No matter how good you are at DIY, some jobs simply require a highly trained professional. Electricians are there for your safety and convenience, but before you invite anyone into your home to carry out difficult and often dangerous work, always ask the following five questions.
1. Are you qualified?
This might sound like a very simply question to ask someone equipped with a toolbox and a jumpsuit but it’s a valid and useful one. Anyone working with live electricity should have the relevant qualifications, so whether they’ve had electrical training with Option Skills or have an electrician degree or certification they should be willing to share their background and experience.
2. Are you a member of a Government approved scheme?
As 70 people die and over 350,000 people are injured every year in serious electrical incidents, Electrical Safety First recommends opting for a registered electrician.
Registered electricians work to the UK safety standards BS 7671 (Requirements for Electrical Installations) and will issue a safety certificate for their work, so don’t be afraid to ask this important question. Moreover, choosing a registered electrician means you get more protection if something goes wrong.
3. Can I see your paperwork?
While many people feel embarrassed questioning workmen on their doorstep, the right knowledge can help you make an informed decision. Unfortunately, there are a lot of conmen out there, so always ask to see the relevant paperwork – after all, electricians with nothing to hide won’t mind you seeing their various qualifications in written form. If you get someone making up excuses or looking flustered it might be wise to look elsewhere for a handyman you feel happier with.
4. Can I see your ID?
All electricians should carry ID so ask to see this before letting them enter your home. Again, if they are not forthcoming with information, don’t let them do the electrical work required. What’s more, if you’ve seen the ID but are still worried, bear in mind you can always use the Registered Competent Person Electrical search facility to find a reliable person in your area or to check a business in your local region.
5. Can you provide a reference?
Bodged electrical work can cost homeowners thousands and put their lives at risk, so it’s always worth asking for one or more references from past customers detailing the work carried out and how happy they are. If possible, ask for the contact details of referees so you can contact them if needs be and discourage dodgy workmen making up their own references.
There are many decent electricians out there but to ensure you’re getting the most for your money always run these five questions by them before they start to avoid being ripped off, conned or simply disappointed. Professionals will expect a list of questions and should come with ID and a host of legitimate answers to put your mind at rest, so never be embarrassed by sussing out your workmen thoroughly.