Richard Gould Business Development Manager – Special Projects for NAPIT offers his expert opinion...
How can I check their credentials?
This is not an easy process to go through on an individual basis as there are different avenues to explore. The installer may be registered with a Competent Person Scheme (you should always ask to see identification and if necessary contact the scheme provider for further verification), OR the installer may still be qualified but register their own work through their local Building Control. In this case it is more difficult to check their credentials.
By using a NAPIT member consumers can be assured that the installer they appoint will be individually qualified as to a higher standard than the Electro-technical Assessment Scheme (EAS), this is a minimum technical competency.
All NAPIT members are qualified above this level and assessed on an individual basis and not by each company representative i.e. each installer will be assessed by NAPIT on their individual competency and not that of just one representative in their employing company signing off work on their behalf.
If something goes wrong who is liable to repair the damage?
The individual who undertook the work initially is liable to repair any damage or faults and should always the first person to return to that job. The contractor can remain liable for any work they undertake for up to six years.
The only addition to this is if the work has been supported by a work guarantee through the scheme operator they are registered with, for example, work notified to NAPIT by a member is supported by a Work Quality Guarantee for six years. For what ever reason, in the case of an event where the contractor is unable to return to the job and make good any faults then the Work Quality Guarantee can be claimed upon.
What can I do if I am not satisfied with their work?
Always try and resolve the matter with the individual who has initially undertaken the work. If during this process communication breaks down then two routes should be followed:
If the contractor is registered with a Competent Person Scheme discuss your problem with their scheme operator and they should mediate to a resolution.
If the contractor is unregistered and notifies their own work, you will need to contact either Trading Standards or the Citizens Advice Bureau. These consumer protection services are only likely to offer help if a claim has been falsely made b y the contractor and created a situation of fraud.
Should all electricians offer a warranty or guarantee of their work?
It is a requirement of the Building Regulations that you are offered a warranty or guarantee that will cover both materials and labor at the end of your contract of work from the individual undertaking the job. A NAPIT member provides this automatically to a customer on any job they complete and notify.
Do all electricians charge call out fees?
Most electricians do charge a call out fee or at least an inflated first hourly charge to cover minimum costs such as travelling time and fuel bills. Fees alter geographically and vary from £50 up to £150 depending also on the time of call out, for example, evenings, weekends or bank holidays.
What are the typical hourly rates?
Hourly rates vary considerably around the country and figures are difficult to gauge, however you will usually find between £25 and £45 per hour is a good guideline but may increase for out of hours working or when jobs require greater expertise or knowledge.
Can I carry out electrical work myself?
Yes, you can providing you are competent to do so and comply with all relevant regulations and standards. You will need to check whether the work you are carrying out needs to be notified to your local building control. If in doubt you are best to consult your local building control for advice. To notify your own work on an individual basis it can cost over £120.
NAPIT would always advise you to use a competent person to undertake your work, that way you have the assurance your work is completed according to current regulations and standards, is covered by a Work Quality Guarantee and notifications are included. You may wish to save money by completing work yourself should you feel competent; however, in the long run using a NAPIT member might actually save you money and is a far safer option.
How can I be sure the Electrician is registered?
Ask the contractor which scheme they are registered with and ask to see identification, if necessary you can contact the scheme provider for further verification. NAPIT are only too pleased to confirm registration or indeed assist in finding a registered local contractor in your area.