In this article we catch up with electrician Peter Gill to find out how he got on when he recently applied to join Stroma’s Part P Competent Person Scheme.
Tell us a little bit about your working background
My electrical career has been varied since I undertook my apprenticeship. I originally started at a power station, with responsibility for industrial installation and maintenance, however the funding was pulled after a couple of years and I was then transferred to my local council where I completed my apprenticeship doing house bashing and commercial works.
After I’d qualified I then moved around to different companies, where I was exposed to many different types of electrical work – domestic, commercial and industrial – but, as time has gone on, I’ve been regularly asked if I can do local jobs for customers, such as board changes, rewires etc. For me to do this properly and above board, however, I had to get registered with a scheme that would allow me to issue the correct certificates and inform the local authority as and when required. This is when I turned to Stroma.
Why was the opportunity to become a Part P registered electrician important to you?
The reason I wanted to become Part P registered was so that my potential customers know I’m fully compliant, that I have the correct qualifications and experience, the right insurance in place and a point of contact to advise me if my customers have any issues.
Personally, I think the public still need much greater education about Part P, what it involves and the reasons behind this. However, by showing my customers that I am committed to setting high standards and everything I do is fully backed up by my scheme provider, it gives them more confidence that they know the work done is correctly, safely and to a high standard.
What did you have to get in place for your Stroma assessment?
We began the day with an office assessment before moving on to the on site assessment. For the assessment I had to have certain documents, books and kit in place. The documents I required were my insurance policy, complaints procedure, risk assessment and method statement, while the books were my on-site guide, my BS7671 Regs and the Electricity at Work Regs 1989. In terms of kit, I needed a MFT unit accompanied by an in-date calibration certificate and a lock-off kit to carry out safe isolation. I also had to make sure I could take the assessor to a recent install I’d completed so that he could physically check my work.
How did you find the assessment day?
I’ll be honest and say that I was extremely nervous in the lead-up to my assessment, which is surprising considering I’m confident in myself and all of the documentation and other items I needed were all in place.
The day before my assessment I received a call from Steve Hackleton, Lead Technical Assessor at Stroma Certification, to let me know how the assessment was going to be structured, the time he would be arriving and some general reassurance.
Upon meeting Steve the following day, he immediately put me at ease and made sure I was relaxed so that the assessment ran smoothly. Steve introduced himself and told me a bit about his background in the industry (he was previously an electrician before becoming an assessor), which gave me plenty of reassurance that he knew the industry well and would be able to see things through the eyes of the person being assessed. He then talked me through each process while asking me questions that would help complete the verbal part of my assessment.
Once that was all done we then proceeded to the install for inspection, which I’d undertaken at my father-in-law’s property a few miles away. For this I was required to talk Steve through the install (a new lighting circuit, a new socket circuit and a consumer unit in a garden outbuilding), while he carried out visual inspections and asked me to remove certain items for inspection.
I then carried out the testing part of the assessment, starting with safe isolation, checking and nulling my test equipment leads and then carrying out the required tests as requested by Steve. Once this was completed we then had a chat about how things had gone, with Steve providing feedback about whether I’d met the criteria required to become a Stroma member. Fortunately there were no issues and I was chuffed to learn that he would be putting me forward for certification to become a Stroma member.
Clearly the assessment process for any CPS needs to be stringent and involved, which can be something that is unnerving for those electricians that haven’t taken an exam or physical assessment for a while. In this respect I was so glad to have Steve’s presence throughout as I found him to be very professional and experienced, while making the process enjoyable and relaxed at the same time.
Steve’s admitted that his own experience of being assessed when he was an electrician has shaped the way he deals with this process, and at no time did I feel he was trying to catch me out. He made sure I understood the questions I was being asked throughout so that I could prove my experience and knowledge.
Have you been able to put your Part P qualification to use yet?
Although I’m currently employed by a commercial organisation, I’m now in the process of putting adverts and flyers together in order to spread the word locally that I can now certify my work, inform the relevant personnel and give my customers the assurance that the work I carry out will be to a high standard. In time I’d like to build up a big enough customer-base so that I can eventually go it alone and work for myself.
Would you recommend Stroma’s CPS to other electricians and how have you found the company to deal with?
I would definitely recommend Stroma to any electrician that’s looking to get their domestic certification. Not only does the company offer a really attractive membership price but I found all of the staff I dealt with to be very approachable, informative, helpful and easy to contact. Throughout the entire process I was kept up-to-date with what was going on, and if I had any questions or needed to know anything then I was able to ring and get the information and support I required.
Whether you have a query about registering a job on the portal or need advice on a situation that may arise on-site or on a job, Stroma will make sure that you’re completely happy with the answer before you’ve ended the call or someone who does know the answer will call you back. I can see myself staying with Stroma for the foreseeable future as the level of service and support I’ve received has been really excellent.
For more information about Stroma Certification and its Part P Competent Persons Scheme membership visit: www.stroma.com/electricians