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2016 Trades Salary Survey: Electricians Still Earn The Most

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 5th January 2016

Every year we study the data from the Office of National Statistics to let you know what is happening in terms of salaries for electricians, plumbers, carpenters, bircklayers, tilers and a few other trades. We have published 2 blog posts on this topic before and these can be found here:

2015 Salary Survey Blog Post

2013 Electrician Salary Blog post

Average Electrician Salary (£30,444)

So the data is in and following the last 2 surveys it is no surprise that Electricians still earn the most on average of all the trades. Despite increased growth in salaries in a number of different trades electricians still earn around £1300 more than plumbers who are ranked second in this survey. Check out the interactive chart below where you can see the average salary for each trade and also see the percentage change over the last 12 months:


When we last ran this survey interestingly plumbers has seen one of the smallest increases in pay whilst electricians had seen one of the largest. Those roles are now reversed and it looks as if the plumbing industry has been playing catch up over the past year. The really big surprise has been a 10% increase in the average salary for tilers.

How do electricians charge for their time?

When looking at the money each trade earns it is important to note that a "salary" is only really part of the picture. Most of the electricians that work in peoples homes will usually charge a day rate or a fixed rate for particular jobs. Electricians who actually earn a salary are in the minority which the majority working on contract or as a self employed tradesperson. As such it is quite hard to gauge how much an electrician does earn as there are no national statistics for this.

Hourly Rates / Day Rates (£20-£50 Per Hour / £140-£350 Per Day)

Hourly and day rates vary drastically from location to location and electrician to electrician. An experienced electrician in London will most likely charge around £45 per hour or £300 per day, whereas a junior electrician in Newcastle is likely to earn far less in comparison. Most tradesmen tend to charge for a specific job and will include the costs of materials in any quote. As such it can be very hard to gauge how much an electrician is making. A good guide is always how much you are being charged for a new consumer unit. I am based in Brighton and was recently quoted £500 for a new consumer unit. Bearing in mind the units cost around £130 this electrician is likely to take home around £370 for a days work.

What are trainee salaries like? (Around £21K)

Many people start out as apprentices who often earn below the minimum wage. However most Trade Skills 4U customers front load their training and complete their technical certificates first (2365 Level 2&3). This then enables them to command a higher starting salary when they start working as an electricians mate.  Most should be able to start out on a trainee wage of around £21k per annum. A quick search online reveals that most jobs for electrician mates start off at around £11 per hour although we have just seen one locally offering £107 per day which comes in at over £25K which is great for a starting salary.

JIB Wage Grades

The JIB publish wage grades on their website here. Whilst the JIB have clear guidelines for what an electrician can earn these are guidelines only and not every employer sticks to these.

As of the 4th January 2016 the JIB suggests you should earn the following hourly rates if you have your own transport:

Trainee Electrician - £11.56 - £13.68

Electrician - £14.39

Approved Electrician - £15.61

Site Technician - £17.57

And if you live in London or the south east you should expect:

Trainee Electrician - £12.94 - £15.33

Electrician - £16.13

Approved Electrician - £17.48

Site Technician - £19.68

In order to qualify for the higher pay grades most people will need to fulfil the following:

1. Trainee Electrician - Apprenticeship or electricians mate usually with C&G 2365 Diplomas

2. Electrician - Relevant qualifications, Level 3 NVQ & AM2 (These days a 2357)

3. Approved Electrician - As per number 2 plus periodic inspection and testing qualification such as the C&G 2394/2395

4. Site Technician - As per number 3 plus over 5 years experience (3 of which in a supervisory role) plus a level 4 qualification such as a HNC

With such a variety of ways to be employed and earn it is very hard to say specifically how much an electrician should earn. We have had students walk out of here straight into jobs installing smart meters earning £150 per day plus a company van and others who end up working on site at £11 per hour. As with any career if you work hard, deliver good quality work and build a solid reputation you should be able to earn a decent salary and have great job satisfaction.





Categories: salary, survey

Essential Amendment 3 Information For January 2016

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 22nd December 2015

With the final 1st January 2016 deadline nearly upon us we revisit the 3rd amendment to BS6761 17th edition and have laid out some key information that installers must be aware of.

1. Metal Consumer Units must now be installed

The first and most crucial bit of information on this date is that from the 1st of January all consumer units designed and installed must be made from non-combustible material. This basically means that most new consumer units will be made from metal rather than plastic as they have been in the past. Although Amendment 3 came into force from the 1st July 2015, the date from which the regulations relating to metal consumer units comes into force is the 1st January 2016. Any installations designed before the 1st January 2016 can comply with the previous regulations. Any installations designed from January 2016 must now use metal consumer units. The reason for this was to give manufacturers enough time to make the switch to producing metal consumer units. Had it been implemented earlier we may have found a lack in supply of the new metal clad consumer units which in turn would have a huge impact on industry.

You should be up to date on all the other key changes to the 17th edition which came into force from the 1st July 2015, however if you are not then you really need to make sure you check out our free online seminar. We have also listed come of the other key changes below, however you should have been up to speed with these since the 1st July deadline.

2. New numbering system

A new numbering system has come into force. Regulations with a .100 number are CENELEC requirements and those with a .200 number are specific to the UK.

3. Definitions

Definitions have been tweaked and modified. There has also been the addition of some new symbols and a new list of abbreviations . One major change has been the removal of the definition of ‘competent person’. This was very surprising especially since the industry had set up http://www.electricalcompetentperson.co.uk/. This has been replaced with ‘instructed person (electrically)’ and ‘skilled person (electrically)’.

4. Protection against electric shock

It is now a required socket-outlets up to 20A for all installations have RCD protection bar a couple of exceptions:

a specific labelled or otherwise suitably identified socket-outlet provided for connection of a particular item of equipment, or

where, other than for an installation in a dwelling, a documented risk assessment determines that the RCD protection is not necessary

Maximum earth fault loop impedances tables 41.2, 41.3, 41.4 and 41.6 have been adjusted to take account of the Cmin factor.

5. Protection against thermal effects

Requires consumer units and similar switchgear to have their enclosure manufactured from non-combustible material or be enclosed in a cabinet or enclosure constructed of non-combustible material and complying with Regulation 132.12. See the introductory paragraph.

6. Common rules

Section 551 concerning compliance with standards requires all equipment to be suitable for the nominal voltage and also requires certain information to be noted on the Electrical Installation Certificate.

7. Selection and erection of wiring systems

A new regulation has been included which requires that wiring systems within escape routes shall be supported so that they are not liable to premature collapse in the event of fire. This precludes the use of non-metallic cable clips, cable ties or cable trunking as the sole means of support, so yes we still can use plastic trunking conduit but not as the sole support.

8. Other equipment

A new section 557 Auxiliary Circuits has been added. These are defined in Part 2.

9. Luminaires and lighting installation

Requirements for outdoor lighting installations and extra low voltage lighting installations have been moved to sections 714 and 715.

10. Special Installations or Locations Section

There is now a requirement for RCD protection to be provided for:

low voltage circuits serving the location

low voltage circuits passing through zones 1 and 2 not serving the location

11. Appendix 3

Time/current characteristics of overcurrent protective devices and RCDs. This includes changes in connection with maximum earth fault loop impedance to take account of the Cmin factor given in CLC/TR50480:2011.

12. Appendix 6

Appendix 6 introduced a new Schedule of Inspections for initial verification, complete with relevant regulation numbers which is similar in layout to the one used for periodic inspection and the inclusion of the regulation numbers should make it easier to understand and complete.

The Electrical Installation Condition Report includes the requirement for inspection to be carried out in accessible roof spaces where electrical equipment is present. You can download your revised documentation here.

If you need to know more then check out our Free online 3rd amendment seminar or look into taking our full 17th edition course at one of our 3 locations.


Categories: amendment 3

Truly Handy Secret Santa Gifts for Sparkies

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 14th December 2015

So the season of Christmas Parties is upon us and that only means many of us will be struggling to come up with a secret Santa idea for someone else at work. Yes there is a great temptation to get a joke gift, but you would be amazed what you can pick up for under £15 that can really make a difference to a sparky in their day to day job. So below is a list of some super handy gifts which every sparky would love to have in their toolbox this Christmas. 

1. Magnetic Telescopic Extending Light - Super hand for picking up dropped screws and all sorts of bits and pieces. This telescopic magnet light is an absolute bargain at only £6 from Amazon.

2. Super Head Torch with 3 lights - Every sparky will let you know they could not do without their head torch. This one is just £13.95, has 4 settings including a strobe setting which could be super handy on the dance floor at the Christmas party.

3. Automatic Wire Stripper - These wires strippers will save any electrician loads of time by enabling them to quickly and accurately strip a wide range of wires from 0.2mm to 6.0mm. They also automatically adjust to strip round and flat wires.

4. Safety Glasses - At just £9.90 these safety goggles are an must have piece of kit. If you have ever had a spark in your eye or a piece of metal then you will know how important it is to protect them when working in certain situations.

5. Portable Kettle - You would not believe how often you can get to a job and not have a means to make a decent brew. With this kettle in the car or van you will never get caught short as it charges from the in car cigarette lighter. A bargain at just £12.45.

6. Gel Knee Pads - If a sparky doesn't own a pair of these then they are going to be in real trouble after a few years. For just £13.99 you can crawl around in comfort. these pads are anti-slip and anti-marking too!

7. Angle Screw Driver Set - Yes there is a theme building up here. Electricians spend a huge amount of time in confined spaces with hard to read items such as screws. This adjustable angle screwdriver set is just £6.99!

8. Electricians Draw Tape - It's no easy task pulling cable through trunking without one of these. A simple but ingenious design makes this draw tape small and easy to use with a handy brake set into the handle.

9. Volt Pen - Every sparky probably has about 10 of these in various places so it will be no problem to add another to the collection. Super handy and only £9.35.

10. Cable Tie Gun - Simple and effective, pre-load this cable tie gun and fire away. It can be set to a range of tensions and has automatic flush cable tie cut off too. A snip at £10.99! 

The list could go on forever, however you won't go too wrong with any of the above tools as they really will save time or help any electrician out on a daily basis.

Categories: gifts, secret santa

Can You Become An Electrician If You Are Colour Blind?

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 10th December 2015

This is a question we get asked time and time again. Generally speaking these days you can work as an electrician with most forms of colour blindness, including the most common form which is a red / green deficiency. However if you suspect you may be colour blind you must make sure when you come across older coloured wires which are easier to get confused, that you use tools or a work colleague to identify the correct ones. Most people with the most common forms of colour blindness can manage their condition as and when required, however for some people (very few who can see no colour at all) colour blindness can mean they can’t pursue a career as an electrician and many other careers. Find out more below:

Electrical Apprentices Need To Pass A Colour Blindness Test

If you are looking to register on an apprenticeship scheme there is a colour blindness test that you must pass in order to proceed. This does not apply however, if you are self-funding your training and simply taking your Tech Certs such as the C&G 2365 courses or training as a domestic installer.

Wire Colours and Colour Blindness

Up until the 1970’s single phase electrical wires were coloured green, black and red. This was an issue since the most common form of colour blindness is where red and green are perceived as identical due a reduced sensitivity to red or green light.

As a result since the late 70’s the colour multi coloured (yellow and green) Earth was introduced, however it was only since 2004 that red was phased completely and brown now represents single phase line and blue represents the neutral. See the images below:

Handy to Know

As such these days colour blindness is less of an issue for those working as electricians particularly in a domestic setting. If you are training as a domestic installer or funding your own training as an electrician then there is no pre-requisite to take a colour blindness test. However it is recommended that you are aware of any colour blindness issues to help protect you and others. Although the red, black and green wires have been phased out it is likely that these will still be present in old installations and in those situations electricians must make sure they get things right. 

Take a test

You can visit any optician for a colour blindness test, however if you want you can take an initial test online. If you take an online test you must be aware that differences in screen settings, colour settings and brightness make it difficult to rely on the result. However as a quick guide it is worth a shot to see what comes up. The following test opens in a new website window. Once you have completed the test the results will tell you how colour blind you may be. Remember to read the instructions before taking the test. Simply put you need to:

State the number you see

State the number of different coloured lines you can see

If you can not clearly see either a number or 1/2 lines then simply leave the field blank

Click on the image below to launch the test:

Some Handy Apps

If you do suffer from colour blindness it is handy to know that these days there are a number of apps that can help you identify the right wires using your smart phone. Search for some of the following on the App Store or Google Play store and have a go:

Color Blind Pal - This is free and works very simply by naming the colours you aim your phone at. The colour descriptions are clear and simple.

Color ID - This is free and works in almost the same way as the above app. The colour descriptions seem to be fairly creative which may make it harder for users to know if its a simple red or green.







Survey Results: Are You Ready For Amendment 3?

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 13th November 2015

So we are well past the 1st July 2015 deadline from which all new electrical installations must comply with the 3rd amendment to the 17th edition wiring regulations. If you work in the trade and this is the first you have heard about amendment 3 then you really need to pull your finger out and get up to date by buying the latest book and checking out our free online seminar here.

However we thought it would be worth seeing how many sparkies are ready and how many are not despite moving past this crucial deadline. The survey was originally published back in August and we collected 100 responses over a period of 2 months.

Only 56% feel ready and Only 44% have the new yellow book!

We were surprised despite how heavily publicised Amendment 3 has been that still over 50% of people didn't have the new book. It will be interesting to see how many copies of the new book are sold over the next year. Really most should have been sold already and numbers should have have dropped drastically since the 1st July.

What’s also quite surprising is that 12% of those asked who do feel ready for the latest amendment don’t actually have the latest book so must quite clearly be geniuses!

It is easy to understand that if you are working flat out, for long days  and with little time off it can be hard to find the time to bring yourself up to speed, however we cannot stress how important it is to ensure that all installations are now designed and installed in accordance with the latest amendments. We have done our bit by providing free seminars for our customers and we have even published these on youtube and on our website so that you can brush up in your spare time.


Categories: amendment 3

A Salute to Our Forgotten Heroes

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 10th November 2015

You may or may not be aware but as a company Trade Skills 4U offers a bursary scheme for those who have fought for our country and then fallen upon hard times. The bursary scheme was launched back in 2011 with the aim of offering free and discounted training to ex-military candidates who were injured in service, suffering from conditions such as PTSD or simply fallen upon hard times. So far we have had numerous candidates come through the scheme, most of which have been awarded a full Bronze course to help them on their way to a new life and a new career.

However in running this scheme we as a company have learnt a lot about why our heroes struggle with returning to every day life. When we first launched the scheme the very first person we offered it to didn’t turn up for their first day of training. We contacted them and discovered that they simply didn’t have the means to travel to us to receive the training. Whilst we are able to provide free and discounted training we can’t stretch to funding accommodation and travel. However luckily there are a number of organisation who can assist. Since running the scheme we have worked in conjunction with the Royal British Legion, Civvy Street and SSAFA in order to ensure our Forgotten Heroes can make it to our centre and start changing their lives.

Since launching the scheme we have met some amazing people who have worked their socks of through adversity and pain to pass their courses. What we have learnt is that in the real world, for many of the bursary candidates, the training is just the first step on a long road to recovery and resettlement.

Two of our favourite candidates were kind enough to give us video reviews. You can view them below:

Richard Thompson

Richard Spent 25 years in the royal Navy, initially as a marine engineer, and then as a military photographer. He left the military in 2003 and fell in and out of employment for many years. He applied for the bursary in October 2011 and was offered a Bronze Course. Richard was based in Portsmouth and SSAFA assisted with his travel costs to and from the centre. We knew Richard would excel at his Bronze course due to his engineering and DIY background.

Following his course Richard appeared in a channel 5 documentary called Construction Squad: Operation Homefront where he helped a team of ex-military personnel renovate a Solent rescue lifeboat service facility. Since he took part in the programme and training Richard has done a variety of jobs including some small jobs for friends and family, then a stint as maintainer and most recently he is working as a general hand at Babcock International. Recently Richard said: “The course was great not just in terms of what I learnt but in terms of building my confidence back up again and realising what I could achieve”. He is still working with the charity Combat Stress and hopes he can finally overcome some of his remaining issues from his time in the Navy.

Bobbie Molle

Bobbie Molle served for 5 years as a marine engineer. He was made P8 medically unfit for service due to developing a very rare form of cancer. Bobbie had undergone treatment for his condition which meant even whilst he was training with us he was still in a great deal of pain and struggling sometimes due to the large amount of medication he was still taking. Again we knew Bobbie would make a great candidate. He clearly was very driven, had the technical aptitude and had already planned how he was going to progress his career and set up his company “Blue Phase Electrical”.

Although currently his disease has spread to his shoulders and is still undergoing treatment he is adamant that he will find a path to get himself back into work by utilising, in his own words.

"The invaluable skills, knowledge and qualifications that Trade Skills 4U have generously supplied me with, tied in with the discipline, determination and technical background from my marine engineer naval military service"

Despite a myriad of complications Bobbie is now optimistic for his future as a civilian which he says is "all thanks to the friendly, caring and professional TradeSkills4U team and the associated charities who also assisted to make the course with us possible".

"Almost anything is possible for veterans like myself, so long as places like TradeSkills4U exist to help us".

Bobbie has said that he cannot thank those supporting him from Band of Brothers (a sub section of Help the Heroes) enough. He meets regularly with others like himself and the support they have given him has been fantastic.

What we have learned from working with our forgotten heroes is that they are truly motivated individuals. All have soldiered through our courses many dealing with some quite serious personal and physical issues. However none have ever complained, lost their cool or given up. This is a testament to their resolve and military background. However what is also clear is that the effects of serving in military can for many of our men and women have long lasting effects that can take their toll on their lives in so many ways.

This is why we run our forgotten heroes scheme and why we respect our military men and women so much.

If you know anyone who may be eligible please ask them to fill out an application here


Man Survives Being Electrocuted By 13,000 Volts

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 9th November 2015

Rioler Martinez In Hospital

We say it time and time again. If you have a problem with your electrics make sure you get a professional in to sort it out. Don’t guess at what you are doing and don’t try and fix it yourself. This is basic common sense when it comes to problems in your home but you would think it would be a complete no brainer if you spotted an issue with high voltage lines outside your home on an electricity pylon. 

However for Rioler Martinez from Colombia South America he simply couldn’t wait for an engineer to fix a problem with the power lines supplying his home. So he decided to take matters into his own hands and climb the pole supporting the wires and poke the cables which were causing him issues with a long stick.

It is no surprise to most that he was electrocuted, however it is amazing and a complete surprise that he survived. In fact doctors are scratching their heads as to how exactly he did survive considering that any shock over 11,000 volts is usually fatal.

Rioler Martinez did have the foresight to actually strap himself to the pole before prodding the wires and as such hung there for nearly an hour before he was rescued.

There is video footage of this incident and although Mr Martinez survived we still think it is quite hard to watch even for those with strong stomachs. So discretion is advised when viewing the video below:

Even Cesar Sarmiento who filmed the footage couldn’t believe what they had seen:

“The voltage was strong. I stopped and started crying when I saw it.”

When firemen eventually rescued Mr Martinez he was taken immediately to hospital where medial staff were unable to explain his survival. It appears that Mr Martinez has learnt his lesson. Following the incident he was quoted as saying:

“I’m never touching anything electrical again.”

Wise advice for anyone thinking of trying to tinker with their electrics we think!


Categories: safety

Spark Busters: Halloween Hall Of Horrors!

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 27th October 2015

Can you believe it, Halloween is upon us again. Last year we published our Electrical Hall of Horrors and we thought this would make a great annual post. So this Halloween, keep your eyes peeled to see if any of these horrors are lurking in your house. Like all nasty creepy Halloween horrors you are most likely to find these in dark places such as your loft, under stairs cupboard or basement. If you spot any of these in your home scream at the top of your voice and run a mile, or call an electrician to carry out an inspection and rid your home of any of these ghoulish horrors.

1. One of the most common dangers in the home is probably lurking behind your TV. Overloaded daisy chained sockets can be lethal, add to the mix some random paper and it won't be long until you could be in trouble.

2. Do you rent your home? If so you should make sure your landlord has had a recent inspection. This landlord ended up paying a hefty price when he was fined £15,000 earlier this year. He had tried renting out a house whilst still renovating it which meant dangerous unfinished electrics were exposed in the building.

3. Does your basement look like this? We hope not. This homeowner needs a full rewire!

4. If you see any signs of burns or over heating on your consumer unit get it fixed straight away. Recent changes to the wiring regulations mean you will now need to replace it with a metal one, however this is going to be much cheaper than rebuilding your house.

5. Classic signs of a proper bodge job will be poorly taped connections. Who knows what's lurking inside and who carried out the work in the first place.

6. They say it's good luck if a black cat crosses your path, however in this case I would be worried about the cat surviving in this flat.

7. If this is your under stairs cupboard then you will want to look into upgrading to a new consumer unit. Make sure you get an experienced sparky to do the job as this is not so straight forward.

8. This picture is from Trip Advisor. A hotel in Malta is responsible for this bit of shocking workmanship.

9. Exposed wires even in the loft can still be dangerous.

10. If you don't lift your floorboards you have no idea what is lurking underneath. In this case some really bad jointing. 


Some of the above really is quite scary, plus it's not made up like ghosts and ghoulies, it's all real and could be making an appearance in your home any day now. If you want to be sure your electrics are not shocking then get an electrician to carry out an EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) which should pick up on any issues that need to be resolved asap.




Categories: halloween

The Benefits of Electronic Invoicing for Electricians

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 16th October 2015

When it comes to invoicing, it is essential that you are able to keep an accurate record of invoices sent out to clients.  Not only does help to ensure you get paid for the work you do, but also enables you to complete your tax return at the end of the year without getting into a pickle.

Why consider electronic invoicing?

For small businesses, electronic invoicing makes perfect sense for the fact it will save you time.  Time is what most business owners and certainly electricians struggle with so electronic invoicing will free up time to do other important business tasks such as marketing.  What type of software you opt for is up to you, but whichever type of invoicing programme you opt for, you will save time and money and run your business more effectively.

Some Free Electronic Invoicing Websites

It's amazing what you can get for free these days and you will be surprised just how good some of the free online invoicing websites are too. Most will do everythign you need but you may find paying a small fee is worth it to ensure the best possible service:

Wave Free Invoice Software


Zoho (Free up to 5 invoices per month)


Express Invoice (Downloadable software)

Time Saving

The old paper based or traditional system is also more expensive.  The cost of paper and ink plus the postage can quickly add up and there is no guarantee your client will receive the invoice.  Electronic invoices can be sent instantly via email.  Electronic invoicing is not expensive to set up – some programmes can be set for free.  Express invoice is one such programme – you can send invoices for free and set up a clients list.  It is possible to upgrade and purchase the programme for a small one off fee which opens up the full programme features.  Other invoicing software is subscription based which allows you to invoice in return for a monthly fee.  Such subscription programmes often include other items such as quotes, estimates and a diary.


In times gone by a book keeper would have been responsible for compiling each invoice and working out the figures accurately ensuring the VAT and other expenses were accounted for and billed correctly.  This leaves a lot of room for human error especially after a hard day and you have no book keeper!

Electronic invoicing has pre filled fields which ensures you won't forget important detail and can be updated and amended in seconds.

If you don't have a printer can you imagine how boring it would be writing out a template each time you wanted to send out an invoice? Electronic invoicing would be worth it's weight in gold!

Getting paid quickly

Small electrical contracting businesses rely on good cash flow to survive.  It is essential that invoices are paid in a timely manner especially when the work has been completed to the clients satisfaction.  Electronic invoicing clearly lists payment options allowing your client to make payment instantly using one of the methods shown.  There will be no waiting around for cheques to clear or cash which could get lost.

Electronic invoicing can also be done in seconds and sent to your client at the touch of a button.  Many electricians send the invoice before they drive away from their clients home it is so simple and straight forward.

Produce duplicate invoices at the touch of a button

Electronic invoicing programmes allow you to save the details of each customer you enter into the system.  This means that for repeat custom or on going work, your clients details can be retrieved within seconds and another invoice sent out.  This saves the time of having to enter customer details every time an invoice is produced. All you have to do is select the products or services being charged for and the invoice programme will automatically calculate the taxes, due date and when the payment is received.

It is worth including a line or two to explain to the customer how to make payment whether this is a direct bank transfer, card payment or by PayPal.

Does electronic invoicing really save electricians money?

Electronic invoicing makes perfect sense if you run a small electrical contractors or work for yourself.  For the outlay of invoicing software or a small monthly subscription, you will get your money 'back' within a short time of using it.  By the time you have calculated the outlay of paper, ink (plus printer), envelopes, postage and your time in producing the invoices themselves, you will be quids in very quickly.

Anyone who is not using electronic invoicing is missing a trick and you are throwing money away as well as wasting valuable time you could be using on getting more work!


Review: IET Books Now Available Electronically (17th Edition, Guidance Note 3 and more!)

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 9th October 2015

A quick check on the Amazon website will show that the IET books don’t always have the biggest rating from the buyers. Many electricians believe that the regular updates appear to be a money making enterprise. Whilst we understand their concern it is clear that the IET really have consumers and electricians safety at heart when updating the regulations. Some of the reviews can be seen below:

Well it seems that people would prefer an electronic copy but are not aware that these have been available for some time. In fact since the start of 2015 the IET has been publishing books online via a special electrical standards portal. The great thing about this service is you will automatically receive updates and changes to the regulations across all key books that you subscribe to at no added costs.

Key benefits

The IET have been working hard at getting this right and the online books have some big advantages over the paper ones:

You can search in various ways for different sections or topics saving time thumbing through the paper book to answer your queries. This is probably the biggest advantage of having an electronic subscription.

You will always have access to the most up to date information. When amendments come along you will have access to both the new and the old content.

You are able to download whole sections to be viewed offline so if you are going to be stuck in a basement somewhere with your electronic version you won’t be left in the dark.

You can print sections out for use offline too.

You can even compare the latest amendments to the old ones other and view the information side by side.

The biggest complaint most people have about the book is finding the right information and it appears that the online books more than deal with this issue. You can choose to search across all titles you subscribe to or just one book. You can then filter your search results by topics, titles and locations as well as view results in the old and new amendments. See the screen shot below to see a search result for “Special Locations”:

Overall we feel this a great solution and clearly in demand, however at present we don’t think many electricians are fully aware this is available. With cost clearly a big issue you can possibly save money buy going online and improve the service too especially if you are a large company who buys hundreds of books.

How much does it cost?

The IET offer a free, Bronze, Silver and Gold packages. The gold is usually reserved for larger companies who will have a large number of subscribers. This is possibly where the biggest saving of time and money is likely to be made. You can see a table of the packages below:

Most elecricians will take up the Bronze package covering BS7671 wiring Regulations, On Site Guide, Guidance Note 3 and Guidance Note 1. This will set you back £60+VAT per year (£72 per year) compared with roughly a one off £160 for paper copies. However we have noted that the Electricians Guide to the Building Regulations is only included in the Silver Package which seems odd especially if you are just doing domestic installation. As such most domestic installer will probably opt to stay offline until a new package is created or the Bronze package is improved.

So after 2 years you will have spent the same as the books (nearly 3 if you can claim the VAT back), however you must remember the extra benefits above. The portal is accessible via your mobile, table and pc meaning you can have it wherever you are especially if you have 3g or 4g connection.

A word of warning for students

However if you are going to train with Trade Skills 4U and are thinking about buying one of these packages please hold fire. Unfortunately most exams prohibit the use of electronic equipment. In fact you are not even allowed to take in a programmable calculator into most exams so a laptop of tablet or smartphone is definitely not going to be allowed.

If you have already trained and are out there working then the e-books are a good option, however once you enter an exam environment hard copies will be required. This is a huge issue however we are looking into ways to overcome this but are yet to come up with a simple solution. Watch this space for more. If you would like more information on the packages available please visit:










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