Ted Barrett                                                   - Training, Consultancy and Technical Services
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Blog for April/May

Well folks, here is my blog for April and May. My mum and dad always said that “time goes faster as you get older” and as a spotty youth I used to laugh at this but my goodness they weren’t wrong. Mind you, if you imagine a world with two TV channels and where everything closed on a Sunday, then the world did move pretty slowly. Now I can go down to my local Wickes and buy a boiler on a Sunday afternoon! Yet I can remember when you could hardly buy a brick on a Saturday morning.

Which I suppose leads me into an area of a lot of interest to sparkies these days and that is Licensing. I think it fair to say that most of us in the trade are rather less than impressed with the changes that Part P brought about. I think that Part P was probably well-intentioned but the concept must have been dreamt up by an accountant or a group of people with little industry/real world experience. For one thing, Part P only applied to Domestic work and whoever would have considered using the local Planning Office (who are good with building regs but somewhat lacking in electrical installation experience) as an integral part of this process! I’m pretty sure I speak with the authority gained from speaking to a groundswell of electricians who want licensing per individuals so that person is licensed to install. I think this could be achieved using an improved JIB type registration system coupled with our existing ECS card requirements for safety testing every three years.

I hear sparkies saying “the DIY shacks must stop selling electrical gear” well I suppose that would be a bit of a deterrent but probably bring about a black market in parts anyway. I can just imagine it – there you are stood in the pub and a shifty looking individual sidles up to you “Psst, wanna buy a switch fused spur?” only to find it’s a set up by the electric bits squad and the next thing you’re handcuffed to a radiator in a cold, dark cell having seven barrels beaten out of you. Or is that my over-active imagination getting the better of me again. Anyway, lets be realistic, even Woolies were selling light switches back in the 60s. I would say let’s limit the sale of cable, switchgear and consumer units etc to the electrical wholesalers and ensure that only properly licensed individuals or companies can use the wholesalers for the supply of any materials.

An aspect of this I find of particular concern is that of foreign nationals carrying out works without any knowledge of our regulations or requirements. It must also be said that many of these guys are bringing bad practice with them as well. However, I would not just hang them out to dry. I propose that we run “Conversion” courses for those that are qualified in their country of origin to ensure they are safe to practice in this country. And, after training, individual licensing would kick in again.

I would also ensure a really intensive advertising campaign to raise public understanding of electrical safety and look at the creation of an independent referral service as an interface between the public and contractors who are properly approved. I would also ask that this body does not charge massive fees for contractor registration and not be just another money-making machine that has lost its “raison d'être”.

For those of you that do follow my adventures and rants I do apologise for being a tad late with April’s report and leapfrogging over May but my first holiday of the year came about and I just had to get down to Spain I’m afraid.

 


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