Part P Building Regulations – What’s it all about?
If you’re fitting a new kitchen, you’ll need to know about the Part P building Regulation which came into force in January 2005
From 1st January 2005 the Government introduced legislation, regulating electrical work carried out in homes and gardens. The rules affect anyone considering electrical work in the home, including DIY enthusiasts.
In April 2013 further changes were introduced, reducing the range of electrical installation work that is notifiable – removing some requirements in kitchens and outdoors.
You can find full details on Part P on the UK Government website: Building regulations Part P
Electricians carrying out work in England and Wales have to comply with Part P of the Building Regulations whereas in Scotland it is the Building Standards system. At the present time Northern Ireland has no equivalent statutory requirement.
According to Government statistics, each year on average 10 people die and about 750 are seriously injured in accidents involving unsafe electrical installations in the home.
In 2003 there were 2,336 house fires attributed to faulty installations. To help address this issue, the Construction Industry Deregulation Task Force recommended in 1995 that electrical safety requirements should be included in the Building Regulations.
Part P of the building regulations 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 new rules are designed to improve home safety, increase consumer confidence in the quality of electrical work and to make it harder for less professional electricians to ply their trade.
What electrical work is covered by this law?
All electrical installation work in a home, garden, conservatory or outbuilding must meet the Building Regulations. Apart from some types of minor work, all electrical work must either be reported to the local-authority building-control, or be carried out by an electrician who is registered with one of the Government-approved scheme providers.
Who is responsible for making sure that electrical work meets the requirements of Part P?
By law, all homeowners and landlords must be able to prove that all electrical installation work meets Part P, or they will be committing a criminal offence. Local authorities can make homeowners or landlords remove or alter any work that does not meet the Building Regulations.
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.
Intended work that is subject to the provisions of Part P will have to be notified to the local authority. Traditionally, work notifiable under the Building Regulations is subject to inspection by the local authority’s building control department (or other approved building inspectors).
However, to avoid the need for local authorities to appoint specialist agents for this purpose, it appears likely that building control bodies would be authorised to accept certificates of compliance (ie Electrical Installation Certificates) issued by ‘Competent Firms’.
Under such Competent Firms provisions, appropriately approved electrical contractors are able to self-certify that their work meets the requirements of the Building Regulations. In this case there will be a need to supply the relevant building control body (as well as the person ordering the work) with an Electrical Installation Certificate signed by a competent person. The alternative would be to pay a fee to have the work inspected by a local authority building control department, or other approved private sector building inspector.
For the purposes of Part P, the Government has defined ‘Competent Firms’ as those registered under the NICEIC Approved Contractor scheme, the Domestic Installer Scheme and the Electrotechnical Assessment Scheme.
The rules mean that:
All work that falls under Part P must be notified to your local authority’s Building Control department. But how do you know if the work you have planned needs to be notified?
You DO NOT need to tell your local authority’s Building Control department about:
- Repairs, replacements, maintenance work; or
- Extra power points or lighting points or other alterations to existing circuits (except in a kitchen or bathroom, or outdoors).
You need to tell them about most other work: If the work DOES need to be notified, you have 2 choices;
Chose a registered, competent electrician who is a member of a competent person scheme. The work will then be notified to the local authority on your behalf and the electrician can provide you with the legally required certification, confirming the work to be safe in accordance with the new legislation.
If the work is to be carried out by you, a friend or relative, or an electrician who is not a member of a competency scheme, the local authority’s Building Control department must be notified direct. They will then send an Inspector to assess the work and provide you with the certification confirming the work to be safe.
What do I need to do before electrical installation work can be carried out in my home?
You must either:
- tell your local-authority building-control about the installation work before it starts; or
- employ an electrician who is registered with one of the Government-approved Part P schemes.
We recommend that you use a registered electrician to do the electrical installation work.
The advantages of using a registered electrician are:
- you will not have to pay any building-control charges;
- the electrician can deal with everything for you;
- the electrician will arrange for you to receive a certificate that confirms the work meets Building Regulations;
- you have to access to a formal complaints procedure if the work doesn’t meet Building Regulations; and
- you can choose to take out an insurance-backed guarantee when you have the work done, and you can make a claim if the work is later found not to meet Building Regulations.