Candidate guidance

  1. Assessment of Safe Working Practices
  2. Composite Installation
  3. Inspection & Testing
  4. Safe Isolation of Supplies
  5. Fault Diagnosis and Rectification
  6. Underpinning Knowledge Assessment

Successful completion of the FICA marks the end of your Apprenticeship. The FICA has been designed to test the wide range of skills and knowledge which you have developed throughout your Apprenticeship. Preparation is key to a successful result.

The FICA consists of the following sections:

SectionTarget timePass markSafety-critical points
A – Assessment of Safe Working Practices 0.5 Hours85%Yes
B – Composite Installation6 Hours 65%Yes
C – Inspection & Testing2.5 Hours 85%No
D – Safe Isolation of Supplies0.5 Hours100%Yes
E – Fault Diagnosis and Rectification1.5 Hours70%No
F – Underpinning Knowledge Assessment1 Hour70%No

You will see from the above table that some sections contain Safety Critical Points (SCP). These SCP are competencies (tasks) where failure to complete the task safely and following industry guidance could lead to danger to people, livestock or property. You must get all SCP correct. Failure to do so leads to an automatic fail regardless of your overall percentage.

You will work on a standard assessment booth using drawings, block diagrams and written instructions. Work must comply with the current requirements of BS 7671 (IET Wiring Regulations) and health and safety legislation. Each section must be completed within the specified target times.

You are expected to arrive dressed in suitable working clothing and safety footwear. You will be provided with the full set of tools required for the FICA.

During the assessment you will be supplied with current copies of the following documents:

  • BS 7671 (IET Wiring Regulations) as amended
  • IET On-Site Guide
  • Memorandum of Guidance on the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 HSR 25
  • Electricity at Work – Safe Working Practices HSG85 (3rd Edition 2013)
  • SELECT Certification of Construction Technical Guide 2014.

To help you prepare for the FICA, we would recommend that you complete the self-assessment checklist and review the Candidate Things to Remember document with your employer.

We would recommend that you use the information gathered during this exercise to create a development plan to help with preparation. This plan should have a list of activities along with a target date for completing these tasks. You will not pass the FICA without adequate preparation. Even if you do not pass first time, you will have a positive experience and are much more likely to succeed on the second attempt if you prepare first.

SECTT delivers FICA Information Evening sessions. This interactive information session will be a key tool in preparing for the FICA.

Contact your SECTT Training Officer for information on available dates. One of the key purposes of the FICA Information Evening is to give you the tools to identify areas where you need to build practical experience and/or knowledge and to give you information so you know what to expect on the day.

Attending the FICA Information Evening alone does not mean that you will be fully prepared. You need to make sure you take the time to develop the practical skills and knowledge needed. That is why we recommend that you:

  • Complete the self-assessment checklist with your employer
  • Use information from this checklist to create a development plan for areas where you need to build experience and/or knowledge
  • Attend a FICA Information Evening
  • Act on your development plan.

On the day

When you arrive at the Assessment Centre, you will be met by an Assessor. The Assessor will explain what is expected during your two days at the Centre. Within the induction, they will provide information on housekeeping instructions including the location of the canteen and welfare facilities. They will also introduce you to the booth in which you will be working.


Assessment of Safe Working Practices

Section A (30 minutes) – skill activity

Before you start your Composite Installation (Section B) you will be required to complete a Risk Assessment to demonstrate assessment of safe working practice.

Risk Assessment

You will be asked to complete a Risk Assessment to determine the hazards you may encounter. You will need to:
1. Note who may be at risk
2. Determine any safety measures that are required to remove or reduce the risk.

An example of a Risk Assessment form to be filled in on the day
Example of part of a risk assessment form

In addition to the completion of the Risk Assessment, you must safely isolate your booth. During this section, safe isolation is observed not assessed. Feedback will be given after this section is completed. Safe isolation is assessed during Section D.


Composite Installation

Section B (6 hours) – skill activity

You will be asked to complete/install the following circuits using the supplied specification/circuit diagrams.

You must complete the Composite Installation (Section B) within six hours. Once you have advised the Assessor that the installation is complete, you may not return to the installation to make changes, regardless of how much time you have remaining.

There is an opportunity to correct faults you identify when undertaking the Inspection & Testing of your installation during a 30-minute review period that is available at the end of Section C. During this time, you may correct any part of the installation that you decide is incorrect or not complete. However, any work must be completed within this 30-minute time allocation.

Process

You will be asked to install the following circuits using the supplied specification/circuit:

  1. Main Bonding
  2. Ring Final Circuit
  3. Motor Circuit
  4. Compressor
  5. Fire Detection (selection of correct type)
  6. Fan & Downlighter
  7. Door Entry
  1. Run and terminate PVC single core cable to main gas and water pipes.
  2. Install PVC single cables from the distribution board to the socket outlets. The outdoor socket to be spurred from the ring final circuit. Select the appropriate protective device.
  3. Install and connect PVC single cables from:
    1. Distribution board to motor starter
    2. Motor starter to remote station
    3. Motor starter to neon indicator lights
    4. Install and connect PVC single-core cables through conduit and starter to motor.
  4. Install the correctly rated fuses to the TP&N switch fuse which supplies the compressor.
  5. Select and connect a suitable mains powered smoke alarm to the fire detection circuit to comply with Scottish Building Standards.
  6. Install PVC flat cable from the distribution boards to the fan and the downlighters. Downlighters to operate through a 2 way and intermediate switching circuit. The fan and downlighter are to comply with Scottish Building Standards guidance.
  7. Install a telephone cable from the door entry handset to the door entry controller using the three-compartment dado trunking as containment for this cable.
  8. When terminating cables ensure:
    1. All conductors to be identified at distribution board
    2. All conductors to be identified at motor control, motor starter and at the remote station
    3. Complete a circuit chart for the distribution board.

We recommend that you refer to the Candidate Manual, specifications and diagrams located in the booth throughout your Assessment.


Inspection & testing

Section C (2 hours 30 minutes, with 30 minute review period for B) – skill activity

After you complete your Composite Installation (Section B), you will be required to carry out pre-commissioning inspection and electrical installation tests on your installation in line with BS 7671 and the guidance contained in IET Guidance Note 3 Inspection and Testing.

You will be supplied with a copy of the current IET Guidance Note 3, a Schedule of Inspections (for new work), a Schedule of Test Results and a range of test instruments (from which you should select and prepare the one appropriate for each test).

This section is assessed to a high standard as requested by employers in the Industry. You need to know how to accurately carry out Inspection & Testing of your installation in line with best practice, including completion of the relevant BS 7671 documentation. You should be familiar with IET guidance and be able to demonstrate that you can apply this consistently throughout the assessment.

Process

  1. Carry out a visual inspection of the installation
  2. Continuity test
  3. Insulation resistance test
  4. Polarity tests
  5. Earth Fault Loop impedance test (Ze + Zs)
  6. Prospective fault current (PSCC + PEFC)
  7. Verification of additional protection provided by RCDs/RCBOs
  8. Phase rotation
  9. Functional Testing

Complete the Schedule of Inspections (link 1) and the Generic Schedule of Test Results (link 2).

Further information:

Test equipment provided/available

  • A low resistance chmmeter/continuity tester (digital type)
  • An insulation resistance tester
  • An earth fault loop impedance tester
  • An RCD tester
  • Proving unit
  • Test lamp voltage indicator
  • Continuity tester (beep tester)
  • Multi-function test Instrument
  • Socket polarity adaptor
  • Phase rotation indicator

Aides

  • BS 7671 (IET Wiring Regulations) as amended
  • Guidance Note 3 Inspection & Testing
  • Electricity at Work Safe Working Practices (HSG85)
  • Memorandum of Guidance on the Electricity at Work Regulations (HSR 25)
  • Electrical Test Equipment for Use by Electricians

Please be aware regulation numbers in the video that accompany this presentation have moved to new sections within the IET Regulation Book. The procedures demonstrated remain the same.


Safe Isolation of Supplies

Section D (30 minutes) – skill activity

This section will test your ability to carry out an isolation safely on various circuits. While under observation, you will be required to demonstrate how to safely isolate circuits or items of equipment to verify that they are safe to work on.

You must use the Safe Isolation for Dead Working Process (example below). The pass mark for this section is 100%. However, in the event you fail to follow the correct procedure on one of the four circuits you will be given an automatic resit.

Process

The examiner will ask you to isolate four items

  1. Full installation
  2. Single phase
  3. Three phase
  4. Local isolation
Flowchart showing the process for Safe isolation for dead working

Fault Diagnosis and Rectification

Section E (1 hour 30 minutes) – skill activity

You will be required to diagnose and locate seven faults within the Fault Diagnosis booth. These seven faults are set and have been selected from a range of common faults. Each fault will be introduced individually to you by the Assessor.

  1. You are required to diagnose faults that have been placed on the circuits and complete a Fault Diagnosis Sheet.
  2. You then need to describe in detail how you would rectify the fault.

These faults are introduced one at a time by the Assessor.

Candidate fault diagnosis form

A short online learning tool to help you to gain an understanding of the logic behind Fault Diagnosis and Rectification can be accessed here.


Underpinning Knowledge Assessment

Section F (1 hour) – skill activity

This section will test your understanding and underpinning knowledge of electrical installation, techniques and regulations. Your knowledge will be tested across five key areas. We recommend that you complete the mock multiple-choice papers (links below) as part of your preparation for this section. You will need access to the relevant publications during revision.

Process

  1. You are required to answer 30 multiple-choice questions.
SectionSubject areaNumber of questions
1BS7671 Parts 1, 3, 4, 5, and 710
2BS7671 Part 6 Inspection and Testing5
3Health and Safety5
4Statutory Regulations5
5Scottish Building Standards5
Passmark: 70%Total: 30

Further information

You will have access to:

  • BS 7671 (IET Wiring Regulations) as amended
  • IET On-Site Guide
  • IET Guidance Note 3 Inspection & Testing
  • Electricity at Work – Safe Working Practices HS(G)85
  • Memorandum of Guidance on the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 HS(R)25
  • SELECT Certification of Construction Technical Guide

Mock questions are available online and the format mirrors the Section F assessment you will sit during the FICA.