• Posted by Joe McNamara on March 21, 2002 at 7:44 pm

    Hi Paul,
    what’s the story with qualifications needed to repair lit fascia signs…asked an electrician mate and he seemed to think you can get a competency cert from a short course..like the alarm installers do ( so he thought ). I’ve done a lot of this type of work in the past ( in dear auld Ireland ) and never needed any paperwork etc. but the rules are probably in place here now. I notice a vast amount of signage not working near me and am itching to get speaking to these businesses!
    I already spoke to BSA and they reckon that to play it by the book ,you need to be a fully qualified spark to do it……to change a starter or tube or choke????
    Surely there must be a way?

    Mike Brown replied 21 years, 7 months ago 9 Members · 19 Replies
  • 19 Replies
  • Paul Davenport

    March 21, 2002 at 9:39 pm

    HMM BSA reccomend a load of bollocks sometimes as well, can you imagine employing a fully qualified electrician to go and wire up a proj sign or two a week, wouldnt be worth doing it.

    when i worked at DT signs in blackpool, we had a fully qualled sparky but he was busy
    doing all sorts of stuff, neon, fibre optic, light systems etc

    But the norm is to have some one who is competant with electrics, theres no regs relating to the sign industry specificly

    but i guess it would be a good idea to get a competance cert from as you say a short course

    it is something i have thought about but would it make me wire things up differently
    i dont think so

    but yea i would go for the cert for your and your customers piece of mind, it wouldnt do you any harm to have it

    hope that gives you some idea

  • Joe McNamara

    March 22, 2002 at 7:28 am

    Thanks Paul,
    Now the next question….do you know what kind of cert would be needed? Like I said, lit box signs aren’t exactly rocket science!!!
    Thanks for the quick reply mate, and if thats the case regarding the regs then I can get cracking more or less immediately.
    What about charging for this type of work?
    I was thinking of £25 for the first half hour including the callout charge, plus parts.
    Then £25 per hour thereafter, so a simple choke, starter, and tube change would cost the customer about £32, which I think would be an attractive price to encourage them to keep their signs in good repair.
    Whaddya think?

  • Paul Davenport

    March 23, 2002 at 2:33 pm

    i guess you can do something like an NVQ in electricall installation, ask at your local college, the government has a web site with all the colleges and courses on or try learn direct ??

    OK think about this when you mention prices etc

    light box out, so along comes you, new starter and ballast , £32 off you go
    day after customer phones ‘its not working’
    off you go again to find out that the tube must have been on its last legs so you do that do you try and charge 32 quid again for replacing a tube which should have been done b4
    Now remember sods law ‘old and new dont go together’ so eventually you will end up having replaced everything in the box mostly at your own cost !!

    what i would say is offer a sign refurbishment programme
    re tube, re ballast
    panel clean and repair

    i bet if you walked down a typical high street and dropped a flyer in every shop, you would get quite a bit of response..


    Paul Davenport

    ‘Roped into UKSG’

    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: paul davenport on 2002-03-24 21:57 ]</font>

  • Alex Wilson

    March 24, 2002 at 8:47 pm

    Sorry i havent been around for a while but its been a pretty rough month but for what its worth this is what we do. Replace all tubes and starters (even if they are working)
    clean the fascia panel inside and out then visually check over the wiring for any damage. I did one on friday and the old wiring had perished so badly that you could see bare wire. Report to the customer and advise of any faults. I normally charge £125+VAT & parts. Hope this is of some use

  • Joe McNamara

    March 25, 2002 at 7:24 am

    Thanks a lot lads. It’s great to be able to get help like this.

  • Lorraine Buchan

    March 26, 2002 at 7:12 pm


  • Paul Davenport

    April 1, 2002 at 12:43 pm

    i got my first electric shock the other day whilst up some aluminium ladders, due to a faulty piece of equip in the building feeding back thro the neutral wire, recieved a 60v shock apparantly !!!!
    funny how we were talking about this !!

  • d dunthorne

    December 19, 2002 at 1:19 pm

    Re: Skills for repairing electric signs

    Apologies for coming late to this topic but, as you probably know, I have only just joined this discussion group.

    There is no legal requirement (shame!) for a person carrying out sign repairs to have any formal qualifications. There is the construction skills certification scheme (CSCS) which requires persons working on certain sites to have a recognised skill certificate but this is being run by the construction industry and has no current legal basis. However, you may find that you are not allowed on certain construction sites or on some retail sites unless such a certificate can be produced.

    The present position is very confused and the BSGA is trying to obtain clarification and to set up schemes for its members.

    What is a legal requirement is that the installation must conform to the EU Low Voltage Directive – at all times, including after repair. Don’t be confused by the title. It means any product or installation operating from low voltage (less than 1000 V) and will include virtually all our electric signs, neon and otherwise. If it is a product, it has to be CE marked indicating conformance. An installation does not have to be CE marked but does have to conform to the Directive.

    Conformity is best demonstrated by complying with the requirements of the various European and National Standards. There is not enough space to discuss the requirements here but the following cover most of them:

    For signs operating at high voltage (neon) – EN 50107
    For fluorescent and other low voltage signs – EN 60598
    For the mains supply, its switchgear and protection – BS 7671

    The last one (which is the IEE Wiring Regulations) is nearly completely harmonised with the EU wiring regulations (HD 384) but there are differences, particularly with regard to fireman’s switches.

    Hope this helps.

    Don Dunthorne (ddunth5966@aol.com)

  • Fat Bob

    December 19, 2002 at 9:17 pm

    Hi Guys just a Quckie
    Paul Being a man who works on electrical sign you should now that you are not supposed to use metal ladders when working on electrical fittings of any kind.
    and if you start to read the health and safety legislations that will be out shortly you
    will be really shocked. LOL.


  • Paul Davenport

    December 19, 2002 at 10:57 pm

    Yes i know only to well ha ha he he or i do now anyway……

  • Paul Davenport

    December 19, 2002 at 11:00 pm

    Hmmmm id better stop slagging bsga off as well now Don’s about

  • Fat Bob

    December 20, 2002 at 6:49 am

    Hi Paul

    Re. BSGA

    I have read many of the posts on this site and have not noticed in any that you
    "Slaged off Any organisations". After all we as individuals surely have the right to discuss all Types of issues that involve our trade or life.

    As long as we do not directly Slander or libel anybody, I would hope in a place like this we can voice an opinion, After all we are quick enough to praise someone for a good idea, deed or job. So if i think some thing is bad, wrong or injust are we going to say nothing are we hell.

    As long as the moderators and the powers that control this site pull the article and tell the person if they over step the mark, I for one can see no harm in discussing…….." Your Opinion ".

    The other side of the coin is if people are switched on its up to them to take notes and
    and if most people agree on a certain subject it might help them in thier market reaserch
    and help them in turn to make or tailor thier product to make it better to the consumer.

    I for one will not be saying anything about the BSGA because the moderators would have to remove it and remove me from the site. But if they want my opinion on them they may contact me direct.


  • Robert Lambie

    December 20, 2002 at 9:59 am

    here here bob…

    i will allow anyone to say anything about this trade, organisation, website whatever.. as long as they are only giving there opinion & back it with a good reason.
    merely saying somthing is garbage is not justification enough for me…
    but if somone says that product is bad because?
    then that is fine… it lets others jump in a voice also. if they all reply its bad also.. then the reader can judge for themself.
    thats what will make things successful here… we need to know what other peoples opion without the red tape…. 🙄 😉

    after all the boards are also open to the suppliers and the like to come in and back themselves. raccoon did it just recently. somthing a lot of companies just would not do… 🙄

  • d dunthorne

    December 20, 2002 at 4:50 pm

    I note with dismay some adverse comments about the BSGA. I am not a member although I do work for them as a consultant and sit on their Technical Committee. As such, I am in a position as an independent person to see what they do for their members. I can assure correspondents that they have the small and medium sign companies very much in mind. They do not merely concentrate on the larger companies.

    One example of this concerns the Technical Guidelines. There are close on 100 of these, either issued or near to completion, all containing state of the art information. Originally, these were sold at an extra cost to members but recently they have all been placed on their web site. This means that for the price of membership you have access to all this technical information.

    This line of correspondence started (way back) with an enquiry concerning requirements for repairing electric signs. There are at least six guidelines covering various aspects of this work.

    Also, whether we like it or not, signmaking is becoming increasingly multi-national. What is discussed at Brussels affects us all – large or small. The BSGA, single handedly, arranges for UK representation on National and International signmaking and standards committees. If it wasn’t for the support of the BSGA, there would be no one to fight the UK corner in this arena.

    Apologies to everyone for sounding off like this but I would suggest that correspondents take a look at the BSGA web site to see the range of activities that are undertaken. The UK sign industry is very fragmented but we need a National Body to represent all members, large and small.

    Having said this, I am happy to act as a messenger boy passing on your beefs and your more positive suggestions to the BSGA. Hopefully, with your help, we can make the Association better for all of us.

    Best wishes for Christmas

    Don Dunthorne

  • Fat Bob

    December 20, 2002 at 5:56 pm

    Hi Don

    As I have said in a past post I respect you and look foward to your articles and advice

    But as far as BSGA are concerned from me on this board good or bad my opinon will be " No Comment"

    But on a personal level if you want me to air my thoughts Im sure Rob will supply you with my Tel: should you wish.

    Without malice Regards….FB

  • Phill Fenton

    December 20, 2002 at 7:16 pm

    Hi Don

    I have to say, I think in the past, the BSGA’s reputation for not being interested in the smaller sign business was well deserved.

    In my own experience I found the BSA (as it was then) to be most unhelpful when I started my own sign business (six and a half years ago).

    Back then they were not remotely interested in newcomers to the industry. At that time I had written to the BSA to enquire about possible membership – only to be informed that I could not be considered until I had been trading a minium of two years. Given that the first few years are the most difficult for any small business – the implication from their reply was that they were not interested in helping young sign businesses to develop. This really surprised me at the time as I had the rather naive view that organisations like the BSA existed in part to help nurture smaller companies and develop all aspects of signmaking in the UK. Clearly this was not the case back then.

    I am led to believe that the new improved BSGA now admit newcomers to the industry much more readily than in the past, but I would still question how much they are truly representative of the typical sign business in this country. My own view is that they continue to exist in order to protect the interests of the larger companies.

    I believe the UKSG and these discussion boards are much more relevant for the typical small sign business. And will in time grow to become a major force representing the majority of signmakers in this country.

  • Paul Davenport

    December 26, 2002 at 7:52 pm

    oh dear ive started somet here…lol

    dont take things too seriously boys !!! you should know me by now

    Regarding the BSGA whats it for….really !!!!

    what do the members get from it ???

    do you think a BSGA affiliated company seems more attractive to companies looking for a sign supplier

    Do BSGA members manufacture signs to specific guidelines for quailty etc..

    do your working practices have to be of a certain std before you become accepted or is it just a case of you pays your money you get the name

    are member companies regularly checked upon to ensure that they are kepping standards up

    just a few questions i have often thought about ??

  • Paul Davenport

    December 26, 2002 at 8:03 pm

    Don can i quote you

    ‘Also, whether we like it or not, signmaking is becoming increasingly multi-national. What is discussed at Brussels affects us all – large or small. The BSGA, single handedly, arranges for UK representation on National and International signmaking and standards committees. If it wasn’t for the support of the BSGA, there would be no one to fight the UK corner in this arena.

    Apologies to everyone for sounding off like this but I would suggest that correspondents take a look at the BSGA web site to see the range of activities that are undertaken. The UK sign industry is very fragmented but we need a National Body to represent all members, large and small. ‘

    now without upsetting anyone again its alright the BSGA going to brussels etc and all over the show coming up with this and that but its only the handfull of paid up members that get any use from these meetings as for the rest of us we live and learn.

    surely if they were fighting for king and country then everybody would be able to benifit from the findings and reports etc without having to stump up a wad of cash which many cant afford !!!!!

    Would they be willing to submit stuff on here for free as i think these boards are going to become a very substantial source of info for the Uk signmakers, BSGA members or not

  • Mike Brown

    December 26, 2002 at 9:33 pm

    For my part, I have no time whatsoever for the BSGA (as it’s now known). It is my opinion that they have little, if anything, to offer small independant signmakers, even though we continue to make-up the greatest part of this fine trade both in numbers and creative output.

    It is my further opinion that they have no interest in the small independent signmaker – only in their money. In the past the BSGA’s membership, revenues and popularity declined to such a point that they had to do something – that something was to change their name, their charter and their image…well, actions speak far louder than words and that’s the one thing that didn’t change.

    As for fighting our corner – well, the BSGA’s leading story in their August newsletter so enraged me on this very point that I had to post a reply to it here on the UKSG boards https://www.uksignboards.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=1580 – Please read it and you’ll see what I mean.

    I won’t say anymore at this point other than if someone was considering joining the BSGA and asked me for my opinion I would say "don’t bother – save your money!"

    more soon


    P.S. Paul’s last but one post raises some very pertinent questions…

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