10 Apr Choosing an electrician?
Who is trustworthy? – having electrical work carried out in your home can be daunting, especially if you have to put your trust in an electrician you have never used before.
We recommend that before you choose an electrician, you follow these simple suggestions. They will significantly reduce the chances of employing an incompetent electrician.
Start by searching the Electrical Safety Register for your area. The statutory requirements for electrical wiring are different in England and Wales from those in Scotland and Northern Ireland. So make sure you find someone in your country.
Get the details of at least three electricians who can do the type of electrical work you need doing.
(Electricians carrying out work in England and Wales have to comply withPart P of the Building Regulations, whereas in Scotland it is the Building Standards System. There is no equivalent statutory requirement in Northern Ireland at the moment.)
Contact the electricians and arrange for them to quote for the work. Remember to be clear about what you want and always ask for a written specification and quotation. We recommend obtaining at least three quotes, unless the work is minor.
You should also ask for references. A good electrician will not hesitate to provide them.
Check they are approved by a recognised organisation or are government-approved. If you’ve obtained their details through the Electrical Safety Register you won’t need to do this. However, if you’ve contacted the electrician independently then we would strongly recommend that you contact the organisation they claim to be a member of or affiliated with.
Ask the electricians to provide a copy of their Public Liability Insurance. Ask whether they have a complaints resolution process and if they offer an insurance-backed warranty*.
If you‘re not employing the electrician yourself but are doing so through a builder or contractor, we would recommend that you check their credentials by going through the same process. Ask for more than verbal assurances. Spoken agreements do not provide any recourse if the electrician is incompetent.
*If you use an electrician registered with one of the government-approved organisations listed on our site they should have a complaints resolution process and if in England & Wales you should be offered the opportunity to take out an insurance-backed warranty to cover the work.
Now you’ve found your electrician and they are ready to work, follow these simple suggestions.
Before they start
- agree a timetable of work and get confirmation of their expected completion date in writing. For larger jobs, ask for regular updates on their progress and ask that if they are not going to meet the completion date given, that they tell you immediately
- agree payment terms so you can ensure that you have the funds available. Some electricians may ask for material costs up-front and also want staged payments for a larger job
- avoid dealing in cash as it is easy to lose track of what you have paid. Pay by cheque and always ask for a receipt or statement of account.
During the work
- Try to avoid making changes or adding to the job halfway through. This will usually cost more and cause delays. If you do need to make changes, confirm them with the electrician in writing
- If you have any concerns or questions talk to the electrician straight away. If you are dealing with a larger company speak to the person in charge, usually a supervisor or manager. Make it clear exactly what you are concerned or unhappy about, explain what you want done and give the electrician a chance to put things right
- If you are unable to resolve any issues with the electrician or the company who employs them, contact the organisation they are approved by. They will be able to advise you and will work with both parties to try and reach a solution. If the electrician you employ does not appear to be approved by any organisation, contact Citizens Advice on their consumer helpline on 0854 04 05 06 or visitwww.adviceguide.org.uk http://www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/
After the work is completed
There are some things to remember after you have paid the electrician.
- No matter how big or small the job, the electrician should provide you with an electrical installation certificate which will confirm that the work carried out meets the UK Safety Standard, BS 7671
- If the electrical work carried out is covered under Building Regulationsyou should receive a certificate to confirm that the work meets the applicable Building Regulations
- Once you have received the certificate(s) relating to the electrical work, put them in a safe place. You may need to provide them as proof that you have had the work carried out safely, especially if you decide to sell the property.