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Many contractors lack confidence around 18th Edition changes, says study

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A new trade survey has revealed that nearly half of electrical contractors do not feel ‘fully confident’ in terms of understanding the 18th Edition changes.

Despite an intensive publicity campaign ahead of the mandatory introduction of the 18th Edition Wiring Regulations on 1 January 2019, a survey of electrical professionals carried out by Hager shows that many still admit to lacking confidence when it comes to fully understanding the changes. Many cite AFDDs and surge protection as the technical areas causing them the most concern.

Confidence and compliance

The research looked at whether those in the electrical trade were feeling fully confident that they understood all the changes detailed in the 18th Edition. Just over half (55%) said they did feel fully confident, but the remaining 45% admitted they still do not fully understand all the rule changes.

When asked if they felt prepared to comply with the 18th Edition amendments, two thirds said they were prepared, but 34% answered no.

Technical concerns

AFDD and surge protection topped the list of technical areas causing most concern to the industry as it adapts to a new regulatory landscape. Nearly half (48%) highlighted AFDDs when asked which area of the 18th Edition they were least sure about, while nearly one third (29%) selected surge protection measures. Amendments to overload protection, RCDs and device incorporation all appear to be well understood, according to the survey.

Help is at hand

Interestingly, those in the trade have relied upon online help to get themselves up-to-speed with the 18th Edition. Online sources, thanks to their immediacy and convenience, were favoured over other channels by 44% of electricians. Industry bodies were cited by 30% of the electricians questioned as a favoured supplier of relevant and appropriate information.

Keen to learn more

While the 18th Edition changes are already mandatory in the marketplace, and despite more than half of electrical professionals saying they are fully confident about their knowledge levels, the majority (81%) still intend to seek further guidance and invest in additional training this year. 

This commitment of time and resources intended to deepen their understanding shows how electricians appreciate the need to act compliantly as the effects of the 18th Edition introduction begin to be felt into the future.

Paul Collins for Hager, commented, “After the high profile lead-in period to the introduction of the 18th Edition, it is perhaps unsurprising that electrical contractors in the main feel fully confident about the new rules and how to enforce them.

“However, there remains a significant proportion who admit to a lack of full 18th Edition knowledge and the potential for non-compliance when undertaking installations.  For this group in particular, as well as for the industry in general, it is welcome to see that the vast majority intend to seek further training to supplement their knowledge and acquire new skills to comply.

“Hager has been working hard to support the industry through a period of transformative change and initiatives such as Hager’s industry-leading chatbot, Reg, have proven popular with professionals keen to find out what they need to know regarding the 18th Edition. This is also reflected in the significant numbers signing up for the 18th Edition-related training courses we are running across the year at our bespoke training centre in Telford.”  



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