Blind spot alert

12 October 2020

Your organisation may exist to make a profit or provide a public service. Safely maintaining property and assets to support staff, produce goods or service customers is essential and costly. Hidden costs exist in most businesses. Some of these costs arise in the procurement of planned and reactive maintenance services. Many Clients of the building services industry pay for qualified electricians but end up receiving services from unregulated workers who are underqualified, unqualified or who self-designate as an electrician.

Do you have a deadly blind spot?

Clients of the building services and FM industries are often forced to exercise a form of blind faith in the existence and appropriateness of the qualifications of those in the supply chain that install, repair or maintain electrical wiring and equipment.

  • Could the appointment of contractors who rely on unqualified or underqualified electrical workers damage your organisation or personal reputation?
  • Is the safety of your staff, customers or assets potentially at risk of shock, fire or electrocution because of a lack of rigor and scrutiny into the competency of those who carry out electrical works on your behalf?
  • How would you defend your organisation or personal reputation in court for using unqualified electrical workers?

It would be difficult. You may argue that it’s up to the contractor who employs the worker to protect your interests and then hope for the best. An inquiry panel or perhaps the courts are likely to dig deep to ascertain if you exercised sufficient diligence in the selection and appointment of a contractor who employs qualified electrical workers.

Ignorance is not bliss or defence in law.

Failure by Clients to ensure that electrical workers are adequately qualified to carry out electrical maintenance and installation of life and property systems (e.g. Emergency Lighting & Fire Alarms) may lead to injury, business interruption, denied insurance claims, embarrassing media coverage, loss of life and a life-long troubled conscience.

Clients you are already “on a need to know basis.”   

You wouldn’t want a rogue trader or cowboy operator working in your home, so why tolerate them in your business? Across the UK, many companies suffer from the negative impact of latent defects, delays, and interruption to the flow of business because somewhere in the cause and effect cycle, a contractor masked the employment of workers who were not competent.

Social procurement – actions speak louder than words.

By exercising discernment in the selection and appointment of bona fide electrical contractors, you will be strengthening the productivity and sustainability of the UK construction sector.

Responsible UK electrical contractors are committed to accredited and approved training standards which include many annual opportunities for recruitment and approved apprenticeship training throughout the Nation. Good social procurement practice means that Clients should evaluate the positive impact and societal benefits of awarding tender opportunities and contracts to those who demonstrate accredited workforce competency.