Don't Risk Using An Unregistered Electrician

By Mark Hustwitt (Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Communications and Engagement Manager, Bedfordshire)

One in five residents in the East of England are likely to hire an unregistered electrician, for the purpose of saving money, a recent survey found, don’t be one of them!

The national survey, by Electrical Safety First, asked people to choose between hiring a registered electrician and an unregistered electrician to fit new wiring or install a new fuse box in their homes. This type of work can lead to catastrophic consequences if done incorrectly, including lethal electric shock or fire. Twenty-one per cent admitted they would choose an unregistered electrician for a cash saving.

The Charity also asked local residents how significant the saving would have to be for them to choose an unregistered professional. More than a third (38%) said they’d be happy with a saving of anything under £100. More alarmingly, national findings reveal some people would be prepared to risk the electrical safety of their homes for a saving of £5 or less.  These are relatively small savings compared to the hundreds of pounds it could cost to correct hazardous work.

Another worrying finding is that across the UK, 16.4 million people have had to take matters into their own hands to fix shoddy work left by their electrician, with an average repair bill of £750. A staggering £2.4 billion has been spent correcting substandard work across the UK, the Charity estimates.

Electrical Safety First regularly receives queries from the public about how and where to find an electrician to do work in their homes. The safety Charity recommends that all electrical work is carried out by a registered electrician who will have the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to avoid the potentially devastating consequences of electrical work.

Our view is that electrical work is amongst the most dangerous type of work to undertake in the home or by businesses. Hiring someone who isn’t up to the job, can produce catastrophic results, not only causing a risk to the lives of those using the electrical equipment but possibly causing a fire which could destroy the property and threaten the lives of those living or working there.

Sadly, time and time again people put themselves in serious danger because they simply don’t understand how lethal electrical installation work can be, and also because they don’t know how to find someone competent for the job. People can easily find a registered electrician in their local area by visiting www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/find-an-electrician/.

By choosing a registered electrician you will be protected by their insurance should something go wrong. They will have met strict qualification requirements, are regulated by the UK Government, regularly assessed, and legally required to work to certain safety standards. When the work is finished you will receive an Electrical Installation Certificate to prove the work meets UK standards, and also a Building Regulations Compliance Certificate that confirms the work meets the Building Regulations.

You can’t always rely on “trusted trade” websites either, as some bad tradesmen have slipped through the net, a recent BBC investigation found some advertising online without any experience.

We recommend that you use an electrician registered with one of the government-approved schemes. You can find a registered electrician in your local area by visiting www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/find-an-electrician/.  Please stay safe when having electrical work done.


Get more advice from our website: www.bedsfire.gov.uk/Community-safety/Home-safety/Electrical-safety.aspx

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