High Voltage owner Jon Milne
on why using unregistered
electricians is a bad idea

ONCE, BRITAIN LED the way in regulating the safety of electrical installations, but no more. Now, more cowboy electricians operate in this country than virtually anywhere else in Europe.

This is a very dangerous situation, because the biggest single cause of fires in the UK is electrical faults.

Registered electricians have their work inspected every year by the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC).

Registered electricians also stay on top of IET Wiring Regulations. The IET publishes an updated version of all its regulations every year.

The 18th edition of the regulations is due to come into effect this January. One of the main changes is the introduction of something called a arc fault detection device (AFDD). I will soon start stocking up on AFDDs, in readiness.

AFDDs protect against fires by automatically tripping a circuit in the event of sparking, which can be caused by a lightning strike, cheap switches or improper installations. An AFDD can also detect damage in cables. Circuit breakers and RCDs can do neither of these things.

AFDDs won’t be compulsory to begin with, but customers will have to sign a disclaimer if they choose not to have one fitted.

But unregistered electricians won’t even know about this, or any of the other regulations designed to keep households safe

Once, all electricians had to carry a card to prove they were registered before buying something like a fuse board. I mean, you can’t buy a gas boiler unless you’re GasSafe registered, and for good reason: boilers can kill. But so can badly fitted fuse boards. So why is it that anyone walk into places like Screwfix and buy a fuse board?

My strong advice is to only use electrician who are NICEIC registered. This means they’ll follow safety guidelines and will be up to date with all the latest safety regulation.

Only use electrician who are NICEIC registered. This means they’ll follow safety guidelines and will be up to date with all the latest safety regulations.