When you hire a professional to work on something for you there are a lot of things to consider. Most people hire through word of mouth, their family or friends have used the contractor and are pleased with the work. They’ve had time to see that no problems arise and the contractor was courteous and professional. Word of mouth is the primary driver in finding someone to carry out work for you. However there are other checks that can and should be done to see if the contractor is up to scratch, without having to pay out money to evaluate their work first hand.

One of the first things people check with any contractor is if they’re a member of a professional body. There is a problem with this though. Many industries have professional bodies that are answerable to no-one. They’re members’ groups that have their own code of conduct and set of controls and ethics, but in reality they’re made up of just the people who pay their membership fee and get listed on the group’s website. It pays to dig a little more into the professional body and their structure. The primary criteria for evaluating a professional body are to see if they’re answerable to anyone. In the best case you will find that such a group is answerable on a national level to a state regulatory body for the industry. These regulatory bodies ensure that the professional group is achieving certain criteria, that they are answerable for what their members do and don’t do, and that they carry out regular inspections of members. In the case of electrical contractors the national regulatory body is the Commission for Energy Regulation, which The Register of Electrical Contractors is answerable to.

f you’re to look at commercial level operations such as contracting to a building company or a large commercial organisation you’ll see that these groups put restrictions in place on who they will hire. Outside of cost money issues like tendering processes they usually have other standards that contractor must meet. The biggest reason contractors don’t and shouldn’t get hired for work is if they don’t have insurance. For a large company dodgy installations and problems could end up costing them a huge amount of money. Even worse is if the contractor causes an injury to themselves or someone else: say a member of the public. If someone was injured it could end up costing the business hundreds of thousands of euros in medical and compensation costs, let alone legal fees. It’s possible to take the contractor to court but if they’re a small business or a one-man operation they might not have the financial resources to cover any costs. While the business would go bankrupt and be put out of operation, that’s of no benefit to the person injured who could be facing years of medical treatment and rehabilitation. And it’s of no benefit to the business or householder who hired them who could also be found responsible for the accident. If you’re hiring someone to carry out work for you, just as a large company would you should check their insurance.

Contractors know that with the nature of their work accidents are sometimes unavoidable. The best contractors will do their utmost to ensure the chances of an accident are minimised, but even with the best practices accidents do happen. No honest workman will ever have a problem showing you their insurance certificates before they start their work. They know the risks for themselves and the risks for you when it comes to potentially lethal tasks such as working at heights or with electricity, so they will be happy to give you the information you should be looking for.

When you’re looking for someone to carry out work for you, be it a builder, plumber, electrical contractor, something as simple as someone installing a satellite receiver for your house, in fact for any professional working for you make sure they’re answerable to someone for the quality of their work and make sure they’re insured.