All about accreditations: Who oversees the electrical installation industry in the UK?

All about accreditations: Who oversees the electrical installation industry in the UK?

All about accreditations: Who oversees the electrical installation industry in the UK?

When looking for an electrical contractor, organisations usually have a clear idea that this provider should be ‘accredited’, and therefore skilled, knowledgeable, trustworthy and reliable.

But, accredited by whom, and what does that mean? The answer to this question is quite detailed as there is more than one body that oversees quality standards, and they all offer slightly different services.

Some concentrate on qualifications, health and safety standards or ethical operation. A proportion of bodies focus on electrical services while others span much broader remits, and verification can involve the confirming of credentials or checking of completed work.

Firstly, let’s look at NICEIC, the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting, which is an independent and voluntary body covering the whole of the UK.

NICEIC publishes a roll of approved contractors – including Genco – as well as offering training, support and insurance.

Its role – covering installers of renewable energy, plumbers and heating engineers as well as electrical contractors – is to check compliance and conformity against strict standards and regulations, via testing, verification and assessment of work. 

While electricians don’t have to be a member of NICEIC to work, by law in England and Wales they must provide customers with an electrical installation certificate, no matter how small the job.

This will confirm that the work carried out meets the British Standard for electrical safety, BS 7671.

Looking more widely, across sectors that electrical engineers work in, CHAS, the contractor health and safety assessment scheme, has its own accreditation system to which Genco is signed up.

The body covers a range of trades, clients and working environments, and helps buyers and contractors or suppliers to work together, to ensure compliance across areas of risk management including supply chain.

Accreditation through Constuctionline, a database used by the construction industry, is often mandatory for companies that want to tender for bigger projects, with government and local authorities for example, and Genco is proud to be a silver-rated member.

Finally, the seal of approval from the SafeContractor scheme is another way to show you are a capable, stable, and ethical business to work with – and an additional accreditation that Genco is pleased to hold.

In all, if you are awarding a contract, large or small, our advice is to check accreditations carefully. Do not simply rely on the use of a logo, or a fleeting namecheck, on a bid document.

Make sure the company you want to work with is on NICEIC’s current list, for example. It is very easy for memberships and endorsements to lapse – and for customers to be complacent, particularly if they have worked with a firm before.

If you are not sure what a particular accreditation means, then look it up. Make sure the assurance will cover what you need it to. The UK has a well-regulated industry, designed to protect and support all parties, but vigilance and an eye for detail is key to safe and productive working relationships.

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