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Looking ahead to 2019

Nov 2018 Latest News | Comments Off on Looking ahead to 2019

Ian Hunter, group commercial director for Scolmore, looks at some of the key issues facing the electrical contracting sector in 2019

Next year promises to be pivotal, for both the UK as a whole and for the electrical industry in many different ways. Whatever happens with Brexit is outside the control of all of us apart from the politicians and, ironically, a lot of what happens inside the industry is also dependent on the politicians and legislation.

A lot of current conversation is based around the emergence of the internet into the supply chain and – while relevant – this need not be a bad thing for the professional trade. It should be just the opposite, with online trading facilities offering the ability to check stock, pricing, technical data etc from portable devices and when on site.

In fact, it could remove the need for speculative travel to find goods when click and collect ensures a single journey will result in getting everything that you need for job.

The bigger issues facing the installer are shortage of labour and the continued growth in the sales of electrical products to non-trained users (the general public). Current legislation does nothing to prevent any person from purchasing electrical products and, while there is legislation that requires these products to be installed and tested by a qualified electrician, the reality is that this is unenforceable.

The impact of this ‘unprofessional market’ is a reduced amount of work for the qualified electrician and this then has a knock-on affect on margin, salary, profit and the ability to attract and train apprentices.

The industry – as a collective – needs to work better together to put pressure on the relevant bodies to increase and strengthen legislation to protect and support the need for better and safer installations.

It is pointless insisting on a piece of cable being BS/Kitemark approved if the installer is completely unregulated. A high quality product installed incorrectly is a dangerous product.

In the aftermath of Grenfell there has never been a more important time to push for better and more robust regulation of our industry for the good of everyone inside it.