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NAPIT gives cautious welcome to MP’s report

The Select Committee of MP’s taking evidence on the Building Regulations covering electrical and gas safety in dwellings has issued its detailed findings.

The key findings for the electrical sector were:
· Electrical equipment in DIY stores should have warnings to use registered electricians
· To urge the DCLG not to reduce the scope of work that should be notified under Part P
· To urge an increase in public awareness campaigning for Part P
· Recommending greater scrutiny of Scheme Operators to avoid conflicts of interest
· A general support for competent registered electricians checking DIY work instead of Building Control
· To look again in two years at the effectiveness of Part P improvements in the debate over mandatory registration or licensing

The report concludes that far too many homeowners do not appreciate the dangers of using sub-standard engineers on their own liability when it comes to fault electrical work. The Chair of the Committee, Clive Betts commented: “The Government should oversee a co-ordinated public awareness campaign by the various industry organisations to raise public awareness and ensure homeowners appreciate that they themselves are liable for faulty electrical installations and repairs.”

The report recommends that electrical equipment sold by DIY stores for electrical installations should carry a health warning that it is illegal for an unregistered person to carry out most electrical work in the home without checks being completed meeting the requirements of the Building Control service. On this matter he added: “The committee will be writing to all the big electrical/DIY stores to highlight this key recommendation. Such labelling is vital to reinforce the important message to the general public that they must use a registered electrician to carry out electrical works in the home.”

NAPIT welcome the findings of the report, many elements of which agree with the evidence provided by the organisation following a survey of its members on the effectiveness of Part P carried out in 2011.

David Cowburn, Managing Director of NAPIT Registration, commented: “Issues such as greater scrutiny of Registration Bodies and co-ordinated publicity are issues that NAPIT and our members have been suggesting formally to DCLG since 2009. Our decision to become UKAS accredited in 2010 already addresses the way we manage conflicts of interest and we are not surprised that the Committee have seen this as a wider issue for all schemes.”

The Committee did consider mandatory registration (or licensing) and concluded that this would only be justified if the current arrangements were failing. They felt that a lack of enforcement needed to be addressed and asked that the Government report back in two years on the success of changes, and in that report should review the possibility of a mandatory use of registered installers.

On this issue NAPIT had submitted evidence that 90% of its members supported mandatory registration. Cowburn added: “We are happy that the Committee has noted the poor enforcement we raised in our evidence, and cautiously welcome the fact that they have asked the DCLG to formally consider mandatory registration in two years time.”

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