ECS Changes – addressing the myths

11 February 2019

The changes outlined in this article affect ECS cardholders in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The ECS in Scotland is administered by the Scottish JIB.

Article updated 14 June 2019 to reflect change in deadline for Registered Electricians to gain 18th Edition.

We’ve had some feedback that Installation and Maintenance Electricians are concerned that if they do not gain the 18th Edition they will ‘lose’ their gold card or become downgraded in some way, following the card changes announced last year. This is not the case. 

Here we provide some clarification on what exactly the requirements are:

1. Registered Electrician status is different to a traditional Installation or Maintenance Electrician gold card. Rules affecting Registered Electricians and 18th Edition only affect those who have opted into this status. 

By introducing the Registered Electrician status, the JIB’s aim is to raise the professionalism of individual electricians, electrical contractors and the industry as a whole. 

Becoming a Registered Electrician involves a separate opt-in process that is additional to the standard gold card; it includes a commitment to CPD, keeping up to date with the Wiring Regulations and agreeing to a professional code of conduct. 

So when we state that all Registered Electricians must have the 18th Edition by the deadlins given, or lose their Registered Electrician status, this only applies to those who have previously opted-in to Registered Electrician status and do not have the 18th Edition.

2. If you are an Installation or Maintenance Electrician gold card holder, the only requirement you have from 01 July 2019 is to not let your card expire by more than 12 months. 

From 01 July 2019, providing you don’t let your card expire by more than 1 year, you can renew your gold card under the existing requirements. There is no need to gain the 18th Edition or to become a Registered Electrician, unless you choose to. If you do gain the 18th Edition you can have this added onto the back of your card. 

3. From 01 July 2019, if your gold card is more than 12 months out of date, you will have to sign up for Registered Electrician status before you can renew your card. 

So, if you wish to continue with the gold card you already hold, it’s in your interest to make sure you renew your card on time. 

A summary of the new rules surrounding Registered Electricians and gold cards: 

  • From 01 January 2019 all new applications for gold cards must have 18th Edition and opt in to become Registered Electrician. So this applies to those who have never held a gold card before. 
  • From 01 January 2020 all existing Registered Electricians must have gained BS7671:2018 by the time they renew their card after this date. Those who don’t will not ‘lose their card’, but the Registered Electrician status will be removed. You will still hold your ECS occupation (for example Installation Electrician) and JIB grade (for example Approved Electrician) on your gold card. 
  • From 01 July 2019 if your gold card is more than one year out of date you will be required to renew as a Registered Electrician. 

If none of the above apply to you, you can renew your card in the usual way. 

We hope this provides a useful reference to share with friends and colleagues to show how the changes will work and address some of the myths currently circulating.