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Part P - What is it?

Part P Building Regulations for Electrical Safety in the Home

 

Part P – What is it? When did the new rules start and why?

On January 1st 2005, new Part P Building Regulations were enforced in England and Wales to reduce the number of deaths, injuries and fires caused by faulty electrical installations and to make it harder for 'cowboy builders' to leave electrical installations in an unsafe condition. Part P is intended to increase the safety of households by improving the design, installation, inspection and testing of electrical installations in dwellings when these installations are being newly built, extended or altered.

The risks posed by unsafe electrical installations are electric shock, burns and other injuries arising from fires in buildings ignited by electrical components overheating or building up dangerous currents causing 'arcing'. Installations that are properly designed, fitted, tested and commissioned in accordance with British Standard BS 7671 (a requirement of Part P) will help minimise these risks.

From 1 January 2005, people carrying out electrical work in homes and gardens in England and Wales will have to follow the new rules in the Building Regulations.

The Scope of Part P

Part P applies to the following areas:

  • Dwellings
  • Combined dwellings and business premises having a common supply (such as shops, pubs etc.)
  • Common access areas in blocks of flats (but not lifts)
  • Shared amenities in blocks of flats (such as laundries, gymnasiums etc.)
  • Out-buildings, including sheds, garages and greenhouses
  • Garden lighting and power supplies

How to meet the new rules

If the work is going to be carried out by yourself or a friend , you don’t need to tell your local authority’s Building Control Department about repairs, replacements and maintenance work; or extra power points or lighting points or other alterations to existing circuits (except in a kitchen, bathroom, outdoors and specialist locations).

However you do need to tell your local authority’s Building Control Department about most other work before you start.

If you are not sure about this, or you have any questions, ask your local authority's Building Control Department.

If the work is going to be carried out by a contractor or installer, you don’t need to tell your local authority’s Building Control Department about repairs, replacements and maintenance work; or extra power points or lighting points or other alterations to existing circuits (except in a kitchen or bathroom, outdoors or specialist locations).

However you do need to tell your local authority’s Building Control Department about most other work.

However if your contractor or installer is registered, the contractor or installer will look after all the building regulations for you. You do not need to contact your local authority’s Building Control Department.

What is a ‘special installation or location'?

The following are classified as special installations or locations:

  • locations containing a bath tub or shower basin
  • swimming pools or paddling pools
  • hot air saunas
  • garden lighting or power installations
  • solar photovoltaic power supply systems
  • electric floor or ceiling heating systems
  • extra-low voltage lighting installations, other than pre-assembled, CE-marked lighting sets
  • small scale generators such as microchip units

All electrical installation work in such areas (as well as in kitchens) will need to be notified, or self-certified by a prescribed competent person, even if only 'minor works'.

Why should I use a contractor or installer who is registered with a competent person scheme?

For the purposes of Part P, the Government has defined ‘Competent Firms' as those registered under the NICEIC, ELECSA or similar Approved Contractor scheme / Domestic Installer Scheme.

  • Members of schemes can deal with all the new rules for you.
  • Members are qualified to carry out electrical work.
  • Members will give you a certificate to confirm their work follows the new rules.
  • You will not have to pay Building Control charges.
  • You will have the option of taking out an insurance-backed guarantee for the work.
  • You will have access to a formal complaints procedure if you are not happy with the work.

If you decide against using a registered firm to carry out any work for you, bear in mind the following points:

  • There is no guarantee that the electrical installation is safe
  • You will have no official record of the work you’ve had carried out
  • You may have difficulty selling your home if you do not have the right electrical safety certificates
  • Your local authority’s Building Control Department may insist that you put right any faulty work

Enforcement 

Failure to comply with the requirement will be a criminal offence. Local authorities will also have the power to require the removal or alteration of work that does not comply with the Building Regulations. Failing to comply with the Building Regulations is a criminal offence; however, registration with a Competent Person scheme is not compulsory.  If you decide to use a firm that has not registered as a Competent Person, you must ensure that the firm has submitted notification of the work and arranged for it to be inspected and certified by your local authority's Building Control Department on completion. Part P applies to all electrical installation work carried out in dwellings.

Building Regulation requirements in addition to Part P 

Contractors self-certifying compliance with Part P will also have to certify compliance with other relevant parts of the Building Regulations that have been affected by the electrical work, such as Part B (fire safety), Part F, Part M (accessibility) and Part L1 (energy conservation).

Further Information

If this section has not fully answered your questions or you require more information please contact Dusk Lights on 01392 873085 or email info@dusklighting.com and we will be happy to help you.

ALWAYS CHECK BEFORE EMPLOYING SOMEONE FOR ELECTRICAL WORK

Remember never be afraid to ask to your Installer / Electrician for proof of membership to a Part P Self Certification Scheme. They will not be offended and will be proud to show their membership details to you. In order to obtain this qualification, electricians must have an annual assessment, and if they are not deemed competent, will lose their membership to the Part P scheme.

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