Fuse BoxCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sarflondondunc/2277066748/Most people now recognise that carrying out electrical work in the home themselves -- apart from minor jobs like changing a light bulb or a fuse in a plug -- is not a good idea. However, many homeowners are still unclear about how to find the right sort of electrical contractor to carry out the job. In particular, how can you be sure that a particular contractor is a competent person?

What Is A Competent Person?

Employing a competent person is very important -- not just for safety reasons, but so as to comply with the law. Nowadays almost all electrical work comes under Part P of the Building Regulations, which state that having the work carried out by anyone other than a competent person is a criminal offence. A competent person under the regulations means an electrical contractor who is not only fully qualified, but registered with a government approved scheme such as the NICEIC (National Inspection Council For Electrical Installation Contracting).

How Electricians Become Registered

You may have seen the term NICEIC Registered beside some electricians' names, and been unsure what it meant. To be able to register, and stay registered, electricians and anyone employed by them have to meet stringent standards of competence, safety and professionalism. A contractor has to undergo a thorough  assessment in order to become registered, and then is re-assessed regularly to ensure that these standards are maintained. This means that you can be confident that work done by an NICEIC-registered contractor will be safely and competently done.

Benefits Of Using NICEIC

There are of course other government-approved schemes, including ELECSA and ECA, and you must ensure that your contractor is registered with at least one of these. However, another benefit of using NICEIC contractors is that NICEIC is the only scheme which provides an automatic six-year guarantee on all work carried out by its electricians. In addition, you can feel extra safe because of its complaints procedure, under which, in the rare event that you may be unhappy with the work of one of the contractors, you can be sure that your complaint will be fully investigated and rectified.

The most reliable way to find an NICEIC electrician is to look on the organisation's website and put in your postcode, so you can find the registered contractors in your locality. If you find someone claiming in an advertisement to be a member, you should still check, as some cowboy operators make this claim in order to gain business. Taking these steps is the best way to ensure that any electrical work done in your home is carried out to the highest possible standards.