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Defective Electrics on Council Insulation Programme

Electrical horror stories are not new and have been commented upon on this blog on previous occasions. Yet despite extensive regulation, legislation, and approved and accredited NVQ electrical training and qualifications, problems persist with standards that exist in parts of the electrical industry, and the complete lack of common sense shown by DIY renovators and home owners generally when it comes to the electrical systems in their own house.The Council Insulation Programme was introduced to enhance energy efficiency of council housing and help reduce the number of households having problems paying their fuel bills. The scheme which included installation of cavity wall and loft insulation, hot water tank jackets, and energy efficiency light bulbs, enabled over 80% of council owned homes to be brought up to the Decent Home Standard by 2010.Unfortunately, there have been reports of the insulation program causing electrocutions and fires - nearly all of these problems, however, appearing to originate from poor, sub-standard and pre-existing electrical work.Investigations have discovered down lights lacking proper thermal insulation and their transformers not securely fixed, wiring not correctly insulated or connected or the wrong gauge, and incorrect lighting fixtures.A majority of the housing stock was found to have sub-standard electrical systems to the point of being physically dangerous, caused by a long history of shoddy workmanship and corner cutting, poor regulatory standards on DIY work and a public ignorance when it comes to the expectations of longevity of electrical systems.There has been some talk of overhauling existing regulations on DIY work, even though the Part P scheme, which only allows specific categories of electric work to be legally carried out by homeowners, was designed to control dangerous practices.Training to be an electrician, who becomes both competent and qualified, formally begins on the City & Guilds NVQ 2330 Level 2 course, which not only provides foundation knowledge learning but also introduces the statutory principles of safe electrical installation practice and at the same time aims to instill duty of responsibility to Health & Safety regulations in respect of always working with due care and diligence.Students who qualify at level 2 would then be required to undertake level 3 - or a complete course of both level 2 and 3, back to back- in order to obtain the required standard of qualification before being allowed to enter the industry to gain full working experience, mostly under apprenticeship.