Professional Help & Advice
 

Jargon Buster

 
Here are some terms, organisations and acronyms that you may come across. It is advisable to look for and ensure your 'reliable tradesperson' is a member of a trade organisation, and/or holds the relevant accreditations and qualifications to carry out the work required by you.

NAPIT (National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers)




NAPIT's role as a government backed organisation is as a standard setter and holder of the register for Part P Registered Domestic Installers. Check out your electrical contractor to see if they are NAPIT Registered. NAPIT registered operatives should carry ID Cards with photographic identification.

NAPIT is an organisation committed to consumer safety in the Domestic, Commercial and Industrial sectors. The whole aim of the organisation is to ensure that through the competence of their Members, consumers can be confident of work that complies with the relevant regulations.

NAPIT also supports the objectives of the Electrical Safety Council which is an independent non-profit-making organisation, registered as a charity; set up to protect the safety of consumers. Supported by all sectors of the electrical industry as well as local and central government, it deals with all electrical safety matters on behalf of consumers, dedicated to improving standards and promoting best practice. For further information - www.napit.org.uk

FMB (Federation of Master Builders)


Probably the most recognised of the Construction Trades Federations with its 'tick' Logo. The FMB provides its members and customers with a variety of services ranging from technical issues to employee terms and conditions. Ideally your contractor should belong to a trade federation such as the FMB.

The FMB is a trade association established over 60 years ago to protect the interests of small and medium-sized building firms - today it is the largest trade association in the UK building industry. The FMB is a source of knowledge, professional advice and support for its members, providing a range of modern and relevant business building services to save them time and money. The FMB is independent and non-profit-making, lobbying continuously for members' interests at both national and local levels. The FMB can provide useful information for both contractors and customers alike and has a comprehensive web-site which has downloads for contracts and warranty details if required. For further information - www.fmb.org.uk

NHBC (The National House-Building Council)



Covering the vast majority of New Build Homes in the UK, the NHBC provides warranty and insurance cover to homeowners. If you are contemplating buying a newly built house/flat ask the builder/developer about warranties/insurance.

The NHBC is the standard setting body and leading warranty and insurance provider for new and newly converted homes in the UK.

Started in 1936 as the National House-Builders Registration Council, NHBC has worked consistently to raise the construction standards of new homes and provide protection for new homebuyers.

As the UK's leading warranty and insurance provider for new homes, NHBC's Buildmark warranty cover more than 80% of new homes built in the UK and currently protects approximately 1.7 million homes. Over the past 40 years, NHBC has protected more than 30% of existing homes in the UK. For further information - www.nhbc.co.uk

Part P (Electrical Works - Building Regulations)



Commencing in January 2005, Part P of the Building Regulations was introduced to ensure the safety of electrical fittings/wiring/appliances within dwellings. It is important that electricians/electricians are covered by Part P Regulations. Check with your contractor prior to work commencing.

The Building Regulations are managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). Part P is an amendment of the Building Regulations introduced by the government, effective from January 1st 2005.

The Part P requirement is that "Reasonable provision shall be made in the design and installation of electrical installations in order to protect persons operating, maintaining or altering the installations from fire or injury."

In short, electrical installations must be safe! Part P applies to fixed electrical installations in dwellings (including gardens and shared amenities in blocks of flats) and affects many of the typical jobs undertaken by electrical contractors, particularly work carried out in kitchens and bathrooms. For further information ask your electrician or visit - www.ukbuildingstandards.org.uk

NICEIC (National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (UK)



NICEIC is one of several organisations that Electricians and Electrical Contractors are members of. NICEIC oversees the competencies and technical ability of its registered companies. Look for the NICEIC Logo on electrician's paperwork/vans.


NICEIC has been assessing the technical competence of electricians for over 50 years. Their aim is to protect everyone who uses electricity from unsafe electrical installations anywhere. To achieve this, they maintain a register of qualified, competent electricians.

They look at a representative sample of the contractor's work, their premises, documentation, equipment, and the competence of their key supervisory staff.

Once contractors become registered with NICEIC, they are re-assessed on a regular basis to ensure high standards and that they are competent and capable of meeting the relevant technical and safety standards, codes of practice and rules of the Schemes they are registered to. Contractors registered to NICEIC Building Regulations Schemes are authorised to self-certify their work without hindrance from Local Authority Building Control. This saves you both time and money when undertaking work that requires notification under the Building Regulations. For further information ask your electrician or visit - www.niceic.com

CITB ConstructionSkills (Previously CITB - Construction Industry Training Board)



Contractors that are 'in-scope' to CITB ConstructionSkills will be encouraged to train and develop their employees, to concentrate on health and safety and business development and to invest in the future by recruiting apprentices on a regular basis. Attractive grants are available to registered employers.

As the Sector Skills Council for construction, CITB ConstructionSkills funds training and development, business development and apprenticeships for its 'in-scope' registered employers . Funded by a levy ("As an Industry Training Board it is their job to increase training and skills. The government gives them powers to collect a levy from industry every year and they return the money collected back in training grants"), grants are provided to employers who recruit and train their employees.

Grants are available for a variety of courses ranging from NVQs, Health and Safety, Management and Supervision, Professional and Technical and Sustainability. CSkills also links in with www.bconstructive.co.uk, the web-site for individuals interested in a career in construction. For further information visit - www.cskills.org

Gas Safe Register



The Gas Safe Register came into effect 1st April 2009 and superseded CORGI as the mandatory body for Gas Engineers. Always check that your Gas Contractor is on the Gas Safe Register prior to work commencing on any gas appliance/fitting.

Gas Safe Register is the official stamp for gas safety in the United Kingdom. CORGI registration is no longer valid. To work legally on gas appliances and installations your contractor must be on the Gas Safe Register. It is law that anyone carrying out gas work that is within the scope of the appropriate Regulations is on the Gas Safe Register.

The register is there to protect consumers from unsafe gas work. Their status as a registered engineer is evidence that they are working legally and you are competent and safe to work with gas. For further information visit - www.gassaferegister.co.uk

Please note: All Heating Engineers registered with Reliable Tradespeople are on the Gas Safe Register.

CORGI (Council for Registered Gas Installers)



CORGI is still the probably most recognisable logo/brand for Gas Engineers. It is important to note that although CORGI still exists, gas engineers who now work in private dwellings MUST be registered on the Gas Safe Register.

In 1991 the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) changed legislation in Great Britain relating to gas work; introducing the requirement that anyone working on gas must be "a member of a class of persons". This class of persons is defined as registration with a new mandatory gas safety scheme, which HSE asked CORGI to act as registrar of. CORGI became the "Council for Registered Gas Installers" at this time.

2008 saw the GB gas scheme put in a public tender process with Capita announced as the successful bidder. From 1st April 2009 mandatory gas scheme started operating under "Gas Safe Register" brand.

Please note that from 1 April 2009, in relation to gas work for which registration is required by law, gas engineering business operating in Great Britain must be registered with the Gas Safe Register. This membership of any other voluntary scheme will not, in itself, satisfy this legal requirement. For more information on mandatory membership see www.gassaferegister.co.uk

LABC (Local Authority Building Control)



For most repairs/maintenance/building works your Local Authority will have to be notified in advance. Please check with your Contractor/Architect/Surveyor prior to work commencing.

If you are considering extending or altering your property in any way, you first need to check with your local authority whether you need to make applications for Building Regulations or Planning Permission consents.

Remember that complying with Building Regulations is a separate matter from obtaining planning permission. Some types of buildings and building work are exempt but you should check first. If you have any doubts, check with your local authority before starting building work. For further information - www.labc.uk.com

NRWB (National Register of Warranted Builders)

For larger types of work it is advisable for your contractor to provide a warranty backed guarantee - NRWB is the largest of several warranty schemes - ask your contractor about warranties before work commences.

NRWB is one of the largest schemes to be part of Trustmark (see below). Trustmark is a government endorsed scheme which promotes high quality standards of workmanship. To qualify for the NRWB Scheme contractors must pass several criteria which include having work inspected by independent assessors; passing financial checks; being able to provide references; have both public and employer liability insurances and be VAT Registered if applicable. For further information visit - www.fmb.org.uk/nrwb

Trustmark



The 'Trustmark' quality mark is backed by Trading Standards Organisations Nationwide - Look to see if your contractor has the logo.

TrustMark is a not for profit organisation supported by Government, the building industry, retailers and consumer protection groups.

TrustMark is a quality mark which operates for the repair, maintenance and improvement (RMI)  sector of the construction industry, including trade associations, local government trading standards teams, and independent scheme operators. These schemes are approved to carry the TrustMark logo and recruit reputable and trustworthy tradesmen. This enables the TrustMark scheme operators to promote improved RMI sector standards, and tackle related issues such as better enforcement. All of these scheme operators are audited annually by TrustMark, to ensure processes, standards and complaint procedures are being maintained.

What makes selecting TrustMark tradesmen so worthwhile?
  1. A firm's technical skills have been independently checked through regular on-site inspections, as well as checks on their trading record and financial status;
  2. Firms have signed up to a code of practice that includes insurance, good health and safety practices and customer care;
  3. The approved scheme operator has checked and will continue to monitor the firm's quality of work, trading practices and customer satisfaction;
  4. Firms are able to offer an Insurance Backed Warranty (see NRWB);
  5. Deposit Protection Insurance is available for consumers in the event a firm should cease trading;
  6. Firms will be able to tell you about any building regulations you must comply with and may also be able to provide appropriate certificates;
  7. If you have a problem or disagreement with the firm, there will be a clear and user-friendly complaints procedure to help resolve the issue;
  8. The scheme is fully supported by Government, the building industry and consumer protection groups.
  9. All of these checks will give you - Peace of Mind
If a firm displays the TrustMark logo you know that we have approved and inspected the firm through one of our scheme operators and found that the firm meets the required Government endorsed criteria as described above.

Important Note: When employing a TrustMark tradesman always check they are 'licensed' for all the trades / work you are asking them to carry out. This can be done by looking on their website by searching under the 'trade' then 'their company name' and finally 'more information' - you will then see a list of the 'only' trades that the firm is licensed for under the protection and standards offered by TrustMark. For further information visit - www.trustmark.org.uk

BATJIC - Building and Allied Trades Joint Industrial Council

Ideally your contractor complies with the wage rates for their operatives/apprentices laid down in the BATJIC agreement - check it out with your contractor.

BATJIC is a partnership between the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) and the Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU) which provides a valuable forum which helps to maintain good industrial relations in the workplace. BATJIC can offer a high quality of expertise and information regarding conditions of employment, apprentice terms and conditions, health and safety and wage rates. For further information visit - www.fmb.org.uk

FENSA - Fenestration Self-Assessment scheme



FENSA was set up in 2002 to cover the installation of windows and doors, mainly to reflect the needs for greater energy efficiency in buildings. When having windows and/or doors replaced look for the FENSA Logo when using a Reliable Tradesperson.

FENSA was set up by the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) and other industry bodies, with Government encouragement in response to changes in the Building Regulations. It extends Building Regulations to cover replacement window and door installation from April 2002, when all installers and buyers of replacement windows and doors will be expected to comply with improved energy efficiency requirements. One of the main drivers is the need to reduce heat loss in order to conform to more stringent energy efficiency targets. Glass products will be expected to have lower heat loss, measured by their "U" value.

They involve more stringent specifications for the products used. In addition, all installations will be subject to inspection by Local Authority Building Control, unless arrangements for self-assessment have been made. With the annual rate of replacement installations running at approximately 2 million, inspection of each installation would cause a major bottleneck if channelled through the normal Building Control route.

Where a window or windows is/are completely replaced (as opposed to repaired) in existing dwellings, they must comply with Approved Documents Parts L1 and N (safety in relation to impact). In addition, the building should not end up with a worse level of compliance with respect to other applicable parts of Building Regulations, which includes Parts A (Structure), B (means of escape in case of fire) F (ventilation), J (combustion appliances and fuel storage systems) and M (access for the disabled).

Building Regulations for replacement windows state that "The situation must be made no worse than the outgoing windows" for example if the outgoing windows contained trickle vents the new placement windows must include them there are no exceptions, the window openings must be the same or better than the outgoing windows the openings cannot be made any smaller. Side window openings cannot be replaced by top openings over fixed windows.

Windows and doors in critical locations i.e. Windows below 800mm from floor level and doors where the glass comes within 1500mm of the floor level to the start of the glass must contain safety glass (toughened or laminated) and must include the relevant safety mark clearly visibly to comply with Building Regulation N.

Compliance with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 is also essential.

FENSA does not apply to conservatories, porches, commercial premises or New Build properties or extensions. In both of these instances you are required to go through the Local Authority Building Control process. If your property is a Flat then planning permission may be required before replacing your windows therefore it is advisable to check this with the planning Department of your Local Authority, if planning permission is required a FENSA registered company can register the installation for certification purposes. If you live in a property that is a Listed Building and wish to replace your windows this would fall under the Jurisdiction of the relevant Local Authority therefore planning permission would be required and the installation cannot be registered with FENSA.

Doors with less than 50% glazing do not require registration.

FENSA also does not apply to caravans/holiday chalets if they are not occupied for more than 10 months of the year these fall within the jurisdiction of the Local Authority and therefore a Building Notice is required. If however they are permanently lived in they can be FENSA Registered however they must have their own postal address which has been registered with the Royal Mail. For further information visit - www.fensa.org.uk

CSCS - Construction Skills Certificate Scheme



Although a necessity on large construction sites as a 'passport' to work; CSCS Cards are being asked for more and more on domestic works. CSCS Cards show that operatives have, in most cases, passed a health and safety test and have demonstrated a level of competence in the trade they carry out. You may wish to ask your contractor about CSCS Cards.

CSCS was set up to help the construction industry improve quality and reduce accidents. CSCS Cards are increasingly demanded as proof of occupational competency by contractors, public and private clients and others. They cover hundreds of occupations at many different levels. In most cases, to gain a CSCS Card operatives must have passed the construction skills health and safety test. CSCS Cards have a photograph of the holder and details of the trade in which they are competent to carry out. For further information visit - www.cscs.uk.com

NFRC - National Federation of Roofing Contractors Ltd.



NFRC Members carry out all different types of roofing works, slating and tiling, felt roofing and metal roofing. Although there are several roofing trade associations, NFRC are covered by the 'Trustmark' scheme. You may wish to enquire about the NFRC with your roofing contractor.

The NFRC is the largest roofing trade association representing over 60% of the roofing industry (by value). Although there are several roofing trade associations, the NFRC oversees a strict code of practice for its members ensuring a high standard of workmanship and independent vetting procedures. The NFRC is part of 'Trustmark' and can offer warranty backed work by its members. For further information visit - www.nfrc.co.uk

CHAS - The Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme

More and more contractors are carrying the 'CHAS' Logo on their vans and paperwork. Meant for the larger organisations that tender work on a regular basis, CHAS is being required of contractors working in the public sector.

CHAS is mainly for contractors who, when tendering for work, have to meet certain health and safety standards. By being assessed and approved by CHAS any supplier/client/customer will know that the contractor meets certain standards. Over 400 public and private sector organisations including Local Authorities and the NHS require their contractors to sign up to the CHAS Scheme. For further information visit - www.chas.gov.uk

Constructionline



Used by councils and other public bodies, Constructionline is a database that contains contractors that can satisfy the standards demanded on public works. The Constructionline 'circle of blocks' Logo is a familiar sight on many a contractor's van.


Constructionline is the online database used by most public bodies (Councils/NHS) to identify contractors that have been vetted and pre-qualify for work. By using Constructionline those who commission work can rest assured that contractors have passed an assessment and hold relevant quality and health and safety standards. Recently Construtionline has concentrated on the smaller businesses and has recognised the contribution they make to the public and private sectors. The government aim to award at least 30% of all government contracts to small and medium-sizes businesses over the next few years. Constructionline is dedicated to helping contractors in this size bracket. For further information visit - www.constructionline.co.uk