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
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
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.