During this health emergency all our thoughts are with the families who are affected or have suffered because of COVID-19. Also to our amazing health workers who are working tirelessly to support those families and protect the health of us all. This article is intended to focus on supporting small business owners but we should not lose sight of those helping care, support and fight to keep the country safe and moving forward.
The village of Cambusbarron, Stirling remembered today all those that fell during the Great War.
For my generation World War 1 feels such a long time ago, with World War 2 feeling closer to our time as that war is more associated with being around the birth of our parents and the stories they could pass on to us.
Unless you go deep into studying the history of WW1 I don't think we truly can appreciate the atrocities that our grandfathers and great grandfathers went through in that conflict.
Like many millions throughout the world, today my family and I took time to remember and pay our respects to the millions that fell and who sacrificed to allow many future generations hope and opportunity.
The campaign to regulate the electrical industry in Scotland reached the Scottish Parliament today with a debate in the main chamber following a motion put forward by Jamie Halcro Johnston MSP.
The campaign to 'Regulate Electricians as a Profession' is led by electrical trade association SELECT and is supported by Unions and other industry bodies.
Today's debate is an important milestone in the campaign process bringing the need to improve electrical safety in homes and business properties to MSP's, parliament and the wider public.
Further information on the campaign:-
- Electricians as a Profession - The Case for Regulation
- Scottish Public Expresses shock and disbelief as SELECT reveals dangers of rogue electricians
- Article 1
- Article 2
- Article 3
- Article 4
The debate can be viewed here thanks to Scottish Parliament TV.
Later this week myself and fellow electrical colleagues will attend the Scottish Parliament.
On Thursday 25th October just after First Ministers Questions a debate brought forward by MSP Jamie Halcro Johnstone will take place to support the Regulation of Electricians as a Profession.
I have mentioned on this blog previously about an ongoing campaign by electrical trade association SELECT to bring legal status to electricians as a 'Profession' - similarly like Gas engineers, essentially making it mandatory that those that carry out electrical work in Scotland be fully trained and have up to date qualifications to carry out such work.
Currently anyone with no training or qualifications can carry out electrical work and legally at the moment there is nothing stopping them carry out such work, if this work is carried out by someone with no formal electrical training or past qualifications that have no or little relevance to the latest electrical regulations then the work could cause harm to property and put lives at risk. Presently the homeowner or business property owner has no mandatory regulated formal way of checking the qualifications of the person carrying out the work.
The parliament Motion calls for support in regulating the electrical industry where only those with up to date and ongoing electrical training and qualifications can carry out electrical work within Scotland and for a mandatory regulated register of qualified electricians/companies. Failure to do so and still carry out electrical work would then be illegal - similar to Gas work.
The campaign by the hard working group at SELECT has gathered pace and now has the support of other electrical organisations and trade unions and will now have a voice at this parliament debate.
I have today written to my local MSP highlighting this campaign and parliament debate and will update with more news later in the week after the debate on Thursday.
In the meantime if anyone has any questions or queries about why the Regulation of Electricians as a Profession is important please ask in the comment section below or in a reply to my social media posts.
My new podcast is now available where I will discuss business, fitness and family.
Hopefully I will provide some words of wisdom along the way.
The podcast is available to listen and subscribe to on a host of popular platforms including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
Full details are on my new podcast page.
Stirling Electrical Services / Stirling Alarms
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There has been a positive step in the drive to regulate the electrical industry in Scotland with MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston tabling a motion in the Scottish Parliament.
The motion tabled by the Highlands and Islands Conservative politician can be viewed below and is calling for cross party support. (image from The Scottish Parliament website)
This past week has seen an upsurge in calls for tighter regulations over electrical white goods after a recent study suggested faulty appliances could "cause 60 fires a week".
The issue has even been on the agenda of our local Stirling MP Stephen Kerr who, in his latest Stirling Observer newspaper column(see below), said he has been involved in looking into this matter at UK Government level.
MP Kerr's involvement and the awareness within the news media recently should be welcomed as the lessons learned after the terrible tragedy at Grenfell must be acted upon quickly.
I have been involved in the electrical industry for 25 years and while tighter regulations may indeed have to be introduced into the manufacture and warranty procedure of white goods, the lack of regulation is more widespread than just white goods - the whole electrical installation industry needs to be more tightly controlled and regulated.
You may be surprised to find that there is currently no legislation in place to prevent an individual with no electrical skills or qualifications whatsoever from placing an advert in the local newspaper advertising as an electrician, willing to undertake electrical work in homes and business premises.
The law (in Scotland) currently allows anyone to carry out most electrical work, with no mandatory formal checks to confirm that the individual has been trained and is qualified to the latest regulations.
A recent survey found that up to 2000 unqualified electrical businesses are potentially putting the safety of the Scottish public at risk - that figure is staggering and could be quite literally 'shocking'.
View the video and visit the link to read and watch the disbelief as members of the Scottish public who thought electricians were currently regulated were told that no such thing is in place.
View More Videos
There are a few non-mandatory trade organisations databases including a building standards database in Scotland available for consumers to check if electricians are registered - these databases list the electrical individuals and companies who have up to date qualifications and are already committed to upholding the safety and carrying out work in accordance with the latest electrical regulations. More info for the public at SELECT website as well as at the Electrical Safety Council.
There is some hope though as Scotland's largest electrical trade organisation SELECT are determined to address the issue and improve public safety and have started a movement to regulate the electrical industry in Scotland. By making the job of an electrician a 'Profession' it would become an offence to carry out electrical work in Scotland when not qualified to do so. Did you know that a door steward in a night club has more legal and mandatory checks carried out on them than an electrician?
To give some context to the idea of regulation that affects the electrical industry, in December 2015 it became mandatory in Scotland for Private Rented Landlords to have electrical wiring testing carried out every 5 years and a short time before that date new fire safety regulations were introduced increasing the number of smoke/heat detectors installed within properties rented to private occupiers.
For the past few years at Stirling Electrical Services and at other qualified electricians in the Stirling area, we have been into many hundreds of private rented properties and because of the mandatory testing, landlords (including myself) have been 'forced' to increase the safety of the electrical installations with many life saving devices such as smoke alarms and RCD switches being introduced.
I say 'forced' because unless the mandatory testing regulation was in place then a large percentage of the rented properties would still have life-risking and fire-causing electrical problems present.
Having mandatory regulation works - the vast majority will adhere to it meaning safety to all will increase - and those that don't adhere to the rules should be punished.
Over the past year or so SELECT have been in discussion with the Scottish Government and as part of their campaign have submitted a report and evidence to support the idea of regulating Electricians.
An idea that would bring electricians and electrical work in line with gas engineers and gas work where tighter regulations already apply.
Listen below to a 2017 BBC Interview with SELECT MD Newell McGuinness about the campaign.
I have said for many years that to get a light or socket to work is relatively easy with a little knowledge, but to make sure the work involved (and the end result) is SAFE to YOU and YOUR PROPERTY is an entirely different scenario - and that is why only qualified electricians with up to date training and qualifications should be allowed to carry out electrical work in homes and businesses throughout Scotland.
If they do not have up to date electrical qualifications then it is time to stop - the kitchen fitter, plumber, joiner, man at the pub and even electricians who were qualified many many years ago but have no up to date training from carrying out most electrical work. For safety reasons electrical regulations change and are updated every few years and without up to date training and qualifications you cannot carry out electrical work to the current safety standards.
A regulated industry would also raise the standard of those electricians currently qualified as it would mean we would always be kept on our toes knowing we had to maintain our standards to remain on the mandatory register of electricians.
It is time for the electrical industry to be regulated as an equal to gas and while the current movement to increasing the safety of white goods should be welcomed I would like to make our local politicians aware of our current electrical industry situation.
As SELECT continue to have discussions with Scottish Government officials it would be reassuring to know that our own MSP Bruce Crawford is aware of the situation and I would also hope our Stirling MP Stephen Kerr would offer his support where he can - they, you and I all have homes and work in or visit business premises and it would be good to know that the person you ask to come into your property to carry out electrical work involving 230 and 400 dangerous volts of electricity is qualified and competent to do so - and that they have been audited by an official register before they come into your property.
It's time we stopped taking chances with electricity - the mandatory regulations in rented properties brought in so far have made a big difference so it's about time we went all the way and made sure the people carrying out all electrical work are trained and qualified to do so - surely life and fire safety are not worth taking a 'chance' on.
What are your thoughts on the plans to regulate the electrical industry - did you just presume the person who you let into your property to carry out electrical work was qualified, did you carry out competency checks on them beforehand ? Post your thoughts in the comments below.
Follow the campaigns latest news - https://twitter.com/regulate_SELECT
The images below are all real examples of dangerous electrical work or faults we have encountered in recent months.
With last weeks (mostly) successful Falcon Heavy mission Elon Musk and SpaceX have rarely been out of the news and within all the media clippings I stumbled across this TED interview with Elon from April 2017.
It's a fascinating 40 minutes insight into his thoughts and the current developments at SpaceX and Tesla as well as digging tunnels and missions to Mars.
If your interested in what the future and even near future holds for us all grab a cup of tea and settle down to listen to what one of the worlds most influential entrepreneurs has to say.
The movement to regulate the electrical industry in Scotland continues and we will stand alongside SELECT in helping to make sure that those that carry out electrical work in YOUR home and business properties have up to date qualifications and are registered.
Did you know that anyone in Scotland can currently call themselves an electrician or carry out electrical work without someone checking that they know what they are doing or checking for any qualifications or training.
Using existing electrician registers and making these registers mandatory would not cost the public anymore, it would ensure registered electricians have up to qualifications and it would massively improve safety and provide reassurance to YOU that the person or company carrying out electrical work for you is doing it correctly and not putting YOUR life at risk.
I was delighted to welcome Stirling Council leader Scott Farmer to our Fallin office on Friday afternoon.
We had good talk about local business as well as a tour of our premises.
Nobody can ever say they are the perfect electrician - not me, not any member of my electrical team and not any other qualified electrician with up to date training - we all recognise that fact but we continue to work hard and spend money on training, learning and studying our craft and applying to the best of our ability our knowledge in interpreting BS7671 electrical and other relevant regulations into our everyday jobs.
Unfortunately as it currently stands anyone can call themselves an electrician and carry out electrical work in homes and businesses and the situation is of such concern that Scotland's trade association SELECT are now in discussion with the Scottish Government about regulating the electrical industry in law and making the term Electrician a profession (similar to Gas) which in turn would make it illegal for anyone to carry out electrical work if they are not registered, have no qualifications or have no up to date training.
To give context to the above movement I myself have been on the receiving end lately of being involved with people who carry out electrical work who have not been trained in recent years to the current regulations.
A number of weeks ago I was a approached by someone in my area who argued with me that they were correct in proposing to install battery powered smoke detectors in a private rented property, after I on the the spot showed them the regulations on my phone they still were not convinced "as that was not the rules 15 years ago and it was fine then" but I eventually found out they had listened to me and correctly installed mains powered interlinked smoke detectors.
Unfortunately that was not the end of my encounter and a few weeks later after my company carried out an Electrical Installation Condition Report at a private rented property I was publicly accused by this same person who has admitted having no up to date electrical training, of failing the electrical report for no other reason than failing the report to money grab the remedial work cost. The electrical installation failed on items such as but not limited to - exposed open live electrical connections, a number of circuits/cables protected by oversized circuit breakers, wrong polarity at switch, cables touching sharp metal edges with no grommet(rubber) protection - the accuser incidentally admitted carrying out some of the work we had failed and thought the above 'Danger Present' and 'Potentially Dangerous' items should not have been listed.
As you can probably gather I am rather annoyed at my own and my company's integrity being publicly questioned by someone who really should know better but for what ever reason will not update their qualifications or training to todays regulations.
I am proud of my own and my companies professional attitude, safety and integrity and these recent personal incidents have made me even more determined to join the fight and campaign to regulate the electrical industry - and why? it's simple - people's property and more importantly peoples lives are at risk with electrical work and homeowners and business owners should be protected and be safe in the knowledge that the electrical work they request to be carried out is undertaken correctly, safely and to today's regulations and by qualified professionals who they can trust their property and lives with.
And if property owners wish to still allow these other type of people to carry out electrical work in their property if the industry is regulated then there must be a system in place for the law abiding electricians to report the non-registered and unqualified 'electricians'.
Are the A9 average speed cameras a success? Well I certainly think so and the stats prove it.
The most notorious section of the A9 is from Perth to Inverness which I have driven many times and now a handful of times since the average speed cameras were installed with the latest drive being today and I have found the journey to the likes of Aviemore and Inverness to be less stressful and I've encountered less incidents or potential incidents since the average speed cameras were installed.
Major roadworks over the next handful of years for dualling purposes will cause distribution and some frustration but there can be no argument that since average speed cameras were installed instead of the small number of static individual cameras the road is crucially safer with journey times far from affected.
Dualling the A9 is a massive project and was talked about for decades before the current Scottish Government committed to the long term plan and we are already seeing the benefits of the decision to upgrade the road as well as the decision to take decisive action against speeding.
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