Ask the right questions.
It can be tricky to assess if your electrician is legitimate without the right questions. But the good news is this doesn’t have to be complex. Start by checking that the individual is qualified and whether they choose to be a registered member of one of the Government approved schemes. Choosing a registered electrician means you will get additional protections should something go wrong. Contact the scheme directly if you want to check the individual’s registration
Don’t be embarrassed – ask to see the paperwork
Some people feel embarrassed about checking qualifications of the person they are employing but if you are working with a tradesperson who is unwilling to show you evidence of their qualification and registration status this could be a warning sign.
Don’t just take their word for it – get a reference
If you are uncertain about an individual ask them to provide references of previous happy customers. Ask these referees to explain the work they had done and how satisfied they were with the job done.
Get more than one quote
Get a few quotes so that you can compare options. The cheapest quote may not be the best deal – if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!
Know everyone working in your home – don’t rely on the contractor to make the choices
I am seeing a growing problem with contractors such as builders or kitchen fitters making poor or cheap choices of the electricians they employ or work with on a job. It’s easy to assume the tradesman in charge will check qualification and registration. But don’t leave it to chance – ask to see proof of everyone’s ability yourself.
If it doesn’t feel right – get advice
Don’t feel pressured to make a decision quickly. If an electrician makes you feel uncomfortable for any reason, then seek advice before you contract them to do work for you.
The Citizen’s Advice Bureau and Trading Standards will be able to give advice if you want to dispute work.
Electrical competent persons website will provide an easy to use and single information point for people to find a registered, competent electrician in their area, or to check that a company they are planning on using is registered.
Similar to the ‘Gas Safe Register’ for boiler engineers the ‘Competent Person Electrical Register’ lists electricians who meet core technical standards required by government.
The www.electricalcompetentperson.co.uk website was unveiled by Minister for Communities Stephen Williams and has been developed by electrical competent person scheme operators with support from the government.
Stephen Williams said:
For all the thousands of skilled and reliable electricians there are across the country it’s often the dangerous or dishonest actions of a small minority of rogue electricians that get the attention. I want everyone to be able to get repair and improvement work done safely in their home and this new, single website provides an easy first port of call to find a registered, trustworthy local electrician.
All registered electrical firms in England and Wales are listed on this new website and entitled to use the new registered competent person electrical logo on their vans, websites and promotional material.
Electricians are assessed for their competence before they are registered and are subject to periodic random surveillance to check that their work meets safety and quality standards. Across England and Wales there are 42,000 registered electricians.
Standards of electrical safety in homes are rising both through improved products and raised standards for electricians. The annual number of electric shock and electrical fire fatalities has fallen from around 90 in the mid 1990s to 55 now.
Choosing someone to carry out work in your home is a decision that should never be taken lightly.
Consumers now have just one name and one easily recognisable mark to remember and they can be reassured that everyone listed on the site has had a sample of their work checked and assessed in accordance with the required electrical standards.
NAPIT (National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers) Group Chief Executive Officer, Michael Andrews added:
The creation of this site and mark are evidence of the strides being taken by the industry to come together for the greater good.
It is not only an added benefit for consumers but also a mark that registered electrical firms can be proud to be associated with. All Full Scope installers carrying out electrical work in dwellings in England and Wales can be easily identified via the new mark and their company details listed on the user-friendly register.
Before January 2005 there were no restrictions on who did electrical work in people’s homes or how it should be done.
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) authorises bodies to operate schemes under which their members are deemed competent to self-certify that their work complies with the building regulations for England. A similar scheme is authorised by the Welsh government.
All Competent Person Scheme Operators are required to meet DCLG’s conditions of authorisation for work undertaken in England and the Welsh government applies identical conditions in Wales. These include requirements on the technical competence and safeguards for customers.
If you do your homework on this government website, my postcode is OX16 9HH http://www.electricalcompetentperson.co.uk you will find my details for further peace of mind.
Look forward to hearing from you.
S WRIGHT ELECTRICAL