Tradeskills4u welcomed Sheffield MP Clive Betts to our Gatwick facility last week.
Mr Betts who has responsibility for reviewing the Building regulations and in particular Part P building regulations had a thorough and robust discussion with Trade Skills 4U MD Carl Bennett on the implications of the review in to building regulations initiated by the government’s desire to reduce red tape and over regulation.
Electrical safety is of course the most important part of building regulations and it is our view that there is no doubt that the Part P building regulations have driven up safety standards within the electrical industry. Prior to Part P it was a free for all; let’s just remember where we were back then, Part P was brought in to increase safety.
We spoke about the merits of the competent person’s schemes and the potential unintended consequences of any alteration in the qualification standards of the persons responsible for signing off installations. We must be careful if we restrict the signing off of the electrical installations by registered installers to NVQ Level 3 electricians only. It will be like pushing ten lanes worth of traffic into one lane. Good for the NVQ Level 3 Sparkie, not good for the customer. And a Qualified Supervisor Sparkie rushing around signing off multiple installations undertaken by competent installers is restrictive to business, has unemployment implications, is unnecessary over regulation and hardly good for safety of the public.
We think the system works quite well for those properly registered on competent installer’s schemes allowing them to sign off their own work. Where it is undermined is where people whom are neither trained or qualified undertaking electrical installations and go undetected by building control.
Let’s make sure we understand who the bad guys are here. They are not in our view, the properly registered Domestic Installer or associated trades. These guys undertake training, take qualifications, register with scheme operators like the NICEIC, get assessed, obtain insurances and operate perfectly valid businesses.
The bad guys are the many thousands who fly under the radar, you will find them in queues in wholesalers up and down the country and they are helped by the under resourced policing of Part P and a supply system that allows unregistered installers to buy electrical equipment.
Encourage these people to take training, take qualifications and that will raise safety. It will also level the playing field for hard pressed sparkies.
Be careful what you change is our message.