Competent Person Electrical Register

After much deliberation on what can be done to ensure consumers are hiring safe and qualified tradespeople to carry out work in their homes, the Select Committee on Building Regulations has announced that a single Competent Person Electrical Register is ready to go live. The decision was made following a recommendation made by the Communities and Local Government Select Committee, with the register set to officially go live on June 30th.

Is it mandatory to join the competent person electrical register?

This marks a similar move to the long-standing Gas Safe Register, joining which is a legal requirement of all gas engineers operating in the United Kingdom. However, joining the Competent Person Electrical Register is not mandatory, making it similar to the plumbing equivalent Water Safe. The move to create a single register was welcomed by existing Competent Person Scheme brands ELECSA and NICEIC. Although both put forward positive recommendations and supported parts of the report, they also felt some points were not explored thoroughly and "did not reflect the true state of the industry".

Under building regulations Part P, all fixed domestic electrical installations must be suitably installed, tested and inspected to ensure that they are in safe working order. Without achieving a Part P certificate and joining a Competent Person scheme, electricians are required by law to have their work independently verified by an external inspector.

When the scheme (full name: Registered Competent Person Electrical) goes live on June 30th, all full scope Part P electricians in England and Wales will be added automatically by their provider and encouraged to use the logo as a symbol of their qualification. An official launch event will then follow on the 2nd of July in the Palace of Westminster. Minister for Communities and Local Government, Stephen Williams MP, will give a keynote speech to a wide array of key industry stakeholders and MPs, alongside NAPIT Group Chief Executive Officer, Michael Andrews and Chief Executive Officer of Certsure, Emma Clancy.

Clancy commented that the new website will "become the one stop shop for consumers looking to hire an electrician to carry out work in their home."

Attaining a Part P certificate and joining a Competent Person Scheme is a vital part of becoming a domestic electrician, and something we can fully prepare you for here at Access Training.

Whether its part of a more intensive electrician course or the single qualification you're looking for, our experienced tutors will guide you through everything you need to know to reach this important step in your career. To speak to one of our course advisers and find out more give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

UK weather isn't always the kindest of things and, after some especially bad wind and rain earlier this year, it seems Spring is finally settling in nicely. This good turn in the weather seems to be especially good for skilled tradespeople, with their demand reaching record numbers as homeowners use this time to repair, maintain and even improve their properties.

This information comes from Trustmark, the Government-endorsed quality mark and online search database for qualified plumbers, electricians, carpenters, plasterers and more. In just the last four months, the number of searches across all trades has increased by 79% compared to that of last year - putting the total figure for the year on track to double that of 2013.

Among the trades which saw the highest improvements were ones that would be needed to fix properties after the Winter's spell of bad weather, including expert roofers (up an incredible 915%), flood recovery specialists (198%), garden landscapers (94%) and tree surgeons (91%). While this seems like a huge proportion of the searches, it was in fact only around 24% for these months as homeowners were on the lookout for many other handymen and women to improve their homes. Here are just a few of the trades that have seen a sharp rise in searches this year, many of which we teach here at Access:

  • Plasterers and renderers (88%)
  • Plumbing and heating engineers (83%)
  • Air conditioning specialists (79%)
  • Painters and decorators (77%)
  • Handymen (77%)
  • Electricians (52%)

So if you've ever wondered how "in demand" these trades are, the figures should speak for themselves. If you've been considering a change of a career and qualifying in a construction trade then now is the perfect time to do so. And you can forget about college courses and apprenticeships that would take up to three years to complete - at Access Training we can get you fully trained and qualified to a professional standard in a matter of weeks.

And to make this idea all the more enticing, we're holding a special offer on all of our courses throughout May in celebration of our birthday. We're offering up to 50% off of all of our courses this month when the deposit is paid in full, however the course itself does not have to be sat in May - you can complete and complete it when you're ready to! For more information and to speak to one of our course advice team, give us a call on 0800 345 7492 today.

Social media site for plumbers

Many of the plumbers reading this blog post will already be using social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to promote their businesses. But did you know that there's now a dedicated social media network exclusively for the plumbing trade? Say hello to Connect.

Launched by leading shower/taps brand Bristan, Connect is an online platform that aims to provide installers with a dedicated area for them to get in touch with one another to share information or ask questions. Joining is completely free, and users will be able to upload images and videos of their work or products they think are worth recommending to others. In turn, the community will also provide news and information on the latest products, how-to tutorials, industry news and first access to promotional offers and discounts on Bristan's shower and tap products. It's the ultimate social media platform for plumbers!

Connect's creation was spurred on by Bristan's largest survey to date, which was conducted earlier this year. They found that many installers felt that there were few opportunities online for them to share information with each other. Signing up has been made as hassle-free as possible; you don't even need to create an all-new account! Instead, you can just sign up with an existing Facebook or Twitter profile. 

For more information you can visit the site at www.bristanconnect.com

Via HPM Magazine

Meanwhile, you can also keep up with Access Training on Facebook (link here) and Twitter (@accesstraining1). For more information on our range of trades training courses, which include plumbing, electrics, gas engineering, bricklaying, carpentry, tiling, plastering, painting/decorating and more - give our advice team a call on 0800 345 7492.

At this point it seems like the Green Deal just can't catch a break. After a humiliating first year it seemed like things were picking up for the Government's flagship energy scheme, but it will now be investigated by Parliament's spending watchdog after it was revealed that a staggering £36 million was spent on the scheme in the last 12 months.

A report from the Independent highlighted some of the spending the scheme made on promotion in February, including:

  • Over £300,000 on "consumer demand, marketing and communications". This included a £100,000 rebranding exercise.
  • £227,000 to a single consultancy company on Green Deal monitoring and evaluation.
  • £20,000's worth of fees to part-time staff helping to run the scheme. This is in addition to the plan's full-time civil servants.

The criticism of the scheme came following the publication of the latest uptake figures for March, released by the DECC last week. While the figures show that there is a rise in households seeking assessments and installing energy-saving measures, the increase perhaps isn't quite enough to have justified this level of spending. The report said that currently 2000 households had plans in progress by the end of March, a slight step up from February's 1754.

Meanwhile 188,234 green assessements were lodged, which is a big increase over the previous month's 25,138. The increase of 163,096 marks the highest number logged and a rise of 40%.

As for Green Deal Plans, 2,000 household were shown to have plans 'in progress'. Five hundred and thirty two were 'new' (quote accepted), 473 were marked as 'pending' (Plan signed) and 995 were 'live' (all measures installed). Of the measures installed, boilers accounted for 30%, followed by photovoltaics (25%), solid wall insulation (17%) and loft insulation (9%).

A spokesperson for the DECC commented saying that the Green Deal was always a "long-term" project that would deliver results "over a long time frame", but that didn't stop detractors from speaking out. House of Commons Public Accounts Committee chairman Margaret Hodge had this to say:

"It is pathetic when you consider that the Coalition promised to be the greenest government ever yet is spending millions of pounds on a scheme that is not even performing at the margins. Sadly, the Green Deal is looking like it is extremely poor value for money."

Is the Green Deal beyond salvagable at this stage?

It's more good news for the construction industry as the Government begins to move forward with £36 billion of planned infrastructure investment between 2014 and 2015 - potentially supporting over 150,000 jobs.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osbourne paid a joint visit to a Skansa site yesterday to promote the measure, which will see 200 projects rail, road, local transport, flood defences, broadband, airport infrastructure and waste management start construction. In addition to this, nearly 200 infrastructure projects will see completion this year. The £36bn investment consists of £5bn public money, £21bn in private cash and £10bn in joint investment.

A full list of the projects can be found here.

Cameron said: "Ensuring Britain has first class infrastructure is a crucial part of our long term economic plan: supporting business, creating jobs and providing a better future for hardworking people.

"As a crucial part of our long-term economic plan, this government is backing business with better infrastructure so that more jobs and opportunities are created for hardworking people, meaning more financial security and peace of mind for families.

Osborne added: "Because of the tough decisions we have taken in day to day spending, we can prioritise public investment where it is most needed and create the right conditions for private investment in infrastructure where it brings value for the taxpayer.

“So this year over 200 new projects worth an estimated £36 billion are due to start, creating thousands of jobs, securing future growth and delivering the world class infrastructure Britain deserves."

More jobs means more opportunity, and more opportunity means an even better reason why now is the time to re-train and take up a career in the construction industry. With on ongoing economic boom raising the demand for qualified bricklayers, carpenters, plasterers, tilers and more, wages have also reached an all-time high. Some areas in the UK even reported bricklayers earning upwards of £100,000 a year! If you've been looking to for a more challenging and active career, now is the time to take the bull by the horns.

But first you'll need the proper skills and qualifications for the job, something we can help you with here at Access Training. Offering intensive training courses in all of the popular trades, our expertise will guide you through everything you need to know for your brand new career. To find out more and speak to a member of our course advice team please give us a call on 0800 345 7492 today.

Via Construction Enquirer

On Friday the 28th March the Electrical Safety Council was no more, relaunching with a new web site as Electrical Safety First. The rebranding is part of a new, ongoing campaign to raise public awareness of the dangers of electricity, after Government survey suggested awareness was at an all-time low. According to their data, only 14% of the general public were even aware of Part P!

The new name has come after 18 months of extensive research into what was already known about electrical safety. This didn't just extend to the general public - the Government, key stakeholders and even the industry itself were also scrutinised over what they knew about the dangers and what they knew about the Electrical Safety Council itself. It seems few knew that the Council was in fact a consumer charity, with many thinking it was either a trade association or part of the Government. So as a result of this, a name change was decided to reflect its nature as a charity.

However not everyone is pleased with the change, as some electricians have criticised dropping the more authoritative 'council' in favour of the more "more meaningless" 'first'. They believe that the name now lacks the respect it previously had and would have been far more suited to a campaign change rather than a charity. However Electrical Safety First defended the change, claiming that their research pointed to them needing a simpler name, along with easier to digest language to accompany it. 

Electrical Safety First say they've already secured significant media coverage to raise the profile of electrical safety, and this has started with the revival of famous 70s/80s public information animated series Charley Says. These films were the work of Richard Taylor Cartoons, and saw a little boy named Tony and his cat Charley learn valuable lessons on all manner of things. The new film is narrated/voiced by comedian David Walliams, who was excited to revive the series. "I loved Charley Says when growing up and I think it's great that Electrical Safety First is bringing the characters back to life and creating some new storylines," he said. "We've all had a go at mimicking Charley the cat's 'meow', so I just hope my version is up to scratch and will help people stay safe in the home."

You can view the new video here at the Electrical Safety First website.

Complicated electrical installations should always be left to the trained professionals, while if you would like to have a go at simpler tasks at home its vital that you AT LEAST have the 17th Edition Wiring Regulations and Part P qualifications. Whether you wish to gain electrician qualifications for professional or personal gain, we can help you achieve them with our intensive training courses here at Access Training. If you'd like to find out more about what our courses entail and book your place, give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

The amount of news there's been over the past few months concerning the construction industry's boom has been wonderful, and it's great to see that there's still no signs of it slowing down! In fact, leading job recruitment service Reed recently revealed that the number of new jobs in their construction and property section has gone up by an incredible 81% in the last year.

This comes according to the monthly figures for Feb 2014 released by the website, also revealing that this number means three times more vacancies are being posted in this section - totalling in over 10,700 new jobs. Among the most popular are quantity surveyors (1,180 new jobs), site managers (712) and project managers (706).

James Reed, chairman of reed.co.uk, said: "Returning consumer confidence, low interest rates and government-backed initiatives have all helped to invigorate the sector. Related industries, which service and supply Construction are also benefiting. And rising property sales across much of the UK are prompting record job growth in the Estate Agency sector." That said, he also warned of growth being focused on too much of a narrow part of the econmony, cautioning that it could result in a "bursting property bubble".

Still, this fantastic news just proves yet again how much opportunity there is in the construction industry, and why there's no better time than now to take up a career as a bricklayer, carpenter, plasterer or tiler! And the fastest, most effective way to make that goal happen is with an intensive training course from Access Training. At our state-of-the-art training centre, you'll earn the knowledge and skills from experienced teaching staff with a wealth of industry knowledge.

To find out more just give our course advice team a call on 0800 345 7492.

Chancellor George Osbourne announced the 2014 Budget in Parliament yesterday and among it was some encouraging news for the housing market, with new housing supplies being a central theme.

Prior to the official announcement, the Chancellor had already revealed that the Government's Help to Buy scheme would be extended in 2020. This decision already guaranteed that housebuilders would be needed to work on additional sites, with a projected 120,000 people estimated to be looking to purchase a home. However with Britain still climbing out of its recession, care has been taken to ensure that the market doesn't bite off more than it can chew. The Bank of England has been commanded to stay wary of house prices, long with further reforms put forward to ensure the building of these new homes goes smoothly.

While the larger house building corporations have the finances to put forward new build projects, the same can't always be said for the small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Which is why the Government is creating a £500 million Builders Finance Fund, intended to help SMEs that struggle with bank lending. In doing so, it is forecast that 15,000 stalled plots will now go into motion again. In addition to this, there will also be a £150 million fun to kick start regenerating housing estates through repayable loans.

In addition to this, a "Right to Build" scheme has also been proposed, which will give assistance to those wishing to build their own homes by giving them a right to a plot from the local authorities. This scheme is also backed by a £150 million repayable fund to help provide 10,000 serviced plots for custom house builds. Finally the Government continued its committment to 'zero carbon homes' that was previously mentioned last year by planning to have them implemented from 2016. A response to last year's consultation about it is to follow soon.

So with even more confirmation that house building is going to become a big industry in the UK for the next few years, new construction workers are going to be more crucial than ever. If you've ever considered starting a new career as a bricklayer, plasterer, tiler or carpenter, there hasn't been a better time to join this exciting and expanding industry. But first you'll need the skills and qualifications required to become a professional, and that's where Access Training can help. Give us a call on 0800 345 7492 to find out more about our construction training courses, designed to give you professional level skills in the fraction of time you'd find elsewhere - without any of the quality lost!

Trainee and existing tradespeople alike will know there's a lot to remember when it comes to current building regulations. Whether it's having to remember Part P when performing electrical installations or keeping energy efficiency in mind because of Part L, it's a lot to take in. However tradespeople's lives are about to get that little bit easier when it comes to house building, as Communities minister Stephen Williams announced that the current housing regulations were "complicated and confusing" and "ripe for reform".

The proposed changes are a very large scale, reducing the current 100 standards down to a mere 10, with the number of remaining pages of guidance from 1,000 down to less than a hundred. Among the abolished standards are requirements for rainwater harvesting in places that don't suffer from water shortages, requirements for more than one phone line to be installed and requirements for compost bins and secure sheds in gardens.

Another important change is that this new system technical requirements will be solely assessed by building control bodies. Currently work needs to be check by multiple organisations such as the planning authority, a Code for Sustainable Homes Assessor, Homes & Communities Agency as well as the aforementioned building control organisation and various other independent assessors.

Other changes being made to the regulations include:

  • Optional regulations such as water efficiency and wheelchair access that is up to councils whether to apply or not.
  • A single national space standard.
  • A new standard for security in new homes.
  • New energy standards which allow councils to impose locally-set targets for energy efficiency and renewables.

More detailed information is still yet to be revealed, however the news seems to have been received positively by housebuilders across the UK. Head of Residential at construction consultant EC Harris Mark Farmer said that they are "a further step toward improving housing standards and supporting house builders to reduce the national housing shortfall".

We'll provide more detailed news on these changes as they come, but for now it certainly seems like tradespeople will have a little less red tape to deal with when it comes to new house building. If you'd like to join the construction boom and become a professional tradesperson, give Access Training a call on 0800 345 7492 to find out more about our trades training courses.

Via Construction Enquirer

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