The Electrotechnical Assessment Specification – January 2020 Edition
The primary purpose of the committee is to develop a framework to set minimum criteria for applicants when applying for various levels of registration with certification and registration bodies. The committee develops the scheme requirements necessary to carry out electrotechnical work in accordance with relevant regulations and Standards and prepares the EAS document.
The committee has been managed by the IET since 2005 and with the increasing number of opportunities for persons to become experienced and qualified in the electrotechnical sector of the construction industry, has become very active in recent years.
In developing the EAS document, committee members, with their wealth of experience in the sector, consider all aspects of the industry, including changes in the qualifications structure and delivery, government policy and legislation, employers’ needs and concerns and the way that the industry is evolving in general. This is a long and difficult process in an ever-changing industry and the work of the members is to be commended by all who are as passionate as they are about the electrotechnical industry.
A new document
The EAS Committee has recently published a new edition of the EAS (dated January 2020), to replace the existing 2015 version. The new and existing documents can be downloaded from the IET website.
The EAS is the industry-recognized specification used by certification and registration bodies authorized to undertake the assessment of enterprises carrying out electrical installation work in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. It sets clear minimum technical competence and enterprise requirements and specifies everything from acceptable qualifications and experience to surveillance and personnel requirements. Enterprises (businesses undertaking electrotechnical work) can be certificated for a range of work categories, for example, limited to work in dwellings or certificated for work in all buildings and industrial locations.
This new version of the EAS provides requirements for the demonstration of competence of employed operatives doing electrical work, recognizing that the requirement for competence is not limited to qualified supervisors alone.
The EAS sets out the minimum requirements to be met by an enterprise in order to be recognized by a certification or registration body as technically competent to undertake the design, construction, maintenance, verification and/or inspection and testing of the work categories listed in the specification. Certification and registration bodies will develop their own scheme requirements around the minimum criteria set out in this specification. The enterprise, not the certification or registration body, has the responsibility of fulfilling all requirements for certification or registration. The certification or registration body is responsible for obtaining sufficient objective evidence upon which to base certification or registration against this specification.
The enterprise must employ persons to carry out electrotechnical work who are competent and/or adequately supervised, to ensure safety during and on completion of the work. The enterprise must demonstrate that all employees are competent and/or adequately supervised to undertake their work by making available suitable records for audit by the certification or registration body.
A ‘Competent Person’ is defined in the EAS as a person who possesses the necessary technical knowledge, skill and experience to undertake assigned electrotechnical work and to prevent danger and injury.
A ‘Qualified Supervisor’ is to have direct responsibility, on a day to day basis, for the safety, quality and technical standard of the electrotechnical work carried out by the enterprise.
The electrotechnical work categories identified in the EAS are based on the current edition of BS 7671. Other electrotechnical work categories, such as fire alarms (BS 5839), emergency lighting (BS 5266), temporary electrical systems (BS 7909) and data cabling (BS 6701), are not excluded, but such work would require the development of further education, training and practical skills requirements and specialist competence assessments not currently included in the EAS.
The main changes in the EAS
This EAS is intended for use by certification and registration bodies undertaking the assessment of enterprises carrying out electrotechnical work and has introduced minimum technical competence criteria for carrying out periodic electrical inspection and testing. The publication of this revised EAS supports the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020, which are before Parliament and aim to ensure that all privately rented properties in England meet minimum electrical safety standards.
The January 2020 EAS comes into effect from 1 September 2020, but can be used by certification and registration bodies voluntarily before that date.
The EAS describes:
- the minimum requirements for an enterprise (for example, a contractor) to be recognized by a certification body as competent to undertake electrotechnical work. It includes the minimum technical competence requirements for enterprises to be considered competent to carry out electrical installation work in dwellings in accordance with Part P of the Building Regulations in England and Wales, and the equivalent building warrant requirements in Scotland.
- the competence requirements for registered qualified supervisors and electrical inspectors.
- requirements for compliance with the Scottish Building Standards.
- interpretation of the general requirements for bodies operating product certification (including process and service) schemes to ISO/IEC17065.
For the new edition of the EAS:
- the Definitions have been updated and new definitions introduced.
- Clause 12.2 has introduced a requirement for professional indemnity insurance where the scope of an enterprise’s assessment certificate includes work category A.2, as defined in Appendix 1 of the EAS.
- Section 16 has been expanded regarding the records required to be held by an assessed enterprise.
- Appendix 1 has been expanded to include new categories of electrotechnical work regarding periodic inspection and testing.
- Appendix 4 has been updated and renamed. Appendix 4A specifies requirements valid from 1st September 2020 to 31st August 2021. Appendix 4B specifies requirements valid from 1st September 2021. Both sections now specify the requirements for persons undertaking periodic inspection and testing work.
- Appendix 11 has been added to provide guidance for demonstrating the competence of employed persons.
Appendix 4 of the EAS sets out the minimum requirements in terms of adequate education, training and practical skills required when:
- applying to be a qualified supervisor through a certification or registration body;
- applying as an individual to undertake periodic inspection and testing for an enterprise through a registration or certification body.
Appendix 4 now consists of two sections, with new requirements coming in on 1 September 2021:
- Appendix 4A: gives qualification, training and experience requirements for qualified supervisors and persons carrying out electrical inspection and testing. It is valid from 1 September 2020 until 31 August 2021 for applications to certification or registration bodies.
- Appendix 4B: the change to Appendix 4 from 4A to 4B is to simplify the entry criteria for applicant qualified supervisors and electrical inspectors from 1 September 2021. Requirements for qualified supervisors and those carrying out electrical inspection and testing are valid from 1 September 2021 for applications to certification or registration bodies.
From 1 September 2021, certification and registration bodies will not accept applications based on Tables 4A, 4B and 4C of Appendix 4A.
The current Appendix 4A has a number of routes, including auditable evidence routes, which have not been consistently applied. By introducing Appendix 4B and the associated EAS Qualification Guide, applicants that do not hold formal ‘craft qualifications’ will be able to be directed down the mature candidate assessment route, with recognition of prior experience and learning (RPEL). This means that each applicant applying to a certification or registration body for assessment will have a suitable electrotechnical qualification or will have been assessed in the previous two years as a qualified supervisor.
Some industry commentators have proposed that a Private Rented Sector (PRS) electrical testing competent person’s scheme should be set up, which would be separate from the existing Building Regulations competent person’s scheme. They have proposed that the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government should commission the EAS Management Committee to consider the most effective method of recognizing ‘competent PRS testers’ to carry out electrical inspections and tests. Whilst the Management Committee would be pleased to assist, they maintain that any defining recognition of separate competent person schemes would not, perhaps, be helpful.
The IET would like to thank the staff of the trade associations, the competent person scheme providers and the certification and registration bodies who gave their knowledge, experience and time to the production of this document.