Last month the DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government) announced amendments to the current Building Regulations, introducing a previously proposed third party inspection scheme to allow DIY enthusiasts/those not registered with a Competent Persons Scheme to have their work checked and certified. However NICEIC and ELECSA have announced that they will be opting out of these changes, arguing that the changes could "undermine registered electricians" and cause more harm than good.

In a statement from Emma Clancy, CEO of Cetsure (which operates the two brands), it was said they "do not wish to see DIY'ers carry out potentially dangerous electrical work" and believe it needs to be left to competent electricians who will able to comply with the wiring regulations. She went on to point out that the third party inspector scheme is not UKAS accredited, meaning that there is to be no external verification ensuring that the scheme operators are doing their job to the correct standard.

"It makes a mockery of competent persons’ schemes and the tens of thousands of registered electricians already in the marketplace. There are glaring holes in the scheme, such as the amount of time an installation can be live before it is checked, potentially endangering the householder," she continued.

Other electrical contractors have also expressed concerns over the scheme, especially toward a lack of clarity as to where the responsibility lies. Is it with the inspectors even though they didn't install it? The question has also been raised as to why DIY installers do the work themselves (and get it checked) in the first place, when as it stands they'd actually be saving money by hiring a competent electrician to do the work.

Finally, Certsure have released a video where NICEIC/ELECSA representatives Tony Cable and Darren Stanniforth discuss the brands' position on third party certification. You can view it here at this link.

Here at Access Training, we fully agree that DIYers shouldn't be attempting any form of electrical installation without the proper knowledge, training and qualifications to ensure that their work isn't a hazard to themselves or anybody else. However we also understand some of you will want to have a go at it yoursepves, which is why our range of electrical training courses is suitable for trainee electricans and DIY enthusiasts alike! At our Cardiff training centre, you'll be able to earn your 17th Edition Wiring and Part P qualifications, proving you skilled enough to join a Competent Person Scheme and tackle all sorts of domestic electrical work yourself.

To find out more, just give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

NICEIC and ELECSA have expressed their concern towards parliamentary recommendations to alter the current-standing electricians' Compentent Persons Scheme system, which if granted would require all domestic electricians to have a qualifications equivalent to an NVQ level 3 within the next five years.

The current system requires simply one person at a firm to be at a Qualified Supervisor level (equivalent to that of an NVQ 3), who is responsible for the final checking of work and signing off that it has been completed in accordance with standards and regulations. However what is now being proposed is that all electricians, from firm employees to self-employed ones, should have this level of qualification. 

This, among other suggestions, have come following a report from the Communities and Local Government Committee stemming from a number of health and safety incidents from the last few years. Among these was the Emma Shaw incident from 2007, where the 22-year-old mother was electrocuted whilst mopping up water from a faulty boiler.

CEO of Certsure (operator of both NICEIC and ELECSA) Emma Shaw spoke out, saying that these measures would place "a huge onus on firms" regardless of size. It is feared costs will be pushed up as apprentices are slowly phased out, causing the electrical industry to suffer in the long term. Clancy also stated;

"The QS system, which Part P is based on, is proven to work and as the committee states in its report has actually pushed domestic electrical installation standards up in recent years."

Certsure stresses that the view that firms are sending out unqualified electricians is unfounded, with electrician firms fully aware of their responsibility and 80% of domestic work carried out by Part P qualified electricians. The question is though - is 80% enough?

However the two groups have welcomed other recommendations made by the report, which include:

  • Calls for an annual limit on the number of jobs that a single QS can review
  • Action from the government to raise public awareness of Part P – similar to that of Gas Safe
  • Proactive enforcement against those who breach Part P and those who work outside of competent person schemes
  • A single register for all Part P electricians covering all schemes

Meanwhile the Committee themselves are fully backing their proposals, with Clive Betts MP arguing that the current system "can brand the incompetent as competent" as homeowners have no guarantee that the electricians turning up at their doors are fully qualified. The commitee also calls into question whether a limited amount of supervisors are "adequately able to check work with such large caseloads".

He concludes; "Under the changes we propose people would know that the electrician working in their home is qualified. If, as scheme operators told us, standards of electricians are already high, then the added criteria will not be too onerous.  

"During the five year transition there should be an annual limit — agreed by the industry — on the maximum number of transactions that a single qualified supervisor can review. This will increase the chance that in the interim unqualified electricians will at least be having their work properly checked by a qualified supervisor."

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Back in January official Government figures showed that the Green Deal wasn't doing too well - in fact in it's first year it had barely managed to achieve a fraction of its expected targets. And although the Government admitted things weren't working out quite the way they had anticipated, Climate Change minister Greg Barker still considered it an encouraging start and was confident things were going to pick up in 2014. Could he have been right?

Electrical body NICEIC are reporting that now more than 1000 companies have signed up for Green Deal installer status with them, alongside further news that consumer interest has picked up in recent months. Since the end of December, an impressive 129,842 Green Deal assessments are said to have been lodged. With only 1,612 houses recorded to have made plans overall (with a further 626 houses having plans in place), this figure alone has the potential to upset last years numbers.

NICEIC head of operations Paul Collins said, "The government is committed to ensuring that all work undertaken via Green Deal is carried out by registered firms and with interest in the initiative now ramping up we are seeing more and more firms look to get involved. We have witnessed a large number of skilled professionals such as electricians, plumbers, heating and gas engineers come to NICEIC for certification as it is a name associated with quality and assurance."

So maybe the Government's confidence in the Green Deal wasn't unfounded? That being said it still has a long way to go yet - after all if none of these put plans in place then the Green Deal is back at square one. For those still not in the know about this Government programme, the Green Deal aims to fund energy-saving upgrades to homes without any upfront costs for installation. Instead, the costs are added to your energy bills and staggered over time.

This may sound offputting, but the rule of the Green Deal is that the repayments MUST be less than the money you're saving on your energy bills - so you'll be paying less regardless of the installments. Interested customers must first have a propety assesment performed by a special Green Deal advisor, who will look at your home's current energy performance and suggest what measures are suitable for you. From there you can begin searching for quotes from Green Deal providers who will be able to tell you the overall cost of the work.

More information on the Green Deal can be found on the DECC (Department of Energy and Climate Change)'s website, but expect more news in the future as it seems there's life in the programme yet!

While most tradespeople are hardworking, honest people, there are always going to be some out there who try to spoil it for everyone else. These "cowboy builders" are the kind that don't complete a trades training course and try to get by on their own knowledge, not only breaking the law but also putting their customers in serious danger. Here's just one example of what happens to people who pretend to be a professional electrician without the relevant qualifications or electrical training course. This foolish contractor has been fined for fraudulently claiming to be registered with certification group NICEIC while at the same time carrying out dangerous electrical work.

David Taylor, trading under the name DT Property Maintenance and Electrical Contractors, was found guilty by Snaresbrook Crown Court of leaving electrical jobs unfinished - making homes unfit for human habitation. This included leaving dangerous electrical rewiring that needed to be put right as well as leaving leaking roof which needed replacing. All instances required other contractors to come in to fix the shoddy workmanship, costing residents in excess of £10,000 in addition to what they had previously paid Mr Taylor.

Action was taken by Hackney Council's Trading Standards, who worked closely with NICEIC to reveal that he was falsely using the NICEIC, Trustmark and Part P logos in his business. Mr Taylor pleaded guilty to 12 separate counts under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, landing him a sentence of eight months. In addition to this, in November 2013 he had also been found guilty at a trial in Isleworth Crown Court for committing fraud against an employer. This case was brought to court by the Metropolitan Police and resulted in an additional 12 month prison sentence.

NICEIC's CEO Emma Clancy said that the group take misuse of their logo "very seriously and welcome this latest prosecution". She went to on say how the NICEIC logo is associated with quality and it was their duty to protect the honest contractors associated with them. It also sends out the message that anyone found to be misusing the logo will be caught and dealt with appropriately.

After hearing Mr Taylor's story, does working as a cowboy builder and falsely using Competent Persons Scheme/qualification logos sound worth it to you? I thought not. The only way to become an electrician is to do it properly, and that's by completing an electrical training course and EARNING the qualifications properly. From here you will be able to properly join a Competent Persons Scheme and join the ranks of the honest electricians working hard across the country. Our electrician courses here at Access Training will get you well on the way to starting your new career, offering high quality teaching in an unbeatable time frame.

Just give Access Training Academies a call on 0800 345 7492 to find out more.

ELECSA and NICEIC operators NAPIT and Certsure have come together to create a single place consumers can go to find a fully qualifiied electrician. This easily identifiable mark will cover all full scope Part P registered electricians and is planned to roll out this year.

The two associations both created their own individual registers last year, but have since realised the advantages of creating a single one to avoid confusion. In addition to this, both feel that the attention given to the launches has proved a distracytion from key issues in the electrical industry - namely safety and quality. To overcome this, NAPIT and Certsure met back in November to discuss the way forward in terms of promoting competent, qualified electricians.

The proposal that has been put forward is anticipated to include all licensed Electrical Competent Person Scheme Operators in England and Wales who are approved by the DCLG to run an electricial certification scheme, who have been said to be "happy with the plans" in principle. The schemes will continue to operate individually in accordance with current Building Regulations, however they will now also promote the new quality mark as well as their own.

Emma Clancy, Chief Executive Officer of Certsure, said consumers will now benefit from a single point of reference, making it far easier for consumers to locate a registered electrician in their area. NAPIT Chief Executive Michael Andrews added that the new register will also "ensure that electrical installers continue to be able to take advantage of the choice and value for money that comes as part and parcel of healthy competition in the marketplace"

When becoming a fully qualified electrician, gaining your Part P qualification and joining a Competent Persons Scheme is an incredibly important step to take. It ensures consumers that you are fully qualified and able to perform electrical installations, setting you apart from the so-called "cowboy builders" that plague the industry. Not only that, but a Part P qualification allows electricians to self-certify their own work. This means you can sign off on any installations without having to inform your local building authority - saving you a considerable amount of money in inspection fees.

The Part P qualification, along with all electrical qualifications needed to become a full-time electrician, is available as an intensive course from Access Training Academies. If you would like the steps to become a fully-fledged electrician, take a look at the courses we have on offer and give us a call on 0800 345 7492 today.