Many of us consider the important things in our homes to be the most visible - we value our TVs, games consoles and comfy sofas, yet some of the most important and vital components that make up a home aren’t immediately visible. The wiring behind your walls is a complex lifeline and one which should only ever be tackled by a registered and fully qualified electrician. The consequences of not doing so could very well mean that everything else goes up in smoke.
Electrical work is amongst the most dangerous jobs to undertake in the home. By hiring someone who isn’t up to the job, the results can be catastrophic.
That's why we've created the ultimate guide to choosing an electrician. See below for everything you need to know!
Where can you find a registered electrician?
It's simple - just click here for our handy tool which will find you a registered electrician anywhere in the UK.
Why should you choose a registered electrician?
A properly installed and well-maintained installation can significantly reduce the possibility of accident or injury. So, it is important that any electrical installation work is carried out by people who have the knowledge, skills and experience needed to avoid the dangers that electricity can create.
Not convinced? See below for more great reasons to always choose a registered electrician!
- They’re regulated by the UK Government
- They work to the BS7671 safety standard
- Their work is regularly assessed
- They’re insured, so you’re protected
- It’s a legal requirement for certain electrical work
What should you do when choosing an electrician?
- Be clear about the work you want done and, unless it is minor, obtain at least three written quotations
- Check that the electrician is registered with a government-approved scheme.
- Ask for references and check the electrician has public liability insurance of at least £2 million.
We recommend that you give your electrician a written summary of work required, which will simplify the quotation process and give you and your electrician a clear record of what has been agreed. By using it:
- You can easily compare quotes
- The electrician will know exactly what work is required
- The electrician will be aware of any special instructions in advance
- The electrician will be able to give you options if there is more of one way of providing the work that you require
- Once you have agreed a quote, you can ask the electrician to sign the bottom of the summary as confirmation of what has been agreed
- It can help to avoid a dispute as all parties are clear as to what has been ordered.
What should you ask your electrician?
Are you a registered member of one of the Government approved schemes?
Start by checking that the individual is a registered member of one of the Government approved schemes. Choosing a registered electrician means you will get additional protections should something go wrong. Contact the scheme directly if you want to check the individual’s registration.
Could I see your paperwork?
Some people feel embarrassed about checking qualifications of the person they are employing, but if you are working with a tradesperson who is unwilling to show you evidence of their qualification and registration status then this could be a warning sign.
Do you have any references from previous customers?
If you are uncertain about an individual, ask them to provide references of previous happy customers. Ask these referees to explain the work they had done and how satisfied they were with the job done.
Who else will be working in my home?
When you employ a builder or a kitchen fitter to do some work in your home, they will often need to bring in an electrician for certain work. But do you know if the electrician they have hired is up to the job? It’s easy to assume the tradesman in charge will check qualifications and registration. But don’t leave it to chance – ask to see proof of everyone’s ability yourself.
I’d like to get a second opinion – can I get back to you?
Don’t feel pressured to make a decision quickly. If an electrician makes you feel uncomfortable for any reason, then seek advice before you contract them to do work for you. Also, get a few quotes so that you can compare options. The cheapest quote may not be the best deal – if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!
When you are planning electrical work in your home, check whether it comes under the requirements of the Building Regulations for your area. If it does, you should use an electrician registered with a government-approved scheme who will take care of everything on your behalf and notify your local authority before the work is started.
The Building Regulations in England & Wales are different to those in Scotland. There are no Building Regulations for domestic electrical work in Northern Ireland, although we still recommend that you use a registered electrician.