Strong opposition to third-party inspection revealed

Published:  26 September, 2014

NICEIC and ELECSA have called for a rethink of third-party inspection as electrical contractors voice their opposition to the scheme.

A recent survey of NICEIC- and ELECSA-registered contractors revealed that 78% of respondents believe the scheme will undermine their work. Just over 85% believe it weakens Part P of the building regulations with 85% also believing it will compromise safety in the home. Nearly 80% backed NICEIC and ELECSA’s decision not to operate a scheme.

“The feedback from our contractors has been overwhelming,” said Emma Clancy, chief executive officer of Certsure, which operates NICEIC and ELECSA. “Carrying out electrical installation work is dangerous. It should not be attempted by anyone without the appropriate knowledge and skills.

“We believe, in its current guise, the third-party certification scheme will encourage non-qualified people to cut costs by carrying out the work themselves. Our message has always been clear: if you can’t check, test and inspect your own work, you should not be carrying out the work in the first place.”

She added: “NICEIC and ELECSA took the decision not to run a third-party certification scheme because it undermines the 33,000 contractors who are registered with us. These are contractors who have chosen to have their work checked and assessed on a regular basis to prove their credentials and set themselves apart as skilled professionals. Householders should not attempt to install electrical work; it is the job of competent electricians to do it safely.

“It is disappointing that the building regulations around electrical work in the home have been further confused and potentially weakened by the introduction of third-party inspectors."

DCLG is expected to hold a review of Part P in 2015 and Certsure will recommend that further consideration of the Third Party Certification scheme and how it will operate is a large part of this.

“When DCLG begins its review, we will outline the safety concerns of those contractors who responded to our survey and be calling for changes to how the third-party certification scheme operates. We have always been open to consultation on the matter," Ms Clancy continued.

“Any scheme should be based around safety and improving standards. Certsure is owned by a charity and a trade association so can make such decisions based on contractors’ concerns, rather than focus on shareholders return or profit.”