If you are wondering how to find a registered electrician near you in the UK, we put together the guide below to aid you in this endeavour. We at Sparks sell and distribute a wide range of electrical items, lights, switches, sockets, etc, and we recommend that you use a registered electrician for installing the items you purchase from us. Please note: we do NOT install the electrical items that we sell; we only sell the items listed on our website, we do not do any electrical installation. Actually, if you need electrical installation work done in your home, you should use an electrician that is registered with one of the government-approved schemes in the UK. Sometimes people do DIY, even when it comes to changing a socket outlet or replacing a ventilation fan, but we do not recommend such things. It is entirely up to you what you do with the items you purchase from us at Sparks - we only sell these, but as a help to all those who do the electrical installation the right way, we would like to aid you in finding a registered electrician near you in the UK. Continue reading this guide to find out concerning:Why choose a registered electrician to do the electrical work?How to find a registered electrician near me in the UK.Government-approved registering bodies for electricians in England and Wales.Why choose a Registered Electrician to do the Electrical Installation?Some may ask, Why do I need to choose a registered electrician to do the electrical installation? Of course, when we speak of such installation we're not talking about changing the light bulb in a light fitting but installing things such asa light fittinga socket outlet or morea bathroom fana LED dimmeran underfloor heatinga bathroom lighta USB socketand many such things. Why choose a registered electrician to do the electrical installation?1. Registered electricians are regulated by the UK and/or Scottish Governments. 2. They work to the BS7671 safety standard to keep you, your house, and themselves safe. Health and safety while doing electrical work is front and centre when using a registered electrician. If the work is notifiable, they will also arrange a Building Regulations Compliance Certificate to confirm compliance with Building Regulations, which should be issued to you by their Scheme Operator within 30 days of the completion of the installation.3. The work of registered electricians is regularly assessed. Cowboy installers or electricians that are not registered may do improper work and you may not even know it, so make sure you use a registered electrician to do your electrical rewiring and electrical installations.4. Registered electricians are insured, so you are protected. 5. When using a registered electrician to do the electrical work, you will comply with building regulations. 6. Save on cost when using a registered electrician. You may think that you save on cost when using someone who asks for less than a registered electrician, but down the line, things may happen and the problem may get worse, thus requiring a larger investment to fix the original work. It is more cost-effective to hire a professional electrician, especially since they can identify and fix problems while doing the electrical installation required. 7. Reviews and/or Complaints: if the work performed by a registered electrician is not up to standard, there is a procedure for complaints. Similarly, before and even after the electrical work is done by a registered electrician, there are a few places where reviews can be read and/or placed in order to appreciate the work they have done. All Government-approved scheme operators have a complaints procedure, which means they will investigate complaints about registered electricians who have not complied with technical standards. How to Find a Registered Electrician Near You in the UKIn order to find a registered electrician near you in the UK, we recommend the Registered Competent Person - Electrical - website here. The Registered Competent Person Electrical search facility provides a list of electricians registered to work in households and electrical inspectors registered to undertake electrical safety reports in homes in England and Wales, making finding the right person for the job easier than ever before. You can simply search by postcode to find an electrician near you or you can check if a particular electrician or electrical company is registered. To start using the Registered Competent Person Electrical search facility, simply enter your postcode to find a registered electrician near you and choose one of the options. All the electricians listed via the Registered Electrical Competent Person website are registered with this scheme and have been authorised by the Government to self-certify that their work is compliant with Building Regulations. This means that they meet strict entry requirements, their work is regularly assessed, demonstrating their ability and ongoing competence, and that it meets the correct standards.Government-Approved Registering Bodies for Electricians in England and WalesThe UK Government-approved registering bodies for electricians and electrical persons in England and Wales are NICEIC, NAPIT, and Blue Flame certification. NICEIC - National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation ContractingNICEIC is one of the few organisations approved by the UK government to assess the competence of businesses undertaking electrical work in the UK. They are supporting safe installation & maintenance in the electrical and wider building services sector. NICEIC is the UK's leading certification body for the electrical contracting industry and the wider building services sector. Via their website, you can find a trusted tradesperson for your need, based either on your postcode or the company name. Simply enter a location or postcode to find the nearest tradespeople, or enter a company name to verify details. Then, you can use Show Contact Details to display company contact information and use Type of Work and Activity filters to narrow your search. NAPIT - The National Association of Professional Inspectors and TestersNAPIT is a leading Government approved and United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) accredited membership scheme operator in the building services and fabric sector. There are currently more than 16,000 NAPIT registered installers in the electrical, heating, plumbing, ventilation, microgeneration and building fabric trades across the UK domestic, commercial and industrial markets. NAPIT registered members have demonstrated their competence, they hold the necessary insurance and have the right processes to assure compliance with many government-backed schemes. You can search for NAPIT members by location, town, company name, or member number. Blue Flame Certification
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What is an EICR (electrical installation condition report) and how fill one in? An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), is a periodic inspection report on a property's safety relating to its fixed wiring. This report has also been labelled as the ‘Landlord Safety Test’ or ‘Homebuyers Test’. The tests are conducted by qualified electricians. It is highly recommended you have an EICR inspection carried out every 10 years for your home.For rental properties, one should be carried out every 5 years or if there is a change of tenancy. Note: at Sparks we do NOT do issue EICR reports nor do we renew them. Please consult a registered electrician for this service.The main purpose of an EICR is to guarantee the safety of the residents and to ensure they are not susceptible to electrical shocks and/or fires. Why do I need an EICR? You cannot see electricity and, in many cases, you cannot view the conduits or cables that use electricity. Cables are often hidden inside walls, and consumer units are located in cupboards, where they are not immediately visible. It is unsurprising that we often forget to check the condition of our electrical installations for damage or signs of wear and tear. Faulty and old wiring is one of the main causes of electrical fires in the home. You can reduce the risk of a fire by regularly checking your cables, switches and sockets, to see that they are in good condition. Do I need an EICR? How old are my Electrical Installations? As stated above, it is recommended you have an EICR every decade for your home. You should first look for clear signs that the electrics in your home are outdated before deciding if you need an EICR. There are some obvious signs that will tell you if you have old equipment that needs replacing. You should look out for: Fixed cables which are coated in black rubber. Fixed cables which are coated in lead or fabric. A fuse box with a wooden back, cast iron switches, or a mixture of fuse boxes. Old-fashioned round pin sockets (or light switches). Braided flex hanging from ceiling fixtures. Brown (or black) switches. Sockets mounted into skirting boards. All of these features indicate that the electrics in question were created before or during the 1960’s. This means you are in serious need of an EICR. Whatever the age of your electrical installation is, it is likely to suffer some damage or wear and tear. This means you should get an electrician to check its condition at least every 10 years or if you move into a new property. A wide range of electrical items are available at Sparks - from consumer units to electrical accessories, whatever you need, we have it. What is the aim of an Electrical Installation Condition Report? The five main aims of an EICR are: To record the results of the inspection in order to make sure your electrical installations are safe, until the next inspection. To find any damage and wear and tear that might affect safety, and have it reported. To find any components of the electrical installation that do not meet the IET Wiring Regulations. To help identify any appliance or object that could cause electric shocks and high temperatures. To keep an important record of the installation’s condition at the time of the inspection. This can be used in any future inspection. The different types of a condition report: can I do this myself? Generally speaking, there are two types of domestic EICR: A ‘visual condition report’ - this does not include testing and is only suitable if your installations have been tested recently.Electrical Safety First (ESF) have devised a brilliant visual safety test that may prove to be a life-saver. These include basic tips such as ensuring that you have not overloaded any sockets and that you have RCD protection for your appliances. A ‘periodic inspection report’ (EICR) - this is probably a better and safer option.As stated before, many underlying electrical faults can be very difficult to spot. The EICR is more comprehensive than a visual condition report. It will test all your installations, including circuitry hidden behind walls, making it more likely to find any hidden dangers. So in summary, Sparks would recommend that you have an EICR conducted if you have not had one in the last ten years (or five years for rented property). These can easily be arranged and conducted by a registered electrician. Once they are done, you will feel the benefits of knowing that your home is abiding by the latest UK electrical regulations and your wiring installation is safe.You can find a great variety of smart home and IoT products at Sparks - an ever-growing category of products via this link. Note: at Sparks we do NOT do issue EICR reports nor do we renew them. Please consult a registered electrician for this service. Further Information on EICR: A guide to Conditions Report and EICR, via Electrical Safety First. Here's what you need to know about EICR (infographic). What is an EICR and do I need one? Via PowerCor. What is the purpose of an EICR? (Electrical Installation Condition Report) - via Trade Skills 4 u. What is involved in an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)? Via, NCC Compliance. What is an EICR? Via Sparky Facts. EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Reports) Explained, via Allied Electrical. Main aspects included in an NICEIC Domestic Electrical Installation Condition Report (DEICR), via Professional Electrician.
With a new iPhone or games console coming out every year, it’s no secret that children today are growing up with far more gadgets than any generation before them, and there are some risk related to using and charging gadgets at home. But just because kids are using more technology doesn’t necessarily make them ‘tech-savvy’. In fact, they could be unknowingly leaving themselves open to serious dangers, and parents should be aware of the risks. In this guide, Sparks will inform you of the risk involved with using gadgets in the bedroom, and how accidents can be avoided. Risks associated with kids having access to a multitude of devices Children or teenagers could unwittingly be putting their lives (and yours) at risk with irresponsible use of electronics. If they leave their device charging on the bed, use an unbranded charger or sleep with their phone under their pillow, then they are playing a very dangerous game. When a device, such as a phone or a tablet, is left covered by bedding or under a pillow, there is nowhere for the generated heat to dissipate and it will become increasingly hot. The heat caused by the device, combined with flammable materials, has the potential to cause a fire and put your home - or even lives - in danger. Making sure the device is manufactured to the correct safety standards is important. Sparks provides a guide on how to spot if you have purchased a counterfeit electrical device. Fake electrical items are especially dangerous, as they have not been made to meet UK safety regulations. However, even well-made electronics can still become hazardous very quickly, if not charged on a table or similar safe environment. Steps to take to ensure your children are using their devices safely Electrical Safety First (ESF) offers brilliant advice regarding electrical safety at home - for people of all ages. Below is a list of safety tips for your children when they are using electronic devices in their bedrooms. Make sure laptops, phones, tablets and any other electrical devices are charged on a stable surface such as a desk or table. Do not charge phones, tablets or any electrical device on your bed, under a pillow or anywhere the device might overheat. Avoid leaving any devices to charge unattended, especially overnight. Don’t let leads from your electrical items trail across the floor. Ensure your children keep their rooms tidy and dust free. Obstructions such as clothes or game consoles, for instance, can cause vents to get blocked. This will cause the device to overheat and catch on fire. Make sure your family gets into the routine of switching off electronic games, computers, TVs and other electric appliances before they go to bed. Don’t use or let children use fake or unbranded chargers. Many of these chargers do not meet UK safety regulations and can cause serious electric shock, injury or fire. Regularly check your plugs, sockets and cables for signs of damage or scorching. Do not stretch cables across distances too long for them. Do not overload electric plug sockets - this could prove dangerous. If you’re not sure if your socket is overloaded you can check on the ESF calculator. Make sure you don’t leave drinks or other liquids on or near electric appliances. After bathing or showering, children should fully dry themselves off before using any electrical device. Water and electricity are a fatal combination. Make sure your children know how to use electricity and electric appliances responsibly and safely. The Electrical Safety First website is a great resource to educate them on these issues. How to ensure your kid remains ‘tech-savvy’ in regards to electrical safety Over 30 accidental deaths tragically occur in the UK due to electrical shocks and fires. You will rest more easily if both you and your family have the proper know-how when it comes to safe electrical practice. Watch this informative video from Two Thirty Volts below as a family. It shows a girl named Ali going about her day to day life and interacting with her family. See if you can spot any mistakes she makes whilst using electronics at home. As you can see from the video, it was not just Ali making mistakes when it came to electrical safety! Her mother left the cable of the iron stretched across the stove in the kitchen, which of course, could start a fire. So, whatever your age, you need to remain aware of how you handle your electrical appliances. It is far too easy to feel relaxed and safe at home - this is when you could make a fatal mistake. However, there are plenty of resources to keep you well-informed and safe. Electrical Safety First is a great resource for people of all ages. Meanwhile ‘Switched on Kids’ is aimed at younger children, and explains the basics of electrical safety in very simple terms.
Hiring an electrician is a big deal when you are looking to remodel your home in any number of ways, whether it be a kitchen refurbishment or installing lights in your new conservatory. The difference between a legit or a shady electrician could be weeks of your time, thousands of pounds and whole bundles of stress. So don’t rush ahead and grab the first option available: you may risk getting yourself a dreaded ‘cowboy’ electrician. Be sure to read our guide and find yourself a trustworthy tradesperson. Seven Simple Rules for Finding a Trustworthy electrician We have a list of simple steps that will help you on your way to getting the high-quality service your house deserves: 1. First things first - ask for their registration. 18 million people are too afraid to ask for proof that their electrician is registered. This is the definitive proof you need to rest assured you are not hiring a ‘cowboy’ electrician, with zero accountability, to work on your home. From the legal perspective, tradespeople must work to the UK national safety standard (BS 7671) and you can search for legitimately registered electricians in your area at Registered Competent Person or, if you live in Scotland, the government’s Certification Register. Check that your electrician is registered with one of these relevant Governing Bodies: the NICEIC, ECA or ELECSA. 2. Get a reference. Think of this as a job interview (which it is essential), in which you are the employer. The electrician may make all sorts of fanciful claims, but you must ask for references from his previous customers to make sure these claims are substantiated and ensure you have a trustworthy electrician on board. The ideal reference would of course be from a member of your family or close friend, who has had the electrician work on their own home and was delighted with the work done. 3. Take your time when choosing. Make sure to get at least three quotes from different electricians before you embark on any major electrical work in your home. Although it may be time-consuming, it could save you a lot of money. This is not to say you should base your choice on pricing: that is only one factor, with the most crucial factor being the quality of their services. This article details the behaviour of 'cowboy' electricians who will want to pressure you into making a rash decision without examining their credentials. Use online review sites to narrow down your options, and read all the reviews you can, both positive and negative, to get a fuller picture of the electrician you’ll be hiring. For instance, there could be a slew of positive reviews based on the electrician's personality and friendliness, that ignore his lax scheduling. 4. Get a quote! (don’t ever pay upfront) If an electrician is insisting on giving you an estimate instead of a quote you can shoo him on right out of the door. The differences between a quote and an estimate are simple: a quote is an agreed, legally binding price that is fixed unless extra work is commissioned. An estimate, however, is just a best guess at the cost, not legally binding and subject to change. As you can imagine estimates are a favourite tool among cowboy electricians so make sure to avoid these at all costs. Your quote must contain agreed start and finish times, as well as agreed payment terms. 5. Check that everyone working on your premises is licensed to do so. You’ll likely spend most of your time talking to an individual contractor whose credentials you should have seen by now. However, they may have an entire team working in your home (depending on the scale of the project). You need to vet every electrician working in your home. 6. Give your electrician a clear brief. Give a clear, unambiguous statement of what you want done, to avoid them doing too little or too much work, and then over-charging you. If your whole garage needs rewiring, explain in detail how you want it done. If you just need a switch replaced, the brief should be a great deal simpler. The brief should be a discussion between you and the electrician: you need to find out what needs to be done on your end too. Ask if you need to supply any materials and whether the agreed cost includes subcontractors and the cleaning up and disposal of waste. 7. Prepare for the worst If you meticulously followed the first six steps then there should hopefully be no need to use this step. However, just in case there are discrepancies with your electrician during or after the work has taken place, it is important to do all the following. You should keep all relevant paperwork and receipts, Take photos of the progress of their work and make notes, detailing any problems with dates and times. Bonus: What to do if you are unhappy with your electricians' work If you are unhappy with the work carried out by your electrician there are numerous routes you can utilise to settle these problems. You can get in touch with the Trading Standards and Citizen’s Advice, who deal with any company you think didn’t carry out their job properly. Sources for this article include finding a trustworthy electrician (via Sainsburys and via BT Home), and our experience.
Creating an online store with the latest and greatest design and ecommerce software behind it is good, but may not lead to a large quantity of online sales. Having a website with a wide range of electrical products is very good, but may not do the trick. Having the most accurate description and the best pictures for the products one sells online may still not be enough. Having the best prices on a wide range of products and providing a next-day delivery (see our terms and conditions on delivery) on most items may still not lead to success. One of the conclusions we got to while selling online via www.sparksdirect.co.uk is that you need to have a customer-oriented online store (yes, an online store!) and business - even in the area of selling electrical items online and offline! A Customer-Oriented (and Influenced) Online Store Strategy With the rise of the social media and the online tools for reviewing, sharing, commenting, and chatting, many people do their homework before purchasing things online. They research to see what's the best price. They check out the technical details. They see the reviews and the comments people leave on such products. They make sure the items are in stock and the delivery charge is close to £0. And then, when they find the right online store, they ask some more questions online via the website or, in some cases, they pick up the phone and enquire concerning the product they're interested in. On our website the "Ask a question" tool has brought us much closer to our visitors, many of whom have become our customers in the meantime. They ask questions and we reply - many times by doing much research and adding the best information to the products they inquire about. More and more, our online sales strategy is influenced and affected by a desire to satisfy the visitors and customers with all their enquiries and questions. That's all we can say for now, and we hope we're not divulging too much... Ask Us a Question.... Online! We do our best to present accurate and precise information for the items we sell online, but there's always something that you, the one who is interested in a light fitting for example, would like to know more. Maybe you want to use an LED light bulb with the fitting you're looking at - and the website doesn't mention that. Ask us a question! Maybe you want to know whether you need a transformer with a certain wall lamp - ask us a question. Or maybe you're interested in buying a large quantity of downlights - ask us a question to find the best price! We are daily reviewing the questions asked via our website and some of the best ones are being also posted online for others to "watch and learn". We love your questions. We are driven onward by your questions. We are encouraged by your enquiries. You, the visitor, are the one who improves the quality of our website by your questions. We, the ones managing the website and responding to you, are eager to hear from you and to render you the best customer service and the most accurate information on the items you're interested in. So, Ask Us a Question!
We recently stumbled upon a great article put out by the AdviceGuide - self help from Citizens advice - concerning, Top tips on how to spot a cowboy builder. And this got us thinking: many people come in our showroom and purchase all kinds of electricals, and sometimes they ask us, Can you recommend a good electrician? We have talked on the blog concerning using registered electricians, but in principle, there are a few ways to spot and avoid the rogue electricians and cowboy builders. Top Tips on Spotting Rogue Electricians You may not be able to check the background or the company of the electrician that approaches you, but there are some signs that can tell you whether he's trustworthy and reliable. These are some of the top tips on spotting and also avoiding the rogue electricians and the cowboy builders: Watch out for the builders or electricians who give you an extremely cheap quote or estimate, or who insists very much that he would start the job right away. No matter how urgent the job may be, first you need to make sure the builder is trustworthy, he gives you a proper quote, and is even willing to estimate the job in writing. Beware of the electricians that are not keen on giving you more details about their business (like the address, the landline number, other references from other jobs, etc). You may even go so far to check them out via the NICEIC website whether they are registered and approved. If you're suspicious, you can visit "the wall of shame" and see if you find that electrician there... It is very suspicious when a builder asks for money - whether the whole amount or a small advance - up front. They may say they need the money to buy the materials, etc but if they are a reliable builder, they should have enough funds to cover the initial costs. Also, make sure they do things exactly as they quote you, and if you need a VAT receipt, they should be able to give it to you. If a builder claims he works for a company that has a good reputation, it doesn't hurt if you double check that. Of course, if he arrives to you in an unmarked car / van, or if he doesn't look and behave professionally, those should also be warning signs. How to Avoid Cowboy Builders It is not easy to spot or avoid this type of "cowboy builders" or "rogue electricians". Sometimes they may insist, offer discounts, give you all kinds of promises, ask for a payment in advance, or even say, "I'll do you a favor" or "I have some spare materials left over from a previous job, that's why it's so cheap!" Whether you have a small project or a large project, it is good to take a written quote from them and muse over it for a day or two, while you check them out or ask around for a better quote. You can search for their name or company name online, or in websites like NICEIC, ESC, Electrical Safety Register, RatedPeople, MyBuilder, etc. The best way is to ask for a recommendation from your friends, family, your architect, co-workers, etc - people who already have had some electrical job done and are pleased with the electrician. It is better to be slow and make an informed decision than to be quick in hiring someone and later be sorry! This blog post is inspired from several article like: Top Tips on how to Spot a Cowboy Builder, Avoiding Cowboy Builders, and, Cracking down on cowboy builders. Picture credit: which.co.uk. Of course, you can always pay Sparks Direct a visit at our North London based showroom, where we will provide you with more informed advice on this matter.
This blog post is a question, and we would really appreciate if we have some honest answers from our readers and customers. In a world that is constantly on the move, always connected, and where the desktop PC is not as used as our smartphones and tablets, it is no longer impossible or inconceivable to order online from a mobile device. That's why recently we at Sparks Electrical have invested money, energy, and lots of time into re-doing our website in a mobile-responsive online store. We would like to accommodate even the most technologically-advanced of our users, while at the same time the design and menus are non-challenging but rather simplistic and easy to use for even the most technologically-challenged of our visitors. With this in mind, we would like to ask the question, Do You Shop for Electrical Items Online via your Tablet or Smartphone? If you're wondering what "electrical items" mean, we refer to lights, switches, sockets, light bulbs, heating elements, ventilation fans, etc. We already know that most of us shop for their digital items online and via the smartphones - we shop for cameras, mobile phones (at least price comparisons), smartphones, tablets, computers, memory cards, etc. But what about the electrical items? Do you shop for your switches and sockets by using your iPhone? Do you use your Android tablet to shop for floor lights or ceiling lights? Let's say, when you go to work and you remember that you need a downlight or a wall lamp, do you search for it on google and then buy it on your iPhone? Or, let's say, during your lunch break, do you browse for cheaper lights or cool-looking switches and sockets? Why do We Ask This Question... Ever since we switched to the new website we have been wondering, Was it smart for us to move to a mobile-responsive website? Or is it something that only in 2-3 years we will see developing? Our friends at Cyber-Duck convinced us that it's worth it to invest in this now, and so.... we are now not only online on your PC, laptop, notebook, or MAC, but we "fit in your pocket" by fitting on your smartphone screen or on your tablet screen. When analyzing the orders we get through our online store and the calls we have from our customers, we noticed that quite a few of you guys use your mobile device / tablet to visit our website and order. That's why we want to get a larger poll, asking both electricians and contractors and regular people, Do you guys shop for your light fittings / electrical items online by using your smartphone or tablet? Pictures credit: question mark (wikipedia) and a screenshot of our site here. <<<< thank you for your answers - in advance! :) >>>>