Insurance requirement for 3phase competence for a single phase building

I've just taken over the running of a community building which is single phase and is no more complex than a large 4-bedroomed bungalow in terms of space, load and number of socket outlets. The electrical test electrician currently conducting the test is qualified for single phase only. The new insurance company specifies the tester must be qualified for 3-phase. While they have a right to do this, is it reasonable and based upon a real need? Can I contest it and on what technical basis?

  • I wasn't aware that there are different qualifications.

    BS 7671 applies in both cases so any exams (e.g. C&G) which are based upon it must cover 3-phase.

  • It might be better to ask exactly what qualifications they are expecting and what they will not accept. It is not unreasonable to expect someone to have a reasonably recent  test and inspection qualification, in addition to the basic  knowledge of BS7671, which hopefully ensures you can read the regs  and design stuff that meets them. However to inspect the work of others is rather harder as it needs the ability to reverse engineer the previous work, and then decide if it is working properly.
    I'm not really sure from the description however what qualifications this chap has and what they are objecting too. 'Three phase' is a wiring system, not a level of qualification - you should expect them to indicate some city and guilds course codes or equivalent.


  • The electrical test electrician currently conducting the test is qualified for single phase only.

    It might be useful to find out what's meant by that - as others have said most electrical qualifications aren't qualified on the number of phases used. It might be that the electrician isn't used to 3-phase work and perhaps is reluctant to claim any experience of it, but his/her actual qualifications might not be that restrictive.

        -  Andy.

  • ...2nd thought - do any of the "schemes" limit 3-phase work for their "domestic installer" level membership?

      - Andy.

  • And what does the statute law actually say? Reg 16 EAWR 1989 that a competent person carries out the work for which they have suitable knowledge and experience to avoid the dangers etc etc.

    So if the person employed is "Competent" and only works on single phase systems and can demonstrate that, then why would somebody and that includes an insurance company ask for qualifications for something the operative will not be working on!

    Must be something more to this I feel.


  • Thanks everyone. The replies have confirmed what I thought would be the case. I'll explore the situation a little more, both with the insurance company and the contractor. If I find out the reasons for the requirement, I'll be back (as they say!)

    Thanks again.


  • Just on a slightly different note, Council here will only accept Emergency Lighting Periodic Inspection and Test Certificates from NICEIC or equivalent. I don’t think the scheme providers assess competence in the area of emergency lighting unless defined approval.

    In the OP, I reckon the insurance company don’t want a domestic spark doing the 3phase inspection. 
    Competence is being scrutinised in every area of our industry, perhaps rightly so. However, competence for a particular task is often an elusive consideration.

  • Just wait till the insurance companies start really tightening things up and demanding qualification in 4-, or even 5-phase electricity.

  • In the OP, I reckon the insurance company don’t want a domestic spark doing the 3phase inspection. 

    So there are no 3-phase domestic installations? Thinking

  • I'd have to - in the best of ways -  object to a small part of mapj1s reply -   "having a reasonably recent test and inspection qualification" bit............ I'm sure lots of us normal electricians got their test and inspection qualifications decades ago. I do maybe a dozen EICRs a year if I'm lucky (Commercial) so I could prove experience, as I keep those records, but any employed electrician (especially) who does not hold the records from years past would struggle, I imagine to prove recent up to date competency. 

    I recon you've encapsulated the best reply in your first sentence - I'd ask the insurers what they mean and get clarification - as this is an insurer driven specification. 

    I suspect a lot of qualified electricians never get to work on three phase systems though, and don't have experience in three phase. Perhaps this is the basis of the insurers concern? 

    The electrician " currently conducting the test" - what ever test that is - perhaps an EICR? - I'd suggest would need Basic, industry recognized qualifications, test and inspection qualifications and insurance at the least. Maybe the electrician is a domstic installer and holds a "short cut" course qualification only?? (If he's only qualified for single phase) 

    An NICEIC Approved contractor is the usual default of insurance companies, and it saves the responsible person for running the community building from doing any further checks and having to decide whether someone, or sometimes an organisation/company is deemed competent, qualified and experienced. 

    The idea behind an NICEIC approved contractor is that those checks are already done by the NICEIC and by being a part of the organisation the NICEIC are willing to endorse that company/person as having all of the qualifications, experience, insurance etc etc to carry out electrical work.