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Property Resources - Part "P" Buildings Regulations (Electrical Safety in Dwellings)
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FACT FILE - Part "P" Building Regulations (Electrical Safety in Dwellings)

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. These apply to all properties either let as holiday rentals, long term lettings or owner occupied (not let). The rules are set out in Part P Building Regulations (Electrical Safety in Dwellings). Failure to comply with these Regulations is a criminal offence, which could result in a maximum fine of £5,000 and or imprisonment.

Why has the Government introduced the new rules? 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.

In very general terms these regulations require that works, repairs, maintenance etc., on "electrical installations", in certain areas of a property, are now known as "notifiable" works and as such must only be carried out by a "competent person".

Who is a "Competent Person"? Someone who is currently registered with an approved self-certification scheme, which monitors and regulates his or her activities, competence etc.

The competent person can "self-certify" the relevant works and he (or she) then has a responsibility to provide the customer and the local authority building control department with a copy Certificate relating to the notifiable works. If your property is let out then you will need to maintain a copy of any such certificate in their management files for possible future reference.

Someone who is not a "competent person" could still do the works as long as they seek appropriate approval from their local authority Building Control department, before and after the works are carried out. In most cases an officer from the department will wish to visit the property and inspect the works and may require the applicant to submit suitable drawings or schematics.

What does an "Electrical Installation" mean? Fixed electrical cables or fixed electrical equipment located on the consumer's side of the electricity supply meter in a dwelling or in the common parts of a building serving one or more dwellings; and that includes sheds, garages and greenhouses.

Non notifiable works: Although you should take guidance from the Building Control department generally these would include repairs, replacements and maintenance; and additions or alterations to existing circuits outside kitchens and bathrooms: Replacing power sockets (white laminate with chrome for example), replacing a damaged power cable, replacing a light switch or ceiling rose, adding lighting points, sockets and fused spurs to existing circuits as long as they are not in a special location or special installation.

Special Locations / installations: Kitchen - bathroom/shower room, garden lighting and swimming pools.

When the Notifiable work is carried out Will I get a certificate that the electrical work meets the requirements of the Building Regulations? Yes - a qualified installer should give you a signed BS 7671 electrical safety certificate for all types of electrical work. If you use a registered installer for notifiable work, the operator of the registration scheme will send you a Building Regulations compliance certificate. If you use an unregistered installer for notifiable work, the Building Control Service will inspect the work to check that it complies with the Building Regulations before issuing a completion certificate.

What will happen if the owner does not follow the Building Regulations?

  • The electrical installation might not be safe.
  • You will have no record of the work done.
  • 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 faulty work.

Where can I get more information? From your local authority's Building Control Department who publish a free 'Explanatory Booklet on the Building Regulations'. Or visit www.odpm.gov.uk/explanatory-booklet for a copy

N.B. This information should not be relied on for accuracy and is presented here without the responsibility of jml Property Service and the website it is being displayed at. ©jml property Services 04-05

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