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Where Is The Register of 3rd Party Certifiers?

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 21st June 2013

Following the revised Part P document issued in April, it is now possible to certify notifiable work using a registered third party as an alternative to using building control. However it remains unclear as to where the 3rd party 'register' is, so whilst the new changes were implemented on the 6th April 2013, it seems that there is no register of installers and electricians who are willing to sign off another persons electrical work.

The Part P regulations clearly stipulate that you can only use a registered third party to certify your installation so ringing round your local electricians is not an option. The register has to be in place before this service is available.

At TradeSkills4U we have decided to do some digging around and try to find out what the situation is with regard to the register of 3rd party installers, and if, indeed there are plans to have one.

What happening now?

After speaking to the current scheme providers, it has come to light that responsibility for producing the register ultimately lies with the government. It is the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) who ultimately decide on the scheme architecture, such as who ultimately qualifies to go on the register and minimum technical competences.

The DCLG are working in collaboration with scheme providers with representatives from NICEIC, NAPIT and ELECSA to ensure that the final register is meaningful and useful to the public.

One scheme provider stated “Section 3 of the recently revised Part P document introduces certification by a registered third party. This is in addition to self-certification by a registered competent person and certification by a building control body. The legislation necessary to enable the introduction of Third Party Register(s) isn’t in place yet. Work is under way within the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to set out the scheme architecture and requirements for the register and the minimum technical competences required. We do know that the scheme will be UKAS accredited.”

Although the details of the register are being finalised, the DCLG have been able to say that third party installers must be registered with a DCLG-authorised third party certification scheme.  This will be in addition to a competent person scheme.  This will enable registered electricians to do what is currently being done by building control bodies – inspect and test electrical installation work and certify compliance to the building regulations.

DCLG hope to invite applications to run third party certification schemes within the next few months and schemes that pass the assessment process will then be listed in amended building regulations.

The IET are also working with the DCLG by developing a special Part P inspection and test form which registered third party installers will complete as part of their certification process.

More about the third party certification

There are many changes happening on a daily basis and the final legislation is not expected to be in place until July 2013, however for electricians and domestic installers who are eager to know more, particularly as to whether they will qualify may be interested to know what the current position is with regards to the third party register.

The scheme will be based on EN 45011 and be required to be UKAS accredited

The technical requirements for the scheme are in development

The scheme covers England ONLY

Photo ID will be required for the individual showing competencies

A separate register of named individuals will be made publicly available – probably on the Competent Persons website

Professional Indemnity Insurance will be required

Work that is third party certified will have to be notified to the scheme provider

There is a bespoke form being developed for use when ‘certifying’ third party work

Applications from interested parties to operate a scheme will be invited potentially in July 2013

There is ministerial support for the schemes

When will the register be finished?

Remember this is a guide only and there will be amendments and updates issued frequently.  There is a suggestion that the first scheme could be launched by October 2013, however this is a very optimistic deadline. This is simply because once the DCLG have finalised their part in defining the scheme architecture, the scheme providers will then need to look at the requirements and set up the scheme. There is no way of really telling how long this will take until the providers know exactly how the scheme will need to operate. So don’t hold your breath it probably won’t come into force until the new year.

What happens in the meantime?

Electricians have cited concerns about insurance and whether scheme providers will insure electricians and provide the usual guarantee when signing off other peoples work or whether they need to arrange their own additional insurance for this purpose.   As there is nothing set in stone yet, Trade Skills 4 U would recommend that electricians do not sign off anyone else’s work at the moment until details of the upcoming register have been finalised and clarified by the DCLG.

Within the industry there is also much debate as to the value of the Third Party Register. Some see it as an opportunity to generate an extra revenue source whilst others have concerns and misgivings about signing off the work of others. A recent survey by Professional Electrician Magazine is showing a near 50 / 50 split in opinion on this.

 

Categories: 3rd party certifier

Survey: How Do You Choose Your Electrical Wholesaler?

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 6th June 2013

Wholesalers are integral to the working life of an electrician, but there are so many these days. Within a few miles of our Crawley Training centre we have TLC, RS Components, Kew Electrical, CEF, Screwfix Direct and many more. So how do you know which are the good ones?

We have identified the key areas electricians find important when choosing a wholesaler below but also want your feedback as to which factors are most important when choosing your regular wholesaler.

Brand Trust

Many electricians prefer to buy branded products as they trust the brand and can be sure the product will be fit for purpose. One electrician we spoke to said;

“Brand recognition.  Certain brands have that element of safety, and we are afraid to change”.

What is clear is that once you have used a particular product then you will go back and use it time and time again. This is because you now trust the brand and also know how to install it correctly saving you time and money on the job. However many wholesalers offer a range of similar brands so this alone can’t be the only factor in choosing a wholesaler.

Pricing

Price is certainly a big player amongst electricians and whilst wholesalers are often happy to haggle over the price, this doesn't suit all electricians especially those who are just starting out in the trade, who may prefer the fixed prices found in the DIY store catalogue easier to manage when it comes to pricing jobs for customers.  It is common to find electricians who hold several accounts across different wholesaling outlets.

“I also use one particularly large "Trade" company quite often too. They don't stock anything that the others don't supply, but they are very often the keenest company on price! I regularly purchase my single phase distribution boards from them as they often can't be beaten on price, particularly on fully loaded ones (including MCBs.)”

Staff Knowledge

However, price is not the only factor when it comes to choosing a wholesaler.  Staff expertise is also important.  A knowledgeable member of staff may be able provide advice to electricians on product suitability for their jobs.  Some smaller wholesalers insist that their staff have experience within the electrical industry or provide the training necessary to bring them up to speed with electrical terminology;

“I've one (wholesaler) that has one particularly good member of staff. He is very knowledgeable and for quoting more complex work (like a 3-phase DB install for example) he is great because he fills in the gaps in my designs, (he knows all the nuts, bolts and widgets that I can miss.)

Independent wholesalers score more highly with staff expertise and flexibility, but lose points when it comes to stock range and price.

Delivery Speed / Convenience

For buying 'bread and butter' materials such as Twin & Earth, KO boxes and other basic accessories, electricians favour flexibility particularly being able to order in advance and collect without waiting and a range of delivery options.  Electrical wholesalers have built up a good reputation in the trade for sourcing more difficult materials and often have a wide range of items in stock that might be needed urgently but which wouldn't be found in a DIY store.   This places an electrical wholesaler in a great position to obtain repeat business from electricians and gain their trust.  Additionally many wholesalers are now expanding their ordering and delivery options to their customers.  Increasing numbers of wholesalers now have an ordering facility on line where orders can be placed to collect from a branch or delivered to site.  This saves electricians from having to visit their wholesalers at all.  This is a very convenient option for electricians who have a very busy day ahead and don't want to queue at the wholesalers first thing in a morning.  Other wholesalers will deliver items to site, even very small items, this is great for electricians who may have long or bulky items that need to be transported or for a small item that the electrician may have forgotten to pick up at the wholesalers earlier in the day.  Small incentives like these can save time and fuel for electricians and are remembered.

Product Availability

Getting delivered orders wrong or not having materials ready to collect on a given day are cited as the most annoying things about wholesalers.  This is quickly followed by not having enough items in stock.  Wholesalers that stock wider ranges and have quick, reliable turnarounds on items that have to be ordered are more highly favoured;

“Service, availability, prices and product quality are important, not necessarily in this order, but the whole package......as well as location, ease of use for the job and customers.”

Do You Use More Than 1 Wholesaler?

When it comes to choosing a wholesaler, electricians have differing requirements, and it seems that all these wholesalers have differing strengths which means that whilst they may not achieve 100% customer loyalty from electricians, they will be receiving a steady stream of work from a higher number of electricians who favour different branches according to their job and location needs;

“I have 3 accounts at wholesalers.  I do this because they all have good attributes and bad. This way I can get some good prices and quality names. Also the staff vary at their levels of expertise and some times its more important than the price.  At the end of the day my customers are looking for value for money as am I”

Take Our Survey

So the vision of a perfect wholesaler would be a great location, unrivalled stock, excellent staff knowledge, flexible delivery options, keen price and great brands. When the deals, the bacon rolls product demonstrations, customer budgets and requirements are taken into account, it is clear to see why electricians switch between branches when selecting the best wholesaler for their needs.

If you have 2 minutes please take our survey below and let us know which of the above factors are most important when choosing your ideal wholesaler:

Categories: wholesalers

New Appointment & Nationwide Centres Coming Soon!

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 3rd June 2013

We have recently strengthened our team with the addition of a new Commercial Director, Sabarah Cursons. Sabarah joins Trade Skills 4U with a wealth of previous experience from the training sector having worked for St John Ambulance Commercial Training for 6 years.

When we asked Sab about her appointment she said;

“The reason I was attracted to the role at Trade Skills 4U is because there are a lot of synergies with my previous role of Regional Director at St John Ambulance. Trade Skills 4U are a dynamic, forward thinking and entrepreneurial company with humble beginnings and a strong team. They have grown at a healthy rate over the past few years and now is the time for the company to kick on with the next stage of their growth. I bring key skills and experience which will help Trade Skills 4U to move forward including business development, team leadership, sales and marketing and strategic planning. I am very excited to be working for Trade Skills 4U and look forward to adding value to a great company.”

More Centres Coming Soon!

Sabarah’s appointment will free up our MD Carl Bennett up to push the company forward with a roll out of national centres delivering 1st class electrical training throughout the UK. The first centre is likely to be established later this year and will be located near Carl’s home town in Warrington, Cheshire.

We recognise that although many students will travel to our specialist centres based just next to Gatwick Airport, many customers simply prefer to train locally. Having grown up in the area Carl is very familiar with Warrington as well as being a lifelong fan of Warrington Wolves.

“We have worked hard to establish Trade Skills 4U as the UK’s premier electrical training company which is no mean feat considering both our centres are based in the South East. It seems a natural progression to establish more centres and service learners from further afield.  Warrington was an obvious choice for personal and business reasons. I know the area well and the infrastructure around Warrington means we can service most of the large towns in the North West.”

We have cemented our place as the UK’s leading electrical training company by delivering the widest range of courses in the UK, plus we have consistently been the first company to deliver the latest qualifications as they become available. We aim to ensure the same level of excellence is available to learners further afield with more centres planned to open in the next year.

Meet The Team At the NAPIT Expo, 6th June, Copthorne Hotel, Gatwick

Don’t forget you can come and meet us at the NAPIT Expo on the 6th June 2013. The event takes place at the Copthorne Hotel, Gatwick and will feature a range of suppliers, wholesalers and manufacturers. There will be discount Meter Calibration plus free food and drinks. If you can’t make the event don’t worry you can still visit us any time as we have an open door policy.