Tel: (01392) 444200 Fax: (01392) 444201 Email: enquiries@electrical-testing.co.uk

You are here: Articles > DIY Electrical Works – is it worth it, and how does Part P affect me?

DIY Electrical Works – is it worth it, and how does Part P affect me?

So what’s changed? Updated as of the 6th of April 2013 (England Only)

Consider the dramatic increase over the last 10 to 15 years of electrical equipment in the home such as:

Bathrooms - low voltage lighting, electric showers, under-floor heating (popular in bathrooms with tiled floors).
Entertainment systems - computer systems, videos, televisions, (every child’s bedroom seems to have a system nowadays).
Bedrooms – electric blankets, hair dryers, hair tongs.
Kitchens – dishwashers, tumble dryers, freezers, microwaves, blenders, sandwich makers.
Gardens – electric lawn mowers, electric hedge trimmers, hot tubs, swimming pools, pond pumps and lighting.

Is it any wonder, then, that each year on average there are 10 deaths, 750 serious injuries and 12,500 fires caused either by faulty electrical work carried out by ambitious DIY enthusiasts, “cowboy” electricians or deteriorating electrical installations?

As such, electrical work, with a few minor exceptions, carried out in the home is being regulated as part of the Building Regulations under Part P and is effective from the 1st of January 2005 and has had several updates up to the 6th of April 2013 to which this refers.

Failure to comply with Part P of the Building Regulations is a criminal offence and could result in the order by the local authority to remove or put right faulty workmanship and fine you up to £5000.00. It could also make it difficult to sell your property in the future.

Will anybody find out if I carry out some electrical work? I can say it was done before January 2005 when the regulations came into force.

If the work involves the installation of cable you can be easily found out because since January 2005 the colours of the cores of the cable have changed. Live is now brown (previously red), neutral is now blue (previously black) and earth remains the same (green/yellow).

The Building Regulations 2010 – Electrical safety – Dwellings P1 Design and installation of electrical installations. Approved document P, 2013 edition.

Where writing is in italics or where there are diagrams, this has been added for clarity.

Changes in the legal requirements

  • The range of electrical installation work that is notifiable (when there is a requirement to certify compliance with the Building Regulations) has been reduced. 
  • An installer carrying out the electrical work who is not a registered competent person may use a registered third party (registered electrical contractor or electrician) to certify notifiable electrical installation work as an alternative to using a building control body.

Notification of work

Most building work and material changes of use must be notified to a building control body unless one of the following applies.

a. It is work that will be self-certified by a registered competent person (registered electrical contractor or electrician) or certified by a registered third party (registered electrical contractor or electrician) – see section “How can I comply with Part P” below.

b. It is work exempted from the need to notify by regulation 12(6A) of, or Schedule 4 to, the Building Regulations. – see Non-notifiable work below

Responsibility for compliance

People who are responsible for building work (for example, the agent, designer, builder or installer) must ensure that the work complies with all applicable requirements of the Building Regulations. The building owner may also be responsible for ensuring that the work complies with the Building Regulations. If building work does not comply with the Building Regulations, the building owner may be served with an enforcement notice.

Additions and alterations to existing electrical installations

1.6 Regulation 4(3) states that when building work is complete, the building should be no more unsatisfactory in terms of complying with the applicable parts of Schedule 1 to the Building regulations than before the building work was started. Therefore, when extending or altering an electrical installation, only the new work must meet current standards. There is no obligation to upgrade the existing installation unless either of the following applies.

• The new work adversely affects the safety of the existing installation.

• The state of the existing installation is such that the new work cannot be operated safely.

1.7 Any new work should be carried out in accordance with BS 7671. The existing electrical installation should be checked to ensure that the following conditions are all satisfied.

a. The rating and condition of existing equipment belonging to both the consumer and to the electricity distributor are suitable for the equipment to carry the additional loads arising from the new work.

b. Adequate protective measures are used. Methods of installing cabling, fusing etc.

c. The earthing and equipotential bonding arrangements are satisfactory.

What is the scope of Part P?

2.2 Part P applies to electrical installations:

a. in a dwelling-house or flat, and to parts of the installation that are:

i. outside the dwelling – for example fixed lighting and air conditioning units attached to outside walls, photo-voltaic panels on roofs, and fixed lighting and pond pumps in gardens.

ii. in outbuildings such as sheds, detached garages and domestic greenhouses

b. in the common access areas of blocks of flats such as corridors and staircases.

c. in shared amenities of blocks of flats such as laundries, kitchens and gymnasiums.

d. in business premises (other than agriculture buildings) connected to the same meter as the electrical installation in a dwelling – for example shops and public houses below flats.

2.3 Part P does not apply to electrical installations:

a. in business premises in the same building as a dwelling but with separate metering.

b. that supply the power for lifts in blocks of flats (but Part P does apply to lift installations in single dwellings)

Notifiable work 

2.5 Electrical installation work that is notifiable is set out in regulation 12(6A) – see examples of Notifiable and Non-notifiable work at the end of this document.

12.-(6A) A person intending to carry out building work in relation to which Part P of Schedule 1 imposes a requirement, is required to give a building notice or deposit full plans (except if (a) is applied or the work is under (b) as per Notification of work above). Notification is required where work consists of –

a. The installation of a new circuit.

b. The replacement of a consumer unit (fuse board).

c. Any addition or alteration to existing circuits in a special location.

In this regulation “special location” means –

a. Within a room containing a bath or shower, the space surrounding a bath tap or shower head, where the space extends –

1. Vertically from the finished floor level to –

i. a height of 2.25 metres; or

ii. the position of the shower head where it is attached to a wall or ceiling at a point higher than 2.25 metres from that level; and

2. Horizontally –

i. where there is a bath tub or shower tray, from the edge of the bath tub or shower tray to a distance of 0.6 metres; or

ii. where there is no bath tub or shower tray, from the centre point of the shower head where it is attached to the wall or ceiling to a distance of 1.2 metres; 

Additions and alterations to existing circuits are notifiable in the coloured areas.

or

b. A room containing a swimming pool or sauna heater.

Non-notifiable work– see examples of Notifiable and Non-notifiable work at the end of this document.

2.7 Regulation 12(6A) sets out electrical installation work that is notifiable. All other electrical installation work is not notifiable – namely additions and alterations to existing installations outside special locations, and replacements (like for like), repairs and maintenance anywhere (this includes special locations such as saunas, swimming pools and within the area of special location in a bathroom).

2.8 Installing fixed electrical equipment is within the scope of Part P, even if the final connection is by a standard 13amp plug and socket, but is notifiable only if it involves work set out in regulation 12(6A). For example:

a. installing a built-in cooker is not notifiable unless a new cooker circuit is needed.

b. connecting an electric gate or garage door to an existing isolator is not notifiable work, but installing a new circuit from the consumer unit (fuse board) to the isolator is.

How can I comply with Part P? 

General

3.1 For notifiable electrical installation work, one of the following three procedures must be used to certify that the work complies with the requirements set out in the Building Regulations.

a. Self-certification by a registered competent person. (An electrical contractor or electrician carrying out the work registered with a competent person’s scheme e.g NICEIC or ELECSA) - see 3.3 below.

b. Third-party certification by a registered third-party certifier. (An electrical contractor or electrician carrying out the certification registered with a competent person’s scheme e.g NICEIC or ELECSA on behalf of a non-registered person carrying out the work) - see 3.5 below.

c. Certification by a building control body - see 3.8 below

3.2 To verify that the design and installation of electrical work is adequate, and that installations will be safe to use, maintain and alter, the electrical work should be inspected and tested in accordance with the procedures in BS 7671.

Note: Electrical inspection and test result forms should be given to the person ordering the work (from the electrical contractor, electrician or third-party certifier registered with a competent person’s scheme). Building Regulations certificates should normally be given to the occupier, but in the case of rented properties may be given to the person ordering the work and a copy to the occupier.

Self-certification by a registered competent person 

3.3 Electrical installers (electrical contractor or electrician) who are registered competent persons should complete a BS 7671 electrical installation certificate for every job they undertake. The electrical installer should give the certificate to the person ordering the work.

3.4 The installer (electrical contractor or electrician) or the installer’s registration body must within 30 days of the work being completed do both the following:

a. Give a copy of the Building Regulations compliance certificate to the occupier.

b. Give the certificate, or a copy of the information on the certificate, to the building control body.

Certification by a registered third party

3.5 Before work begins, an installer who is not a registered competent person may appoint a registered third-party certifier (electrical contractor or electrician who is a registered member of a Part P registration body) to inspect and test the work as necessary. (This will be the time to discuss with your third-party certifier at what stages any inspections will take place, e.g if an extension was being built, an inspection may be deemed necessary when the wiring has been installed before any plastering/boarding and floor boarding is carried out so that the wiring can be inspected and tested before being covered, with a further inspection and test when the electrical work is complete).

3.6 Within 5 days of completing the work, the installer must notify the registered third-party who, subject to the results of the inspection and testing being satisfactory, should then complete an Electrical Installation Condition Report (not an Electrical Installation Certificate) and give it to the person ordering the work.
Note: The Electrical Installation Condition Report should be based upon the model BS 7671 form or one developed specifically for Part P purposes.

3.7 The registration body of the third-party certifier must within 30 days of a satisfactory condition report being issued do both of the following:

a. Give a copy of the Building Regulations compliance certificate to the occupier.

b. Give the certificate, or a copy of the information on the certificate, to the building control body.

Certification by a building control body

3.8 If an installer is not a registered competent person and has not appointed a registered third-party certifier, then before work begins the installer must notify a building control body.

3.9 The building control body will determine the extent of the inspection and testing needed for it to establish that the work is safe, based on the nature of the electrical work and the competence of the installer. The building control body may choose to carry out any necessary inspection and testing itself or it may contract a specialist (electrical contractor or electrician) to carry out some or all of the work and furnish it with an electrical installation condition report.

3.10 An installer who is not a registered competent person but who is competent to carry out inspection and testing should give the appropriate BS 7671 certificate to the building control body, who will then take the certificate and the installer’s qualifications into account in deciding what further action, if any, it needs to take. Building control bodies may ask installers for evidence of their qualifications.

3.11 This can result in a lower building control charge as, when setting its charge, a local authority is required by the Building (Local Authority Charges) Regulations 2010 to take account of the amount of inspection work that it considers it will need to carry out.

3.12 Once the building control body has decided that, as far as can be ascertained, the work meets all Building Regulation requirements, it will issue to the occupier a Building Regulations completion certificate (if a local authority) or a final certificate (if an approved inspector).

Inspection and testing of non-notifiable work

3.13 Non-notifiable electrical installation work, like notifiable work, should be designed and installed, and inspected, tested and certified in accordance with BS 7671

3.14 If local authorities find that non-notifiable work is unsafe and non-compliant, they can take enforcement action.

Examples of Notifiable and Non-Notifiable work.

If installing a new circuit from the fuse board to supply an item of equipment anywhere in the dwelling – notifiable.

Upgrading an existing consumer unit (fuse board) or installing an additional consumer unit – notifiable.

Replacing a damaged cable using a new cable the same type and size anywhere in the dwelling including within the special location zone area of a bathroom – see drawing above (special location) or any other special location – non-notifiable

Replacing a damaged accessory like for like e.g light switch, socket etc. anywhere including special locations – non-notifiable

Replacing an electric shower heater with a shower heater the same size in wattage (like for like) or less within the special location area of the bathroom, see diagrams above – non-notifiable

Wiring a new light fitting from an existing lighting circuit anywhere in the dwelling including in a bathroom as long as it is outside of the special location zone area within the bathroom, see diagrams above - non-notifiable

Wiring a new light fitting both low and extra-low voltage types from an existing lighting circuit in the bathroom within the special location zone area, see diagrams above - notifiable

Wiring a low voltage or extra-low voltage type fan to be positioned within the special location area of the bathroom, see diagrams above, from either an existing circuit or a new circuit installed from the fuse board - notifiable

Replacing a like for like damaged wiring accessory (switches etc.) or cable within a room containing a sauna or swimming pool - non-notifiable

Repositioning a wiring accessory; switches, light fittings etc. in a room containing a sauna or a swimming pool or within the special location area of a bathroom - notifiable

Wiring and installing a new outside light from an existing lighting circuit - non-notifiable

Wiring and installing a new outside light from the fuse board - notifiable

Services

Our Clients

Tel:
(01392) 444200
Fax:
(01392) 444201
Email:
enquiries@electrical-testing.co.uk