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Scottish Govt to regulate "electrician" description
Owain
22 Posts
Currently anyone can call themselves an electrician, without the need for any qualifications or competency.
The Scottish Government is gathering information and views on whether regulations should be introduced in relation to electricians. While the focus of the consultation is on domestic work carried out for individual consumers, it will also apply to commercial and industrial work.

https://consult.gov.scot/energy-and-climate-change-directorate/a-consultation-on-the-regulation-of-electricians/
31 Replies
GTB
37 Posts
I have already looked at the consultation and responded as I thought. Lets be clear unlike some countries "Electrician" is not a protected status where only suitably qualified persons can use such a title, nor as far as Im aware is there a detailed definition of "Electrician".
The thoughts are admirable, but how do they expect to stop those persons not following regulations etc and being compliant with standards will always be the downfall. The matter simply sit with those that employ these incompetent persons.

Reg 16 of the EAWR 1989 states exactly who can carry out electrical work and the limits of such work, how the Scot Gov expect to get round that I simply dont know, yes all existing schemes are voluntary and large industrial, commercial and even housing developers and development owners may insist on people being members of those schemes and I would hope there are no electric shocks and fires associated with work carried out by individuals and firms. The issue is and always will be they the Scot Gov are trying to address where the main issues lie and thats in domestic situations. No matter what they do, they will never stop a home owner or even a tenant, speaking with somebody down the pub or whatever and getting the local handy person or "Electrician" to install some extra power outlets, lights or EV charger point.

Great intentions but I dont see anything improving, trust worthy and competant electrical persons and firms will end up paying more to ensure membership of whatever they bring out, but will never stop the "Cowboys". We also need to remember that electrical apprentices cant be called an electrician until they are time served so wording in the EAWR 1989 describes exactly what apprentices can carry out.

 
Sparkingchip
3602 Posts
97% of people want electricians to be qualified, so long as it doesn’t stop them from doing DIY electrical work in their homes, homes that may then be sold on to someone else and it doesn’t stop unqualified people like plumbers and kitchen fitters doing electrical work for them.
GTB
37 Posts
Sparkingchip:
97% of people want electricians to be qualified, so long as it doesn’t stop them from doing DIY electrical work in their homes, homes that may then be sold on to someone else and it doesn’t stop unqualified people like plumbers and kitchen fitters doing electrical work for them.

So whats your views then Sparkingchip? Is Scot Gov just wasting time on this consultation, and as such nothing changes other than some promotion of the existing voluntary schemes?
You mention "Unqualified people like plumbers and kitchen fitters"!! but what makes them unqualified? qualified to what as Reg 16 of the EAWR 1989 is all we have in law plus the registration schemes with local authorities,
Any person can visit their local DIY store or go online and buy consumer units, RCD's, SPD's, cable and accessories take it home and fit it or have the local handyman from the pub install it all and nobody knows any diffrent until there is a fire, shock or the premises is sold on. Do Scot Gov think they or even the electrical industry can change that?  

mapj1
2851 Posts
Personally I think it needs care - there is a risk that if restrictions on who can do what are  implemented badly, it can be uneconomic for small firms doing mostly minor works,  and may then actually push down quality.
From what I have seen it is quite often the large outfits at the fixed price contract "shallow end " of the market that produce the poorest work - the ones where one person does the installing, perhaps a different person each day, afterwards someone else is supposed to do the testing and a third, who has not been anywhere near the place, actually signs the forms. 'our skilled installers' are often anything but, just the employee nearest at the time the phone rings, who is paid to get something (anything) up and running in the shortest possible time and then get out quick, into the van and on to the next one...

Also it needs to be proportionate - there really are not that many serious electrical incidents compared to other domestic ones - I suggest that most installations do not meet BS7671, and if AMD 2 goes through the fraction will increase, but most of those are not an immediate dangers. And the accident figures from countries that have systems with  licences to practice and so on do not show a marked reduction.

Again, personally, I think there is more mileage in educating the public to know what good and bad work should look like, and how to complain in a sensible manner.
regards Mike.

 
Sparkingchip
3602 Posts
Part P was written in a manner to clamp down on plumbers and electricians doing electrical work, that’s now been eased up on in England, but not Wales.

Far be it for me to suggest Scotland should look at England’s track record, but south of the border it’s been a waste of time and money trying to regulate who can do electrical work.

Do you think the original Part P that is still in force in Wales is better or worse than the current English version?
Sparkingchip
3602 Posts
I skimmed through the Scottish Government webpages and it reads like the brief that was given to the English Civil Servants to draft Part P.

97% of people asked think electricians should be qualified, but don’t think those who aren’t should be banned from doing electrical work, neither should DIYers be banned from doing it, despite the fact that other people may be exposed to risks from their dodgy work and the house may be sold on with a substandard electrical installation.

 
Sparkingchip
3602 Posts
Have the Scottish Government actually determined how many people in Scotland identify themselves as electricians and what qualifications they have?

It is quite possible that there aren’t enough people skilled enough to be able to register with any scheme to make it viable and service the market.

Whole areas of Scotland may suddenly discover they no longer have a local electrician.
GTB
37 Posts
I think this is the whole crux of the matter what is the definition of an "Electrician"? They indicate should the term have protected status? So that would mean somebody saying or advertising themselves as an electrician when they were not could be taken to task by trading standards for mis representation. Im sure the SJIB have and do have a register of all those grades of "Electrician" on their books but many practising electrical technicians wont have a SJIB card depending on their work arena.

To me it will not help drive down any fire/explosion or electric shock events, as Mapj1 clearly indicated and I agree fully if the house owner or indeed any person just wilfilly engages anybody that says they are an electrician or electrically qualified for the task they then desrve whats coming. However others then unfortunately pick up the cost to do the job correctly. Its a public education exercise that is required but cost of work will always be the driver.     
Sparkingchip
3602 Posts
It’s interesting to see how many people don’t know what the NICEIC is, a generation ago far more people would have been able to identify that is is an electrical scheme, even if they could not precisely define what it is.

I argued for some years, at quite a high level, that the NICEIC and NAPIT should stop advertising in electrical trade magazines trying to attract electricians to enroll on their schemes. Instead the money should be spent on advertising to consumers to get brand recognition, which would then encourage electricians to join the schemes.

Consumer recognition leads to more electricians joining the schemes, the advertising money could be spent more wisely.

The NICEIC did have a short run of advertising on billboards a few years ago, there was one outside of a local railway station, but it didn’t last long.

 
mapj1
2851 Posts
Indeed - that would make more sense, if customers were educated to say 'show me your papers' in the best 'allo 'allo manner,  and expected, nay demanded,  to see an installation certificate of some sort and supporting result sheet rather than just look puzzled and say ' the last chap didn't do all that', then perhaps it would be taken a bit more seriously.

It may be worth looking at the cost benefit analysis for part P, as it is still out there and noting just how far off the estimates of cost (under stated) and supposed benefit (overstated) actually were.

here - archived.

I've said  something like  it before but I've always been of the opinion that "guerrilla wiring" is a bit like your teenage kids and sex...

You'd really rather they didn't, but you can't find who, where, what & when before it happens, and even in those occasions when you could, it's always when it is now far too late and not actually going to be helpful to go off on one.

So, in both cases, your best approach is education and openness with the "what to expect and how to do it safely" information, and being prepared to be helpful and pick up the bits and be a shoulder to cry on as required.

(And its good to keep a sense of proportion, we were all young at least once, and its always possible that some of my/your early special installations are now someone else's weird wiring nightmare to debug )

regards Mike.
Owain:
Currently anyone can call themselves an electrician, without the need for any qualifications or competency.
The Scottish Government is gathering information and views on whether regulations should be introduced in relation to electricians. While the focus of the consultation is on domestic work carried out for individual consumers, it will also apply to commercial and industrial work.

https://consult.gov.scot/energy-and-climate-change-directorate/a-consultation-on-the-regulation-of-electricians/

First, I am puzzled that the above post was moved from "Wiring and the Regulations BS 7621" to General Chat, which to me at least seems to have resulted in a down grade of the OP.

Secondly, I have often wondered,  "Who examines the Examiners?"

A good friend of mine passed away a month or so back at 87 years of age. He was a Chartered Electrical Engineer, a title not awarded for some years now. His work included designing the electrical installations of large commercial buildings and sports.

Yet, once Part P was introduced January 1st 2005, just what electrical works could he do?  Similarly me as an Incorporated Engineer?  Both of us deemed to be unsuitable to carry out any electrical work other than perhaps fitting a plug (NOT a plug top!) to the Christmas Tree lights? And certainly not a a socket for it. (NOT a plug socket!)

To make matters worse, both my late friend and I both live in Wales, so here the Welsh Part P is as was originally published in 2005.  Not the subsequent English Editions that have been published since, which at least would allow work to be signed off by a Scheme Electrician.

Anyway, it's cocktail time now. No point in going to the pub, as they cannot sell alcohol after 6:00pm, so will go and get myself a a Drakeford Cocktail...
​​​​​​​
https://www.leaderlive.co.uk/news/18917715.drakeford-mocktail-described-welsh-wet-uninspiring/

[/rantmodeoff]

Clive

Sparkingchip
3602 Posts
Remember the farce in England with two rival competent person registers being set up online, because some people didn’t want to play happy families?

 
In UK, unlike rest of Europe,  Engineer and Electrician terms are not protected by law so you can have an engineer or electrician doing work which could be hazardous.

For electrician,  if there is a problem and work was not carried out by a recognised person, the insurance company will not pay for damages.

When house is sold or rented, a professional electrician surveyor report is required.  If not provided, the landlord is responsible.
 
Sparkingchip
3602 Posts
There's a real and urgent need to regulate who can do electrical work throughout the UK.

But whilst people say they want electricians to be qualified and vetted, in reality there are enough people who for various reasons don't really want that to happen.

Part P was badly drawn up, then not enforced because there wasn't any funding for enforcement. 

A levy off each Part P notification could easily covered enforcement with trading standards taking the lead rather than building control. 

It's easy to find really bad electrical work to take photos of, take this example of the wiring to a PV feed-in meter wiring from this afternoon. 

Presumably the handiwork of an electrician vetted to be the member of a couple of schemes and having completed additional training, has issued certification as well as completing a Part P notification and DNO notification.

Spot the bare copper. 

Sparkingchip
3602 Posts
I was actually at that job this afternoon to check out and repair a storage heater, the observation on the state of the PV system wiring was merely incidental, the CPC from the twin and earth is terminated into the off peak fuse board earth bar, why go back to the dedicated PV CU when that one is closer?
Sparkingchip
3602 Posts
There is a clear and obvious need for the regulation of who can do electrical work throughout the UK and if asked people will tell you that they think that electricians should be regulated.

But the reality is there’s too many people who will object to the introduction of regulations and non-electricians who will operate outside of any system of supervision that may be introduced to make a scheme work.

In addition there may not be enough qualified electricians in Scotland to launch a scheme and some of those who are qualified may be rough as a badgers ####.

So at least count how many electricians there are in Scotland that would meet the requirements to be deemed a qualified electrician, then decide how standards will be monitored and enforced if a scheme is introduced; and more importantly how it’s going to be paid for, will there be a requirement for paid for notifications that a levy can be deducted from to cover enforcement costs?

Andy Betteridge 
GTB
37 Posts
No matter what the regulations, rules or scheme whatever is decided, if you dont have a "Police Force" that will inact and fine/punish those nor following the rules it will fail. All that happens is those already trying and indeed doing a good job and competent electricians, pay yet more while those who dont heed to anything will continue as normal. Of course any research the public/consumer will state they want professional qualified electricians, but when they then have to pay the going rate, then wee jimmy down the pub will throw in the sockets/light/EV charger etc.
In some ways and I appreaciate the views already of others made on this thread one size doesnt fit all. I a few years back run a supply into my detached garage, installed lighting, sockets and distribution board and tested it all etc. Local authority insisted I must get a registered firm to at least inspect the work!! That was until I pointed out the clause in the regs that says If Im suitably qualified I can do so myself and local authority must check, needless to say, guy came out and said best installed garage electrics he had ever seen, then asked what I do for a job? then the penny dropped that I as the house holder was still a SJIB registered electrician and a few other bits of paper.
We also read and yes there are still breaches but the old Corgi or Gas safe as it is now, they have "Modules" for the type and exact type of work undertaken, pipework, appliances, commercial, domesticc, install, maintenance etc and the holder of that cert puts down their "Badge" No or whatever on the certificates to say they were responsible, why can the electrical industry not do the same, so your so called kitchen fitters/plumbers have say Module 1, industrial/commercial/install/service/process/Haz area/inspection/testing/LV/HV/Data/Comms and people just do the modules for work they do, that said those with craft apprenticeships should achieve a Min amount of these modules. Yes training or certification people make money especially when CPD and refreshing is say every three years. Who pays for all of that? its passed to the consumer of course. Trading Standards are the people to enforce, but like all local authority departments people have been shed to save money but those remaining have even more regulations to enforce, so what do they do? A  risk assessment so a householder that gets an extra light or socket installed, wont be at the top of that agenda, then again how would they even know about it unless notifiable and people will not do that.
Its public perception, they just dont get the dangers of employing people not competent for the task to be done, also are those people likley to have the correct insurances? I doubt it, so that opens another Pandoras box. So why should an insurance company pay out to fix the damage caused by incorrect electrical work by an uninsured person/company, is that how we start educating the consumer?

I think the idea of protected status for "Electrician" sounds good but just dont see how they can achieve anything positive. Somebody mentioned the NICEIC and yes everybody knew who and what they were, but they have lost there were since rebadging/merging and their focus is on domestic market and selling nice T Shirts and van stickers to their members, so I think their buisness plans and aproach isnt what it should be.
  
Sparkingchip
3602 Posts
In twenty years I have been asked to take proof that I’m a “real electrician” to a job site with twice by the same customer.

The jobs were taking the the Waterford crystal chandeliers down in the Royal Worcester Porcelain and Royal Brierley Crystal shops for the firm doing the clearance when they went bust, no one actually asked to see any ID at all, the security guys just let me in as I had a ladder, tools and PPE they just accepted that I was supposed to be there and I knew what I was doing.

I actually  wear my NAPIT ID lanyard with the card tucked inside my shirt every working day, no one has ever asked to see it.

However I do turn up wearing a shirt with my name on it then I introduce myself and generally give the customer a card on arrival and a certificate when I leave or a few days later.
Sparkingchip
3602 Posts
The NICEIC has really lost the status it had years ago and there is little or no brand recognition these days.

I thought it was disgraceful when the parent company started selling franchises to operate renewable energy companies with advertising aimed at the general public saying that these newly formed franchise companies could be trusted because they were part of the NICEIC group of companies that had been operating since 1956. For a supposed “regulator” to be selling franchises was disgraceful.

It should also be noted that the full name is the 

National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting

originally the inspectors turned up with set of calibrated test equipment and did a full inspection and test of the installation that had been submitted for approval.

That changed, now the Qualified Supervisor is assessed for competence.

So the electrical work gets a visual inspection, then the QS may be asked to do a test and the paperwork checked.

This then covers every electrician on the books, no one checks individual competence.

So if electrician were to become a protected title the would have to be a change in that individual competence would have to be checked to level that would have to be defined. However, that doesn’t stop others doing electrical work using a different job title without further regulation. 
Sparkingchip
3602 Posts
Regards that photo of the feed in meter wiring.

I assume the installation company would have been MCS registered as well as being a member of a self certification scheme for Part P.

Those registrations didn’t achieve much did they?

If the public brand recognition is low for the NICEIC what do you think the chances are of them being able to tell you what the MCS is?

As I drive around England and Wales I see vans with stickers proclaiming the membership of multiple schemes all down the sides of their vans, one forum member commented a few years ago that some of these firms are going to have to get their guys to drive around with the back doors open, because there’s no space left down the sides on their vans,

I do find myself asking what these multiple scheme memberships achieve?

When I first read this post I did an internet search for electricians in remote parts of Scotland, I found some do not even bother mentioning they are members of a competence scheme on their websites and I had to do further checks to see if they are. My wife was sat next to me, I said to her that they didn’t advertise scheme memberships and her response was what I was already thinking, in remote areas people either know who the electrician is or will ask for a recommendation from a friend or neighbour. It’s only really going to be in the cities where there’s a large choice of contractors who you are not familiar with. I presume the electricians in remote parts of Scotland have a website so people can find their contact details, rather than trying to flog themselves as being something superior because they are members of a competence scheme.

The basics of advertising, what you do, where you do it, your trading hours, how much you charge and how to get in touch with you.

Logos, badges and pages of bumf are optional extras, including competence scheme logos.
Sparkingchip:
"will ask for a recommendation from a friend or neighbour."

I think these days you will get even more traction from facebook - that seems to be the case around where I live (small village and large nearby village in England not Scotland). There are many tradesfolk who don't have a website or a landline but seem to do quite well word of mouth/facebook. The same questions ("do you know someone who...") come up so often the admins now run a live document of contact names. This includes electricians. No one ever asks about qualifications though......

GTB
37 Posts
So looking at everything posted so far, things really do boil down to employing or engaging with a "Competent" person! exactly as we have in Reg 16 of the EAWR 1989.
So if its by word of mouth, previous experience of others then people engage with those that the believe gives a good service and compliant installation/job.
Back to the old chestnut of "Proving Competence" many people prove Competence when passing their driving test but still unfortunately have or cause accidents or get caught speeding when we did all know the rules. So electrical persons/electricians/ whatever you want to call them can still obtain JIB/SJIB cards companies gain accreditation to differnt bodies but they will still or perhaps less likley than those not in the schemes still not follow what they have been trained or know what to do.

I think this consultation will not achieve anything, nor will standards of workmanship and compliance with standards improve. 
Sparkingchip
3602 Posts
How protected is the title “Electrical Engineer”?

Here is the definition one or more contributors to Wikipedia have come up with:

” Electrical engineers typically hold a degree in electrical engineering or electronic engineering. Practising engineers may have professional certification and be members of a professional body or an international standards organization. These include the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) (formerly the IEE).”

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrical_engineering
Sparkingchip
3602 Posts
If that is rewritten as”

Electricians typically hold trade qualifications and may have completed an apprenticeship in electrical installation design and installation. Practising electricians may have specific qualifications  and be members of a trade body and also a competent person register. These include NAPIT and the registers operated by Certsure, such as the NICEIC, they may also have membership of the professional body the IET at a defined level.

Is that reasonably accurate?

 
GTB
37 Posts
Sparkingchip,
Yes in some ways its not far off the mark, but "Typically" and  "May " will be the two words that will cause the issues just as we have now.
Not having a go at you as I think your words on this string have been helpful to those reading it.

How on earth the Scot Gov or indeed the voluntary schemes involved hope to do any better then goodness knows. The I.E.T do have a scheme for Electrician EngTech. Something I voluntered to assess applications etc given I came thru the apprenticeship route. I havent excatly been overwhelmed  with applications and to be honest not really seen any real advertisements and promotion of the scheme.

Would that not be another possible solution? Again its all down to consumers buying into things. 

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