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Cutting corners on electrical work is plain dangerous - and from 1 January 2005 it'll be breaking the law too, according to the UK's leading electrical safety body, the NICEIC. The new electrical safety law - entitled Part P - aims to tighten up electrical safety in the home by clamping down on cowboy electricians and on homeowners doing DIY electrical work. The law will require that all electrical work in homes be carried out by a 'competent' person, such as an electrician registered with the NICEIC.
Despite the fact that faulty electrics result in 19 deaths and over 2,000 non-fatal electric shock accidents each year, until now electrical installations have not been subject to Building Regulations, so employing competent contractors for all electrical work has been left to the common sense of the homeowner.

"This new electrical safety requirement is long overdue - we're delighted that the law will now demand that homeowners and occupants employ only government-authorised electricians for electrical work and don't embark on DIY electrics," said Jim Speirs, director general of the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC).

The electrical safety law will be included in the Building Regulations for England and Wales, and requires any persons carrying out work on fixed electrical installations in the home - such as sockets, switches, fuse boxes and ceiling fittings - to follow the fundamental principles of BS 7671, the British Standard for electrical installations.

What is Part P?
Part P is a brand new part of the Building Regulations for England and Wales. It comes into effect on 1 January 2005, and brings all electrical installation work in dwellings into a 'controlled service' under the Building Regulations. This means that, for the first time, the technical standard of electrical installation work in dwellings (generally houses and flats) will be subject to statutory requirements. These requirements will apply not only to new construction, but also to any alterations or additions to existing installations, including full or partial rewires.

What is the purpose of Part P?
The law, which applies to electrical installation work in dwellings and connected gardens, greenhouses and outbuildings, is expected to raise the competence of electrical installers, and significantly reduce the number of deaths, injuries and fires caused by defective electrical installations.

How will it be enforced?
Part P will be enforced by Local Authorities and failure to comply will be a legal offence.

How will this affect me?
When the time comes to sell your property, your purchaser's solicitors will ask for evidence that any electrical installation carried out after 1 January 2005 complies with the new Building Regulations. There will be two ways to prove compliance:

1. A certificate showing that the work has been done by a government - authorised electrical contractor, such as an NICEIC contractor.
2. A certificate from the local authority saying that the installation has approval under the Building Regulations.

New Part P Requirements
© Vale Electrics & Dalbytech 2005