are fully equipped to make a name for yourself as a reputable and highly skilled electrician.  

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