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PhaseShift

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I am overwhelmed reading these threads! I can't make heads nor tails of the terms and regulations. I have a few questions. First a little background so you can understand where I'm coming from.

Here in the States, each state has their own licensing requirements. Well, a couple don't, but most. You work for a contractor for a certain minimum period, in Georgia it is 8000 hours, then pay a fee and take a test, and if you pass with at least a 70 (I made 91:D), you are issued a license. Codes (regs) vary from city to city, but overall, they are based on the National Electrical Code, which is updated every 3 years. But there is no law requiring a jurisdiction to adopt the latest code. In fact, I have heard there is a city in Texas that still enforces the 1984 NEC!

And each city may or may not have an individual licensing requirement. If so, in addition to your state issued license, you have to receive one from the city or county.

Depending on the scope of the job, you may have to get a permit. We have city or county inspectors that come and inspect the job at various stages, concrete slab, rough-in, and finish.

You guys have me bumfuzzeled over how it is done in the UK. I hear Part P, and PIR, and NICEIC and "scheme", and elecsa, etc. Is there a definitive resource to sort this out? I'm just curious. Anyone so kind as to educate a dumb colonial?
 
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WarrenG

  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #2
This is really brief as I am on my way out out but will give you a starter.

National Standard is the 17th Edition Wiring Regulations introduced 1st July 2008. (Red Book)

PIR - Periodic Inspection Report (electrical Inspection)
EIC - Electrical Installation Certificate
MWC - Minor Works Certificate

Part P - Electrical Safety in domestic buildings (Part P of the Building Regs)

Scheme (Part P Approved)

One way a qualified electrician can install and self certify their electrical work undertaken in domestic premises is by becoming a member of a government approved electrical scheme. The scheme vets the electricians and checks that their quality of work is up to scratch and they are qualified to a standard, have insurances, equipment etc,etc.

Main ones in the UK are:

NICEIC (National Inspection Council for Electrical Contracting)
Welcome to NICEIC, the home of electrical contracting excellence — NICEIC Group

NAPIT (National Association of Profesional Inspectors & Testers)
NAPIT - Home

ECA (Electrical Contractors Association)
Homepage

Elecsa (Owned by ECA)
Welcome to ELECSA

Memberships cost a an annual fee.

The scheme's notify the local building control on behalf of their electrician members when electrical work that has been completed. This is notified to the scheme by the electrician member.

If a qualified electrician wants to carry out electrical work in a domestic property and is not a member of a scheme, they have to contact the local building control directly first before they can start the work.

Hope this helps!

Sorry its brief, maybe some others will throw more info in for you?

Warren
 
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JulesHurley

  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3
Also being brief

When I was looking to work in Canada, I researched how their system differed from ours.

To be an electrician in the UK, you train, you qualify, are inspected every year, and then can "certificate" your own work. Our building inspectors dont need to have full understanding about detail electrical regs, as they "trust" the spark.

In States & Canada, you have to register in each City you wish to work. Also I think that once the roughing (1st fix) is completed, the install is inspected by an Electrical Inspector before any drywall (plasterboard) can be fitted. Then the install is inspected at completion. Also in the States / Canada you have to apply for a permit BEFORE you start most electrical works. Some jobs could have permits for Structure, Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC etc.

Further, the biggest difference I found is that property insurance over the pond wont payout if work has been done to a house with permits. You could also be in breach of mortgage agreements.

I did find the system in North America much tighter, but better, and to summarise, the governement there takes the responsiblity about providing good contractors seriously. The UK system is terrible when direct comparisons are made.

God bless the united states of america! Just because the president might be a pxxxk, they do have a few good points.
 
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PhaseShift

  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #4
Thanks Warren, that will help me to clear it up. I also just downloaded a copy of "Guide to the Wiring Regulations, 17th Edition IEE Wiring Regulations", from ECA. Just glancing through it, it pains me to see that your standards are being "Europeanized", to coin a phrase. I am a strong believer in national identity. I was going to ask why the UK wire colors changed, then I realized it was a move to the EU standard. I don't know how you guys feel about it, but for some reason it saddens me:(.

But I digress. Anyway, how does joining one of these "schemes" affect the quality of electrical work? It seems to me that if contractors are "self-certifiying", they would tend to hold themselves to a lower standard. I understand that there are random jobs selected to be checked for quality. But if every job were inspected, then wouldn't that force the hacks out of the trade?

And Jules, I'm glad to see that we (the U.S.) still have a friend somewhere in the world, even if the prez is a douche. Believe me, he does not represent the sentiment of the majority of Americans! But our inspection system is pretty tight in the major cities, but there are plenty, and I do mean plenty, of hacks out there doing second rate work and cutting the throats of the professionals. We have so many guys that ride around claiming to be able to do it all, but in reality they can't do sh*t. I found a guy's business card at a gas station that said "painting, plumbing, electrical, carpentry, gas lines, gutters, you name it!". I reported his name to the licensing board. I don't care if he does painting and gutters sh*tty, but gas lines and electrical will get somebody killed.
 
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WarrenG

  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #5
Thanks Warren, that will help me to clear it up. I also just downloaded a copy of "Guide to the Wiring Regulations, 17th Edition IEE Wiring Regulations", from ECA. Just glancing through it, it pains me to see that your standards are being "Europeanized", to coin a phrase. I am a strong believer in national identity. I was going to ask why the UK wire colors changed, then I realized it was a move to the EU standard. I don't know how you guys feel about it, but for some reason it saddens me:(.

But I digress. Anyway, how does joining one of these "schemes" affect the quality of electrical work? It seems to me that if contractors are "self-certifiying", they would tend to hold themselves to a lower standard. I understand that there are random jobs selected to be checked for quality. But if every job were inspected, then wouldn't that force the hacks out of the trade?
Well we are not to happy with it as you can imagine, its a bit like Euro situation really. We have had a good electrical system for years and a good British pound. Luckily we still have the Pound. But all the other EU countries have just had a huge bonus by putting their prices upto the UK cost of living and the UK has gained nothing at all......anyway thats another story!

Now we have had to try and merge our wiring system with the EU standards and trust me I've worked in Spain, Germany, Denmark and their systems are not up to the UK level.

Part P of the Building Regulaitions was introduced to cut out the 'hacks' (as you say) out. The Part P scheme was introduced so that the quality of the workmanship would be to a qualified electrician / Inspector level. The members are screened by the government approved body and therefore any 'hacks' (unqualified) people couldn't join.

By enabling fines for electrician's doing work and not notifying it to the Local Building Control means that for the qualified electrician it is easier and cheaper to join a member of a government approved scheme. Those not a member of a scheme can still do the work but must inform the LABC first.

More info here:
http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/planningandbuilding/pdf/buildingworkleaflet.pdf

Thats how it is supposed to be anyway, but of course every spark works differently and the quality of work differs to say the least. Even with scheme members.

We also have the same problem here with electricians who would rather chance doing an install without updating qualifications, being a member of a scheme and not notify the LABC. They generally under cut the price of a legitimate electrician to get the work. The customer loses out in the long term.
 
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JulesHurley

  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #6
One important point to consider in this thread -

UK is one of a number of "states" making up the EU, each trying to unify the electrical regs. Some more than others.

Georgia is one of 50 "states", making up the USA.

We need to be careful when comparing the UK to the USA, we should be comparing UK to Georgia, and Europe to the USA.

The European laws probalbly act in the same way as Federal Laws, and UK laws act in the same manner as State Law.

That is why the drinking ages differs, the gun laws differ, and the gambling laws differ in various States. Therefore building codes differ.

Also why does Scotland have a different system to the English, when we are all part of the UK?
 
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PhaseShift

  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #7
Also why does Scotland have a different system to the English, when we are all part of the UK?
That's an interesting point of view Jules. I always considered the EU as something of a NAFTA, but with their own currency. And England, Scotland, and Ireland more like "states" of the United Kingdom. What would happen if a country wanted to withdraw from the EU? We had a war here when states tried to succeed. Apparently, you can join voluntarily, but you can't leave!

Anyhow, is it not a local choice what system gets enforced? I mean, using your analogy with states, can Scotland choose to have a different system? In the U.S. the NEC is a standard, but by no means is it a Federal law. Georgia could adopt and enforce BS7671 and there is nothing the Feds could do about it.

Sorry for all the questions.
 
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