The government is looking to crackdown on ‘incompetent’ electricians amid reports that people’s lives are being put at risk by poorly trained engineers, with just ‘a few weeks’ training.
The Communities and Local Government Committee is calling for tougher rules to be imposed on those deemed ‘competent’ to sign off as work as safe and legal. Evidence has come to light that some operatives had done little more than a two-hour open book exam before going on to carry out domestic electrical work, while some had simply completed a ‘five-week wonder’ course advertised on the internet.
Recommendations from the committee include that within five years training, no-one should be allowed to carry out the electrical work covered by building regulations without an NVQ Level 3 or equivalent qualification and “significant period of supervised on-the-job training.”
It has also been suggested that during this period, a limit should be set on the number of jobs each ‘competent person’ could be responsible for approving, as well as renewed calls for the industry to produce a single register of electricians covered by all the competent persons schemes – something that has been promised by the summer.
The committee presented evidence of ‘patchy enforcement’ by local councils undermining the system and little, if any, evidence to back government moves to tighten the work covered under the regulations.
Chairman of the committee, Clive Betts, commented: “Somebody whose only electrical qualification is that they have attended a five-week training course simply should not be re-wiring houses. Yet this is what we were told is happening.
“The person in the home wants to know that the person arriving on the doorstep is a qualified electrician.
“The current system does not guarantee this. Rather, it can brand the incompetent as competent.”
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