The legal requirements for electrical installations in England and Wales are different from those in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Electricians carrying out installation work in England and Wales have to keep to the Building Regulations and in Scotland it is the Building Standards system. At the moment, there is no equivalent legal requirement in Northern Ireland.

Know the right questions to ask

It can be tricky to assess if your electrician is legitimate without the right questions. But the good news is this doesn’t have to be complex. Start by checking that the individual is qualified and whether they choose to be a registered member of one of the Government approved schemes.  Choosing a registered electrician means you will get additional protections should something go wrong. Contact the scheme directly if you want to check the individual’s registration

Don’t be embarrassed – ask to see the paperwork

Some people feel embarrassed about checking qualifications of the person they are employing but if you are working with a tradesperson who is unwilling to show you evidence of their qualification and registration status this could be a warning sign.

Don’t just take their word for it – get a reference

If you are uncertain about an individual ask them to provide references of previous happy customers. Ask these referees to explain the work they had done and how satisfied they were with the job done.

Get more than one quote

Get a few quotes so that you can compare options.The cheapest quote may not be the best deal – if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!

Know everyone working in your home – don’t rely on the contractor to make the choices

We are seeing a growing problem with contractors such as builders or kitchen fitters making poor or cheap choices of the electricians they employ or work with on a job. It’s easy to assume the tradesman in charge will check qualification and registration. But don’t leave it to chance – ask to see proof of everyone’s ability yourself.

If it doesn’t feel right – get advice

Don’t feel pressured to make a decision quickly. If an electrician makes you feel uncomfortable for any reason, then seek advice before you contract them to do work for you. The guidance on these pages will help you.

The Citizen’s Advice Bureau and Trading Standards will be able to give advice if you want to dispute work.