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Electrical Safety in your Student Accommodation

School is nearly out for summer and one thing that will be on the to do list for some families will be looking or even moving into student accommodation in time for September. Electrical safety is an important consideration at this time which can range from niggly problems such as the electric tripping just as you’re about to save your work on your laptop or MacBook, to serious electrical issues that could cause electrical injury or even death.

Making the best start on university housing
It will soon become apparent that there is a problem with your student housing. The unfortunate reality is that once you have signed the tenancy agreement, it will become a lot more difficult to rectify the issue in the future. It is far easier to be aware of potential pitfalls before making the final decision on which housing to opt for.

What Should You Look Out?

Dangerous electrics at best can be a menace. In the worst instance it can kill. When viewing the property there are often tell tale signs that the electrics are not in the best of conditions. An over reliance of extension leads is a tell tale sign that there are not enough electric sockets in the rooms for example. Too few sockets is a sign of dated electrics and there could well be other problems. Pay attention to how the current tenants are living and the condition of the other electric fittings such as switches and sockets. Signs of discolouration, metal backed sockets and broken fittings are all signs that the electrics need some attention.

With electricity, everything is neatly hidden away. Therefore it is tricky to see if there is a problem with electrics that otherwise look good. The only way of knowing is for a qualified and registered electrician carrying out an electrical safety inspection of the property electrics, this is known as an Electrical Installation Condition Report aka an EICR. If the property is satisfactory than a certificate is issued to confirm this. It is important that as the tenant you ask to view this certificate as it is in your right to see it.
Landlords Responsibilities
The recommendations are for landlords to carry out an EICR every 5 years or with every change of tenant. Although it is not the law to have an EICR carried out, landlords must still show how they ensure the electrical safety of their tenants. Most reputable landlords carry out an EICR on their property.

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT Testing)

Whilst it can be quite handy to have a washing machine and fridge freezer ready to use in your property, it is important that the appliances are actually safe to use. Faulty or dangerous appliances can cause fire or electric shock. Landlords who supply electrical equipment should have any portable equipment PAT tested (aka portable appliance testing) regularly to ensure that the equipment remains safe to use.

Always ask to see the EICR certificate and evidence of PAT testing before signing the tenancy agreement.
Electricity can and does kill so it’s important to take it seriously. Ensuring that your property will be electrically safe is the best thing you can do prior to moving into your student property.
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The Importance of Having a Smoke Alarm!

Majority of us are aware of the benefits of installing solar panels on our home. Once you get past the initial installation costs, solar panels reduce your energy bills and help the planet! However, what if solar panels were a possible cause of a house fire?smoke alarm installer in st albans london

We recently came across a Facebook post in which a families house had set on a fire. The lady responsible for the post gave us permission to share her story. Thankfully nobody was hurt, however their house has suffered serious damage and also many family memories have now been lost and destroyed. Furthermore, the forensics team believe it was their solar panels which caused the house fire. This emphasises the importance of regularly servicing and checking your solar panels.

The Facebook poster praised the fact that her Electrician had put a hard wired smoke alarm system in her loft. Once the smoke alarm in their loft detected smoke, it triggered all the other smoke alarms around their house to sound. Immediately alerting the family of a potential fire. At Fulcher Edwards Ltd, every Tuesday we preach the importance of testing your smoke alarm/fire alarm system. Test it Tuesday is a helpful reminder to carry out weekly tests, as alarms can only save lives if they’re working! At home you could get the kids involved by making them your Test It Tuesday Champion. In the office you should have a ‘responsible person’ who carries out weekly tests on the alarm system.

smoke alarm installer in st albans london

Finally, the Facebook poster also expressed the importance of sufficient home insurance. They also recommend making the whole family aware of the fire alarm system and what to do in the event of a fire.

Please contact us HERE if you would like to find out more about installing a smoke alarm.

 

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The Benefits of a Pre-Purchase Electrical Survey

Pre-Purchase Electrical Survey in St Albans, Hetforshire and London

With the uncertainty of Brexit on the horizon, property market jitters are becoming apparent with more and more people hesitant to put their house on the market. For those brave individuals who are not letting Brexit halt their moving plans, what percentage are going to ask an Electrician to carry out a Pre-purchase Electrical Survey on a property before making an offer?

What is a Pre-Purchase Electrical Survey?

A pre-purchase electrical survey highlights the condition of the electrical wiring of a property. It also checks the safety of the electrical installation and that it adheres to British Standards. Now I know moving is an expensive time as it is, with Solicitors and Estate Agent fees, Building Surveys, and then you have all the other costs involved with moving house. Therefore, you’re probably thinking that a Pre-purchase Electrical Survey is an expense you could do without. However the benefit of having one is you know the exact condition of the property before committing yourself financially. Imagine a few months into your new home and an electrical fault occurs. You then find out that the wiring of the property is in a terrible condition and it will cost a lot of money to correct the issue!

Do I really need to have a pre-purchase electrical survey carried out?

In my personal experience, I found a pre-purchase electrical survey to be highly beneficial when moving house. The survey brought to our attention that some areas of the electrics in the house needed modernisation. For example, our kitchen, lounge and dining room power all fed off of one circuit. Now the demands of kitchens these days what with a washing machine, fridge freezer, tumble dryer, and endless amounts of other kitchen appliances we had, it was heading for a fuse overload unless we changed the current electrical set up. The two viewings we had would not have made us aware of this, as everything looked fine on the surface. Even though this problem was something that could be easily rectified, the survey helped to highlight the problem to us and made us aware of the costs before deciding on the property.

The things that showed up from us having a Building and a Pre-purchase Electrical Survey did not put us off buying this particular house, the point is we went into this house knowing what to expect and what costs were involved going forward. The survey gave us the opportunity to get a better insight into the electrical condition of our future home and therefore a decision was based on if we wanted and could afford the property or not from the findings. Alternatively, you can have a Visual Electrical Inspection carried out. This will give you reasonable insight into the condition of the electrical system in a property. The report will highlight anything that may need replacing in the future.

Whenever a customer calls us at Fulcher Edwards to find out if they should have a electrical survey on a property they are interested in. We always advise them to have one or a visual inspection as it provides you with useful information before making that offer. Its important to remember that just because something is working, it doesn’t necessarily mean there are no underlining problems and it is operating safely.

If you are considering looking for a new home anytime soon then don’t forget to budget for an Pre-purchase Electrical Survey as it could save you money in the long run. Just make sure that the electrician you use is registered with a Government-approved organisations like NICEIC, as registered Electricians will work to current British Standards.

Contact us HERE if you would like to find out more about a pre-purchase electrical survey.

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10 Years of Service at Fulcher Edwards Ltd

Claire Fulcher-Powell Electricians in St Albans, Hertfordshire and London

Claire Fulcher-Powell

Fulcher Edwards Ltd prides itself on being a family business. Our director Michael Fulcher, operates the company alongside his wife and 2 daughters. His eldest daughter, Claire Fulcher-Powell celebrated her 10 years of service with the company on the 1st June! Therefore, in celebration of Claire’s long service with Fulcher Edwards Ltd we thought we would ask Claire a few questions about her time in the company:

Amy: ‘Congratulations on working at Fulcher Edwards for 10 years! What does your role entail?
Claire: ‘Thank you! I am the Operations Manager for the company. Therefore, I am in charge of booking in works, client liaison, ordering materials, and office management. However I am also responsible for all aspects of HR, Health and Safety, and audit management. Its a busy role for sure!’

Amy: ‘Wow it sounds it! What would you say the biggest challenge is of working for the family business?’
Claire: ‘One of the biggest challenge is trying to keep a healthy balance between family and work life. Its important to not always talk about work when spending time as a family! Also, there are higher expectations of you. I also find it difficult not to get emotionally involved with the company. As a family business, you have a personal attachment to it and therefore its hard not to take it personally if things go wrong which are sometimes out of your control.’

Amy: ‘That’s completely understandable. What would you say your greatest achievement has been in the last 10 years?’
Claire: ‘Due to the economic climate, there has been a lot of difficult changes which have happened over the past 10 years. We have lost big clients due to a change in their circumstances, which then massively impacted us! I’m proud to say though that we have always managed to pull through and keep the company running. Also, when I first joined the company I very much created the marketing role. I got Fulcher Edwards onto social media and started looking at ways to further advertise the business. We also got featured in a couple of magazine articles which I was pretty proud of!’

Amy: ‘Yes that is certainly something to be proud of! What is your favourite aspect of your role?’
Claire: ‘Most definitely winning a job and getting new clients! Also receiving positive feedback is really great. It makes all the hard work worthwhile.’

Amy: ‘Okay great. Finally, what’s next for Fulcher Edwards?’
Claire: ‘We’re not 100% sure what lies ahead at the moment, especially with Brexit on the horizon. We have already noticed a slight decline in work due to people being cautious with their money. For this year, I think we have to just batten down the hatches and see what the outcome of Brexit is. I would also like to keep slowly growing the business and gaining more clients in the Hertfordshire area.’

For all your electrical needs, please do not hesitate to contact us HERE.

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Apprenticeships Within The Electrical Industry

 

Electrical apprenticeship in London, Herfordshire and St Albans

Electrical apprenticeship in London, Herfordshire and St Albans

Research conducted by the Electrical Contractors Association (ECA) shows that only 8% of school leavers are being advised to seek apprenticeships! Due to this, employers feel that schools are not preparing students with the correct skill set to pursue an electrotechnical/engineering career.

At Fulcher Edwards Ltd we fully support apprenticeships and have hired a number of apprentices throughout our 38 years of service. Our Managing Director completed a City & Guilds apprenticeship back in 1975 and has been the owner of his own company since 1981. Therefore, it goes to show how far an apprenticeship can take you! Unfortunately, apprenticeships are often perceived as the ‘easy’ and ‘low-paying’ career route.

According to the Electrotechnical Skills Partnership (TESP) over half of employers said that apprentices often had unsatisfactory attitudes, a lack of knowledge, and qualifications. Employers also expressed concerns that schools are not teaching students basic electrical principles within their physics lessons. Furthermore, this lack of electrical theory and knowledge could be discouraging students to pursue a career within the electrical field.

School leavers also appear to be lacking in basic maths skills, oral and written English communication, and having a decent work ethic. Therefore they show a lack of respect to employers through poor timekeeping.

The ECA and TESP are aiming to encourage students into the electrotechnical sector by launching a series of programmes. This will include enhancing the electrical careers website, promoting work experience opportunities, and encouraging industry experts to become part-time lecturers. They aim to close the gap between education and the electrical industry through engagement with employers and local schools.

There is a lack of good candidates applying to train within the sector, therefore its important to start eliminating this stigma surrounding apprenticeships. University is not the route for everyone, and working as an electrician can be a rewarding, fulfilling, and well-paying career. Furthermore, apprenticeships give young people the opportunity to gain work experience, recognised qualifications, and even more importantly to earn some money!

What are your thoughts on apprenticeships? Do you think electrotechnical should be recognised as an academic subject?

If you require any electrical assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us HERE.

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Workplace Fire Training Course

Did you know the Fire Safety Order 2005 (FSO) requires all employers to ensure their staff have received adequate fire safety training? Employees should receive fire safety training during their workplace induction. It is also a requirement that a sufficient amount of staff are trained to carry out an effective evacuation in the event of a fire.

At Fulcher Edwards Ltd we offer a workplace fire training course to all businesses.  This course is ideal for nominated employees to act as fire wardens in their workplace. The two hour course covers both emergency and non-emergency aspects of the role. All attendees will come away with an appropriate level of knowledge to carry out this role safely and effectively.

The workplace fire training course is ideal for those appointed as fire wardens, or for those who are responsible for implementing and developing a fire evacuation procedure.

What Does The Course Cover?

Please see the course programme outlined below:

Aims & Objectives
Legal Obligations
Understanding Fire
Means of Escape
Fire Protection in the Workplace
Fire Routines, Powerpoint and DVD Presentation
Short Comfort
Break
Emergency Role of a Fire Warden
Non-emergency Role of a Fire Warden
The Emergency Plan
Fire Fighting Equipment
Practical Fire Equipment Demonstration
Q&A

As you can see from the course programme, the course is highly detailed and will provide a sufficient level of knowledge to all attendees. On completion of the course we will issue certification within 7 days of our visit.

We allow up to 15 attendees per 2 hour session. However, if you are a larger company we can conduct two sessions within the same day.

It is important to take fire safety seriously, as a fire can have serious and deadly consequences. Furthermore, if the ‘responsible person’ within your business doesnt follow fire safety regulations, they could be fined or imprisoned.

If you would like to find out further information with regards to our Workplace Fire Training Course in London, Hertfordshire and St Albans, please do not hesitate to contact us HERE.

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10 Dangerous Electrical Mistakes

Electrical mistakes can happen easily and it’s every day mistakes that quickly land homeowners in deep water.

According to recent research, more than 80 million accidents happen in British homes each year causing injury or property damage due to unnecessarily risky behaviour.

Simple Electrical Mistakes That Endanger The Lives Of Homeowners

As electricians in Hertfordshire we come across these problems on an almost daily basis in peoples homes. If you are making any of these mistakes you are putting yourself at risk of electrical danger. Take a look at the list below to see what mistakes you could be making in your home. Any of these things could quickly land you in deep water and put you at serious risk of electric shock or injury:

1. Drying clothes on an electrical heater
2. Repairing an appliance while it is still plugged in
3. Leaving a hair straightener on unattended
4. Taking batteries out of smoke alarms to silence them
5. Drilling through wires in the wall to hang pictures
6. Trailing cables under a rug or carpet to keep them out of the way
7. Trying to dry objects that aren’t food in the microwave
8. Overloading electrical sockets and adapters
9. Using damaged electrical sockets that have burn marks on them
10. Using unregistered tradesmen

For further electrical safety advice within the home, check out one of our recent blog posts HERE.

Please do not hesitate to contact us HERE for all your electrical needs or for further electrical advice.

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Mental Health Awareness Week

This week is mental health awareness week. Mental health is a subject particularly close to my heart, and everyone can suffer with mental health issues. Generating more awareness of mental health helps eliminate the stigma which constantly surrounds it.

The Electrical Industries Charity (EIC) provide support and advice to those who work in the electrical industry. On their website they have a mental health calendar where they focus on key tops which could affect your mental health. They also offer mental health awareness training, and mental health first aider training. According to the EIC, 1 in 4 people are now diagnosed with a mental health disorder. There is also alarming rates of attempted suicide.

Signs and Symptoms

Early intervention is extremely important when diagnosing a mental health disorder. The EIC recommend you be aware of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Exhausted and tearful
  • Frequent headaches and stomach upsets
  • Change in sociability
  • Less confident and disinterested in life
  • Poor performance or time-keeping at work
  • Moody or uncommunicative at work

This is only to name a few, and signs and symptoms can vary depending on the individual and disorder. You can find out more HERE.

Improving Your Mental Wellbeing

  1. Relax – Life can be hectic, however amongst the chaos its important to take some time out for yourself. Whether that be going for a walk, reading a book, or catching up on your favourite TV programme, its important to switch off sometimes. Meditation is also supposed to be very beneficial for your mental health. Apps such as Headspace and Calm are highly recommended when beginning meditation.
  2. Exercise – Being active is hugely beneficial to your overall wellbeing. The release of endorphins helps improve your mood, and also decreases stress levels. Not all of us enjoy exercising, however it can be as simple as going for a walk or a bike ride. I personally find that getting fresh air really helps clear my mind. With exercise classes such as Zumba, Clubbercise, and BOUNCE, exercise can be a lot of fun! Need exercise which is low impact on your joints? Try swimming, yoga, or walking.
  3. Healthy Lifestyle – Your overall lifestyle contributes to your mental health. Having a healthy diet, plenty of sleep, and exercising can all have a positive impact. However we all have the odd late night, drink to much alcohol, or overindulge in chocolate and takeaways. This is nothing to feel guilty about, life is all about balance at the end of the day!
  4. Socialise – Socialising with friends and family is extremely important. One of the biggest causes of depression is loneliness. Therefore do make time for others in your life, as talking alone can be really beneficial when you are feeling upset or anxious. If you are feeling lonely and have nobody you can confide in, Mind have helplines you can get in contact with. They can also suggest local groups where you could meet new people.  A pet can also be a great companion.
  5. Hobbies – Starting a new hobby or learning a new skill can be perfect at taking your mind off things. Hobbies help you focus on the task ahead, and you get the satisfaction of learning something new or creating something from scratch.

Getting Help

We are by no means mental health professionals, however we know how difficult life can be at times. If you’re struggling then make sure to confide in a friend, family member, or even a work colleague. It is also important to seek help from a health care professional. Your doctor can provide you with advice, and also offer counselling or medication if required. Mental health is alarmingly common and there really is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about.

If you or someone you love is suffering with a mental health disorder, Mind list several helplines HERE where you can gain support and advice for various issues.

At Fulcher Edwards Ltd, electricians in St Albans, we always encourage good mental health and like to eliminate any pressure from our clients. If we can provide any electrical support or advice then please do not hesitate to contact us HERE.

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Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)

Last week we carried out our annual Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) on the business park where we are based. Whether you are a landlord, tenant, homeowner, or employer, appliance testing is relevant to us all. Consider all the different types of appliances you use in your everyday life, and that majority of electric shock fatalities are due to faulty appliances.

What is Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)?

PAT involves visual inspections and electronic tests being carried out on electrical appliances to ensure they’re safe for use and conform to Electricity at Work Regulations. PAT applies to all electrical equipment connected by a plug and socket-outlet.

The inspection will involve the following checks:
1) connections inside a plug are correct and secure
2) the fuse inside a plug is of the correct rating
3) no bare wires are visible other than at the terminals inside the plug and appliance
4) There is no sign of internal damage, overheating or entry of liquid, dust or dirt

Who can carry out my PAT testing?

Electrical Safety First recommends that PAT testing is carried out by a PAT competent engineer, or by an electrician that is registered with an industry recognised accreditation like NICEIC. You can find a local, registered electrician HERE.

The competent person carrying out the testing will use a portable appliance test instrument (pictured above) to check the electrical condition of the appliances. Once testing is complete, you should be supplied with a certificate, and asset register. This is your proof that testing has been carried out, and all items are agreed to be safe. If any of your items fail the testing, the engineer should make you aware of this. Furthermore, electrical appliances which have failed testing should be kept out of use until they are repaired/replaced.

Is PAT testing a legal requirement?

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) legislation states that all employers have a legal obligation to maintain all electrical equipment. Furthermore, many insurance companies now request that PAT testing is carried out. If you are a landlord, as part of the Landlord and Tenancy Act 1985, you are required to ensure that all appliances you supply are safe for continued use. As mentioned above, we all use a number of electrical appliances in our everyday life. Therefore its important to make sure they’re safe! We recommend annual portable appliance testing.

If you would like PAT testing carried out on your premises in St Albans, London or Hertfordshire or would like to find out more information, please do not hesitate to contact us HERE.

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Lighting Design Ideas For Your Home

We spend majority of our free time at home, and our homes lighting can have more of an impact than you think on our emotional and physical wellbeing. Therefore its important your homes aesthetics and lighting are to your taste. Below we provide lighting design advice for the different rooms in your home.

The KitchenLiving room lighting design and installation in London, St Albans and Hertfordshire

The kitchen is often referred to as the heart of the home, and good lighting is vital for food preparation.  Depending on the layout of your kitchen, under-cabinet lights are ideal for lighting up your worktops when preparing food. A beautiful chandelier or swanky pendant lighting works well over an island or kitchen table. LED spotlights can provide even lighting to other areas within your kitchen. Alternatively, LED strip or rope lighting can create a more modern design. Cool white lighting creates a crisp and modern ambience, which is ideal for social and stimulating environments such as the kitchen.

The Living Room

The living room is often the cosiest room within the house and therefore its important for the lighting to create a relaxing ambience. Wall lights, floor lamps, table lamps, and spotlights all work well within the living room. Directional spotlights are perfect for focussing in on photos or art work which you may have hanging on the wall. Floor lamps are ideal for lighting up reading chairs. We always recommend having lighting on a dimmer, then you can adjust as required. If you would like a more modern feel to the standard dimmer switch, you could have a lighting control panel installed instead. Warm white lights produce a yellow glow which creates a relaxing and cosy atmosphere.

The Bedroom

Similarly to the living room, we want our bedrooms to evoke feelings of relaxation, especially before bedtime. Therefore dimmers should definitely be a consideration. You can have your lights turned up brightly when getting ready in the evening, and dimmed when winding down for bed. Bedside table lamps and wall lights are perfect around your bed as reading lights. We recommend having spotlights above your wardrobes in order to effectively light up your clothes when choosing an outfit. If you have a large bedroom, a chandelier or pendant light in the centre of the room can be a nice feature. Once again, warm white lights are ideal for this type of environment.

Bathroom lighting design and installation in London, St Albans and HertfordshireThe Bathroom

Neutral white lighting is ideal for brightening up your bathroom. Spotlights work well to provide even lighting throughout the bathroom. Vanity lighting over a bathroom sink and mirror could also provide a nice feature. Make sure your shower is well lit with recessed lighting overhead. Larger bathrooms could benefit from having a small chanderlier or pendant light, especially over the bathtub. If you have an en-suite bathroom, make sure the lighting coordinates well with the bedroom lighting.

Hallway/Staircase

We all admire those houses with a grand staircase and large chandelier hanging overhead. If your house is large enough then a chandelier can be a great feature. However if chandeliers aren’t your style or your house is of a smaller size, stair wall lights can provide a modern and stylish feel. Furthermore, you can continue the stair wall lights throughout your upstairs hallway. Ceiling spotlights and wall lights are perfect in hallways for evenly lighting up the path. If you have furniture within your hallways, then you could utilise these by putting table lamps on top. If you have a variety of different lighting you can then adjust to the type of ambience you would like. Neutral white lighting also works well within the hallway and staircase.

We don’t class ourselves as interior designers, however we do happen to know a thing or two about lighting! One of our friendly electricians would be more than happy to provide lighting design ideas and tips for your property during a site visit. LED lamps are the ‘fashion’ nowadays, they’re also energy efficient, last longer, and are cheaper to maintain. As mentioned above, we also recommend dimmer switches or panels as its provides you with flexibility for your lighting.

Please do not hesitate to contact us HERE if you would like us to assist you with the lighting design in your property.

Interested in lighting up your garden? Take a read of one of our previous blog posts HERE where we provide advice on garden lighting design.

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