Handymen doing electrical work

After 5 years since the City of Edinburgh council gave up maintaining stair lighting, I am starting to see some worrying trends with Handymen working on stair lighting. At the start they were replacing tubes but fast forward to today they are in my view taking on work outside their skill level and remit.

Another point is some Handymen appear to be telling customers that they are “Proficient” in electrical work but in reality, they are not qualified and therefore not properly insured. As I explained to a customer, I am qualified approved electrician thats insured for electrical work on your property but if I was say to do some plumbing for you and flood your house my insurance would not cover me and I could be held personally liable for any damage caused.

My business is starting to be affected with basically angry organiser / customers who are trying to sort these issues out. I do understand their state of mind but I have had to point out that I cannot be expected to resolve their problems at my or next to nothing cost.

Handyman fitting the wrong type of time clock

Astro timer clock
wrong clock fitted

A standard time clock will not work on stair lights. Only an Astro timer clock switches the lights on & off at different times every single day. Also the clock has to comply with CEC stair light specification with regards to energy saving mode and tube life extension.

Below is the bullet points on what can happen if the wrong clock is used.

  • Reduced tube life
  • Replacement tube interval decreased
  • More wear and tear on 45 + year old light fittings
  • Higher electricity consumption that may transfer costs to the residents

Wrong fusewire replacement

This can be dangerous because if there was a fault the main fuse could be blown leaving some residents without power.

This was found on a job last year with no chance of tripping if there was a fault I dread to have thought what would happen. Below mains cable was used instead of the proper safe cartridge fuse. In a fault condition part of the fuse system that supplies some of the flats would have tripped.

Incorrect fuseholder
Correct fuseholder

Faulty light fittings

Due to the lights coming to the end of their service life this is where you need to know what you are doing with regards to repair or replacement. Below shows 2 stair lights where the one on the top was heavily damaged. The systems fuse blew so a bigger fuse was used thinking this would solve the problem. Not a good idea in this situation as a lack of knowledge only makes the problem worse. The light on the bottom is how it should look.

faulty light fitting

Fixing Handymen’s work

This is not an easy task having to explain to an angry and upset organiser what is needed to return the stair back to an operational standard. So, an extra bill is the last thing the stair needs.

This blog is not Handymen bashing by any means and they do supply a good service within their remit but electrical work is definitely not one of them. As someone who had to serve 4 years training to be an electrician and a further 2 years to get to approved / superviser level I feel these problems have to be highlighted.

No earth protection
Exposed live cables

The stair above converted to LED with exposed live cables and no earth protection. The person who did the job told the Organiser he is proficient in electrics. For me it is just downright dangerous. Also, no insurance company would cover this individual for electrical work so he does not know or realise it but he is personally responsible for any claims

C&G logo

In conclusion as they say “buy cheap spend twice”

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