In October, the JIB launched the new ECS Registered Electrician status. Steve Brawley, JIB chief executive, explains the reasons behind the introduction of the scheme, and the benefits it will offer the industry.
The JIB has introduced a new ‘Registered Electrician’ status – via the ECS card scheme – to recognise those electricians who are both qualified to NVQ Level-3 and also working to the latest British Standard in terms of electrical installation.
Any ECS Installation or Maintenance Electrician gold cardholders who are qualified in the current edition of the BS7671 Wiring Regulations can now apply for the new ECS Registered Electrician status.
For a cardholder, becoming a Registered Electrician means they can get a well-deserved endorsement for their professionalism and skills, stand out amongst their peers and get a valuable boost to their status and credibility across the industry.
For electrical contractors, it’s an opportunity to demonstrate to clients that their electrical workforce is up-to-date on the latest industry technology developments and are committed to maintaining this level of professionalism.
With the introduction of the new ECS Check service for clients and main contractors, this new initiative also raises the profile of electrical contracting amongst the wider construction industry and procurement community.
Why is the JIB doing this?
For many years there has been criticism that the ECS card is an ‘evergreen’ card, since an electrician can apply to the scheme then simply renew their card every three years by paying the fee and passing the Health & Safety Assessment – without any need or obligation to demonstrate they are keeping up to date with changes to the Wiring Regulations, Continuing Professional Development or other industry standards.
By introducing the Registered Electrician status, the JIB’s aim is to raise the professionalism of individual electricians, electrical contractors and the industry as a whole. It enhances the quality of work by encouraging every ECS electrician to qualify to the current Wiring Regulations. It’s also complementary to existing Approved Contractor and Competent Person Schemes, which certify the companies that undertake electrical installations.
Already around 33,000 electricians – around 55% of the ECS gold cardholder population – are automatically eligible for Registered Electrician status.
Boosting status with clients and main contractors
With the introduction of Registered Electrician, we have also developed a means by which electrical contractors can demonstrate the qualifications of their workforce when bidding for projects.
With any electrical installation, the quality of the final product depends on not just the electrical contractor’s company registration but, crucially, the person carrying out the work.
ECS Check is a new online system that allows main contractors and clients to verify the skills and qualifications of electrical personnel working on projects.
The ECS already verifies applicants’ qualifications in order to issue them with an ECS card – and has done so for over 45 years. There are around 65,000 electricians working at ECS Gold Card level to show they meet the industry-recognised standard. ECS Check provides a convenient way for employers to profile the qualifications held by their workforce and the ECS cards they hold.
Clients, main contractors and project managers can use ECS Check’s online portal to validate the electrical workforce on-site and produce electronic summaries for auditing and reporting.
Those working at ECS Registered Electrician level can also demonstrate they hold the latest edition of BS7671 (IET Wiring Regulations) and have committed to maintain their technical knowledge and qualifications.
Registered Electrician criteria
For those who wish to become an ECS Registered Electrician, there are three key criteria that must be met. First, the applicant must meet the core requirements for the ECS Installation or Maintenance Electrician. Second, they must hold the current edition of the Wiring Regulations. Finally, they must agree to a Code of Professional Practice, which includes a commitment to Continuing Professional Development.
This is a voluntary scheme – no cardholder is obliged to become a Registered Electrician. If an electrician does not wish to apply for Registered Electrician status, they can still remain in the ECS as a standard Installation or Maintenance Electrician gold cardholder.
For existing Installation or Maintenance Electrician cardholders, there is no additional cost involved in becoming a Registered Electrician. A new ‘virtual card’ showing their Registered status will be offered to all current cardholders. This will be downloadable to a smart phone at no extra cost. As an option, the applicant can order a Registered Electrician card at a discounted price if they would like one.
If you employ gold card electricians that have also kept up-to-date with the Wiring Regulations, they should be proud of the time and effort put into their skills and professionalism so far. With the launch of the ECS Registered Electrician, it gives cardholders the status they deserve, improving not only their credibility but also their company’s reputation with main contractors and clients.
For further information, visit www.registeredelectrician.uk