Friday, 25 April 2014

Why you can trust a TrustMark Approved electrician

Finding the right electrician to work in your home can be somewhat of a minefield. If you are looking for peace of mind and assurance of an expert electrical job, you will be already making a great job by searching for an NICEIC electrician in London. However this often produces a long list of prospective electricians, so to narrow it down further, we suggest searching for TrustMark registered electricians.

Why TrustMark?

TrustMark is the only Government endorsed 'find an electrician' scheme. It is not endorsed by companies out to make money from electricians, so as a customer you have peace of mind that electricians who sign up for the scheme have been independently assessed for their competence before being accepted as a TrustMark member. Here at Fulcher Edwards, we are proud members of TrustMark and encourage using tradespeople registered with TrustMark to carry out all essential works in your home.

The cost of using un-registered electricians

According to TrustMark, the cost of using unqualified and/or unregistered tradespeople cost UK home-owners £1.9 billion in 2013. This figure comes as no surprise to us as we often carry out work for customers who have unfortunately fallen into the hands of incompetent electricians without realising.

Normally, customers make the mistake of not double checking registration and qualification details and going by what is seen or said. Un-registered electricians have been known to pull all sorts of tricks out of the hat to gain your custom. It is not uncommon to find use of registration bodies such as the NICEIC on vans, using another electricians registration number without their knowledge or producing adverts with false registration details.

Post Easter weekend DIY

We are certainly being kept busy here this week at Fulcher Edwards with people calling asking us to put right some electrical DIY carried out over the bank holiday. As London electrical contractors, we are very familiar with such calls – in fact it is the DIY mistakes that keep us busy in domestic properties in South East London! The calls tend to peak at this time of year. In fact, over the coming Spring months, two thirds of householders will be spending an average of £3,342 on home improvements according to research carried out by Nationwide Building Society.

When we visit homes to put right DIY mistakes we are very used to the home owner telling us that they thought the job was simple. Although there is a small amount of electrical work that you can do yourself, we only suggest carrying out this work if you feel confident in doing so. Botched DIY electrical attempts can be more costly to fix as damage can often be caused to internal wiring systems. DIY electrical work that is carried out incorrectly can leave your home at risk of fire, your family at risk of electrical shock and you even risk invalidating your home insurance.

Always call an electrician for complex electrical work. Remember most electrical work in your home has to be certified as being Part P compliant. It is illegal to attempt to carry out this work yourself without intending to have the work certified.

Ensuring your electrician is right for the job

Always check the basics when inviting electricians to give you a quote for electrical work. Remember that unregistered electricians are geared up to entice unsuspecting customers into their net so make sure you are clued up before you begin.

  • Always obtain a detailed written quote – 3 written quotes will give you an idea on price. Make sure the price includes VAT.
  • If possible speak to people who have had work carried out previously by the electrician.
  • Check qualifications and ask for proof of registration – always double check registration details with the correct body i.e. NICEIC.

Beware of prices that seem to good to be true

Never settle for the cheapest quote unless you are certain you trust the electrician. Prices that are significantly lower are cause for concern. It is imperative that the job is done to a safe and professional standard so check what costs are included for example –

  • costs of Part P certification
  • materials
  • VAT
  • The actual work being carried out for the price
  • Is the electrician fully insured?
  • Is all work guaranteed?

If the answers are no or you are not sure if you trust the electrician, it is better to walk away.

Now you have avoided disaster!

The 5 minutes it took you to read this article may have saved you from a DIY disaster. Remember DIY is not the cheap option when it comes to your home electrics. Stay electrically safe by only using a Part P registered electrician.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Landlords – do you know your fire plan?

Landlords and tenants in London may well be aware of a new campaign called Know Your Plan. It is the latest publicity campaign from the London Fire Brigade (LFB) aimed at both Landlords and Tenants.

What is the campaign about?

Naturally the campaign is aimed at fire and knowing what to do if a fire breaks out. The campaign is specifically targeting landlords and tenants of flats and maisonettes across London of all sizes – from 3 storey to high rise blocks. Escaping from a fire is different when living in buildings of this type. The LFB want to make sure that everyone is aware of what they need to do in the event of a fire.

Why the campaign matters to landlords

As a landlord or nominated responsible person, it is your responsibility to ensure your tenant is aware of the fire escape plan for their particular flat or maisonette. This includes evacuation routes in the event of fire, fire risk assessments for the property itself and the meaning of the stay put principle as well as safe behaviours.

Keeping your property safe from fire is a legal requirement and forms part of the provisions for Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. It is enforced by the LFB.

Good fire planning starts well before a fire. Tenants are being educated about Know Your Plan and will be aware of what to expect from the landlord or nominated person. Choosing to ignore legal requirements can have penalties without a fire ever starting.

What landlords can do to ensure fire safety

Keeping on the right side of the law and fulfilling your liabilities can be a difficult job without specific fire training or knowledge. Even the right intentions could backfire on you as a landlord, so it will be worth your while consulting fire safety professionals in regard to your risk assessments, fire strategy and fire training. Remember that the LFB does not assist in the formation of risk assessments.

Here at Fulcher Edwards, we have extensive fire safety experience and assist many landlords across London to stay compliant with legislation – known as a Fire Safety Order (FSO). We are delighted to be working alongside a team of fire safety consultants who are ex-fire brigade fire safety officers. Due to their first hand experience, they have in depth knowledge and experience in all aspects of the Fire Safety Order so you can be certain you will be in competent hands here at Fulcher Edwards fire safety services in London.

As well as assisting with fire safety services as part of the Know Your Plan, we can also help with other essential aspects such as fire alarm maintenance in London, fire alarm testing, emergency lighting and fire extinguisher maintenance.

Finding out more

To discover if you have done your job correctly as a landlord, you can visit the Know Your Plan website. There is lots of information there for both tenants and landlords. Here you will see if you have fulfilled your obligations – and just as importantly – made certain that your tenant knows about and fully understands what they need to do in the event of a fire and crucially what they need to do to protect themselves from the dangers of fire. It may save their life.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Electrical Safety First – the new home of electrical safety advice

Last Friday the 28th of March 2014, the Electrical Safety Council changed its name to Electrical Safety First. Now the replacement name was widely anticipated by electricians, however for the public, this is likely to be new news.

Electrical Safety Who?

Did you know of the Electrical Safety Council before? If you didn't know anything about them, you are not alone. In a recent Government report published only last month about improving public awareness of electrical safety, it revealed that public awareness of Part P was at a dismal 14%.

As part of an 18 month extensive research programme that saw the then Electrical Safety Council talk to the public, Government, the electrical industry and other interested parties about what they thought the Electrical Safety Council was about. The results of the research indicated that no one really knew who they were. Some thought they were a trade association and others thought they formed part of Government. There was no solid evidence to indicate that anyone knew them as an electrical consumer charity dedicated to improving electrical safety in the home and prevent death and injury caused by electricity. Did you know that?

What will Electrical Safety First do?

As a result of the findings, a re-brand exercise and change of name was decided. As of 28th March 2014 the Electrical Safety Council became known as Electrical Safety First. It's focus is to increase consumer (that is the public) awareness of electrical safety in the home and to break down the complicated terminology about electrical safety that seems to exist anywhere we look. In a nutshell, it's aim is to simplify in a non-patronising way the meaning of electrical dangers and electrical safety.

How it will help

Not only will Electrical Safety First provide you with excellent electrical safety advice which you can use around your home, it will also help you with selecting the right electrical services in London for your needs. Remember if you need electrical work done in your home, use a registered electrician in South East London.

Here at Fulcher Edwards, our favourite current feature of Electrical Safety First is the re-make of the 1970's Charley says electrical safety film. It is well worth a watch and features the voice of the well known comedian David Walliams. It is a great way to begin to educate children on the dangers of electricity – but adults will love it too!

Do you overload your sockets?

The Charley says film talks about the dangers of overloading electrical sockets. If you are depending on the use of extension leads to satisfy your electrical needs or plug any appliance into an extension lead, then you may be at risk of electrical fire or worse still electrical injury. 350,000 people every year in the UK are injured as a result of electricity. Extension leads should not be used at all in a kitchen and only minimally around the home. This is because extension leads increase the risk of sockets overheating. Fires can start inside a wall without being noticed until they are well established.

Simply plugging in a kettle and a toaster will overload an extension lead. In fact all kitchen appliances should have their own socket because they use far more power individually than other electrical items such as televisions, computers and games consoles put together.

If you need more electrical sockets, then a qualified and registered domestic electrician in London will be happy to help. Do not compromise your electrical safety in your home by over using extension leads.

Will Electrical Safety First make a difference?

We hope it will as it provides some very useful advice to householders whether they own or rent their home on electrical safety. In fact, we often refer many our own clients to Electrical Safety First knowing it contains easy to understand and useful information.

Combined with the all new single electricians register due out in June 2014, Electrical Safety First should form the beginnings of a much needed consumer resource which if their research is proven, will form the basis of the long road of increasing public knowledge about electrical safety and Part P which will allow people to make safe decisions when it comes to home electrics.