Meet the Experts: Eddy Pegg


A veteran of more than 17 years with Bureau Veritas, Eddy Pegg recently moved into a new role as key account director, having spent two years as the UK electrical business unit manager, restructuring and stabilising the unit to focus on combining service delivery with technical best practice. His wide-ranging responsibilities have covered everything from setting and delivering the electrical business plan, to driving improvements in cost control and process delivery.

In this next instalment of our ‘Meet the experts: A year in review’ series, Vicky Shah, sector lead for retail, hospitality and leisure at Bureau Veritas, speaks to Eddy about his own shocking disregard for electrical safety as a school pupil, and how to meet the challenges of electrical safety and compliance.

Vicky Shah: Tell us about your own experiences through the years and how they have helped you in your roles at Bureau Veritas.

Eddy Pegg: I've been with the business for a long time and held several operational, technical and commercial roles within the company so I’ve had a fantastic amount of visibility across the industry and the business.

As part of my previous role as electrical business unit manager, I was ultimately responsible for the health, safety and welfare of my team, which includes three area managers and approximately 60 engineers, ensuring we deliver inspections safely and in a way that our clients’ requirements. I initially joined Bureau Veritas as an electrical engineer inspecting fixed wiring installations and before that I worked as a 'sparkie' carrying out installation and commissioning throughout the UK, so I know exactly what it takes.

I'm passionate about electrical safety and compliance, especially when technical competency and skills are continuously undervalued. Ironically I think this is driven from my only suspension from high school for blowing up the sockets in the physics lab! The dangers and consequences associated with electricity soon hit home!

VS: What legislation is in place in the UK surrounding electrical testing and inspection?

EP: The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 underpin the need to ensure electrical systems are installed, maintained and managed in such a way as not to cause harm to individuals or the property itself. There are also numerous British Standards (BS7671, 18th Edition IET Wiring Regulations) and Guidance Notes to enable those responsible to meet the requirements, particularly in specific buildings or sectors, or where there is additional risk to be considered.

VS: What are the key areas to be considered?

EP: One of the most significant aspects of electricity is that it’s both odourless and invisible, so the dangers can easily be missed or not realised compared to gas, for example. This makes it harder to define key areas.

What is essential, however, is that organisations understand and enact their duty holder responsibilities to ensure the safe operation of the electrical system. This can mean effective control of new installations, ongoing maintenance schemes and risk-based inspections to ensure people and property are kept safe.

VS: What is required to achieve compliance?

EP: When you are effectively controlling the risks associated with electrical systems, then you can demonstrate compliance. It’s important to remember however, that other factors will have a bearing on compliance such as the organisation’s budget, any history of incidents, maintenance schemes and the age or condition of the installation.

Often insurers and H&S officials will ask to see the Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR - formerly known as the Periodic Inspection Report) which is a good indicator of the current state of an electrical installation. It's a bit like an electrical MOT as it assumes the installations were installed correctly at the time it was commissioned and will provide a valuable insight to the condition of the installation.

Typically, EICRs are carried out every five years on the whole installation but for certain environments such as swimming pools and leisure centres for example, more frequent inspections are required.

VS: What are the biggest challenges to a business?

EP: The biggest challenge comes when a duty holder is unaware of their responsibilities or even that they are responsible for the electrical safety of a building. In retail, for example, store managers often have multiple responsibilities entrusted to them so electrical compliance is often overlooked or seen as a tick in the box exercise to satisfy H&S managers or the compliance teams.

Also, some organisations adopt lean principles and outsource their electrical compliance duties via procurement, which can lead to multiple providers and non-compliance if requirements are not clearly defined at the point of outsourcing.

For Bureau Veritas, understanding the client’s needs is key to being able to provide a compliance solution that all parties are happy with. We appreciate price is often a driving factor but it’s important to know that when it comes to electrical inspection and testing, you are procuring an electrical expert to provide a report on the condition of the installation. The electrical industry is awash with electricians but it’s important to challenge the competency of individuals if you want to be sure that the report is worth the paper it is written on.

VS: How does your team help?

EP: We support clients in achieving electrical compliance by first understanding the challenges and risks to that organisation, and then agreeing inspection programmes that are fit for purpose.

The majority of our inspectors are multi-skilled, so if required we can provide EICRs, emergency lighting, thermal, Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) and lightning conductor inspections as a bundled service. Others will specialise in hazardous area inspections, which are required under the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR), or electrical plant inspections.

All our electrical inspectors must meet the technical aptitude and behavioural requirements, before completing a minimum eight-week training programme in the field and at our dedicated training school in Peterborough. This helps to ensure we can deliver consistency and quality to every single client.

VS: What one top tip would you give your clients?

EP: My best piece of advice is that some products look alike by name so always read and challenge the scope and specification you are quoted. And be honest in what you are looking for and why you are doing the inspections.

I often say there are two types of purchaser. The first are ‘paper hangers’ – those who say ‘as long as I have a report to tick the box it has been done, then I’m happy.’ The others are pioneers - those looking to drive safety and improvements to their installation by reviewing and rectifying the defects and recommendations found. The man in the white wig will undoubtedly come after the paper hangers first, if a serious incident should occur.

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