Part P applies standards for the safe installation of electrical systems in residential buildings and makes it a legal requirement that:
“Reasonable provision shall be made in the design and installation of electrical installations in order to protect persons operating, maintaining or altering the installations from fire or injury.”
Part P of the Building Regulations applies to fixed electrical installations in dwellings (including gardens and shared amenities in blocks of flats, and any building that shares its electricity supply with a dwelling).
Many common household jobs are affected by Part P and when you get in an electrician, it is actually your responsibility to ensure that the work is carried out in accordance with the legal requirements. Because you are not a professional you cannot be expected to know the rules, so that is why responsibility is placed upon you to hire someone that does.
Remember that if things should go seriously wrong, then it is you that will be in court to answer for it. Your Part P certificate is evidence that the work was carried out professionally, as far as you could have known.
Therefore ensuring work is carried out to standards set by Building Control is your legal responsibility and as such checking for Part P competency is the first thing that you should do.
Notifiable work needs to be inspected by the local authority Building Control department in order to ensure it complies with the Building Regulations. So a contractor that has produced a Part P certificate of competence, such as a City & Guilds, will also need to pay for this inspection and that cost will of course be passed to you.
Companies or individuals that are members of a Part P registration unit such as NICEIC, handle things differently. Because they have been assessed by NICEIC for example, then they can approve their own work and pass the certificate details to NICEIC who will then notify Building Control and you will receive the certificate directly from Building Control.
This means that as a member of a competent person scheme, the member pays only an administrative fee, say £2.50 and the contractor’s saving therefore can be passed on to you. In simpler terms, hiring a registered member will probably save you an initial £500.
Competent persons schemes were set up with approval from the government to assess contractors to a common standard. Once contractors have registered with a scheme they can self-certify their work as being compliant with Building Regulations, saving you the time of doing it yourself through the local authority.
Using a registered contractor also means you have to access to a formal complaints procedure if the work doesn’t meet Building Regulations and that your contractor is fully insured so you can make a claim if the work is later found not to meet Building Regulations or have been completed to the expected electrical standard.
In 2005 the Government introduced Part P. It applies to any changes made to existing installations, including any parts that have been rewired. In April 2013 further changes were introduced, reducing the range of electrical installation work that is notifiable – removing some requirements in kitchens and outdoors.
All electrical installation work in a home, garden, conservatory or outbuilding must meet the Building Regulations. If you use a registered electrician, you can expect to have safe electrical installation work done, as the work will meet the UK national standard, BS 7671 (Requirements for Electrical Installations). When the work is finished you will receive:
- an Electrical Installation Certificate or Minor Work Certificate that confirms that the work meets BS 7671
- and a Building Regulations Compliance Certificate that confirms that the work meets the Building Regulations.