What is Part P?
In 2005 the Government introduced electrical safety rules into the Building Regulations for England and Wales. Because of this, most fixed electrical installation work in homes must, by law, meet the Building Regulations.
Part P states that anyone carrying out electrical installation work in a home must make sure that the work is designed and installed to protect people from fire and electric shocks.
Part P 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.
You can find full details on Part P on the Communities and Local Government website: www.communities.gov.uk
Electricians carrying out work in England and Wales have to comply with Part P of the Building Regulations whereas in Scotland it is the Building Standards system. At the present time Northern Ireland has no equivalent statutory requirement.
What electrical work is covered by this law?
All electrical installation work in a home, garden, conservatory or outbuilding must meet the Building Regulations.
Apart from some types of minor work, all electrical work must either be reported to the local-authority building-control, or be carried out by an electrician who is registered with one of the Government-approved scheme providers.
Who is responsible for making sure that electrical work meets the requirements of Part P?
By law, all homeowners and landlords must be able to prove that all electrical installation work meets Part P, or they will be committing a criminal offence.
Local authorities can make homeowners or landlords remove or alter any work that does not meet the Building Regulations.
What do I need to do before electrical installation work can be carried out in my home?
You must either:
tell your local-authority building-control about the installation work before it starts; or
employ an electrician who is registered with one of the Government-approved Part P schemes.
We recommend that you use a registered electrician to do the electrical installation work.
The advantages of using a registered electrician are:
you will not have to pay any building-control charges;
the electrician can deal with everything for you;
the electrician will arrange for you to receive a certificate that confirms the work meets Building Regulations;
you have access to a formal complaints procedure if the work doesn't meet Building Regulations; and
you can choose to take out an insurance-backed guarantee when you have the work done, and you can make a claim if the work is later found not to meet Building Regulations.
What does Part P of the Building Regulations mean for me?
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.
Is it important who carries out electrical installation work in my home?
Yes. Electrical installation work must be carried out only by people who have the knowledge, skill and experience needed to avoid any danger to themselves and others.
We strongly recommend that you use a registered electrician to do any electrical installation work you need. They work to the UK national safety standard and will give you a safety certificate to confirm that their work has been designed, inspected and tested in line with that standard.