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Topic Title: SOMETHING ELSE NEW TODAY
Topic Summary: Cheap Labour
Created On: 29 May 2012 10:39 PM
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 29 May 2012 10:39 PM
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John Peckham

Posts: 7253
Joined: 23 April 2005

I spoke to one of my clients today who I carry out EICRs in banking and insurance companies. He was mentioning some testing work being undertaken in a bank and I asked why I did not get to tender for the work. He told me his client had given the work to a cleaning company who now did fixed wiring testing. He said he could not get near their prices. And why was that do you think? Guess who they are using to do the work, yep their cleaners on minimum wage. A group of cleaners supervised by one "skilled" person attack a large banking floor and they are in and out in no time at all.

-------------------------
John Peckham

http://www.astutetechnicalservices.co.uk/
 29 May 2012 10:41 PM
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Zs

Posts: 2630
Joined: 20 July 2006

JP, I am genuinely horrified by that.

Zs
 29 May 2012 10:48 PM
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Martynduerden

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Joined: 13 July 2008

Originally posted by: John Peckham

I spoke to one of my clients today who I carry out EICRs in banking and insurance companies. He was mentioning some testing work being undertaken in a bank and I asked why I did not get to tender for the work. He told me his client had given the work to a cleaning company who now did fixed wiring testing. He said he could not get near their prices. And why was that do you think? Guess who they are using to do the work, yep their cleaners on minimum wage. A group of cleaners supervised by one "skilled" person attack a large banking floor and they are in and out in no time at all.


Not really surprising clip a few test leads on to a few multi coloured wires produce an a4 sheet full of numbers meaning not a great deal to most and bobs your uncle cheque please.

I&T is just an exercise in keeping people happy and with signed form,

Never going to change only going to get cheaper, less comprehensive with fewer numbers to make up.

-------------------------
Regards

Martyn.

Only a mediocre person is always at their best



www.electrical contractors uk.com
 29 May 2012 10:53 PM
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Legh

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That, more or less, makes a nonsense of all the training and experience an electrician has to go through to get to a position of some basic level of competence to do PIRs.

So what will be done to alleviate this situation ?

Legh

-------------------------
Why do we need Vernier Calipers when we have container ships?

http://www.leghrichardson.co.uk

"Science has overcome time and space. Well, Harvey has overcome not only time and space - but any objections."
 29 May 2012 11:23 PM
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sparkingchip

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I just passed comment on another post that having a compliance services company appears to be in vogue!

I have also just sent John and a few others a email revealing my inner stalker, trailing how folks with over two dozen failed companies between them are now trying to get into this market. This really does seem to be a area of business that attracts interest from those who have been through the mill.

Andy
 29 May 2012 11:28 PM
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Jobbo

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It's regspec all over again! They were cleaners, now millionaires, thanks to you know who!
 30 May 2012 09:01 AM
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keithredpath

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About 25 years ago, I was checking Portables at £5.50 per item for a major bank.

If we done about 60 items in a day we could go home.

Now people are doing 300 items a day at 33 pence per item.

I think our trade is reaching new levels of criminality.

-------------------------
keithredpath
 30 May 2012 09:21 AM
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AJJewsbury

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I think I need a new word or phrase to describe the situation where a system put in place with the intention of achieving a certain highly desirable end, then mutates over time such that it no longer achieves its original intention but all emphasis is on following the procedure rather than achieving the original end, even when it's blindingly obvious that it's futile.

It seems to be a feature of the age of an organisation or civilisation - young ones start off focused on the immediate target, older ones abstract things into intermediate targets to try and cut down on the apparent complexity (points, deadlines, targets, money), even older ones forget the original task and just concentrate on the 'targets'.

Something like 'organisational senility' comes to mind.

- Andy.
 30 May 2012 10:20 AM
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Jaymack

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Originally posted by: John Peckham
A group of cleaners supervised by one "skilled" person attack a large banking floor and they are in and out in no time at all.

I would question the extent of this "fixed wiring testing". I have known an eastern European cleaner in the High Wycombe area, to test communal emergency lighting and replace lamps in an apartment complex. No problem there, but I don't know if the log book was maintained by this person.

Regards
 30 May 2012 10:35 AM
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Zoro

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Originally posted by: AJJewsbury

I think I need a new word or phrase to describe the situation where a system put in place with the intention of achieving a certain highly desirable end,then mutates over time such that it no longer achieves its original intention but all emphasis is on following the procedure rather than achieving the original end, even when it's blindingly obvious that it's futile.

That would be,
DCLG Buildings Division Statatutory instrument Part P of the Building Regulations, with Competent Person Schemes that have a conflict of interest with the safety of the public and worthless acreditation by Box Tickers supreme UKAS.

It seems to be a feature of the age of an organisation or civilisation - young ones start off focused on the immediate target, older ones abstract things into intermediate targets to try and cut down on the apparent complexity (points, deadlines, targets, money), even older ones forget the original task and just concentrate on the 'targets'.

Something like 'organisational senility' comes to mind.

INCOMPETENCE

- Andy.
 30 May 2012 10:05 PM
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slittle

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All we can hope John is something goes badly wrong and there's a massive claim against the company in question, either PI or EI.

Even the best lawyer is going to struggle to justify why a cleaner was undertaking "live testing" and then explain how they are a competent person under the EAW.

Give it time and it will happen.


Stu
 30 May 2012 10:42 PM
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Cremeegg

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Scary - but sadly increasingly common.

Equally scary that we have to wait until something happens and the coroner has a few words to say to the families of the deceased about the owners/occupiers of the buildings concerned.

The last time I found such a situation (allegedly full dead/live tests on all ninety odd circuits of a seven storey educational establishment for £500) I made sure I found out the name of their insurance company and wrote to both the insurance company and the establishment concerned explaining that such an inspection and test would not be properly undertaken for that price. Made me feel better and happy to produce a copy to HSE if/when something dire happens.

I'm not going to bother wasting my time trying to convert those building maintenance staff that just want to box tick. Those that are interested then I will spend time with and explain what will/wont be done to justify my prices.
 31 May 2012 01:01 AM
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Zs

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This happened to me (and my team) after an extensive day for 5 of us at a London Theatre. The next time I went in there was confusion and a young lad doing another I&T, presumably to over-ride mine. Mine was polite but damming, and 29 pages long. You all know me well enough to know that it wasn't the minutiae of BS7671 in that report - it was the things which were screamingly dangerous. I'm not a traffic warden kind of inspector and I look for goodness in an installation.

I will be there at the high court telling the press the story and giving them copies if the worst happens. I really will.

Months have gone by but they've recently come back to ask for help.

Zs
 31 May 2012 07:32 AM
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GJH

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It just shows you that the governing bodies and insurance companies are not doing enough to police these people. Unbelievable
 31 May 2012 07:47 AM
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Fm

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As someone who looks after 20 plus buildings for my employer, i dont think they would be too impressed if it caught on fire on someone was plated!

That would be an interesting meeting, but i was trying to save you money!! I'm sure people are clever enough not to put in writing that they want the cheapest job possible, cause that would be an email worth keeping
 31 May 2012 09:41 AM
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OMS

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Just for a bit of balance, we tend towards a concept of reasonably practicable when it comes to H&S - a noteable exception being EAWR which places a few absolute duties.

Reasonably practicable allows for the balance between the quantum of risk and the burden (in terms of money, time and effort) required to address it. That balance miust be disproportionate.

So, lets take the average office building - statistically very few people die every year in offices, even less from electrocution. Collectively there must be many millions of circuits in UK offices - testing costs say £10/circuit. Do the sums and decide if all that money is proportionate for say 1 life saved (from a risk perspective, we used to work on one man-death having a real cost of about £2million, and a direct cash value of about £1million.

If someone is injured or killed electrically, then testing or no testing, an absolute duty has been breached so the duty holder is in the ***** regardless of whether the building was tested by the gold club or the local east european cleaner.

Add to that the total confusion amongst clients created by the almost total ***** spouted by the testing industry and it's little wonder that the vast majority of people decide to just go it alone with the least possible cost - statistically many more of your employees will die in car crashes than from electrocution at the desk..

So - what to do, personaly, I suspect the industry needs to start educating the relevant people in the risk management process - and that means getting away from the focus on bloody R1 and R2 values stated to 3 decimal places and more on a bloody good look at the systems with appropriate commentary on what is really risky and what isn't.

As Zs said:

You all know me well enough to know that it wasn't the minutiae of BS7671 in that report - it was the things which were screamingly dangerous.


The client however is brainwashed by the industry to think that a PIR with "Satisfactory" on the bottom is the pinnacle of safety management - hence:

The next time I went in there was confusion and a young lad doing another I&T, presumably to over-ride mine


In my opinion, our collective desire to reduce inspection to a tick box exercise has accelerated over the last decade or so - is it any wonder that clients now want to adopt the same industry mentality ?

If you don't believe that, this forum alone is littered with questions about "what code" and further questions that revolve around "what number" - there are substantially less that focus on "what's dangerous" - and by dangerous I mean dangerous, not some trivial hypothetical scenario dreamed up by a crusading electrician with no real concept of risk (other than "It's electric innit - it's bound to be dangerous" ) and quite possibly an eye on the remedials quote.

How often do you hear the phrase "potentially fatal" applied on here to situations that are barely credible and would have a probablity of occurance somewhere around 1 in 10, 000 years.

We are focusing on the wrong things ?

regards

OMS

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Failure is always an option
 31 May 2012 09:51 AM
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jcm256

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Facility management companies (Not you FM) quickly caught on, instead of giving out work and money to pat testing companies, they could do the work themselves. Therefore, the joiner, painter or cleaner, now provided with a pat test instrument you would find enjoying their newfound I am the electrician task. Would not be surprised one bit if same sort of thing moved forward to EICR reports. Specialist inspections Lifts, H & V seem to be for the time being still, contracted out, but who knows the future. FM is a lucrative business with the bigger firm's turnover in Billions
 05 June 2012 10:47 PM
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kj scott

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One the countries largest electrical testing companies started as a cleaning company, so what's new?

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http://www.niceic.biz
 05 June 2012 10:50 PM
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peteTLM

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Originally posted by: kj scott

One the countries largest electrical testing companies started as a cleaning company, so what's new?


yes, but im sure you have seen the drivel they churn out?

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----------------------------------------
Lack of planning on your part doesn't make it an emergency on mine....

Every man has to know his limitations- Dirty Harry
 05 June 2012 11:05 PM
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sparkingchip

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Is it well presented drivel, good looking well printed documents headed up with logos and lots of stickers with holograms or a scribble in ball point on a generic no carbon required copy set?

Andy
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