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Our History

Leading and influencing our industry since 1901

Founded in 1901, the ECA was established to represent the interests of contractors who designed, installed, inspected, tested and maintained electrical and electronic equipment and services.

The ECA was officially incorporated on the 19th April 1916.

The ECA played a particularly important part in the 1920s and 1930s when electric power was introduced to most houses. Before this time, and the formation of the National Grid, electricity was supplied at different voltages and frequencies.

The ECA Timeline - Some key moments

1901-1950

Following a meeting at Anderton's Hotel in Fleet Street, London, and a further meeting in Newcastle upon Tyne, the National Electrical Contractors' Association is established.

Howard Marryat founds the Electrical Contractor, as the journal of the London Electrical Contractors’ Association. The prominent journal united the industry and represented its interests. Today, our journal, now named ECA Today, continues to do this.

These sections were London, Southern, Northern, Western, Scottish and Irish. The Sections administered the branches under them. This principle continues today, across the 12 ECA regions.

A new board is registered with the Board of Trade and is granted a licence, under the name Electrical Contractors’ Association (Incorporated). In doing this, the numerous branches became a corporate whole, with the motto suaviter in modo, fortiter in re (gentle in manner, resolute in deed)

1922 - First use of previous ECA logo

The logo, which was a representation of an induction coil, was created by Michael Faraday in 1831. Members used it on stationary and on signs outside their premises to advertise the reliability and respectability of their firm.

Showing it recognised the role of the wider industry in making installation decisions, the ECA publishes its booklet, Safety First, to raise awareness of electrcial safety issues amoungst architects and surveyors etc.

By 1939, the six original Sections, represented on the council, had grown to 12. This number fell to 9 in the 1970s but is now at 12 once more.

A National Apprenticeship Scheme for the industry is formed by the ECA and the Electrical Trades Union, to ensure opportunities in the industry are maximised and recognised talent given the best to succeed.

The ECA sets up its first 'Guarantee of Work Scheme', showing that it's members represented the best in the industry. 

 

 

1951-1980

With the involvement of the ECA, the International Association of Electrical Contractors (later the AIE) is set-up to ensure international liaison between national associations.

The ECA recognised the need to certify contractors and their employees to protect the public from unskilled workers. While lobbying for a compulsory system to be introduced, they supported the founding of the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC), which was a voluntary scheme but a step in the right direction.

The ECA and the Electrical Trades Union set up the Joint Industry Board. The board was revolutionary in the UK, being founded upon the principle of power-sharing between employers (represented by the ECA) and employees (represented by the ETU).  It was this organisation that was, and still is, responsible for negotiating wages and conditions within the industry.

A new house style and symbol are adopted by the ECA: the device based upon a representation of three-core cable.

Sponsored by Edmundson Electrical in conjunction with the ECA, these awards were established in 1975. Now the premier training awards in the electrical installation industry, they aim to encourage the highest standards of training and to a reward outstanding achievement by young people in the industry.

The ECA Guarantee of Completion Scheme (now the ECA Bond) is establsihed. Giving a promise to all companies that use an ECA member that their work will be completed regardless of any circumstances.

Also, the ECA and HVCA (now BESA) move into shared accommodation at ESCA House. Palace Court, Bayswater.

1976 - ECIC is launched

The ECA is the parent company of EC Insurance Holdings Limited, which is made up of ECIC (EC Insurance Company Ltd) and insurance and employee benefits business ECIS (EC Insurance Services Ltd).

ECIC concentrates on providing insurance solutions for contractors and affinity groups across building services sector. It works closely with professional insurance intermediaries, leading trade associations and construction businesses.

 

1981-2000

A Security Group is set-up, for ECA businesses involved in installing alarms and other security systems. Today, this has evolved to be the specialist Fire and Security Association (FSA) group within the ECA.

The ECA and the Union Unite came together to form JTL – an organisation intended to manage training in the electrical sector. 10 years later the JTL became a charity and is now one of the top three work-based learning providers in the UK. They work with around 3000 businesses and train more apprentices than anyone else in the building services engineering sector.

The ECA is involved in the establishment of the Specialist Engineering Contractors' Group (SEC Group) 

On 1 May 1998, the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act came into force and has since been an important part of the law affecting the construction industry. As a key voice in the industry, the ECA was involved the development and passing of this act. 

The ECA joins the Electrical Installations Industry Liaison Committee to help formulate a single industry standard for technical assessment of electrical contractors.

Also, during this year the ECA recognises changes in the industry and establishes its Information Technology, Electronics, Control and Instrumentation (ITEC) Group. 

2001-Present

The ECA celebrates a century of service by and for its members, and to the industry.

2001- ECA launches ZAP safety initiative 

The ECA launched its Zero Accident Potential (ZAP) campaign in 2001, as part of industry-wide efforts to improve safety performance within construction. The ZAP campaign led to significant improvements in safety within electrical contracting, including substantial reductions in the number of reportable accidents and the number of major injuries.

2007 - Creation of the Fire and Security Association with SELECT

The Fire and Security Association is formed by the ECA and Scottish electrical trade association SELECT. The FSA is the leading trade association dedicated to companies who design, install commission, maintain and monitor electronic fire, emergency and security system. The FSA is uniquely positioned to improve industry standards and enhance and develop members' businesses. 

2010 - Launch of ECA Today, to replace the Electrical Contractor magazine

The ECA launches its new member magazine ECA Today, to replace the Electrical Contractor magazine. ECA Today is published quarterly both in-print and online, and is sent to the ECA’s exclusive database of thousands of member-firms, partners and clients across the electrical and building services industry. You can view all of the back editions of ECA Today here.

2011 - ECA and NICEIC publish seminal report '2021 Vision'

Landmark sector report 2021 Vision is launched in 2011 by the ECA and the NICEIC. The publication offered ground breaking analysis and predictions about the future threats and opportunities for the wider electrical contracting sector.  A 2016 update to ‘2021 Vision’ will follow in the near future. To read 2021 Vision, please click here

2013 - Creation of Certsure with ESF

Certsure LLP is created by the ECA and Electrical Safety First (ESF). It is dedicated to providing certification and a number of additional professional services to a wide range of customer groups across the building services sector. The products and services offered by Certsure are primarily delivered through the NICEIC and ELECSA brands. 

2013 - Launch of the ECA Annual Awards

The ECA Annual Awards are launched by the ECA to showcase the best practice, innovation and excellence of our members. Winners from eight categories, including Contractor of the Year and Excellence in Training and Development, are chosen by a panel of independent judges.

2015 - Formation of The Electrotechnical Skills Partnership (TESP)

The Electrotechnical Skills Partnership (TESP) is a not-for-profit skills partnership created by the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA), the Joint Industry Board (JIB), SELECT, the Scottish Joint Industry Board ((SJIB) and Unite the Union. TESP works closely with industry partners to help shape and develop the skills agenda for the electrotechnical industry. These include National Electrotechnical Training (NET), JTL, Summit Skills and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). 

2015 - ECA Energy Efficiency Adviser scheme launched

To meet the growing need for energy saving, the ECA launches an ECA Energy Efficiency Advisor (EEA) accreditation, in collaboration with Schneider Energy University. The accreditation is only available to ECA Members. Recognised EEA’s will be best-placed to offer clients advice on reducing their energy usage and carbon emissions, thus reducing their carbon footprint and cutting costs.