Electrically Speaking

David Cowburn

NAPIT Managing Director of Standards David Cowburn

NAPIT Managing Director of Standards David Cowburn discusses how a new NAPIT Electrical Inspector Scheme will drive up safety within the domestic, commercial and industrial sectors.

Excellence in electrical inspection and testing is one of the key components that set NAPIT registered electricians apart, and it is vital for electrical safety, both at home and in the workplace.

Driven by everything from recent legislative change to increasingly rigorous risk management by insurance companies, demand for this type of work, particularly the use of Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICRs) within the domestic, commercial and industrial sectors, is growing fast.

It is now common, for example, for insurers to require EICRs, following damage from fire, flood and other incidents, completed by competent electrical inspectors. There’s also a heightened focus on the legal obligations falling on employers and landlords.

For rented accommodation in Scotland, it is a statutory requirement for EICRs to be carried out at least once every five years by a competent electrician. Wales have introduced mandatory licensing for landlords, imposing a similar de facto best practice requirement via the official Rent Smart Wales Code of Practice associated with that scheme. And it is more than wishful thinking to expect England may eventually follow suit following the “Electrical safety standards for properties let by private landlords” clause inserted by the Government in the Housing and Planning Act 2016.

Demand for Electrical Inspectors

Demand for Electrical Inspectors

To address this demand, NAPIT has consulted both customers and stakeholders to gain new insights into their needs and to discover how best to ensure they are able to find an appropriately qualified and experienced electrical inspector.

We found that an effective search needs to identify inspectors who are assessed as competent to carry out EICR work and have experience of working in the building types potential customers may require. So we’ve ensured the search facility on the NAPIT website now separates registered inspectors by their sector specific expertise: domestic, commercial and/or industrial, making it easier for specifiers to decide on the right person for the job.

The Electrical Inspector Scheme we’ve developed is also set to enhance inspection and testing standards. Previously, anyone was able to carry out an EICR and claim they are competent to do so. This new scheme will now verify this claim by ensuring a sample of each registrant’s EICR work is inspected via regular assessments.

It all ties neatly into the issue of electrical safety checks in the private rented sector, which has long been a campaign priority for NAPIT. It formed the basis of the Trade Association’s “Electrical Safety in the Private Rented Sector” campaign and the work we’ve done with the Electrical Safety Roundtable to create consumer facing “Home Safety Guidance”.

Our member surveys showed that 41 per cent of NAPIT members see more serious electrical hazards in private rented homes than in any other form of tenure and over 90 per cent support the idea of mandatory electrical safety checks at least every five years in this sector, supported by an annual visual checklist.

Inspection, testing and certification of electrical installations to validate their safety are vital and must be carried out properly, to the highest standards.

We believe the move towards greater electrical safety within the domestic, industrial and commercial sectors will be significantly reinforced with the launch of the NAPIT Electrical Inspector Scheme.

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