Better to be safe than sorry… / by Madeleine Roff

There’s a lot of truth in that commonly used phrase, especially with regards to electrical work. With consumers using the Internet everyday it’s a perfect place to source tradespeople, but it’s also important to know how to get safe and qualified people for the job. We’re going to give you a few tips on how to find safe electricians and also point out why it’s so important.

How do I know if they’re qualified?

Electrical work can be dangerous if it’s not fitted safely - both for the person installing, and for the consumer after, so it’s very important to make sure they’re qualified. There are a range of routes for electricians to become qualified including Level 3 NVQ’s and apprenticeships. However later on in their career it is likely they’ll become a member of an approved body such as ELECSA, Stroma, or NICEIC (which BPL are an Approved Contactor of). So, a simple way to check they’re qualified is to ask for proof of their qualifications and/or membership.

What does it mean if they’re a member of an approved body?

Being a member of an approved body not only means they’re qualified, but it comes with ongoing criteria too. For example, with BPL being a member of NICEIC this means they have regular inspections to check they’re working to the correct safety standards and the NICEIC code of practice, which can definitely put a consumer’s mind at rest. It also means that BPL are able to self-certify their work with the Local Building Control Body which saves you, the consumer, time and money if the work requires notification under the Building Regulations. 

What type of qualification do they need?

There are lots of different qualifications electricians can have, and this will vary depending on the work you need doing, but below are some very common and important examples:

  • Part P means that the person carrying out electrical installation work in a domestic home must ensure the work is designed and installed to protect people from fire and electric shocks.
  • PAT Testing is the checking of electrical appliances for safety through visual and electronic tests. This type of testing is generally carried out by landlords or in commercial venues.

Where can I find a qualified electrician?

Most body’s such as NICEIC and STROMA have a section on their website where you can search for a qualified member by entering your postcode – it really is that simple. Another website you can use is the ‘Registered Competent Person’ site for electricians, which works in the same way. You can test it out by clicking here and searching ‘Ben Palmer’ in the company name on the right hand side.

It’s very common for friends to recommend an electrician, to Google search for them, or find them on pages such as Checkatrade. All of these sources are great, and it gives the local electrician a fair chance at jobs amongst large companies, however you just need to make sure you check they’re safe.  

We hope this article has helped you understand where to go and what to look for when it comes to safe electrical work.