Part P of the Building Regulations: protecting the homeowners and reducing the risk of electric shock

About the Part P factsheet – Don’t put lives at risk by using/installing dangerous electrics!

As recommended by the NICEIC specialists via their FactSheet about Part P of the building regulations, here are some of the main things that need to be emphasized in order to have both a safe electrical installation and a safe life within our home. Being something that we use everyday, it is easy for us to take electricity for granted. If you attempt to do DIY(Do It Yourself) electrics or use an unregistered electrician to carry out work in your home you could be putting the life of your family members at risk. It is a fact that each year around 12,500 house fires, 750 serious injuries and 10 deaths are caused by unsafe electrics in the home of the people who live in the UK.

About the Electrical safety laws

The NICEIC registered electricians have already helped to improve the standard of electrical work in the UK. An electrical safety law, Part P of the Building Regulations was introduced by the Government on 1st January 2005 with the aim of further enhancing the protection of homeowners and also for reducing the risk of electric shock when using electricity. The law – which applies to England and Wales – aims to improve electrical safety in the home and also to prevent the number of accidents(which are caused by faulty electrical work).

Basically, this law brings the electrical work in the home under statutory control along with other types of building work, such as gas installations. The law requires an electrician registered with a government-approved scheme – such as the one operated by NICEIC – to carry out most electrical work in the home. After completion of any work your NICEIC registered electrician will issue you with an electrical safety certificate and a Compliance Certificate to confirm it meets the requirements of the Building Regulations. You can only carry out electrical work yourself if you can inspect and test that it is safe for use. To comply with the law you must notify your local building control office before you begin any work and pay the appropriate fee for them to inspect the work.

What will happen if you don’t follow the regulations?

  • You will have no certificate to prove that the work has been carried out by a registered electrician, or that the work performed has been passed as safe by your local building control.
  • It may be problematic when it comes to selling your home if you cannot produce evidence that electrical work has been carried out in accordance with the Building Regulations.
  • It is a criminal offence to carry out work that does not comply with the Building Regulations, with a maximum fine of £5,000.
  • Your local building control may insist that you re-do the electrical work.

What electrical work does the Part P law cover?

The requirements of Part P apply to most electrical work in your home. There are however, certain relaxations that apply for minor work.

Minor work
The ‘Minor work’ is the electrical work that does not involve the addition of a new circuit, for example adding new sockets or light switches to an existing circuit, or the replacement of sockets, light switches and ceiling roses. This work does not have to be undertaken by a registered electrician and you do not need to notify your local building control office. However, ALL electrical work must comply with BS 7671, the wiring regulations. Here is some help on how to apply for Building Regulations Approval.

High risk locations
Kitchens, bathrooms and gardens are classified as ‘special locations’ because the risk of electric shock is greater. Unless you are only replacing the electrical accessories, any other electrical work in a kitchen, bathroom, garden or outbuilding must either be undertaken by a registered electrician or notified to building control. With so many electrical appliances in your kitchen, combined with the mixture of hot surfaces and water, it is important that the electrical installation is safe. When installing a new kitchen, it is advisible you use a registered electrician or kitchen installer to do the electrical work. External electrical installations can be particularly hazardous due to the presence of water and the extremes of weather, which can make equipment deteriorate faster. If you are unsure, check with a registered electrician or your local building control office before starting any work.

How do I know when to notify?

Check out the list below: it provides a quick-reference guide to which type of electrical work should be notified to building control or carried out by a registered electrician(YOU: you can undertake the work yourself to BS7671, there is no need to inform building control, however NICEIC would recommend you use a registered electrician to carry out any electrical work in your home; Registered Electrician: you must notify building control or use a registered electrician).

  • A complete new electrical system or total rewire – A Registered Electrician(both in working in a kitchen / bathroom / garden, or in any other locations);
  • Fuse box change – A Registered Electrician(both in working in a kitchen / bathroom / garden, or in any other locations);
  • Adding a socket to an existing circuit – A Registered electrician(while working in a kitchen / bathroom / garden), and YOU(working in any other locations);
  • Adding a light switch to an existing circuit – A Registered electrician(while working in a kitchen / bathroom / garden), and YOU(working in any other locations);
  • Connecting a cooker to an existing connection – YOU(working in a kitchen / bathroom / garden, or in any other locations);
  • Replacing a damaged cable for a single circuit, on a like-for-like basis – YOU(working in a kitchen / bathroom / garden, or in any other locations);
  • Replacing a damaged accessory, such as a socket or ceiling rose – YOU(working in a kitchen / bathroom / garden, or in any other locations);
  • Replacing a light fitting – YOU(working in a kitchen / bathroom / garden, or in any other locations);
  • Installing and fitting a storage heater – A Registered Electrician(both in working in a kitchen / bathroom / garden, or in any other locations);
  • Installing extra low voltage lighting – A Registered Electrician(both in working in a kitchen / bathroom / garden, or in any other locations);
  • Installing a new electric supply to garden shed, garage, greenhouse or other out building – A Registered Electrician(both in working in a kitchen / bathroom / garden, or in any other locations);
  • Installing a solar photovoltaic power supply – A Registered Electrician(both in working in a kitchen / bathroom / garden, or in any other locations);
  • Installing electric ceiling or floor heating – A Registered Electrician(both in working in a kitchen / bathroom / garden, or in any other locations);
  • Installing an electricity generator – A Registered Electrician(both in working in a kitchen / bathroom / garden, or in any other locations);
  • Installing telephone or extra-low voltage wiring for communication or IT equipment – A Registered electrician(while working in a kitchen / bathroom / garden), and YOU(working in any other locations);
  • Replacing an immersion heater – YOU(working in a kitchen / bathroom / garden, or in any other locations);
  • Installing a socket or lighting point outdoors – A Registered Electrician(both in working in a kitchen / bathroom / garden, or in any other locations);
  • Fitting and connecting a new electric shower with a different kW rating – A Registered electrician(working in a kitchen / bathroom / garden);
  • Adding a socket or light to an existing circuit in a garden shed, garage, greenhouse or other outbuilding – YOU(working in a kitchen / bathroom / garden);
  • Installing a garden pond pump to the fixed electrics, including supply – A Registered electrician(working in a kitchen / bathroom / garden);
  • Installing an electric sauna – A Registered electrician(working in a kitchen / bathroom / garden);

Should I receive a certificate once the work is done?

Yes: Your NICEIC registered electrician will issue a Certificate of Compliance with national safety standards and a Building Regulations Compliance Certificate for all electrical work that has been carried out. This is a safety declaration confirming that their work complies with Part P of the Building Regulations.

You can download this guide & many other guides and fact sheets via the NICEIC Downloadable Factsheets page. Remember: safety above all!

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