Buiding Regulations Part P
Building Regulations Part P - Electrical Safety
Since January 1st 2005 the design, installation, inspection and testing of electrical installations has been controlled under the Building Regulations.
The main reason for the change is the need to reduce the hazards posed by unsafe domestic electrical installations and thereby help to reduce injuries from electrical shocks and burns. It is also hoped to reduce injuries arising from fires in dwellings due to electrical components overheating or arcing.
When the time comes to sell your property, your purchaser's surveyors will ask for evidence that notifiable domestic electrical work, installed after 1st January 2005 complies with the new Building Regulations.
The new Part P will apply mainly to dwelling houses and flats including gardens, outbuildings such as sheds, detached garages and greenhouses. Part P will also apply to conservatories attached to the building (which otherwise would be exempt).
Small jobs such as provision of a socket outlet or a light switch on an existing circuit will not need to be notified to Building Control (although there are exceptions in high risk areas, such as kitchens and bathrooms).
All work that involves adding a new circuit to a dwelling, or electrical work in kitchens and bathrooms or in "special locations" will need to be either notified to Building Control with a Building Regulation application, or carried out by a competent person who is registered with a Part P Self-Certification scheme.
There are two routes available to applicants to ensure they comply with Part P:-
1) Use an electrician/installer who is registered with a Competent Person's Scheme, in which case a Building Regulation application will NOT be required for the electrical work.
The use of electricians/installers who are part of a Competent Person's Scheme.
2) Submit a Building Regulation application to the Local Authority:
A. Where an electrician registered with a recognised trade body, such as NICEIC, ECA and NAPIT (who need not be registered under the Competent Person's Scheme) tests the work and issues a design, installation and test certificate under BS7671. Building Control will accept the certificate as evidence that the work complies with Part P. Additional inspections by Building Control may also be carried out in conjunction with the acceptance of a certificate.
B. Where the work is carried out by an unregistered electrician or DIY installation, the applicant is required to have the work inspected and tested by a registered electrician as in A. above.
You should note that you, as the house owner, are ultimately responsible for ensuring the work complies with the Building Regulations.
However, you do not need to notify the local authority in the case of:-
work consisting of -
(a) replacing any socket-outlet, control switch or ceiling rose;
(b) replacing a damaged cable for a single circuit only;
(c) re-fixing or replacing enclosures of existing installation components, where the circuit protective measures are unaffected;
(d) providing mechanical protection to an existing fixed installation, where the circuit protective measures and current carrying capacity of conductors are unaffected by the increased thermal insulation.
or for work which -
(a) is not in a kitchen, or a special location,
(b) does not involve work on a special installation, and
(c) consists of -
(i) adding light fittings and switches to an existing circuit;
(ii) adding socket outlets and fused spurs to an existing ring or radial circuit; or
(iii) installing or upgrading main or supplementary equipotential bonding.
Before you sign a contract for notifiable domestic electrical installation work, be sure to ask whether the installer is able to self-certify under one of the five schemes as listed above. If not, either they, or you, will need to make an application (Full Plans or Building Notice) to the Council for approval under the Building Regulations and pay any relevant charges. The Council will ask for a relevant electrical installation certificate, signed by a competent person in accordance with Approved Document P, before they are able to complete a satisfactory final inspection of the work.
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