Home / INTERVIEWS / Face to face: Eddie Arrowsmith, NICEIC Middle East

Face to face: Eddie Arrowsmith, NICEIC Middle East

by James Morgan on Apr 15, 2017

Eddie Arrowsmith, regional engineering manager of NICEIC Middle East.
Eddie Arrowsmith, regional engineering manager of NICEIC Middle East.

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For more than 60 years, NICEIC has been benchmarking standards within the United Kingdom’s electrical contracting sector. Formerly known as the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting, the voluntary regulatory body was established in 1956 to provide distribution network operators (DNOs) with assurances that they were connecting to safe systems.

Today, as part of Certsure – a limited liability partnership (LLP) between Electrical Safety First (ESF) and the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) – NICEIC boasts more than 35,000 registered contractors. Its registrants are responsible for approximately 90% of all electrical work conducted in the UK, carrying out 1.25 million domestic and 750,000 commercial jobs, on average, every year.

As regional engineering manager of NICEIC Middle East, Eddie Arrowsmith is working diligently to spread this message of certified competence among electricians in the GCC and wider Levant – and with significant success. Speaking to Construction Week in April, during his third regional visit of 2017, Arrowsmith says that NICEIC has gained the attention of some of the Middle East’s largest facilities management (FM) companies.

“Farnek, Cofely Besix Facility Management, and Visible Energy Solutions have already successfully registered with NICEIC,” he explains. “By the end of the week, I expect to be able to add Emrill and Carillion Qatar to that list, and we’re also in talks with Imdaad and Transguard.”

In truth, the term ‘register’ belies the robustness of NICEIC’s assessment process; companies cannot simply sign up to become part of the organisation’s approved cohort. On the contrary, Arrowsmith and his colleagues are unapologetic about making applicants earn and retain their accreditation.

“NICEIC’s primary focus is safety; our registrants are assessed on a regular basis to ensure high standards,” Arrowsmith explains. “That’s what we’re about. NICEIC approval is not a badge of convenience; you’ve got to earn the badge, and continue to [work for] it.”

In order to register with NICEIC, a company must submit an application form for its head office, and additional forms for each branch from which electrical work is arranged or carried out. During the subsequent assessment, the organisation focusses on two key personnel: the firm’s principal duty holder, who acts as the point of contact; and its qualified supervisors, of which there may be several.

“Depending on the applicant’s line of work and geographic spread, NICEIC will stipulate the number of qualified supervisors that are necessary,” says Arrowsmith. “Because if you have one employee who’s responsible for tendering, ordering materials, and overseeing work at multiple sites that may be hundreds of kilometres apart, there’s actually no supervision taking place.

“If you want to become a NICEIC registrant and maintain your accreditation, you must employ a sufficient number of competent professionals to cover your operations,” he adds.

At the beginning of the assessment process, NICEIC holds an introductory meeting to ensure that the appropriate staff members are present. It then conducts an office audit to ensure that the business is in possession of appropriate tools and materials, and all core documents. Following this,NICEIC conducts an onsite inspection, during which it checks a minimum of three samples of electrical work consistent with the firm’s range and scope. The final step involves a brief closing meeting at the applicant’s business premises before the assessment report is compiled.

All businesses that achieve NICEIC registration must demonstrate that their work complies with national or regional safety standards, and IEC 60364.