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A Tribute to Ian Marsh

Release Date: 01/11/2012

The Electrical Industry has paid tribute to Ian Marsh, the technical manager for ELECSA who recently passed away after a long illness. He was 49.

Friends, family and colleagues from across the industry attended his funeral near Mansfield, Nottinghamshire to hear about a man who was widely regarded as helping to improving standards across the electrical contractor industry, but who was a ‘grounded’ and larger than life’ character who upheld and enforced the high standards demanded for industry safety with a charm and deep-seated understanding of the pressures felt by the ‘electrical contractor’.

Steve Mitchell, Divisional Director of ECA, who was Ian’s boss, paid this tribute: “Ian was not a glass half empty type of person - his cup ranneth over with his enthusiasm for his work, colleagues and his broader interests. He had an opinion on most subjects and felt as much at home discussing key issues at a high technical level as he was shooting the breeze on the practical challenges a day-to-day electrical contractor faces.”

“Ian understood the technical issues, but he also appreciated the realities and difficulties contractors could face working in different environments and as such could often find a practical alternative. Because he understood people, when he was helping to shape the narrative of electrical standards, he could easily convey them in conversational, everyday language so that the message got through,” he added.

Married with two grown-up sons, Ian’s other interests included motorcycling, cycling, badminton and squash as he strived to maintain a healthy work/life balance after entering the industry straight from school at the age of 15 as an electrical apprenticeship in the mines near his Nottinghamshire home.

Throughout his career his ease with people meant that his expert advice was sought across the industry and his counsel was regularly courted by the industry as well broadcasters seeking independent opinion on shoddy electrical work.
One of his last roles was that of the expert witness in the Coroner’s hearing into the tragic death of Emma Shaw where his evidence highlighted a number of failures in the electrical inspection process.

He appeared on BBC’s Rogue Traders in June 2010 when, with Ian’s help, the programme unmasked the Nottingham ‘electrician who simply did not have a clue’. The villain of the piece was not Part P registered and Ian’s assessment of his work revealed a number of serious and dangerous shortcomings on camera.
But his day job was at the front line and involved him the regular assessment of contractors, a role that had brought him to prominence over the last 15 years.  He can be linked to the development of ECA technical membership standards as well as Part P. He was fundamental in helping to build the technical backbone of ELECSA that is so valued by its registrants. 

Ian was instrumental in working with all parts of the industry to help drive best practice through the gaining of consensus on technical issues.  An example of this was the his pivotal role in the formation of the technical committee organised by the Electrical Safety Council where all the relevant parties met to discuss issues arising out of the 17th Edition of the Wiring Regulations. The objective and outcome was that it created a forum to debate the changes and that common and consistent answers were supplied to all contractors working in the field.

In addition, he sat on the extremely influential JPEL64 committee, the group that discusses the forward strategy on the wiring regulations, the outcomes of which are directly linked to updates and the future direction of BS7671.

Ian joined the ECA in May 1998, initially as a Technical Assessor based in Ross on Wye and then as a Technical Manager working out of the Mansfield office. A Fellow of the IET, he was widely regarded as an expert in his field and renowned for his professionalism and fairness. 

He was always seen as an advocate for common sense – he did not want to see regulation in itself as the answer to everything - but he was passionate about ensuring that installation work was always done properly and to the highest standards.

Steve Mitchell added: “We have already received many tributes and kind words from people right across the industry who revered the man and legacy of Ian Marsh for his total dedication and enthusiasm. Many met Ian in person, whether as part of an assessment or perhaps at a regional presentation or trade show, but all will have been struck by his thoroughly unique take on the world and his willingness to share his views on any number of topics. He was an exceptional colleague and will be greatly missed by all of us at the ECA and in the wider industry.”

“He was considered a font of all knowledge. He was a very clever person who was able to translate difficult concepts into easily digestible formats for others to understand.  He was happy to share knowledge and experiences with anyone who would ask,” he added.