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Commercial businesses, risk losing everything!

Commercial businesses, risk losing everything!

With their current cavalier attitude to “Electrical Safety” for their customers, and their employees as well Commercial Businesses are putting lives at risk.

Many landlords with only 1 property fail to realise they are a commercial business as they are making money by renting a property and often fall foul of legislation, they had no idea they had to comply with.

In the current economic climate, as you would expect large and small organisations alike are seeking to get as much as possible for as little as possible, in many instances this is good common sense which should have been practised by all organisations for many years.


However, when it comes to electrical safety, cheap is not always better, with the current stranglehold with many large FM companies, on the electrical testing market for large organisations, many vital things are being missed, but as long as they get their piece of paper. They don’t care!


Many testing companies out there promise the earth and deliver a farthing, yes that will show my age.


I was sitting in the offices of a large organisation. Not long ago providing a technical breakdown of their electrical report, when I was asked to sit in on a meeting with the testing contractor who was vying for their work, without recourse to their existing test report.


He promised that they could provide a proper certificate by only doing 10% sample testing and this is perfectly legal if you accept the responsibility by agreeing, but you need a 100% test report previously to be able to do this.


However, they would be charging a small admin fee for writing up each of the circuits that they didn’t test on the surface. To the uninitiated, this is a wonderful deal.


To say I got grilled over this was an understatement, no point in me even considering trying to justify my point of view, just referred them to the NICEIC the ECA and NAPIT, and told them to phone their technical desk and check what this other company had said, to say I was appalled was an understatement.


So were the above organisations, according to the client, who then invited me back to do the work, yes there are some sensible clients out there!


So, let me explain, the rules, you can only do sample testing, if you have full results for every circuit on every fuse board from your previous test report.


Had they bothered to check this No, did they ask for a copy of the report before providing a price No, so had they, accepted the cost and engaged them they would have a piece of paper that wasn’t worth the paper it’s printed on?


The client would have been in breach of their legal duty of care to ensure safe testing practices and the employment of a competent contractor, you would be surprised how many clients think otherwise until they find themselves in the Dock, and then try to plead ignorance!? in English LAW ignorance is not an acceptable excuse, which has a lot of case history.


Oh, did I forget! Under the new legislation – It is the client’s responsibility to ensure that the contractor they employ does the job properly! And they can go to prison if they don’t?


Unfortunately, like most commercial enterprises from shops, and factories to office space; Their main consideration is only money and the least inconvenience!


This unfortunate cavalier attitude that has been prevalent for the past 35 years in our industry has led to more and more companies that provide a cheap price using every loophole in the book as long as they don’t get caught, that is, just to get the work, and once you have agreed to it you are the one responsible? SURPRISE!


The number of buildings I go into, that are supposedly covered by current test certificates, where I would like to physically turn them off because of the dangers I see, are now fast outweighing the good ones, due to years of neglect and worthless tests and reports.


Time and time again I see reports which are worthless pieces of paper supplied to the customer from FM companies and cheap do it at any cost testing contractors, who put in a cheap price just to get remedial works, and in over 60% of the cases I have seen personally prices that are less than half the actual cost of doing the work.


But the remedial costs are twice the amount, so the clients think, they are getting a good job, and a very cheap price and then pay through the nose at the end.


The misconception from estate agents that they can get five if not six EICR reports done per day by their engineers at £70 each is an illusion, pure economics state that by the time you’ve driven to a job with one man or two carried out the inspection work on-site which is at least another hour minimum if you’re lucky, then if they bother to inspect properly and then drive back and then produce paperwork, your total time spent on the job, for two men is approximately 8 hours.


Pure maths equates to £8.75 p and hour, a decent Competent electrician will cost somewhere between £25 and £35 per hour and a properly qualified time-served engineer who understands the requirements of inspection can cost anywhere between £40 and £60 an hour, (More knowledge is needed for more complex systems), not hard to work out the type of report you’ll get!


How long is it going to take, I hear so often well, I don’t know, can you tell me what’s wrong with the system or what’s right with the system, I don’t know! But you must know! You do this all the time!


Well, it takes what it takes and depends on what we find, the more that’s wrong the longer it takes, it’s not a one-size-fits-all like so many prices out on the illusional internet.


How many more lives will be put at risk, where the money is the ultimate aim along with the least inconvenience?


For me, one life is too many, unfortunately, statistics show hundreds of lives are lost every year to electrocution, and in most cases, these lives could have been saved if it had been Inspected / Maintained properly.


But the work was carried out properly, we used Fred the painter to install the electrical systems, he said, he know-how! or labourers being used to do electrical work and many safety items were missed because the client does not want to pay the true price, of doing it properly in commercial businesses! So, the cheap contractor cuts corners to get the job at any cost, and safety goes out the window.


Time and time again, I have lost work personally and know many other people within the industry that have lost work, because their quotes, /estimates were too high, compared with the cowboy prices all over the internet.


Yet when the other cheap contractor who won the job, gets to the site to carry out the work he finds several items that need to be done that were not quoted for by him, yet under close inspection were quoted for by the other expensive contractors?


Yet I’m called back six months, to two years later to fix the problems that they’ve got the other contractor in to fix on several occasions and paid nearly double the price in the end, to have the work put right.


It is time that this country wakes up and realises that incompetence and cheap contractors do not save you money, they cost you double/triple the amount in the end.


If you look at it properly and get your FDs to investigate the real cost when you’re contractor has to come back multiple times for a quote, “Apparently additional works.” That you’re only actually paying for what should have been done right in the first place?




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