Hiring a Reputable Electrician or Plumber

It’s a sad fact of life that even today, cowboy builders and unqualified traders are still causing misery for many unsuspecting homeowners and businesses up and down the country.

Unfortunately, it’s often weeks or months after the bill’s been paid, before problems start to show themselves. Damp patches begin to appear on walls or ceilings. The central heating system continually goes down, or breakers begin to trip out on a regular basis. When it comes to hiring a plumber, or hiring an electrician, you need to make sure the people you employ are time-served, reputable, registered tradespeople who are fully qualified to undertake the task at hand, fully insured, and fully conversant with all the appertaining legislation.

This is where competent person schemes come into play, they not only offer peace of mind to you as the customer that the work is completed in a competent and satisfactory manner, but allows the tradesperson to highlight their own skills and qualifications, often leading to additional work. It also provides other safeguards including complaints procedures and insurance backed warranties.

What to look for in a plumbing or electrical company

Make a list

Don’t just tell your prospective contractors what you want done verbally. Make a comprehensive list of the work to be carried out, and when a quote is supplied ensure it covers the work you want undertaken. That way you not only cover yourself, but it also covers the contractor, should you ask for any extras as the work progresses. But that’s just the beginning.

Find out about the company

Contacting a business from a newspaper or online ad tells you little about the company, and the quality of their work and workforce. It is important to make sure that you find out more information about the company and the work that they have carried out previously.

Are they registered?

The first thing to know when hiring a plumber, or hiring an electrician, is whether they, or the firm they work for, are registered to undertake this type of work. In plumbing – the industry is thoroughly regulated, you can find out if a plumber is reputable by checking if they are members of trade bodies. For example, at P Blackhall we are members of SNIPEF which is the Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers Federation, we are also Gas Safe registered too.

The electrical industry is much less tightly regulated – there are various people lobbying the Scottish government to change this. There is currently no legal requirement to have qualifications or have done a proper apprenticeship to call yourself an Electrician. This allows many people to call themselves electricians even though they have no formal qualifications. Although there is hope that this will change in the future, for now it is important to make sure that you choose an electrician who is associated with a Trade body. At P Blackhall Ltd. we are members of SELECT and also NICEIC. Any electrician who is not associated with at least one trade body is likely not qualified.

How do competent person registers work?

There are a number of government approved, competent persons schemes, where you can easily check on the companies you have contacted. For companies and tradespeople, getting on any of the registers is not just a matter of putting their names forward. All schemes have a comprehensive vetting process where all qualifications are checked, the quality of work assessed, and experience taken into account.

In most instances, you will find genuine companies have the details of all the schemes they are registered with, and their registration numbers, on letterheads, business cards, and emails. Making it a simple search job for you to confirm the reputation and reliability of the business concerned.

Never be afraid to ask questions

If you have contacted a local builder with a view to carrying out major improvements to your home, or build an extension, he will likely employ sub-contract plumbers and electricians, to undertake any plumbing and electrical work.

It’s always worth asking if these tradespeople are fully qualified and registered. If he seems hesitant or evasive over the question, it’s probably better to look elsewhere. Using unqualified, uninsured tradespeople, could be the reason his quote is less than his competitors.

In an age of social media, when so much is not as it seems, never be afraid to ask questions. Remember in a worst-case scenario, your home, business, or family could be at risk, if you end up hiring an electrician, or hiring a plumber who is not qualified to undertake the work.

If you’re resident in the Edinburgh area, and have a need for hiring a plumber, or hiring an electrician, don’t take risks. Contact P Blackhall Ltd, where our company, and our loyal and long serving tradespeople, are all fully insured, and registered with the relevant trade directories. We’d be delighted to work on your project, contact us today! Call us on 0131334 8250. We look forward to hearing from you!

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