An electrical contractor is an individual tradesperson who is certified to perform work related to electrical systems. Compliance with several regulatory requirements is associated with electrical contractor accreditation. The different regulations are linked to different aspects of work that would be undertaken by an electrical contractor.
 Certification and regulations in England, Northern Ireland and Wales
Only certified electrical contractors who have been registered with a competent person self-certification scheme are able to undertake and verify certain types of work. ‘Competent person self-certifications schemes’ (or ‘competent person schemes’) introduced in 2002 allow registered installers who are competent in their field to self-certify certain types of building work. Competent person schemes should make approval faster and cheaper, as there are no building regulations inspections or fees.
In England, Northern Ireland and Wales, the certification body for electrical contractors is the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC). On 1 February 2001, ELECSA (another certification body) closed to new applicants. At that point, the process of transferring practitioners previously accredited under ELECSA over to NICEIC began.
Certified electrical contractors in England and Wales must comply with Part P of Schedule 1 to the Building Regulations, which governs electrical installations in dwellings. These require that, ‘Reasonable provision shall be made in the design and installation of electrical installations in order to protect persons operating, maintaining or altering the installations from fire or injury.’
Electrical contractors in England and Wales who are not accredited cannot sign off Part P work. Northern Ireland does not require accreditation. Some local authorities will only give work to accredited electrical contractors.
 Certification and regulations in Scotland
In Scotland, the Scottish Joint Industry Board (SJIB) for the Electrical Contracting Industry offers industry approved training schemes for electrical contracting apprenticeships in Scotland. This work is managed on behalf of SJIB by the Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust (SECTT).
The trade association for electrical contractors in Scotland is SELECT (the Electrical Contractors' Association for Scotland). The Scottish Government has authorised SELECT to register qualified electricians to work in Scotland.
 BS 7671: IET Wiring Regulations
Throughout the UK, approved electrical contractors must meet certain requirements established under BS 7671 - the IET Wiring Regulations. These regulations cover the selection, installation, inspection and testing of most electrical installations within residential and commercial buildings. Within the regulations are design and safety requirements as well as capacities for certain types of electrical equipment.
Approved contractors must:
- Ensure work is carried out to the current edition of BS 7671.
- Ensure certification is issued on completion of installation work, as directed by BS 7671.
- Have up-to-date copies of BS 7671.
- Have competence with test instruments as outlined by Part 6 ("Inspection and Testing") of BS 7671.
On 10 February 2021, the UK engineering services sector announced the formation of Actuate UK, an industry alliance of eight organisations, including ECA - Electrical and Engineering Services and SELECT – the Electrical Contractors’ Association of Scotland.
- Operating under a limited company framework. Electrical contracting firms may be run by several people who may serve as directors.
- Employing specialised staff. Depending on the size of the company, some firms may hire contract managers, electrical supervisors, electricians, accountants, human resources staff and so on.
- Investing in operating premises, equipment and tools.
Electrical contractors may hire labour only subcontractors and then provide materials for the job. The electrical contractor’s duties towards labour only subcontractors are the same as to their own staff. Their health and safety documentation and procedures should reflect this. Electrical contractors must recognise the specific skill and experience of a labour-only subcontractor and consider additional health and safety procedures where necessary.
- 18th Edition Wiring Regulations.
- Actuate UK engineering services alliance.
- Amendment 3 BS 7671 Requirements for Electrical Installations IET Wiring Regulations.
- Approved document P.
- Competent person self-certifications schemes.
- Electrical Contractors' Association.
- Electrical engineer.
- Key dates.
- Leading electrotechnical businesses win top industry awards.
- Scottish building standards.
- SELECT Scotland's Electrical Trade Association.
- Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust.
- Scottish Joint Industry Board (SJIB), Training schemes for electrical contracting apprenticeships in Scotland.
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