ECA: Underqualified workers present fire risk
Underqualified workers present a continued fire risk in the construction of buildings, the Electrical Contractors Association (ECA) has warned.
The ECA warned of the risk of further residential fire tragedies following the publication earlier this week of the report into the first phase of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.
It cautioned that “several inquiries” have concluded that installer competency is fundamental to public safety, particularly in the case of residential tower blocks, care homes and hospitals.
And it claimed that within the electrotechnical industry, “many individuals are claiming to be competent electricians despite having trained, in some cases, for only a matter of weeks”.
ECA director of corporate and social responsibility Paul Reeve said: “This week’s publication of the inquiry findings into the Grenfell tragedy underline the urgency and vital importance of ensuring that everyone who works in and on buildings, where there are vulnerable residents, must be sufficiently competent.
“We should all remember we are talking about ensuring residential fire safety. It’s time to stop messing around with low levels of electrical and fire safety competency, and in particular it’s high time to say a final goodbye to so-called ‘five-week wonders’ – wrongly regarded by some as competent to design and install electrical work in residential and similar premises.
“ECA has mapped the way forward for our sector in our response – we need to avoid settling for lower competencies, which risks another major fire tragedy in the UK.”
The ECA has set out a series of recommendations regarding the competency of installers in the ‘Raising the Bar’ consultation, which was prepared by the Steering Group on Competence for ‘Building a Safety Future’ in response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy. The recommendations are:
- All enterprises should have accredited third-party certification
- All individuals must have Level 2 or 3 Ofqual-regulated and competence-based qualifications. ECA strongly advocates technical apprenticeships for new entrants
- The electrotechnical sector should use the Electrotechnical Certification card Scheme (ECS)
- CPD should ensure workers are up-to-date with the latest regulations and other developments
- All installers should have core, relevant knowledge of fire safety in buildings, with standardised and mandatory training