We received the below feedback from a customer over the weekend which once again highlights the goal we try and set out to achieve on all our jobs:-
I cannot praise the electrician who did the work highly enough. He was exceptionally helpful, informative and polite.
All our current electricians have all been through and passed four years of apprenticeship training before they became qualified electricians.
We must train to have the knowledge and skills to be able to carry out electrical work correctly and safely.
Our initial apprenticeship training is then supplemented by working out in the field and gaining hands on experience which broadens our skills.
Unlike some trades though electricians have to continue training throughout their careers to not only learn new skills but also to keep up to date with latest regulations and health and safety matters. So the next time you employ an electrician into your business or home a good starting point would be to ask them what training courses they have been on within the last 5 years and ask to see their SJIB Grade card which requires to be updated regularly and also states their training qualifications.
Stirling Electrical Services electricians regularly attend training courses for the services we undertake and over the coming weeks all our electricians will be attending courses for asbestos awareness, electrical appliance testing, powered mechanical lifting equipment and importably an update course for our BS7671 electrical regulations which have an amendment update published this year.
Good electricians and electrical companies should be regularly attending courses such as the ones above and the reason we do this is to make sure that the work we undertake for you our customers is carried out technically correct and also that it is carried out safely.
Electrical Fixed Wiring Testing (EICR) and PAT Testing
LATEST SCOTLAND LEGISLATION NEWS - Electrical Fixed Wiring Testing (EICR) and PAT Testing will become mandatory for Private Rented Properties in Scotland from 1st December 2015.
Main Legislation Points:-
View our Electrical Fixed Wiring Testing (EICR) page for details of the testing procedure.
Recent legislation has also been introduced for an increase in Smoke and Heat Alarms in Private Rented Properties - details can be found on our Landlords page.
New legislation comes into effect from 1 December 2015 making it mandatory to carry out electrical safety inspections on privately rented properties at least every five years - The testing required will be an Electrical Installation Condition Report and PAT Testing.
The new legislation is designed to reduce the number of domestic fires caused by electrical faults. The official guidance surrounding the ruling and what it means for landlords in Scotland was officially launched on 19th February 2015 by Housing and Welfare Minister Margaret Burgess.
We will have a full blog post on Monday regarding this new legislation.
Contact us in the meantime for more information.
Politics and Receipts have been in the news this week after Labour Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls called for people to make sure they get receipts for small jobs carried out by businesses around the home such as hedge cutting.
While the person carrying out the work has no legal obligation to provide such receipts to the homeowner they are responsible for declaring this income and paying tax on it and this reminded me of one of the two biggest bug-bearers I have as a business owner and as an employer.
The first one and one I will surely discuss again at some point in the near future is Employers National Insurance where the employer has to find nearly £14.00 in every £100.00 just to employ someone - a tax to employ people on top of the tax the employee will have to pay in their salary. That's not right in my book.
But this post is about VAT, the 20% tax put on most services and goods that businesses with a turnover of (currently) £81,000 have to charge. While for most business to business transactions this tax usually balances itself out as companies who charge VAT can claim VAT back on most expenses, in our line of work a percentage of our business deals with domestic sales where we have to charge the homeowner an extra 20% on our services but the homeowner can't claim this VAT back.
So while the guy cutting your hedge may declare his earnings for income tax, if he works for himself the likelihood will be that he is under the VAT threshold of £81,000 while if we were this larger company coming along carrying out a like for like service for this homeowner we would be penalised 20% for employing a larger number of hedge cutters taking us over the VAT threshold and we would likely miss out on this sale, as the guy comes along at least 20% cheaper.
I have seen on multiple occasions tradesmen going into suppliers with customers to make sure the customer buys the materials so the extra costs does not go onto the tradesman turnover to enable them to stay under the VAT threshold.
Overnight governments and the whole country could benefit from extra tax revenues and the playing field would be evened out and companies like mine who have a play in the domestic field, if every single business no matter how big or in this case how small charged VAT for services and goods(which are not currently exempt).
It's a simple rule for me and the biggest tax wish from me - If you provide a service or sell goods, no matter what that is, how big or small your transactions are - then you are a business and you should be charging VAT - it's as simple as that.
Apprenticeships are in the news just now with a campaign under way to pressure the UK government into giving more financial support to businesses to employ and support apprentices.
Apprentices play a big part at Stirling Electrical Services, no doubt aided by the awards to myself and one of our current tradesmen being awarded regional apprentice of the years in the past, as we currently employ one and and will be starting the process soon for this Autumns apprentice intake.
The Scottish run apprentice scheme by SECTT is a very well run and slick organisation with every apprenticeship lasting around four years.
Yes that is four years to train to be an electrician and only then your experience and learning is just beginning. Four years!! yet there are organisations out there putting people through courses and then throwing them out into peoples homes and businesses after only a few weeks basic course, and thats not to mention the other tradespeople going around with a voltage stick, multi-meter and pliers getting stuck into all kinds of electrical work while also trying to carry out joinery, plumbing, tiling and painting work - yes we all know guys like that.
So it was interesting to read last weekend that our apprentices final exam - The FICA - Final Integrated Competence Assessment is changing from September this year. The exam will still take place over 2 days with the practical side of the exam largely unchanged but the exam booths will be upgraded and the theory side of the exam moving more onto a more computerised system.
This move is another example of the good way the apprenticeship scheme is run by SECTT and it also highlights the training and dedication required to become a qualified professional electrician - the most respected and trustworthy trade.
Almost two thirds if all domestic fires in Scotland are caused by electricity, with electrical products the prime culprit.
Fake and sub-standard goods has become an increasing concern, with a recent study showing since 2010 Glasgow's enforcement agency have seized almost 10,000 fake electrical items which is more than any other UK Local Authority.
That is a reason why the Electrical Safety First have put together this Safe Shoppers Guide to help identify fake goods.
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