Updated in January 2020, changes to the Electrotechnical Assessment Specification (EAS) will spark changes across the electrotechnical industry with implications being felt by all, so what is it and what changes are contractors likely to see? Here, Paul Collins, Technical Services Manager at NICEIC and ELECSA, discusses the topic and offers his views on why this introduction is both necessary and welcomed.
What the EAS is and how it is developed?
EAS, or to give it its full name, the Electrotechnical Assessment Specification, is the document that sets out the criteria contractors/businesses must be assessed against in order to be registered with a Certification or Registration Body.
In other words, it is the industry agreed standard Certification Bodies (CBs), such as NICEIC, ELECSA and other Competent Persons Schemes, adhere to when designing and conducting assessments to verify competence.
The EAS is developed by a management committee that includes representatives of the Competent Person Scheme providers, trade associations, such as ECA and SELECT, the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government, the Welsh Government, Electrical Safety First, other industry bodies, such as Awarding Organisations, and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).
What is changing and how will it impact electrical contractors?
The 2020 update brings in several enhanced criteria which will impact both contractors who are already registered with Certification Bodies and those wishing to get registered for the first time.
Full details can be seen via the EAS webpage – www.niceic.com/eas – but a summary of key changes is seen below.
Here, there has been a notable change. As of 1 September 2021, EAS will no longer recognise certificates of competence or auditable evidence as qualifying forms of technical education. A big step, as this will effectively end the ‘short course’ routes into the industry for those wishing to be registered with Certification Bodies such as ours. From this date forward, in addition to other requirements, new applicants must hold relevant ‘craft qualifications’.
For those individuals who have operated as electrical contractors for many years, but who have perhaps not had the opportunity to update their formal education, there will continue to be options available. The Electrotechnical Experienced Worker Assessment has been designed to assess knowledge in line with the Level 3 Electrotechnical Qualification Standard.
For more details on the Electrotechnical Experienced Worker Assessment and all forms of acceptable education, please download the NICIEC EAS Scheme Entry Requirements guide, which can be found at www.niceic.com/eas.
Before we get into the details, it is essential to note that contractors who are already with a certification/registration body or those who have been a registered QS within the last two years will not be required to comply with the new standard in terms of holding a craft qualification. The reason for this is the relevant Certification/Registration body will have verified continued competence through regular and ongoing assessment protocols.
However, existing registered contractors will see several changes as a result of the EAS update. Under the new requirements, a greater focus will be applied to record-keeping, with additional checks being made during assessment visits. A summary of some of the information needed is shown below:
- Records of all electrical work carried out together with the specifications, drawings, certificates, reports, and other relevant documents relating to that work. These should be held for a minimum of six years.
- Recorded evidence demonstrating that all employed persons are competent and/or adequately supervised to undertake electrical work, this will include subcontractors as well.
- Records of relevant qualifications, ongoing training (including Continuing Professional Development – CPD) and experience levels of all employed persons.
Also, if a registered contractor undertakes EICRs as part of their scheme registration, they must now have professional indemnity insurance cover in place for no less than £250,000. Proof of this cover must be provided during the assessment visit. If you are looking for insurance cover or if you would like to discuss the type of cover you need, NICEIC and ELECSA insurance services can help. Please visit www.niceic-and-elecsa-insurance.com.
Tools and guidance
Looking specifically at the requirement for ongoing training, including CPD, we are keen to point out that NICEIC and ELECSA registered contractors already have access to a wide range of tools to support them in this area.
These range from the in-depth technical articles seen in our quarterly Connections Magazine through to our fortnightly technical webinar series, the WIRE, both of which are independently CPD verified.
In addition, we also offer a vast range of formal training, which is open to the entire industry. Delivering a solution to suit all, we offer face-to-face, virtual and blended options across a full spectrum of courses. For more information, please visit www.niceic.com/training.
Driving improvement and raising standards
The purpose of this update is clear; raising standards to protect consumers from non-compliant electrical work. NICEIC and ELECSA welcome these changes, and we are committed to supporting our registered contractors as they continue to deliver technical excellence across the board.