Hands on property developer - How much can I do on my own with the right qualifications?

Discussion in 'Electricians' Talk' started by Mohai, Sep 20, 2021.

  1. Mohai

    Mohai New Member

    I've read a good few insightful posts on here but unsure if it applies to me as I don't intend on being a sparky full time.

    The last year a business partner and I have got into property development (flipping / renting). This is something we do on the weekends in addition to our non related day jobs. The way we extract the best ROI is doing most the work ourselves - joinery, roofing, plumbing, decorating.

    Now technically I know the very basics of domestic electrics, extending a ring main, fused switch spurs etc.

    However, we of course want to comply to the legal and safety standards, especially when it comes to one of the most dangerous trades! This means that whilst I know how to do some stuff, we outsource all the electrical work to a competent registered person. They register the work, provide the certification needed for landlords and everything is above board.

    I know and agree with the general sentiment that not being an electricians mate and not doing a 4 year apprenticeship will leave some big day to day gaps that doing just the course will have. However, this applies to people who want to get in the trade and have that as their career.

    Being hands on, I'm wondering whether there is value in doing an advanced domestic installer course (C&G 4141, 2393, 2392, 2382) from a place like tradeskills4u and then being able to conduct future work on future properties myself. In terms of chasing walls, browning and rendering walls, lifting boards, lugging kit about, all things I'm used to having experience on a few houses.

    It would cost a few grand which I believe would pay itself back in 2 houses. This isn't considering when I move to a future property myself and will want the works! (smart home + lighting capabilities etc). I know it would be another couple of grand for the dedicated kit which would mean the returns would take a bit longer.

    The final thought is that as I wouldn't be doing this as a day job, I wouldn't be able to register as a competent person so will have to budget for building control inspections to ensure it meets part P.

    Qualifications wise I have a degree in Chemistry and my day job involves regular problem solving and critical thinking.

    Is my line of thinking alright? Or is there some obvious gap I'm missing? Would love to hear your thoughts!
  2. Coloumb

    Coloumb Screwfix Select

    The problem that you will have, if you can find a way to get qualified, is that if you will be signing EIC's for work you have carried out your self for which you will for ever more be responsible for - the rub being this will still be the case even if you sell the property. This being the case, you will also need some sort of insurance in case something goes wrong at a later date. If that's something you can live with then go for it.

    edit I guess you could write on the certs something like "no guarantees, for information only" or some such thing.
  3. MGW

    MGW Screwfix Select

    The LABC when you notify work are responsible for site safety, so they also have the power to say if or not you can DIY and if they will accept your installation certificate.

    My son worked in Liverpool, Cheshire, and Flintshire, all diffrent,
    Liverpool was easy, Cheshire a little more picky, and Flintshire we had problems getting them to accept our installation certificate.

    My so said if you want to have a third party inspect our work, they clearly must be higher qualified to our selves, so we had C&G 2391 and I had a degree in electricial and electronic engineering, not a good degree, but clearly if some one wants to argue the toss, they need the letters to show they know there stuff.

    Skill was split into ordinary, instructed, skilled and competent, the last was dropped, so now only three levels, and it does not link to any exam. Clearly some one who has worked as an electrician for 30 years knows his stuff, even with no paperwork to show it.

    The problem areas are testing, even a insulation tester uses 500 volt, low current, but care is required. The insulation tester is cheap, I got one for £35 but the loop impedance tester, and RCD testers are not cheap. You can hire, not sure of cost, but your looking at over £1000 to get the test equipment and pay the LABC fees, and short course on inspecting and testing, so the big question is if worth it?

    In Wales the fees were £100 plus vat for first £2000 worth of work, well that's going to be full rewire. Add to that cost of EICR if you EIC is not accepted, and looking at £500 bill to DIY, add test equipment if required, and very quickly it becomes cheaper to use a scheme member.
    Mohai likes this.
  4. woodbutcherbower

    woodbutcherbower Screwfix Select

    Having bought, fully restored, and re-sold three Victorian houses over the last few years as part-time projects between other jobs - the first thing which a buyer’s solicitor will ask you for are EIC certificates, Gas Safety inspection document, a HETAS certificate if you’ve put in a stove, a FENSA certificate if you’ve replaced the windows, plus a copy of LABC completion if anything notifiable has happened.

    My best advice (which worked well for me each time) is to hook up with a good local sparky, and get the layout and positioning of spurs, sockets, switches etc. all planned out with him - and then do the first fix yourself, strictly to his spec. Bear in mind also that a majority of cheaper, rundown properties are likely to need a new consumer unit - definitely not a DIY job. You can do chases, running cables, clipping, installing back boxes, the usual donkey work stuff - but which is messy, time-consuming and costs if someone else is doing it. Get him to come and check it all before you fill the chases. You’ve just saved a packet right there. Later, get him back to 2nd fix, test and certificate. Best of both worlds. My ten cents worth.
    Mohai and MGW like this.
  5. Mohai

    Mohai New Member

    Really appreciate the in depth responses!
    @MGW I'm going off the assumption that future properties we buy will need a full rewire, our local council fees are pretty similar to the examples you've shared. I'm happy for significant upfront costs because I'm in my late twenties so currently looking at this over a very long period of time. But as you say, if each house ends up costing a few hundred less than getting a pro to do it each time (also who can come in during the week whilst I'm working) then it blurs the benefits.

    @woodbutcherbower I think this is a perfect scenario, it already builds on my existing knowledge. Doing the donkey work is exactly how I want to reduce costs! Regarding replacement of consumer unit - it's a safe assumption that all future houses we buy will need a new one. I would have only done this myself if the courses I took gave me the right skills and legal knowledge to do this whilst complying. The course I mentioned has a section on CU replacement.

    I know the current sparky we used would not be interested in this setup because it becomes less worth his time to show up. The hardest part will be finding a sparky who is willing to let me do the first fix!
  6. Coloumb

    Coloumb Screwfix Select

    @Mohai - not wanting to rain on your parade but I think @woodbutcherbower has been very, very VERY fortunate to find a sparky willing to accept his work. For the EIC the spark will have signed off someone elses work as his own, which fundamentally is not what Part P is designed for. I would be surprised if it was done with the sparks registered body's knowledge as it is certainly not something he should be doing and I would expect a very stern warning from them if they ever found out.

    As an example, in the 20 odd years I have been on this forum, that is the first time I have heard of this actually being done although it comes up a lot as an option. I personally would be happy to let someone else cut out chases, lift floorboards, that kind of things, but there is absolutely no way on earth I would let anyone else run in cables other than me. It's just too risky.
    Mohai and Bazza like this.
  7. Mohai

    Mohai New Member

    @Coloumb Definitely not. I see it as something almost impossible. Got to have a real good friend basically who would be comfortable with it. It's understandable why because there's so much on the line.

    I know there's a system set up for inspectors who can sign off your work as opposed to going through building control but it seems there's very few of these since it was introduced.
  8. I know of this happening, it’s not uncommon. Same as gas, I know loads of installs done by non gas safe plumbers and signed off by a gas safe person.
    Not saying it’s right or wrong but it definitely happens and isnt uncommon.
  9. Coloumb

    Coloumb Screwfix Select

    Well I mean for sure it's technically wrong, no one should be doing it. Probably the reason it's never come up before is that it's all happening on the low down as it where.
  10. Tony Goddard

    Tony Goddard Screwfix Select

    Agree with the comments above, doing donkey work for a good trusted spark, lifting boards, drilling joists, chasing out, fitting back boxes, all that stuff is fine for you to do. When it comes to the wiring, leave it to the pro, you then have total piece of mind that the certification is correct and legitimate.

    On the other side of the coin, if you say purchased a flat or house which did not need re-wiring but just some fittings replacing (new switches/socket etc then there is nothing wrong with you replacing those fittings and then ordering a full EICR to confirm everything is as it should be prior to selling. In that case its just like for like replacement of fittings as opposed to adding too or altering circuits.

    If you don't have insurance I would look at getting a general trade insurance policy that is non specific and covers a range of property maintenance fields, I have a dedicated electricians policy and a "handyman" policy that covers me for light building tasks, defined scope plumbing etc etc.. but be sure to read the small print as to what you cannot do!!
  11. Tony Goddard

    Tony Goddard Screwfix Select

    I suppose worth adding that if you got NVQ level 3, did the regs course, did an inspection and test course, got insured, joined Napit or NICEIC then there is no reason why you can't do it all yourself. i know a developer who has done various course down the years and is NICEIC and Gas Safe registered in his own right, but he only works on his own projects.
  12. woodbutcherbower

    woodbutcherbower Screwfix Select

    Did I actually state that I’d done my own first fix? No I didn’t. It was thrown in as a suggestion. Nothing more.
  13. Coloumb

    Coloumb Screwfix Select

    You exact words where...

    My best advice (which worked well for me each time)...

    So this "advice" is something you have given but not actually had any practical experience of?

    That is odd since you opened your post with...

    Having bought, fully restored, and re-sold three Victorian houses over the last few years as part-time projects between other jobs
  14. woodbutcherbower

    woodbutcherbower Screwfix Select

    You have no idea what happened during my house restorations because you weren't there. I respectfully suggest that you stop attempting to pick holes in my every sentence, and curb your assumptions. Have a nice day.
    Deleted member 246321 likes this.
  15. Coloumb

    Coloumb Screwfix Select

    Yup I have no idea and no I'm not picking holes in what you said. All I have done is quote what you have said. Which it looks like I'll have to say again.

    Having bought, fully restored, and re-sold three Victorian houses over the last few years as part-time projects between other jobs...

    My best advice (which worked well for me each time)...

    You can do chases, running cables, clipping, installing back boxes,

    Later, get him back to 2nd fix, test and certificate.

    Any normal person would literally interpret this to mean that you found a spark willing to sign the EIC on your 1st fix work for your restorations.

    This then clearly is the assumption that can be made. I assumed, from what you have typed above, that is is to be the case. Why wouldn't anyone else?

    I really don't know why your getting so twitchy about. I couldn't care less "if" you found a bent spark to sign off on this. It's not my problem.

    However, I'm entitled to my opinion just as much as you and the OP is certainly entitled to know that your "advice" is NOT correct in that, if followed, would involve fraud.

    Have a nice day too.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2021
  16. MGW

    MGW Screwfix Select

    My son before Part P came in decided to go sole trader, he did one job where he allowed the client to do the prep work, and finish off, he said never again, he would arrive and the prep work not done, so either he went home with no other work booked for the day, or he did prep work, so the customer basic got the job on the cheap as my son could not afford to take a day off.

    I am sure many electricians have had the same, but usually due to some other trade not turning up on time, big firm may be able to juggle labour, but small firm one day wasted has a knock on effect.

    I see this with tradesmen I use, arriving a day late due to delays on last job.

    When I wanted my mothers house rewired it was costing £600 a week for her care home while it was being done, even as an electrician it was cheaper to get a firm in to rewire than to DIY.
  17. Truckcab79

    Truckcab79 Screwfix Select

    I have it written into my quotations that any work by client agreed in advance or materials to be supplied, must be on site / complete by agreed dates. Failure on the part of the client to do so will incur your daily rate (or £X), if you cannot do the agreed work when planned. Saves a lot of grief. Invariably they decide not to do the work or supply the materials just in case they fall foul of it. Perfectly fair to both parties if laid out before the job commences. (Not electrical work to be clear, but same principle).
  18. MGW

    MGW Screwfix Select

    I would write a standard contract, and would include items like should comply with BS7671 unless prior written agreement made, but having some one do prep work is not normal so not some thing written in to contract, yes time limits written in, but I have watched DIY try to cut a channel for cable, and also used the machine to cut them, and really there is no point in using cold chisel, except to finish off.
  19. The Happy Builder

    The Happy Builder Screwfix Select

    You are completely underestimating the time and effort it will take you to become a Registered Electrician, from a commercial point of view it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, you you be better off concentrating on the other aspects of your prt time business and getting an electrician to do the electrical work for you.

    I had a customer who is a retired vet, he did the training and passed the exams, but never registered with a scheme. I did his EICRs for his rental properties and he did the repairs, talking to him he said that when he set out to qualify as an electrician he completely underestimated the time and effort required, he enjoyed doing it but commercially he would have been better off getting an electrician in for everything.
  20. Tony Goddard

    Tony Goddard Screwfix Select

    Agree with Happy, in terms of skills to learn as a developer, joinery and plastering would be far more commercially useful in terms of saving money, and there are no further on costs in terms of membership of trade bodies involved in plastering walls and hanging screen doors - nor do you actually need any particular certificate, once you can do it right you are sorted.

    Save money that way and pay the pro spark and gas man to do their thing.
    Deleted member 246321 likes this.

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