How to Choose the Right Electrician

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We all need the right electrician at some point in our lives. Whether it’s an emergency job to replace a dangerous wiring system, or a home improvement project requiring new lighting and appliance installation, electrical work is one of the most important you can do to your home. In addition to making sure you know exactly what you’re getting into before calling one out to take care of your electrical needs, there are other things you can do as well that will help make sure you choose the right electrician for the job. Here are some helpful tips on how to choose the right electrician.

Do some research first
Get a few recommendations from friends and colleagues, then head online and look for reviews on sites like Trustpilot and Google Places. You’ll likely find reviews from others who have worked with local electricians, along with information about how much work they did, how long it took, and whether there were any complications (and if so, how they were handled). Also, take note of your contractor’s insurance status.

Check online reviews
Online reviews are a great resource for finding an electrician. Try searching online and you’ll likely find several options in your area, as well as ratings and reviews from people who have worked with them.

Interview multiple contractors
The first step in finding a good electrician is doing some research. Check Electrical Competent Person Website, TrustMark, and other review sites to see what people say about contractors in your area. Consider talking with multiple contractors before making your final decision. Some may give you a free estimate, while others will charge for consultations—you’ll have to weigh these costs based on how serious you are about hiring that person.

Get at least 3 quotes
While it’s tempting to just choose a name off a list of electricians in your area, make sure you get at least three quotes from qualified electricians before making your final decision. A cheaper price isn’t always indicative of better workmanship, so have each offer in writing before signing on with anyone. And remember, even if it’s for an emergency job, you can still negotiate to overprice if you need to.

Look up their qualifications
With some trades, tradesmen may have years of acquired experience on the job, but no formal recognition or qualifications. However, with electricians, there are certain industry standards that you need to look out for.

All electrical work must be done in line with legal standards, and in some cases, particularly larger jobs including new circuits, it must be either:

Approved by the Building Control department of your local authority. Carried out by tradesmen registered with a competent person scheme, who is qualified to self-certify their work

This is to ensure that all the electrical work is safe, and will not pose a danger to yourself and other people in your home. If the work does not come up to standard, your local authority can insist that the work be corrected, while you can face difficulties selling your home if you don’t have the correct electrical safety certificates to show that the work has been done.

The section of building regulations that applies to domestic electricals is called Part P. While there are exceptions that do not need to be inspected, such as minor modifications of circuits in dining rooms and bedrooms, and telephone cabling, it is always worth checking with your local authority to see if your planned work needs to be certified.

An electrician who is qualified and registered with the following competent person schemes is allowed to self-certify their work, issuing you with a certificate of compliance on completion, and dealing with Building Control on your behalf:

  • BSI
  • ELECSA
  • NAPIT
  • NICEIC
  • SELECT
  • TrustMark

The government also backs the “Registered Competent Person Electrical Mark”, called Electrical Safety First. Designed to help protect consumers against unlicensed electricians, you can check on the site that a tradesman is registered.