Scottish Joint Industry Board for the Electrical Contracting Industry
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Scottish Joint Industry Board for the Electrical Contracting Industry

Candidate Guidance

Candidate Information

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 Time:Pass MarkSafety Critical Points Included
A – Assessment of Safe Working Practices0.5 Hours85%Yes
B – Composite Installation6 Hours65%Yes
C – Inspection & Testing2.5 Hours85%No
D – Safe Isolation of Supplies0.5 Hours100%Yes
E – Fault Diagnosis and Rectification1.5 Hours70%No
F – Underpinning Knowledge Assessment 1 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 & 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 Requirements for Electrical Installations (IET Wiring Regulations)
  • 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 deliver 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 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.

In addition to 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.

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Composite Installation

Section B (6 hours)

Skill Activity

You will be required to wire an installation which includes a range of electrical circuits, each designed to assess your ability and knowledge in different aspects of electrical work.

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


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

1. Main Bonding         5. Outlet Fire Detection
2. Ring Final Circuit   6. Downlighter & Fan
3. Motor Circuit          7. Door Entry
4. 400v Socket          8. Distribution Board

1. Run and terminate PVC Single core cable to Main Gas and Water Pipes
2. Install single core PVC cables from Distribution board to the socket outlets. The outdoor socket to be spurred from this ring. Select the appropriate protective device
3. Install and connect single core PVC cables from:
i. Distribution Board to Motor Starter
ii. Motor Starter to Remote station
iii. Motor starter to neon indicator lights
iv. Install and connect SY cable from Starter to Motor
4. Install correct fuses to the TP&N Switch fuse
5. Select and erect a suitable Fire Detector to comply with Scottish Building Standards
6. Install PVC Sheathed Flat Cable from Distribution Boards to Downlighter and Fan. Downlighter is operated through a 2 way and intermediate circuit.
Both circuits must comply with Scottish Building Standards
7. Install telephone cable from handset to door entry controller through the 3 compartmental trunking
8. Terminate into Distribution Board.
i). Conductors to be identified at Distribution Board
ii). Conductors to be identified at Motor control Circuit
iii). DB Circuit Identification Chart

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

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Inspection & Testing

Section C (2.5 hours + 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 using the guidance contained in IET Guidance Note 3 Inspection and Testing.

You will be supplied with all the necessary instruments, a copy of the current IET On-Site Guide, a Schedule of Inspections (for new work), a Schedule of Test Results and a range of 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 on this section, and demonstrate that you are able to apply this consistently throughout the 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. Phase rotation
8. Functional Testing

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

Further information:

Test Equipment

  • 500V Insulation/Continuity
  • Tester(digital type)
  • Line/earth Loop Impedance Tester
  • RCD Tester
  • Proving Unit
  • Test Lamp Voltage Indicator
  • Continuity Tester (beep tester)
  • Multi-function Test Kit
  • Socket Test Adaptor
  • Phase Rotation Indicator


  • The Current BS 7671(IET Wiring Regulations)
  • 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

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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 passmark 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.


The examiner will ask you to isolate 4 items
1. Full Installation
2. Single Phase
3. Three Phase
4. Local Isolation

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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 which 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.

Screen of Adapt Builder learning toolA short on-line learning tool to help you to gain an understanding of the logic behind Fault Diagnosis and Rectification can be accessed here (opens new window).






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Underpinning Knowledge Assessment

Section F (1 hour)

Skill Activity

This section will test your understanding and underpinning knowledge of electrical installation, techniques and regulations.

This section tests your knowledge 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.


1. You are required to answer 30 multiple choice questions.

Further information:

You will have access to:

  • The Current BS 7671(IET Wiring Regulations)
  • IET On-Site Guide
  • 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. This can be accessed here;

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