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Joined: Mar 2020
Posts: 3
S
New Member
hello,
my name is simon, i live in the uk and trying to get more experience and qualifications. but, i have been thinking about going to the usa to work and possible migrate. in the future obviously. i am looking for the best explanation of qualifications and requirements. i was thinking about getting a book about it as i prefer reading from a book than internet screen. but there dont seem to be any in england. is there a site that explains what is required along with qualifications that are acceptable. i have seen some online courses. are these acceptable?
thanks

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,662
Likes: 4
G
Member
You will find we really have no national standard. This is regulated by state and local governments. If I was going to start, I would get the National Electric Code Handbook. That is the code with footnotes explaining what they are talking about. Guys like Mike Holt have web sites with useful information too. You could also get a "homeowner" book like the Time Life wiring guide, that gives a superficial explanation of how we do things. You should still be cross referencing that with the actual code though because they tend to skip over some important details. . You will find out pretty fast, not only do we drive on the wrong side of the road, we also do a lot of other things quite differently over on this side of the pond. We did start adding metric designations to the NEC so you will have a little common ground to work with.

I am sure folks here will be happy to help you out with questions. We have been looking for something to talk about wink


Greg Fretwell
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,407
Likes: 2
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Hi Simon,
Welcome to ECN!,
What sort of qualifications do you currently have?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to be nosy, it would be handy to know how much experience you have.

Cheers,
Mike T.

Joined: Mar 2020
Posts: 3
S
New Member
Hello,
thanks for the replies.
i have a btec level 3 electrical installation, which is a technical certificate. the same as the level 3 city and guilds for that time. though things have changed a little.
18th edition wiring regulations
currently doing my inspection and testing cert, but that is put on hold due to covid, set to do the first exam in about three weeks, not sure how that will work. but it is the visual inspection with classification codes and short written exam. i think that could be done online.
i have a level 3 marine electrician cert as well. also, hnc electronics. this is a level 4 qualification equal to the first year of a degree in the uk.

Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,492
T
Member
You'll find that testing and inspection as done in Europe isn't really a thing in the US - inspections are mainly limited to visual inspection and functional testing. No IR testing, no PFC/PSC testing, no Zs, nothing. I think there's an older thread on this board on this very topic.

Joined: Jul 2004
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G
Member
If you really want to break things, a job at a Nationally Recognized Testing Lab might be for you. Over on the continent it would be TUV. It is ETL or U/L here. Those are the guys who really test equipment, sometimes destructively. They probably want a engineer degree tho.

Last edited by gfretwell; 03/30/20 10:58 PM.

Greg Fretwell
Joined: Jul 2002
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Greg,
I realise that the US is a HUGE country, but why has there never been any sort of standardisation on laws and legislation/regulations, even funding?

It seemed to me, when I was over there in 1995 and I visited quite a few firehouses around the south and up the East Coast, a lot of these places were either really well set up or they were starved for resources, like vehicles, basic equipment, etc.

Is it seriously a thing over there, that before an installation gets energised that no Insulation Resistance testing, a Polarity test or the like ever happens?


Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,662
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G
Member
It probably gets back to the 9th and 10th amendment to the constitution that says any thing not spelled out in the Constitution is up to the states so every state is it's own little kingdom. In a lot of places that even trickles down to the local government. Florida took all of that away from the locals by having a state wide building code but it is far from universal across the country. We still have independent building departments following that code and a little "interpretation" goes on.
Funding from building departments comes from permit revenue, backed up by local tax money.

We do a visual inspection and that is really about it. The inspector takes a lot on faith but if you don't have faith, based on what you see, that visual inspection can get pretty extensive.


Greg Fretwell
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,407
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Originally Posted by gfretwell

We do a visual inspection and that is really about it. The inspector takes a lot on faith but if you don't have faith, based on what you see, that visual inspection can get pretty extensive.


No disrepect, Greg, but I find that quite bizarre that actual electrical testing doesn't figure into an inspection over there.
I mean, that is quite a bit of liability to take on and I'm not sure I'd like that, if I could be sued down the track, for whatever reason, if there was a problem with the installation wiring later on in it's life and this caused either electric shock or a fire, because of that installation.

I've always believed that at the very least, a new installation (or parts thereof) should be subjected to an Insulation Resistance test, and a Polarity test, all done at the main panel, before the circuit(s) is energised.
Then once energised, a Fault-Loop test is performed, to make sure that the Perspective Short Circuit Current is lower than the installed circuit protection.
Also, is there no mandated testing (with a dedicated tester) of GFCI's in the US, when a place is first energised?

Don't get me wrong Greg, I'm not having a go at you because you were the first to mention it here, it just all seems very strange to me. cool

Joined: Jul 2004
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G
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We probably want to see fire pumps or other life safety equipment run and guys will plug in a receptacle tester now and then but we are not normally getting out a meter and doing impedance testing. We trust the NRTLs to certify equipment, wire panels etc. If they are installed according to manufacturer's instructions they are accepted. On some jobs they will have an engineering company looking over their shoulder and doing some of those tests but that isn't us.


Greg Fretwell
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