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Electrical Safety In and Around Dwellings

Work to an Electrical SocketThis page contains guidance on electrical safety in dwellings as detailed in Approved Document P of the Building Regulations, routes to compliance, and information on competent person schemes with a search facility for registered contractors.

From 1st January 2005, the design, installation, inspection and testing of electrical installations became controlled under Part P of the Building Regulations.

Part P applies mainly to dwellings of houses and flats, including gardens and outbuildings such as sheds, detached garages, greenhouses,common access areas to blocks of flats and shared amenities blocks.

Small jobs such as the provision of a socket outlet or a light switch on an existing circuit, will not need to be notified to Building Control (although there will be some exceptions for high risk areas known as special locations, such as kitchens and bathrooms).

All work that involves adding a new circuit to a dwelling, the replacement of a consumer unit or any addition or alteration to exisiting circuits in a 'special locations' or a room contatining a swimming pool or sauna heater, will need to be either notified to Building Control with a building regulations application or carried out by a competent person who is registered with a Part P Self-Certification Scheme.Electrical Warning Sign

The seventeenth edition of the IEE (Institution of Electrical Engineers) Wiring Regulations, British Standard 7671:2008 (requirements for electrical installations) came into publication on 21st January 2008. Any installation undertaken after 1 July 2008 must comply with the provisions of the seventeenth edition of BS:7671.

Notifiable jobs

Typical examples of electrical installation work and locations that require advance notification to your local authority's Building Control department are:-

Types of work:

  1. new installation, rewire or partial rewire,
  2. new consumer unit,
  3. one or more new circuits,
  4. modifying a circuit in special location which is a room containing bath or shower, swimming pool, paddling pool, sauna,
  5. telephone or control wiring in special locations or by special installation. Special installation includes electric floor or ceiling heating, outdoor lighting or power, Extra Low Voltage (EVL) lighting, generators and solar photovoltaic systems,
  6. new outdoor wiring such as garden lighting or power installations,
  7. a new socket outlet on an outside wall,
  8. heating including central heating, room heating, hot water and boiler or boiler controls or
  9. special installation.

Location:

  1. building sharing supply with dwelling,
  2. shared areas of blocks of flats such as laundries,
  3. communal areas within blocks of flats,
  4. flat,
  5. house,
  6. detached shed, garage or greenhouse,
  7. kitchen,
  8. garden or
  9. special location which is a room containing bath or shower, swimming pool, paddling pool, sauna.

General guidance - For general advice, guidance and information in easy to understand formats www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/guides-and-advice

Routes to compliance

There are two routes available to applicants to ensure that they comply with Part P:-

1. Use an electrician or installer who is registered with a Competent Persons Scheme, in which case a building regulations application will not be required for the electrical work. We would strongly encourage this route.

Find a registered electrician - A register of electricians belonging to the various CPS schemes www.electricalcompetentperson.co.uk/

Alternatively,

2. Submit a Building Regulations application to the local authority:-

  • Where an electrician registered with a recognized trade body such as NICEIC, ECA and NAPIT (who need not be registered under a competent persons scheme) tests the work and issues a design, installation and test certificate under BS 7671, 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. To search for an electrician competent to inspect and test please use the following external link www.competentperson.co.uk.
  • Where the work is carried out by an unregistered electrician or is a do-it-yourself installation, the applicant is required to have the work inspected and tested by a registered electrician and provide a copy of the certificate to the Local Authority.

Competent persons schemes

There are currently five full scope schemes in operation who can carry out any electrical work and six defined scope schemes for other trades who can carry out a limited amount of electrical work (for example gas fitters and kitchen fitters, alarm installers and electric garage door fitters).

All of the certified competent persons registered to carry out electrical work have registered in schemes run by the following scheme providers. Should you have a query concerning any competent person you should contact the scheme operator, details of these are available from the links on the Department of Communities and Local Government competent persons schemes page.

While compliance with Part P of the Building Regulations is compulsory, registration with a competent person scheme is not. Businesses carrying out work covered by the Building Regulations are encouraged to join one of the government's approved schemes. Alternatively, they may choose to continue to use a building control body.

If you are in any doubt about the work you intend to carry out, or you have any questions, please either contact us or a suitably qualified electrician.

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