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Electrical installations are seldom straightforward. They usually require quite a lot of in-depth knowledge and above everything else, experience.
However, there is a difference between a certified experienced electrician and a non-certified electrician who only has experience with the odd fix or two.
A certified electrician is trained to perform electrical tasks using all the best practices and rules set out in the British Standards. These electricians comply with Part P regulations and provide a safe and efficient installation that will last you a very long time.
If you are looking to repair or replace a new or existing electrical installation, there are a few things that you need to know. Making mistakes in installations is common, especially when you opt for inexperienced electricians – but there are a few common mistakes that you need to completely avoid if you want to reduce the risk of faults, damages, and fires.
Read below to learn more about the importance of compliance in electrical installations and the most common mistakes property owners make when attempting electrical installations.
Before the advent of the British Standards in 1901, electrical installations were risky, thoroughly unsafe, and a hit or miss when it came to efficiency and longevity. The truth is, everyone had their own take on how to attempt electrical installations.
Since there was such a huge discrepancy in the strategies and equipment used for electrical installations, no two installations could be compared, even if they were performed by the same electrician. The problem was also compounded by the fact that property owners often sought the cheapest rates which led to them self-sourcing a lot of the materials.
As you can imagine, all these issues culminated in a rise in fires, damages, and even deaths caused by electrical failures. It was clear that there was a need for standardisation, and to address this issue, there would need to be a regulatory body that would tackle two issues at the same time:
To attempt this standardisation, the British Standards were introduced by the British Standards Institution (BSI).
BSI was founded as the Engineering Standards Committee in London in 1901. It eventually augmented its standardisation policies and became the British Engineering Standards Association in 1918 – and finally adopted the name British Standards Institution in 1931.
Standardising services was relatively easy since electricians would have to receive formal training according to a set guideline that would dictate how they should perform electrical tasks.
The reason this task was relatively easy was because electricians themselves stood to gain an advantage from being certified since they could compete better in the service market. Furthermore, legislation and making training mandatory also allowed the British Standards to take control of the current disarray of the electrical installation market.
The second and more pressing problem to address was regarding the electrical hardware industry. No matter how certified of an electrician you employ, you will always be at the behest of the quality of the electrical equipment that you install.
In other words, if the electrical equipment wasn’t up to the mark or used subpar materials, then the likelihood of electrical failure would remain the same as if you opted for an uncertified electrician for a job.
This is why the British Standards Institute had to go all the way back to the manufacturers. It was apparent that in order to make a complete change in the industry, the standardisation had to begin with the manufacturers.
It took a couple of years to set standards and legislation for more standardised production that was approved by an engineering board. Finally, property owners could opt for certified electrical equipment that was sold at standardised and often reasonable rates. This equipment would have a guarantee and since they were made using all the best practices, they carried very little risk of failure.
To add accountability and further reduce risk in electrical installations, legislation was passed that made the issuance of electrical certificates mandatory for all electricians who perform electrical installations.
The idea behind this certificate is to provide a guarantee of the services rendered by the electrician at the property. This way, if there is an issue, then you can use the certificate to claim repairs or take further action if needed.
Electrical Installation Certificates (EICs) were a breakthrough in the industry and were seen as an excellent and much-needed way to greatly reduce, and in some cases, eliminate the risk associated with faulty installations.
EICs are relied on by homeowners, business owners, landlords, and building control authorities to determine the electrical safety of a property.
Here are some of the things that you can find in a typical electrical certificate:
These particulars provide full transparency and peace of mind for the property owner. The certificate starts with general details about the installation. This can include the scope of the job, and other particulars including the timeframe of the installation, the materials used, and general contact details of the property owner and the installer.
The reason why this information is provided is so that the property owner can reach out to the installer in the event of an electrical failure – but the good news is that since the advent of Electrical Installation Certificates, the overall incidence rate for electrical failure has gone down significantly.
These certificates are an integral part of electrical safety and help reduce mistakes that could be made during the installation.
How does an electrician identify and fix their mistakes during or after the installation? Well, this is where the electrical tests come in.
An electrician will perform routine tests on the installation to make sure that there are no problems in the electrical system. The details of these tests and their results are also mentioned in the report. This way, the owner has full transparency on the issues highlighted in the installation.
These reports can also be used by other electricians to identify new issues in the system. For example, you can have the installation done by one company and then repairs or additions done by another company.
Since everything is standardised, you don’t have to worry about starting fresh! The new team can take over using the details of the last installation and make repairs or additions accordingly.
There are four types of certificates of electrical compliance:
As mentioned above, a standard Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC) is a guarantee that ensures the safety of the installation. These certificates are required for all major installation tasks which include the installation of new consumer units, circuits, additional sockets, switches, light fixtures in new areas, and more.
Minor Electrical Installation Works Certificate (MEIWC) a lightweight version of a standard Electrical Installation Certificate. It is like an EIC; however, it is more commonly used for low-priority or small electrical tasks such as light fittings, socket installations in non-special areas, etc.
An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) is a detailed report that highlights all the particulars of the current installation at a residence. The report usually covers areas such as damage, defects, or deterioration due to depreciation of equipment.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of an Electrical Installation Condition Report is that it also records several observations in line with the BS 7671 along with providing recommendations for improving the installations to increase efficiency.
Under an EICR, the condition of an installation is classified using three codes:
Finally, a Part P certificate is issued as a requirement of Part P of the Building Regulations, which states that all electrical installations must be safe, meet the set standard, and give room for safe maintenance and future alterations.
A Part P certificate is an excellent way to cull mistakes and ensure the safety and integrity of a large electrical project.
Together with all these certificates, along with a strict maintenance and inspection schedule, the British Standard Institute has created an ecosystem that promotes safety and security above everything else.
From training electricians to controlling the standards set by manufacturers, the British Standards are truly a remarkable achievement in the modern world that relies so heavily on efficient electrical systems.
Here are some of the most common and avoidable mistakes that property owners or non-compliant electricians can make:
Most people don’t think much of small electrical tasks and believe that it’s better to get the job done themselves or by someone less experienced because the task is perceived to be easy – however, the reality can’t be further from this!
The thing with going with non-certified electricians is that it can work for some, but for others, it can result in disaster. It’s akin to playing a game of Russian roulette but instead of a gun, you have faulty wires and connections to worry about.
Compliant electricians follow strict regulations and follow the latest IET Wiring Regulations set forth by the British Standards. Sure, you may get the job done, but there will be no guarantee of the work performed by a non-certified electrician.
This also makes the job more prone to mistakes. Think about it, one loose connection can result in significant damage to the socket and whatever is connected to the socket as well!
Planning is part of any job – and it is more important in electrical installation since installation tasks can be quite complex.
A certified electrician, like the ones at Calder Electrical, doesn’t dive headfirst into a task. They first assess the most efficient way to perform the task and then devise a strategy to perform it to ensure the integrity of the installation.
An installation is only as good as the materials used in the process. From wiring to sockets, breaker quality, fuses, and much more. There are so many components that go into a regular installation that if you mess up by purchasing just one faulty component, you can jeopardise the entire installation.
Non-certified electricians commonly make the mistake of going with cheaper equipment. While again, this type of practice can get the job done, it will hardly ever guarantee the safety or integrity of the system.
This is why you should always leave the purchasing and sourcing of electrical equipment to professional installers.
For example, certified electricians at Calder Electrical provide an all-in-one solution where they handle everything from sourcing to installation. What’s even better is that Calder Electrical always strives to get the best rates for their customers, which means that you can also end up saving money on materials!
Electrical installations are not a DIY project! Please keep in mind that these tasks require a lot of in-depth knowledge about circuits and electricity, and above everything else, they require substantial experience.
Sure, you can change a bulb yourself, but when it comes to installing circuits, fixtures, or new wiring, it is always recommended that you go with a professional.
The reason for this is simple: if you do it yourself and something goes wrong, you will have no one to blame but yourself. However, if you go with a professional, then you are almost guaranteed to never have to blame anyone!
Even if there is an apparent and rare fault in the installation, the electrician who installed the system will take full responsibility for the mistake and make fixes accordingly.
Perhaps the biggest avoidable mistake in electrical installation is a lack of inspection and maintenance schedule.
As mentioned above, every electrical installation by a certified electrician comes with a separate inspection and maintenance schedule. This means that a certified electrician will visit the property on the given dates to make sure that the installation is running at full efficiency and that there are no apparent faults in the system.
These inspections further reduce (and likely eliminate) the risk of damage caused by electrical systems. Since electrical equipment is subject to deterioration, certified electricians can detect and fix a potential problem before it gets out of hand!
We have been providing electrical services to residential, commercial, and industrial properties for over 40 years and are specialists in all aspects of electrical installations, maintenance, and testing.
All our work is fully insured, and we work to meet the standards set by the NICEIC to make sure all your electrical installations meet the current regulations, and all the notifiable work is signed off by the local authorities.
If you have unplanned issues within your home or business, we can provide a call-out service to rectify and solve any problems such as circuit tripping, loss of power, broken items that need repairing, or to check if you feel something is unsafe or a potential hazard.
Our team can generate a Visual Inspection Report (VIR) to identify anything visual that does not comply with the standards or looks unsafe, as well as a full Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) where we will identify and test each circuit to make sure they are not deteriorating and are safe for use within the current standards and regulations set by the BS 7671.
We can also provide PAT testing of appliances to make sure that any items such as kettles, computers, and microwaves are safe for use in the home and workplace.
Contact us here or call us at 0800 612 3001 to get in touch with our professional electricians for more information on electrical installations and some of the most common mistakes to avoid.
Or would like us to provide a survey and quote then please contact us and we will be happy to help.Call us on 0800 612 3001