64% of the questions
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Project Manager
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by sparx » Fri Jan 16, 2009 10:16 pm

Eric I can't agree more about sysops sticking this guidance box in posts at random, eg a question about tripping rcd on sauna just is not going to be covered under projects!
With all the new responders on the forum recently I confess to waiting to see what other answers come up & I only go in if I feel they have missed the point of the question or their answer can be usefully expanded, or indeed opposed,

so sitting on the side reading the mail,73's

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by singer » Sat Jan 17, 2009 12:41 pm

Eric Hi
I read your post with interest and first of all wondered where you got 64% from?
I once heard that 95% of all statistics are made up anyway(ask me where I got 95% from!)
I have to agree projects section is for standard jobs and anyone with a "non-standard" or unusual problem will need further advise.
However as I've said recently in one of my replies it is never emphasised enough in replies to the general public that Part P was introduced as a legal requirement in an attempt to stamp out "foreigners" or dangerous DIY electrical installations, to reduce the numbers of fatalities or serious incidents such as fires in this country.
I know we still have a long way to go before that happens as there will always be some guys willing to do anything for a bit of back pocket money.
But I find the majority of people that require electrical work doing are unaware of this and so employ people to do jobs for them not knowing that a certificate is required or that they are breaking the law!
It makes my blood boil when I have guys standing next to me in the wholesalers buying things like downlighters and then asking the storeman behind the counter how to install them, obviously having very limited knowledge about what he's doing but still making money.
As a competent person who pays £400+ a year to the scheme operators, £700+ for test instruments, £xx for calibration, £xx for public liability insurance, £xx for certificates & labels, £xx to register the completed jobs, spends endless hours reading & training and then has to go through a fairly rigourous inspection once a year, you cant compete with Joe Bloggs off the street with absolutely no overheads at all!!
But more to the point I'm legal, he's illegal but he's not going to tell the customer or he'll loose the job and go home penniless - and the present financial situation is not helping that!!
So I'm all for stamping out the rogue traders and DIYers that compete with us legal guys by educating the public about Part P, emphasising that it is a legal requirement, so they can make an informed decision as to who they employ to do these jobs safely.
So what do we do? Do we offer advise or dont we?
One approach would be to withhold advise to people with jobs that require a certificate merely pointing them in the direction of the local registered electrician. But then they could either go elsewhere for advise or worse still do the job how they think it should be done without advise.
This site gives us the opportunity to spread the word about Part P, make people aware that it is a legal requirement not something that you can opt into and out of at will.
My little gripe with many posts is the use of abreviations which all electricians will know but the person asking the question probably will not.
Things like"Whatever happens make sure the cpc is connected"
or "Have you thought of installing another CU?"
I can imagine the reader thinking "What the hell are they on about?"
Will be interested to hear what you or anyone else thinks of all this.


by ericmark » Sat Jan 17, 2009 10:49 pm

Singer I and I am sure many others have thought very hard about what you have said.
I will answer in reverse order.

I try to use the full name once like the Local authority building control (LABC) then after that use LABC but I am sure there are times I slip up. Low voltage has to be worst many DIY’ers think that’s 12 volt.
Every subject is the same and as “π” said to “I” get real! Only if you have done advanced maths will that mean anything. And maybe we should make a directory of all these symbols the TV is just as bad when I as at school a “PC” was a “Police Constable” all these who claim to be “PC” on TV do not look as if they are in Police or even “politically correct”? Although I do believe PC is also a trade mark of IBM and if made by anyone else are PC compatibles!

As to Part P within the trade it has worked and it does ensure those who are registered do have the knowledge they claim to have but I think a 5 years test like we do to get safety card was a better idea than having to be a member of a club.

But the charges the LABC make in this area £115 for work up to £2000 is crazy and anyone with the slightest bit of intelligence is going to realise all charges like this will do is ensure people will not register their work.

On paper it will work as we all know the scam. The electrician tells the home owner if you don’t say anything neither will I and I can do the job cheap. Wink Wink! Some times the work is OK but if it is under standard the house holder has broken the law so is unlikely to admit what has gone on. We all have seen it, oh it’s been like that for years, not sure where the new colour cables came from?

But until the council start charging a sensible rate this will continue. If the work is going to cost £75 to put right then why tell council fair trading and pay £115 to Part P.

To me the £115 should be £15 for admin and £100 for £2000 worth of work charged at a pro rata rate so a £50 job would need £17.50 paying to council at these rates people would stop breaking the law and it would also give the one man band a chance to break into the market.

Here getting a registered electrician local in an emergency for small jobs is near impossible. If you want a CU change OK loads will do the work but try getting a smashed socket changed in a kitchen.

In the past it was Joe up the roads an electrician I’ll ask him to do it. Now Joe says no can’t it’s Part P so Fred tries to DIY how does that make it safer?

Joe may say OK it’s like for like I can do that then find no RCD and other work needs doing and what then how does he say sorry can’t do that bit I am not member of club? Or pay council £115 if when he found it was becoming Part P there was a reasonable charge then he may follow rules.

Can you see it “That’s £140 to do one socket”? “£25 for me and £115 for council” does that seem right?

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by sparx » Sun Jan 18, 2009 11:03 am

Hi Eric/Singer,
I agree with singers comments about refering to part-p & will admit I don't as often as I used to but started to sound like a stuck record at one time! almost every post had to make mention of it & got boring and assume by now most people will be aware of it, obviously not from some recent posts.
I also incurr similar large amounts of overheads having been an ECA member for many years with NAPIT for last 3years as imho best for competant persons scheme.
Am so impressed with their set up I have this year dropped ECA due to poor return for subs.
Erics 64% came from a statement that 64% of answers are in 'projects' section, which may be true of all headings but certainly not of electrical.

I, and others like ERIC assess the posters apparent knowledge of subject and reply accordingly, unfortunately from time to time one slips in who uses right terminology but turns out to have less grasp of the subject than it appears, their next reply usually gives them away!

Regarding sales from trade counters aargh!!!!!! 20 years ago when I worked as an electrical foreman in a nuclear power station I went to a local wholesalers to buy a replacement cons. unit for my house, I was quickly refused service & kicked out, that wholesaler went bust several years ago when B & Q opened nearby! My wholesalers all say they have to sell to public or lose out to 'sheds' I admire local plumbers suppliers who won't sell gas fittings to g-public, but are fighting a losing battle until legislation stops it.
Part-p is so open because of ability for anyone to do leckie work if they pay fee first, as you know which is why it doesn't work, unregistered people should be banned from doing it full stop.
It's VERY easy for a qualified leckie to get registered and so no shortage of labour excuses hold up, shame on half-hard legislation.
I do notify my scheme operator anytime I find unregisterd work being done but not easy to tell, eg off duty local fireman doing it for local builder, who just say they have paid fee as part of fee for building extension, no way of checking I've tried!

regards both



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by singer » Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:16 pm

OK many things to talk about in your answers but I think you're missing the point about Part P.

Too many people were doing electrical work unsafely so the powers that be had to do something about it.
So they made it illegal for anyone to do all but the most basic jobs unless you joined the "club" and had to undergo rigourous competency tests to get in.
They also tried to make it difficult for anyone wanting to by-pass guys in the club i.e. by doing it themselves, by insisting they refer to the local authority and pay a hefty fee.
So Eric the level of costing is high
a) to deter people who want to remain legal from doing jobs themselves and instead seeking professional help from competent persons( a good thing for us)
b) to cover their costs if people insist on going down that route.(also a good thing for us as we may be called upon in the future to oversee and test some of these jobs and get paid by the council)
The downside of all this is the huge number of people who are
a) through ignorance unaware of Part P and its conditions or who are aware but are willing to ignore it for a cut price deal and
b) underqualified underexperienced but still willing to buck the system for a few quid in the back pocket.

Lowering this fee would decrease the number of references to competent persons and increase the number of applications by non qualified persons to the local authority. So the LA would have less revenue and more work to do - not good financial sense and not heading towards what they are trying to acheive which is less DIY work and more proffesional involvement!!

But as you say sparx half hard legislation in place needs toughening up.
It seems to have worked with the gas industry & most people who I talk to know you cant touch gas unless you're CORGI registered so it begs the question what are they doing that we are not to make the g-public more aware?
Prosecutions are happening though but not nearly enough!
I have noticed on the napit website recently details of a prosecution of a Wolverhampton guy who was found to be installing illegally and he was sent down:-

"Trading Standards were further alerted by NAPIT to the illegal activities of Lee Naughton of Wolverhampton. NAPIT Sales & Marketing Director Andy Sharp was asked to provide Trading Standards with a witness statement proving that Naughton was not part of a Competent Person scheme and not qualified to tackle the work. A court was told that Naughton had been sent to prison previously for committing similar offences. Trading Standards are now seeking an enforcement order permanently banning Naughton from carrying out electrical work once he is released from prison. Naughton undertook a full re-wire of a property leading to a complaint that revealed further misdescribed work and the issue of an invalid compliance certificate.

At Wolverhampton Crown Court, he pleaded guilty to one count of fraud and 12 counts under the Trade Description Act 1968. These charges relate to properties in Wolverhampton, Sandwell, Dudley and in Staffordshire.

These successful prosecutions continue to pave the way towards the better enforcement of Part P of the Building Regulations, for which Registered Trade Professionals and Competent Person Scheme Providers have campaigned for so long."

Incidents such as this need to be publicised more to increase awareness.

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by kbrownie » Sun Jan 18, 2009 6:44 pm

What a great subject!
So I feel I need to put my oar in, I applaud what has been mentioned in the above posts and would I like to add a little bit to it. If I may?

Was part p not brought in to force, due to a politicians daughter being killed from an electric shock? Not due to the every increasing cowboys or eastern europeans claiming to be the jack of all.
I agree that there should be a legal requirement for electrical installations and these work should comply to a standard.
0h yes we already have that well beyond the scope of part p, part p stinks.
I could go on a domestic without having BS7671 2008, pay my money either to the council or a "club"! Sure I would have to prove that it complies and certify it. Strange that 2391 is not a requirement to join the clubs or a council want. You could even install it and the council will arrange for some one to test the system and prove the safety of it. Sounds like a money maker to me!
I don't know what the answer is, your average diyer sure they are going to have ago rather than pay big bucks out. But by the the time they have bought materials and some specialised tools, (just not about joining a few wires together. All the work pre-install and making good). How much do they really save?
In Aussie if your not qualified you can't buy the materials.
May be it should be as simple as that you must be a quailfied electrician to do the work and that should be formatted around BS7671 2008 and no longer be DIY.
When I answer post, I try to remember to add safety and part p and if there is useful info in projects add that to my comments. I hope we are here to help and offer safe guiadance.

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by thedoctor » Fri Jan 23, 2009 11:50 am

I'd like to go back to the post by Sparx = Erics 64% came from a statement that 64% of answers are in 'projects' section, which may be true of all headings but certainly not of electrical.

Absolutely correct, and because this is correct you will not find, now, or in the future, our 64% post appearing in any page of the electrical section. Every single question, to every category in this forum is logged and recorded. As well as being a useful tool for our users, it is a useful tool for us as it shows exactly what projects DIY enthusiasts and self builders are involved in at any one time. When we see the same question coming up time after time, we build a project page to represent the answer but because, as you all know, in the building industry there is very rarely just one answer to a question, this sometimes involves writing more than one project page, or referring any new project to other, existing projects by linking at the side in the section called Related Projects. By doing this we hope to give our users a full understanding of how a house is put together and help them to avoid very expensive and sometimes dangerous mistakes. The 64% is not a guess, it is a fact. Sometimes, we definately agree, it is not easy to find your answer in the projects section. This is because there may be more than 1 answer and this is why we gave a search box on the site. You may have to read 3 or 4 projects to get a full understanding of, for example, the various ways hot water can be delivered to a hot tap or the many ways a ground floor can be constructed and insulated. The input from all of you in this forum is great and we are very grateful for it. Our projects section gives our users a full, rounded understanding of how a house goes together and if both the forum and the projects are used together all will benefit.

If there is anything wrong in any of the projects section, or you believe further projects are necessary, please let us know through the contacts page.

When a post "dies" it is usually because it has been answered satisfactorily. We need to monitor the pages to make sure this answer is available on other pages before we can delete the older ones. If it is not, we leave it as each page is still visited from people looking for answers in google. We cannot just delete pages because they are old otherwise valuable information will dissapear from the search engines.

We will make mistakes in our job, as doubtless you have done in yours. Please point them out to us in an email and we will respond. This site is top of the search engines because we give the public what they are looking for and this means listening to, and acting on, the feedback we receive.

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