What is Part P of the building regulations?
Building Regulations in England
Since 2005, all electrical work in dwellings in England and Wales whether carried out professionally or as DIY, and whether or not the work is notifiable to a building control body (see below), must meet the requirements of Part P of the Building Regulations. In April 2013 the requirements for England were amended.
Compliance with Part P is intended to keep you and your family as safe as possible from electrical hazards.
The requirements of Part P apply to new dwellings and to any alterations or additions to the electrical installations of existing dwellings, including full or partial rewires.
Part P states that anyone carrying out electrical work in a dwelling must ensure that reasonable provision has been made in the design and installation of the electrical installations in order to protect any persons who might use, maintain or alter the electrical installation of that dwelling from fire and injury, including electric shock.
Who is responsible for making sure that electrical work in your home meets the requirements of Part P?
By law, the homeowner or landlord must be able to prove that all electrical installation work meets Part P, or they will be committing a criminal offence.
Local authorities have the power to make homeowners or landlords remove or alter any work that does not meet the requirements of the Building Regulations.
What electrical work is notifiable?
From April 2013 electrical work in a dwelling, or associated with its surroundings, is notifiable to a local building control body where the work includes:
• the installation of a new circuit, whether at low voltage (typically 230 V) or extra-low voltage); or
• the replacement of a consumer unit (fusebox); or
• any alteration or addition to an existing circuit in a special location*, whether at low voltage (typically 230 V) or extra-low voltage
*A special location is a room containing a bath or shower, swimming pool or a sauna heater.
An alteration or addition to an existing circuit in a room containing a bath or shower is notifiable only where carried out in the space surrounding a bath or shower.
An alteration or addition anywhere within a room containing a swimming pool or sauna heater is notifiable.
What do I need to do before electrical installation work can be carried out in my home?
You must first check whether the work is notifiable. If it is then you must either;
• employ an electrician who is registered with one of the Government-approved scheme providers; or tell (‘notify’) your local-authority building-control about the installation work before work begins.
From April 2014 you will also be able to employ a non-registered electrical installer who has appointed a registered third party certifier to carry out the required inspection and testing of the work both during and on completion.
The benefits of using a registered electrician
We strongly recommend that you use a registered electrician to do any electrical work in or around your home. If you use a registered electrician, you can expect to have safe electrical installation work done, as the work should meet the UK national standard, BS 7671 (Requirements for Electrical Installations). You will not have to deal with building control directly and when the work is finished you should receive:
• an Electrical Installation Certificate or, where applicable, a Minor Electrical Installation Works Certificate that confirms the work meets BS 7671; and
• a Building Regulations Compliance Certificate that confirms the work meets the Building Regulations.
If the work carried out by the registered electrician doesn’t meet the requirements of the Building Regulations, you will have access to a formal complaints procedure.
You can also choose to take out an insurance-backed guarantee when you have the work done, and, if the work is later found not to meet Building Regulations, you can make a claim.
What if I don’t use a registered electrician?
If you use an installer who is not a registered competent person, he or she must notify the registered third-party certifier within five (5) days of completing the work. The registered third-party certifier will then, subject to the results of the inspection and testing being satisfactory, complete either an Electrical Installation Condition Report (based on the model shown in BS 7671) or one that has been specifically developed for the purposes of Part P and give it to the person ordering the work.