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.
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: