Overall, yes. But only the good ones !
We recently had an in depth #twitter conversation with a few fellow contractors regarding the electrical industry and the way it is governed. Basically, there are a number of governing bodies NIC EIC, Napit, Elecsa, Stroma etc, which on an annual basis will assess the electrician / electrical contractors work, knowledge and competency as an #electrician / #electricalcontractor. The requirement is there so the assessor can deem you competent to carry out electrical installation work within a property and self certify your own work. This however, can be as dangerous as it not existing. I used to be with Napit, who albeit were good in some aspects, did not assess us to any kind of extent I anticipated. The 3 successful assessments I had with Napit, consisted of; A cup of tea / coffee, a chat about the industry, a couple of regulation questions and a certificate in the post acknowledging I am competent to carry out electrical work and self certify my own work. Great ! I've finished my apprenticeship, had a year being a sub contractor, now I have my own business and now I'm out on my own ! Looking back on it now, it sends shivers down my spine, that the assessments consisted of this and the experience I had at this point.
The scary issue is, some assessments are still like this and it's not stopped anything in terms of who carries out electrical work and who doesn't. I personally have now 15 years experience in the field and certainly do not know everything, yet courses can be offered to people with no experience on an intensive 18 day course and from that can become their own electrical contracting business... Not is this just a scary thought for consumers, its laughable that it's even allowed !?
Most of these governing bodies, as with most businesses are about branding, there name on everyone's vans and money coming in. The safety aspect of the industry is in 2nd place to this and is evident by electricians / contractors I have fully witnessed carry out horrendous and excusing the pun, shocking work that is unsafe and or not fit for purpose. This is not to say that electricians and contractors out there working safely, to the regulations and doing a good job, however, these contractors tend to be of a certain breed, that I foresee will become extinct. They know whats involved in the jobs in hand, whats required of them as an electrician, how much it'll cost the customer in labour and materials, though who will also be scrutinized because Steve down the road can do it for £1000.00 less than you can... Why can he ? A) He'll have no idea what he's actually installing B) More than likely he's got a mate who can certificate his work after he's installed it (whereby this will 100% not be checked as it should be by the person signing it off) C) He'll tell you he's qualified (Will you actually check this) D) Even if you check, it doesn't necessarily mean they're competent. It should send your alarm bells ringing ! Everyone wants to save as much money as possible, but doing so could cause further problems, potential fire issues, potential injury and or death. You can't see electricity or smell it (unless its already on fire), so do yourself a favour and don't just opt for the cheapest quote. Chances are it won't be right.
Even though the electrician you got round to look at the work you require undertaking gave you a quote and is registered, this doesn't mean they're competent to do the work. Trust your instincts as much as your electrician. If its much lower than others, it won't be correct or to the standards set by the #IET and could cause you multiple problems down the line including your safety and wallet !