Electrical Licence to Practice - Do you know your responsibilities?

The SparkSafe Electrical Licence to Practice (LtP) initiative is the first of its kind in the UK. The initiative became subject to a formal Procurement Guidance Note (PGN 01/16 Electrical Licence to Practice Initiative for Electrical Workers) in February 2016. PGN 01/16 requires that only Licensed electrical workers are employed to undertake electrical installation work on behalf of Government.

The Application of Electrical Licenced to Practice

The LtP initiative applies to all appropriate Government construction contracts from 1 February 2016.  This means that main contractors must only contract with electrical contractors who employ Licenced electrical workers on all applicable Government construction contracts.

The need for Electrical Licence to Practice

Until now, most main contractors have been obliged to operate on a trust basis concerning the composition of the appointed Electrical Contractor’s workforce.  A focus on Health & Safety at the gate has displaced the vital attention to electrical skills, qualifications and competencies.  This means that there are less “go to” qualified workers and more unqualified or underqualified workers appearing on the job.  As a result, a corresponding decrease in quality and standards and an increase in incidents of snagging, delays and commissioning difficulties often follow.

  • How do you know that the electrical workers on your project are who they say they are?
  • How do you know that they are qualified to perform electrical work on your project or property?
  • How will you provide a defence in court for using underqualified or unqualified electrical workers?

There is no need to remain in the dark when it comes to the identity and competency of electrical workers on construction projects.

The SparkSafe LtP system is an innovative, easy to use, online monitoring and auditing resource.  The system provides the main contractor with a unique online workforce composition report, setting out the makeup of the electrical contractor’s workforce by Licence type from contract commencement through to commissioning and final handover.  A free online electrical worker identity and competency verification service for main contractors forms part of the LtP proposition.  If you are paying for competent electrical workers, you should be able to prove it to yourself and to your customers.

Main Contractor Responsibilities & PGN Compliance

PGN 01/16 states that if awarded a Government construction contract, the main contractor will be required to

  • Register with the LtP system provider
  • Ensure that any subcontractor (s) undertaking electrical work is/are registered with the same LtP system provider
  • Ensure timely connections are made with electrical contractors and electrical workers via the LtP system
  • Ensure that all electrical workers employed to undertake electrical work on the project are Licenced to Practice

Electrical work must not commence on-site until the main contractor has ensured compliance with all the points above. 

Main Contractor Reporting & Monitoring

There is also an important obligation placed on the main contractor by the Client to monitor the LtP requirement on an ongoing basis.  This includes

1.Providing a report to the Client Project Manager at monthly progress meetings regarding registration with the LtP system and the number of electrical workers and their licence type working on the project that month.  A copy of the project report from the SparkSafe system provides verification of this. 

2.Carrying out random inspections to verify that electrical workers on site are Licenced to Practice and cross referencing this with the LtP system.  The Main Contractor is required to report the findings of this to the Project Manager at monthly progress meetings.

3.Taking remedial action, if required to do so by the Project Manager, to address non-compliance issues. This may concern the qualifications of electrical workers and/or the balance of skills, experience or resources of electrical workers operating on site and confirm to the Project Manager when the remedial action is complete.

On-site auditing by the LtP Provider

PGN 01/16 also states that the Main Contractor must permit access to the site for the LtP system provider, upon its request, and assist it to undertake random inspections of electrical workers operating on the project. 

The purpose of the on-site audit is to determine the Main Contractors compliance with PGN 01/16 (see Section 6.3 of the Electrical Licence to Practice PGN Document).   A written report is produced following the audit.  The audit report generates a pass/fail outcome and is emailed to the Main Contractor, the Client Project Manager and CPD Policy Branch.  It is important to note that failure to comply with the requirements of PGN 01/16 may lead to the imposition of poor performance measures by the Client in the future.

Are you audit ready?

If you would like to seek advice regarding the LtP initiative and the audit requirements or would like to request a visit from the SparkSafe team, contact 028 25 650750 or email enquiries@sparksafeltp.co.uk