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Since completing my HNC back in the summer of 2010, I have been intermittently completing my application for membership with the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (more affectionately referred to as CIBSE). So, around two months ago, I finally managed to pull all the information together and got the application completed. And it is with great pride that I can now confirm that my application has been approved! I am now a registered Engineering Technician with the Engineering Council UK (ECUK) and a Licentiate member with CIBSE!

We are pleased to announce that, following the stringent checking and verification process, our Company has attained Approved status with the Building Register.  As part of the registration process, our current health, safety and welfare policy and procedures were assessed, together with our quality management and assurance processes, with all found to be satisfactory!

The Building Register is being used by thousands of estimators and buyers across the country to select checked and verified subcontractors and suppliers.  By doing so, they can help reduce companies costs and risk of tendering.  They provide construction specific information on over 350,000 companies, unlike other services that are little more than online telephone directories or are limited in scope.

The service provides instant access to companies’ coverage together with financial, health and safety, quality and insurance information to reduce risk and save time.

We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our clients and customers – existing and new – together with the readers of our blog a very happy new year!  Here’s hoping to a prosperous one!

We would like to wish all of clients and customers, and readers of this blog, a very merry Christmas!

Should you need any emergency attendance over the festive period, we have a limited number of engineers available on call.  Please call the office – 01273 692100 – which shall redirect you through to an available operative.

Earlier this week, the new Electrical Safety Register launched (www.electricalsafetyregister.com)!  The scheme is a joint venture between the NICEIC (National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting), the ECA (Electrical Contractors Association) and ELECSA and aims to promote their contractors to as many as people as possible, making it easier for people who need a registered electrician to find you.

After researching and listening to electricians, the Government, specifiers and consumers, the partnership between the ESC (Electrical Safety Council) and the ECA will join up the industry as never before.

Firstly, it all sounds very promising.  Although the NICEIC Approved Contractor and Domestic Installer schemes shall remain unaffected, it is hoped that the Register will become the definitive resource for anyone looking for a registered electrician.  And, in April 2013, the NICEIC and ELECSA – a very similar scheme to the NICEIC’s Domestic Installer one – will become jointly owned by the industry’s trade association, the ECA, and the consumer safety charity, the ESC; however, both the NICEIC and ELECSA will continue to run as separate operations.

Although NICEIC members will not automatically become members of the ECA, it will provide greater accessibility into the organisation through the contractor’s current certificate of assessment.

This all sounds well and good.  But then, on the 21 November 2012, I read that the NAPIT organisation – the National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers – had launched their own register…the Electric Safe Register (www.electricsaferegister.co.uk).  Why?  Why can there not be a single principal register, where those electricians who are deemed competent are collated?  Surely the operation of two registers simply means the industry is not pulling in the same direction as one?  Okay, the argument for competition in the marketplace is one, yet having two registers of similar name offering the same purpose just with different trade bodies can only result in subsequent confusion with its targeted audience: the general public.

Consider the Gas Safe Register, the official list of gas engineers qualified to work safely and legally on gas services in the UK.  The beauty of this means that, when Joe Public needs some work done on his gas service at his property, he knows where to go to find someone.  Joe knows that when Gary Gasman turns up at his door, he can check his credentials through the Gas Safe ID card, each one comprising the engineer’s photograph, the licence’s start date and expiry date, the licence number and a security hologram.  And, on the return side of each card, it lists the specific type of work for which the engineer is qualified to work on – i.e. cookers, boilers, gas fires, and that their qualifications are up to date.

So the main point here is this: there is only ONE gas safety register.  It assesses each and every engineer’s credentials and qualifications.  So why can there not be ONE electrical safety register?  It would be commendable if the electrical industry’s trade bodies could ALL join forces, club together and operate something along the lines of the Gas Safe Register.  Hopefully the Electrical Safety Register is the spark to get this started.

This week, I read with great interest an article published on The Argus’ website (article published: 16 October 2012 by Tim Ridgway) – the local newspaper for Brighton and Hove City – with respect to the new £900,000 all-weather sports pitches at Blatchington Mill School in Nevill Close, Hove.  Around two weeks ago, I was playing football at Nevill Recreational Ground adjacent to the new development and, I must admit, it is impressive.  As a community facility and in an era where School’s are selling off their playing fields for new housing or supermarkets or the like, it is refreshing that this development has got through the planning system.

However, following complaints from neighbours about the new floodlighting scheme breaching planning laws and streaming into their homes, the luminaires are having to be switched off by 6:15pm every day.

According to the article, the lighting scheme utilises 12 Nr floodlights, each one mounted approximately 60ft – 20 metres! – above finished floor level, spaced around the sports pitches.

The site is reported as being approximately 60 metres away from about 40 properties in Nevill Avenue and Holmes Avenue.

Planning permission for the development was granted by the local authority back in August 2011, where around 360 people supported the plan and around 120 people opposed it.

Surely, in this modern age in which engineers have license to produce near-perfect lighting simulations of proposed schemes, etc., how has this been allowed to happen?  Is it a case of the initial design data and calculations being wrong?  Has the installation contractor used the wrong luminaires?  Were they meant to utilise 70W-rated lamps but, for some reason, the 150W-rated variant has been employed?  Has anyone checked the completed installation Lux levels against the approved design?  If not, why not?  Perhaps the design was approved, it’s been installed correctly and, as such, blame now lies with the local authority for approving a scheme that was never viable?  Or, is it just a case of sour grapes with local residents who originally opposed the development?  If so, there might not be a problem with the current lighting scheme at all!

So what could be done to rectify the matter so that the public do not miss out on use of this new community sports facility?

One particular comment on the article offers the resolution of altering the angle of the luminaires and having “a few baffles installed”.  This shouldn’t be discredited but I’m not so sure it’s going to provide a total solution to the problem.  Personally, the scheme needs to be tested and compared against the approved design.  If a new design needs to be considered to offer a permanent solution, then so be it.  After the sporting high our Country is experiencing on the back of the Olympics, Paralympics, etc., this summer, let’s just hope that the matter is dealt with swiftly, so that the development can prosper in the local community.  Although, with 1 in 4 people against it, will it ever be given chance to succeed?

Electrical Contracting News (Vol. 32, No. 9, September 2012) reports that both the NICEIC and ECA have welcomed the Government’s response to a Communities and Local Government (CLG) Select Committee report, published on the 30 March 2012, but have warned that there is little provision to reward competent contractors.

The Government has accepted the Committee’s view that Part P has raised standards, and stated that it would not proceed with changes to reduce safety. The Government has yet to clarify its position on reducing the number of notifiable works.

Emma Clancy, CEO at NICEIC, said, “Electrical contractors want clarity in the building regulations and a fair, enforceable electrical safety regulation that rewards the safe, compliant contractor over the bad. We’re pleased that the Select Committee thoroughly investigated all aspects of Part P and that CLG has responded positively to a number of the points raised.”