For some time the industry has been looking at the qualifications and skills required to operate as a Registered Competent person, (now known as a Qualified Supervisor) to formalise with regulation those who might work with electrics in any capacity. After two years or more of deliberation they are set to change the qualification route and coincide with the changes to Building regulations on 6th April 2013.
Why The Change?
Well safety for one and raising standards for those involved in the installation of electrics is another, something that has been championed many times in this magazine.
Let’s face it, at the moment, anyone completely untrained or un qualified can go into an electrical supplier and grab anything off the shelf and install it with virtually no regulation check or legal consequence. Surely that situation can’t be right, not only is it potentially unsafe but it also undermines the electrical and related trade industries and makes it difficult for small contractor companies to compete with unregistered installers.
So the powers that be have got to grips with this issue and are bringing in a few important changes.
What are the most significant changes?
Well they’ve changed the status of some currently notifiable work to become non notifiable.
They’ve brought in ability for a Third party certifier to certificate another’s work.
They’ve raised the bar for the Qualified Supervisor requiring them to have a laid down set of qualifications and experience.
They’ve stated that anyone involved in the installation, inspection and testing of notifiable electrical work that would use the Building Control certification system, to be competent and qualified.
It enables long serving but unqualified ‘Sparkies’ a route to proper recognition of their experience to become Qualified Supervisors.
There are of course a number of other changes to building regulations in addition to the ones above but we think these are the most significant.
These changes represent a clear legal requirement for people to be qualified and competent, no matter how tenuous their involvement in electrical installation and gives realistic options for experienced operators and that must be a positive.
Couple that with the initiative of the Electrical Safety register and we are heading towards a voluntary upgrading of standards with an ambition of a fully perhaps mandatory licenced system in the future? Who knows .
The new changes reflect the diverse and developing nature of the many industries and trades that are involved in electrical installation work, whether you’re happy with the changes or not, they’ve been made, so we all must work within them, including training providers like Tradeskills4U. Smart businesses adapt, we will certainly have to.
The entrepreneurs amongst you will have noticed a few opportunities, like becoming a Third Party certifier or a Qualified Supervisor of other trades, certainly the electrical contractors that can offer the most services will prosper. Maybe a register of third party certifiers is a good idea?
So the clear message from the Electrical establishment is get properly qualified, register on a Competent persons scheme and an Electrical Safety Register. Only by encouraging those involved in electrical installations in whatever capacity, to do the right thing, can the electrical industry progress for the benefit of all.