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#3256 08/14/01 05:00 PM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
pauluk Offline OP
Over here in England our equivalent of the NEC is the "I.E.E. Wiring Regulations," published by the Institute of Electrical Engineers and commonly referred to as "The I.E.E. Regs."

In a few special cases, such as factories, cinemas, and petrol (gas) stations, the Regs. are quoted by Health & Safety legislation and are therefore mandatory.

In general, however, they have no legal force and could more accurately be described as recommendations. There is no legal obligation to follow them in any private home, or in most commercial properties other than the few special cases.

There is no such thing as a licensed electrician here either, because licenses do not exist. Anyone is free to carry out work on his own property, or to set up shop as an electrician and get paid to carry out work for anyone else.

In line with this, we have no permits for electrical work, and no inspections.

How do you all feel about this? I realized before that rules in the U.S. varied somewhat from state to state, and from reading your posts on this subject I see that there is a big difference in cost of permits, how strictly the rules are enforced, etc.

Do you like the idea of little or no restriction on wiring, or do you think there should be some degree of regulation?

Bet I've set the cat among the pigeons.....

#3257 08/14/01 09:38 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,392
Paul, you pull no punches my friend ! [Linked Image]

I guess I will refrain form standing on lauerals here. Any trades qualified members are usually quantified by it's peers. What being 'qualified' entails usually is more than formed opinion, there is some time required as an apprentice, intern, paraleagal, rookie, underling or what have you. Commonly, there is some sort of testing as to the 'level' of qualification achieved.
As a basic equation i would pose that Time & Education=Qaulification.

I suppose that the latter becomes more of a necessity in the extreemist litigate society we have here, lest every Moe, Larry & Curley open a brain surgey drive thru.

Personally, I am comfortable with a certain level of checks and balances, although i realize that the bueaucracy can be a double -edged sword ever leaning towards a leftist police state mentality.

Here, one can walk across state lines to experience an entirely different situation, not very comforting for those who spent their apprenticeship learining the "National Electrical Code" , only to find there is very little 'national' to it.

As to inspectors, my liabilty lessens when they point out the no-no's that could easily have me breakin' rocks in the hot sun, so as much as it sometimes pains me, i grow as a tradesman from this type of management.

#3258 08/14/01 10:26 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,236
Likes: 1
We've recently started inspections for new services here in West Virginia, I feel it is a very good thing but it is not without its growing pains.

I (someday) would like to be part of the big revolution of truly qualified electricians in WV, and lobby for inspections and permits being required for all phases of electrical construction... "within reason"...

I think there is a balance between the extremes of the "free states" and the not so free ones...

As it is, it is hard to compete and stay within code while making a profit here... but I'm giving it my best shot...

Alas, the ol' "grandfather clause" will keep the worst cases uh... "protected" (for want of a better word) from code compliance.

[This message has been edited by sparky66wv (edited 08-14-2001).]

Residential/Commercial Inspector
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#3259 08/15/01 04:44 AM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,392
despite what seems a rather loose situation that you've posted, is there an apprenticeship of sorts in the UK ?

#3260 08/15/01 04:49 AM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,392

#3261 08/15/01 07:12 AM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 2,056
What about other trades?
What about the medical field? (just joking)
By the way, the old Benfield conduit bending manual had a list of UK terms and the U.S. versions .
Pauluk, can you translate?

Electrical terms---

Electric torch
Extractor fan
Plug top
Double set
Bubble set
Service lorry
Consumer unit
Water barrel pipe


Bed sit
Rone pipes
Pockey hat
Drum of bitter (my favorite)
Market trolley
Shooting brake
Tower block flat

[This message has been edited by Redsy (edited 08-15-2001).]

#3262 08/15/01 12:17 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,392
Fixits ????

#3263 08/15/01 04:31 PM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
pauluk Offline OP
Well, I figured that one would stir up a bit of a hornets' nest!

I'm not sure I have especially strong feelings either way about permits and inspections. I can see how they may be beneficial, but I think a lot must depend upon how the system is run and enforced. We've seen too many similar schemes here (e.g. vehicle inspections) which just seem to increase the bureaucracy and become an excuse to extract more money to disappear into the Treasury.

I'm pretty certain that the sort of "weekend bodgers" who are responsible for some of the worst DIY wiring would be the least likely to comply with rules anyway, and if it's in their own home nobody is likely to ever know about unauthorized wiring anyway (not until after the Fire Dept. investigation, anyhow....)

Should those setting up as professional electricians be licensed? I think there's probably more of a case for this. Some of the work I've seen done by "professionals" here is very bad, and when someone hires a professional person to do a job, they surely have a right to expect that person to be competent to carry out the work safely.

There's always legal redress through our Trading Standards Dept., or the courts, but by then of course, it's usually too late.

#3264 08/15/01 05:00 PM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
pauluk Offline OP
Originally posted by sparky:
Is this the book used?

Yep, that's the one. The first edition came out way back before 1900. We're now on the 16th edition, but in between each major new version there are usually several supplements and reprints issued.

The Regs. ARE generally accepted as good practice in the industry (even though some are disputed), and many commercial contracts specify that wiring must follow the Regs. My point about them was that there is no legal obligation to do so, except in a few special cases.

There are apprenticeships, and we do have several trade organizations which offer certification. Some employers may require this as a condition of employment, but there is no legal obligation for the self-employed to go this route. I'm involved nostly with residential wiring, and Mr. Average Citizen who wants an extra wall-light has never heard of such certification anyway.

For that reason, the lack of licensing, and the expense (so I've been told), I've never bothered to become certified, so I'm not sure exactly what it entails. I will say, however, that I have seen a lot of work done by those holding such certificates that would make Moe, Larry, and Curly seem quite competent, hence my caution about the whole license/permit issue.

#3265 08/15/01 06:06 PM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
pauluk Offline OP
Originally posted by Redsy:
What about other trades?
What about the medical field? (just joking)

Most trades, including electrical, have recognized academic qualifications, often through our "City & Guilds" exams, but few have these as a legal requirement.

A few years ago it was made illegal for anyone to install gas piping or fittings unless he is properly qualified and registered. So far as I am aware, there are no specifc requirements for builders, decorators, plumbers, etc., but legislation is progressing so fast these days that I couldn't be sure about these.

Pauluk, can you translate?[/B]

Whew.... That's quite a list, including a few I've never heard of!

Still, I once spent nearly an hour explaining British words down in Georgia, so here goes....

Electric torch = Flashlight

Extractor fan = A ventilation fan used to draw air/fumes out of a room and vent them to the outside, usually from a kitchen, bathroom, or workshop. (What do you call them?)

Plug top = Plug. Just one of the many strange terms used by the IEE. Never understood why they used this one.

Double set = A "set" in conduit mans a bend of 45 deg. or less, so "double set" is two closely spaced sets, such as might be used to connect a surface run conduit to a surface mounted outlet box.

Bubble set = Sorry, I have no idea!

Service lorry = Service truck.

Consumer unit = Main or sub distribution panel in a house.

Water barrel pipe. Most likely refers to normal PVC rainwater pipe. Many people here have an open-topped barrel to collect rainwater of a roof to use it on their gardens.

Fixits. Never heard of this one!


Bed sit = Bed-sitter, short for bedroom-sitting room. Basically a small one-room apartment.

Rone pipes. Don't know. Maybe a brand name?

Pockey hat. We have many types of hat, but I'm afraid this is another one that this "Limey" has never heard of!

Drum of bitter (my favorite). "Bitter" is a popular type of beer, strongly flavored with hops. I'm not a beer drinker myself, but yes, most people here do have it warm.

Coshed = Hit on the head with a cosh, a weighted stick or bludgeon such as might be used by a robber.

Market trolley = Shopping cart.

Shooting brake. An older term for what is now called a estate car. Same as a station wagon.

Tower block flat = Apartment in a very tall, plain building. Found in our bigger towns. Has rather negative connotations these days, as most are in very run-down areas.

Hope this helps.

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