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Rogue traders

Rogue traders who claimed to be roofers conned victims out of £85,000

John Harrop and Samuel Smith cold-called their victims after posting leaflets claiming to be professionally registered tradesmen working under the company name Advanced Rooflines.

Durham Crown Court heard yesterday how the pair would provide a quote for works to be carried out, before purposely causing damage and hiking up the bill.

Phillip Morley, prosecuting, said Harrop and Smith took a supervisory role and employed other, also unqualified, people to carry out the work.

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Tradesmen Recommendation Site

Guide to support you to know which tradesmen recommendation site to use

Always check for recommended reviews

Take your time to investigate the work and the portfolio

Contact the tradesman on the recommendation site

Ask lots of questions

Ensure you never pay anything upfront.

Ensure you look to get a receipt for the work

Make payments in stages

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How to become a qualified electrcian

Electrician Courses & Apprenticeships Explained

What qualifications do I need to become a Fully Qualified Electrician? 

It is important to note that not everyone has to become “Fully Qualified”. If you just want to work on domestic projects then there is no need, you can simply qualify as a domestic installer or domestic electrician. If you want to work on all kinds of work including commericial, agricultural, industrial and domestic then you will want to work towards being a fully qualified electrician.

If you want JIB grading as a fully qualified electrician you will need to complete both training at a college or training centre such as Trade Skills 4U plus an NVQ which is essentially a portfolio of work completed whilst working on site. 

If you are new to the industry there are 2 different routes to achieving “fully qualified” status and a 3rd route if you just want to carry out domestic installations but this 3rd route means you will not be classed as “fully qualified”:

The 3rd option to become a Domestic Electrical Installer means you can still start one of the first 2 routes at a later stage however if this is your intention then Routes 1 and 2 are going to be a cheaper and quicker options overall. 

Confused? Simply call 01293 529777 or 0800 856 4448 for simple clearcut advice.

Route 1 Explained  – Level 2 and Level 3 Diploma’s

For many looking to start out in the industry they can find themselves unable to find a job or work placement without any knowledge or experience. In fact most people that do an apprenticeship or work placement have often found it via someone they know such as a family member or close friend.

If like most you are not lucky enough to have such contacts the best way to break into the industry is to complete the Level 2 and 3 Diploma’s (Also known as Tech Certs or Technical Certificates) and then use this knowledge to gain a job in industry. Once you are working you can then complete your NVQ. We find that almost everyone who completes their Level 2 & 3 Diplomas with us finds employment in the field either during or after their course.

The great thing about this route is it is really open to all. It gives you a way to break into the industry and gain industry recognised qualifications without having to complete the NVQ or find a job first.

Route 2 Explained – The Apprenticeship

If you are lucky enough to find a work placement then you can complete your training and NVQ at the same time. However this is only possible if you have the breadth of work available to you that allows you to check off all the jobs you need to complete. Typically to complete an apprenticehsip will take 2-4 years and you will not gain the full qualification once your NVQ is complete.

As an apprentice you will start learning at Level 3 which for some can make this route a bit harder at first. However it is likely that as you are working in the industry you can spread your learning over a longer period of time.

Trade Skills 4U can help you register on an apprenticeship matching service, however please note that we recommend you take as much action as possible trying to find a placement direct with employers. This means calling them up and sending out CV’s to as many potential employers as possible.

Route 3 – Domestic Electrical Installer Route

This third route is equally valid and open to anyone. You are able to train as a Domestic Electrical Installer and register as such with one of the Domestic Installer Schemes like NICEIC or ELECSA etc. This means you can get out there and get earning in a much shorter space of time compared with the “fully qualified” route however your work will be limited to residential installations such as flats, houses, bungalows and the like. You will be able to work on anything from and including the consumer unit coming into a property. For many electricians despite being fully qualified they often find the most lucrative jobs are in this sector.


What is a National Vocational Qualification and how does it work?

The NVQ is now part of the new Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Installing Electrotechnical Systems and Equipment. It’s not a training course, it’s an assessment qualification. After completing your 9 practical and theory training units you move onto ‘on site assessments’ the NVQ. Whichever route you take if you want to be fully qualified then at some point you will need to complete the NVQ. If you take route 1 then you will at some point simply transfer into Route 2.

The idea of an NVQ is that you work alongside a more experienced electrician who will guide you through certain tasks that are detailed in the NVQ document (i.e. installing metal conduit, or installing a phase 3 board)

As you undertake the various tasks you’ll take photos and write a few lines about what you have done, this is called evidence.

We will send along an assessor to visit you in your workplace to assess evidence of you gaining skills and experience and complete your portfolio (folder) of work.

When the tasks in the NVQ document are assessed and you have completed all the necessary skills and tasks, you have then formally completed your NVQ. It’s worth noting, if your firm is very active in all sorts of electrical installation, you’ll gather evidence more quickly, and so you’ll complete more quickly.

You then move onto the AM2 to complete your NVQ Diploma. 

The AM2 (Achievement Measurement no. 2) is your final assessment. It’s literally a practical exam with an assessor watching you complete given tasks at an assessment centre, under exam conditions.

It takes a couple of days and on successful completion, that’s it, all done, congratulations, you’re a fully qualified electrician, with a Diploma no less!

City & Guilds &  EAL seem to do the same courses, which is best?

Frankly there is no best, both are sponsored and well respected within the industry. They contain the same content, but are slightly different in how they are assessed and tested and delivered by us, from your perspective you’d barely know the difference, it’s down to merely which brand you prefer, though some funding organisations may insist on one or the other, so we need to check that for you.

Both Diplomas’ are the new diploma qualifications brought out within the last 2 years, so very much the latest versions.

Whichever Diploma you choose to do and we can help you decide. Call 01293 529777 for advice.

Both enable you to become an electrician; they do exactly the same thing.

NVQ only?

Can you do the NVQ on its own? Since the start of 2014 the only option to complete the NVQ on it’s own is to transfer into route 2. You now only do this if you have previous qualifications that map into this NVQ. for more information on this please see this dedicated page.

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Home improvements add value to properties but what offers the best value?

Making living spaces open-plan and converting your loft are the top renovations that will increase the value of your home, according to a survey by Anglian Home Improvements.

Interestingly, when asked what home improvements they think add the most value to a property, only two per cent of respondents said that creating open-plan living space would give the biggest boost to value.

Here are the home improvements which add the most value:

● Creating open-plan living space: adds an average of £46,504

● Loft conversion: adds an average of £24,255

● Extension: adds an average of £6,456

● New kitchen: adds an average of £3,509

● Conservatory: adds an average of £3,155

And what do Brits think are the best ways to add value?

● Extension: 27 per cent

● New kitchen: 25 per cent

● Loft conversion: 15 per cent

● New windows: 8 per cent

● New front door: 7 per cent

Why are homeowners carrying out home improvements?

A separate study for the Post Office Money revealed the motivations behind home improvements. It found that while only five per cent of people had carried out improvements because they planned to move in the near future, 28 per cent admitted they had done so because they thought it would be a good investment and add value to their property.

Chrysanthy Pispinis, of Post Office Money, said: “Over the past few years, house price growth has slowed, so homeowners have turned to other options to add value to their homes – with renovations being a clear opportunity.”

But others simply wanted to update their home or carry out improvements that would enhance their quality of life.

The proportion of homeowners carrying out improvements has fallen by 10 per cent since 2016, but the amount people are spending has increased from an average of £12,000 then to £14,015 now, according to the Post Office Money research.

Nearly three-quarters of homeowners used savings to fund the work on their property, while 18 per cent used a loan or credit card and seven per cent increased their mortgage or took out an equity release product.

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7 Renovation Projects to Tackle in 2019 That Can Add Value to Your Home

7 Renovation Projects to Tackle in 2019 That Can Add Value to Your Home

1. Valuable Kitchen Renovations

The kitchen is the heart of many homes, but is yours feeling a bit lifeless? Consider a kitchen renovation! With carefully chosen colours and finishes, a renovation will help breathe life into this space. As an added bonus, well-planned kitchen renovations are can increase the value of your home offer a return of 6-10% on the sale price.

Kitchen Renovation

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You can choose between large and small renovations to suit your needs and your budget. If the layout feels out of date, take the opportunity for a major renovation that allows you to change the space and make it more helpful. A full kitchen remodel allows you to embrace new trends in your shelving, appliances and fixtures!

Open shelves are going to be a big trend in 2019, allowing you to display your dishes and kitchen wares in a natural way. If you already have these shelves in place, think about incorporating one of the warm natural colours sure to be popular in the upcoming year.

Countertops and the backsplash are fantastic ways to change the look of your entire kitchen without replacing cupboards! Metallic accents will be popular this year in shades of copper and brass, and will be a great touch in your kitchen renovation!

2. Updating Your Yard with Landscaping

Although it may not be temperate right now, you can always start planning an update to your home’s exterior! Plus, by thinking early you can always book your trades now to ensure you are ready to start when the weather is warmer!

The big theme for 2019 when it comes to your garden will be creating an oasis. Take the opportunity with landscaping to create spaces you look forward to spending time in. This includes both the low maintenance plants sure to be trendy this year as well as using natural wooden furniture for your secret hideaway. As the year unfolds, you’ll be glad for the retreat. If you’re not big on space, consider containers to introduce your plants into the areas you do have in a fresh and engaging way.

3. Take Advantage of a Loft Renovation

Turn the unused space in a loft into something useful! This adds to your property value, especially if you add a bedroom or two by converting this space. Lofts can also be great spaces to include a home office. Regardless of the purpose for this space, it’s sure to add welcome value for your home.

Warm neutral paint colours, sure to be a trend for 2019, will be welcome in your loft conversion. Choose a shade that will transform the loft into a cosy space, regardless of the intended purpose. Remember that a conversion allows you to incorporate modern technology, so consider energy efficiency with LED lighting to brighten up the space.

4. Refresh Your Entry

2019 home trends

Although you use it nearly every day, your front entry may be a bit neglected. Change that this year with an upgrade! This adds to your property value by increasing its appeal from the street. Plus, replacing your entry doors is a great way to keep your home efficient. A good, properly installed door helps block the cold and keep your home running smoothly.

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Paint is an easy way to accent your home with 2019 new ideas. Consider a colour that contrasts with your home’s exterior for real impact, or choose 2019’s deep forest green to stay on trend.

5. Freshen Up Your Exterior

The outside of your home is just as important as the interior! A well-planned update increases property value and offers an aesthetic upgrade. Options include paint and siding, but don’t forget about brick refacing! All of these will be popular in 2019 with new profiles and colours to choose from. You can make your exterior the best on the block!

Choose timeless colours so this isn’t a fix you want to change by the end of the year. It can be a costly and time-consuming project, so you want to make the right choice the first time. A neutral palette will be popular in 2019, sure to match existing windows or shutters.

Another great 2019 trend will be to bring the indoors out! Make a patio feel like an extension of your home with cushions, rugs, and even outdoor firepit to make this homey and ready for the spring!

Or consider adding a deck for even more value. It’s a fantastic way to improve the value of your home and extend your living space. Consider using a composite material over wood to reduce the amount of upkeep you’ll have in the space. This enables you to spend more time enjoying your deck and less time with maintenance!

6. Bathroom Remodelling

Just like the kitchen, a bathroom remodel can range from minor improvements to major renovations to give you better property value. Examine your space to see where updates are most needed. The surround, fixtures, sink and tile are common focuses for an update that offers a great return.

But if you have good fixtures, reuse them! Then you can spend on the luxurious, like updating to modern shower doors or installing a high-value waterfall faucet in a trendy finish like black matte (sure to be popular in 2019!). Reglazing a tub can save you thousands and easily return the value on your efforts.

Bathroom Remodelling

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A bathroom lasts for a long time, so stick with timeless choices for this space. Instead, introduce 2019’s trends in less permanent ways. Living coral, 2019’s colour of the year, can be perfect as a pop of colour that can easily be repainted in favour of a new option in the future.

7. Replace Your Old Windows

Energy efficiency is always popular, especially when it comes to your home improvements! This renovation can drastically increase your home value. Properly installed and sealed will help keep your home warm in the winter and cooler in the summer.

For 2019, trends come in modern styles and classic designs with an update. Think of windows with lattice, but built with modern features like casements so you can get the classic look but modern convenience. You’ll have options to suit the style of your home so everything blends together for the perfect exterior look