Northern Ireland’s electrical contractors lead the way

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Northern Ireland is currently leading the way in the UK, with the industry’s electrical Licence to Practice (LtP) system.

The LtP initiative has become subject to a formal Procurement Guidance Note (PGN). PGN’s are the administrative means by which Government departments are advised of procurement policy and best practice developments.
The LtP initiative has been applied to all appropriate Government construction contracts from February 1, 2016. This means that procurement and contract documentation issued from this date, will contain the requirement that the main contractor, electrical contractor, sub-contractor and electrical workers are registered with the LtP System for specified projects.

How does LtP work?
The industry’s LtP initiative is the first of its kind in the UK. The initiative requires that only licenced electricians and workers are employed to undertake electrical installation work on behalf of Government clients. This means that electrical workers employed on Government construction contracts must register online.
A unique system has been developed that connects the competency of individual electrical workers, on a project by project basis, by licence type. This appears in the form of an online workforce composition report, providing the client with visibility, transparency and reporting tools that deter fraud and encourage improved contract performance.

Why was IT developed?
Quality improvement and value for money are the drivers for LtP. At the present time, there are circa 2,500 to 3,000 practicing electrical workers in Northern Ireland. Over half of these workers are dependent on projects emanating from the Public Sector.
Significant numbers of electrical workers are either unqualified or underqualified, for the work that they are tasked to carry out. LtP is aimed at providing the client with a resource to discern and select the preferred electrical contractor, based on the competency and composition of their direct and sub-contracted workforce. The system is primarily designed to highlight the competency of electrical workers to the client.
A secondary purpose of the system, is to help motivate and steer unqualified and underqualified workers to meet acceptable client and industry standards.

Monitoring and compliance
It is important that implementation of the LtP requirement is monitored throughout the project. As part of this, the main contractor will be required to provide appropriate evidence to demonstrate compliance with the LtP requirements. This includes, but is not limited to, verification via self-declaration by the main contractor; by carrying out onsite identification checks of electrical workers against records held in the LtP database; by facilitating random onsite inspections by the LtP system provider; and by reports extracted from the LtP system indicating the composition of the electrical workforce by Licence Type.

Next steps
1. If you are a main contractor and are wholly or partly dependant on Public Sector contracts, you are advised to register your business details within the ‘Main Contractors’ section of the website
www.sparksafeltp.co.uk. Registration for main contractor is free .

2. If you are an electrical contractor wholly or partly dependant on Public Sector contracts, or if you are seeking opportunity to tender for Public Sector work, you are advised to register your business details on the ‘Electrical Contractors’ section of www.sparksafeltp.co.uk. Registration for electrical contractors is £485 per annum.

3. If you are an electrical worker, now is a good time to self-assess the requirement for an electrical licence. Electricians and apprentices working exclusively in the private sector will not be obliged to apply for a licence. However, some may wish to do so, on the basis of providing their private sector clients with an online option to independently verify their photographic identity by licence type.
The system is designed to provide you with independent access to the licensing system. A charge of £140 for a three-year licence is payable by the electrical worker. This means that you retain ownership and control over your licence.

The revenue is used to fund the maintenance of the IT system, the essential administration processes, and the development of the interest of the licence holders.
T: (NI) 028 2566 6835 or (RoI) 048 2566 6835
www.sparksafeltp.co.uk