Employing a builder Electricians
This article, Employing a builder, was last updated on 26 March 2010 and is now out of date and held in our online archive for reference. Explore our latest Home & garden articles.
When we surveyed 1,006 Which? members in April 2012, we found that 84% trusted electricians. When we asked Which? members who had used an electrician in the last year how satisfied they were and how likely to recommend to a friend, the resulting customer score was 87%.
This is good news as more work than ever has to be carried out by properly qualified electricians. They also have a new responsibility to carry out official checks on your electric system, and then give a certificate that confirms the work meets safety standards.
The work electricians can do varies from rewiring a home from top to bottom, to adding a new socket or moving a light switch. They need to be able to read and implement wiring diagrams from architects and to create these themselves.
Electricians also need to be adept at chopping out plaster, drilling through walls, floors and ceilings and working out the best way to create electrical systems without too much visible wiring. They should come up with effective methods of hiding any wiring that can’t be chased into the wall, such as running wires behind skirting boards. Electricians may also install security or home automation systems.
Electricians should hold an Electrotechnical Services NVQ/SVQ at Level 3 and be Part P Registered, so they can legally approve electrical work.
Some experienced electricians may have trained as an apprentice some time ago and won’t have the latest qualifications. In this case, they must make sure they have their current work assessed and, if necessary, retrain to continue working as an electrician.
Trade organisations for electricians
Check whether your electrician is a member of organisations such as the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC), the National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers (NAPIT) or ELECSA.
Both of these organisations are voluntary and members have to pay to join.
But they do allow their members to issue certificates for all work carried out (even adding a plug or light switch) in accordance with national standards. Always check that your electrician’s membership hasn't lapsed. Visit these organisations' websites for more information and lists of contractors.
Don’t forget to check your insurance policy to see if electrical or plumbing emergencies are covered. You must contact the insurance company first, not after you’ve called someone and incurred costs, as they often have their own tradespeople.