Domestic Electrical Building Control

Check Your Ladder Before You Use It
31st January 2017
Electrical Safety
31st January 2017

Domestic Electrical Works

Did you know that it is your responsibility to ensure work in your home is completed by a competent scheme-registered electrician or checked by one?

Under Part P of the building regulations, DIY work and work carried out by non-registered traders should be checked and certified. As the property owner, you’re ultimately responsible for ensuring electrical work complies with the rules.

Notifiable Electrical Work

The Building Regulations set out overall criteria and requirements to ensure electrical safety in and around dwellings. Approved Document P provides further practical guidance for undertaking this type of work. You should bear in mind that ANY electrical work you carry out within your home, garden, garage shed and other storage buildings may need to comply with the requirements of the Building Regulations. These works are called notifiable work.

Very common examples of notifiable work are; rewiring a property, providing electricity to a garage or outhouse, the replacement of the main fuse box in a house or any electrical work in a kitchen, shower room or bathroom.

Non-notifiable Work

The Building Regulations allow certain works (known as non-notifiable or minor work) to be carried out without having to notify building control or using a registered electrician.

Such work includes:

  • Replacing any electrical fitting (for example, socket outlets, light fittings, control switches);
  • Adding a fused spur (which is a socket that has a fuse and a switch that is connected to an appliance e.g. heater) to an existing circuit (but not in a kitchen, bathroom or outdoors);
  • Adding lighting points (light fittings and switches to an existing circuit;
  • Certain repair or maintenance work;
  • Installing or upgrading main or supplementary equipotential bonding;
  • Installing cabling at extra low voltage for signalling, cabling or communication purposes (for example, telephone cabling, cabling for fire alarm or burglar alarm systems, or heating control systems

Minor Works

Minor electrical work can also present a risk to safety. If qualified electricians carry out the work they should give you a Minor Works Certificate, which means that they have tested the work to make sure it is safe. If you do the work yourself you may wish to engage a qualified electrician to check it for you.

General

If you are unsure about whether you are required to comply you may contact your local Building control team to discuss any concerns you may have.

All electrical work should follow the safety standards in BS 7671 (the 'wiring regulations') these rules have been introduced to help reduce the number of deaths, injuries and fires caused by faulty installations.

The Building Regulations only set standards for electrical installation work in relation to dwellings (houses, flats etc.). If the work is carried out in industrial or commercial buildings it is covered by the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is responsible for making sure that electrical installation work in these kinds of buildings is safe and if you have any queries about work in these buildings you should contact HSE.

The Building Regulations do not restrict who may carry out electrical installation work. If you want to do the work yourself you should make sure that you know what you need to do before starting any works. There are a number of reputable guides that you can use to help you.

The Building Regulations does not set standards for the safety of electrical appliances such as fridges and washing machines but they do require that fixed connections of appliances are safe.

Notification of Work and Checking for Safety

Where electrical work associated with a dwelling is classed as notifiable under The Building Regulations, it should be checked to make sure that it is safe. This checking can be done in either of two ways: by using an electrician registered with a competent person scheme or by submitting a Building Regulation application to a building control body.

Competent Person Schemes

In relation to electrical safety this means that an electrician who is registered by an organisation authorised by the Secretary of State and is able to certify the work carried out is safe, without you having to notify Building Control.

Once works are complete the electrician will arrange for you to receive a building regulations compliance certificate within 30 days of the completion of the work. Your local authority will then also be notified about the work for their records.

  • The competent person should also provide you with a completed Electrical Installation Certificate, which shows that the work was tested for safety.
  • It is advisable to ask the electrician to provide information about which scheme they belong to and their membership number. You will then be able check with the organisation to make sure they are registered.
  • There are other ways of complying with the Building Regulations, but these do not verify the competence of the electrical installer and they involve making a further payment for electrical work to be inspected. The most common route for homeowners to do this is by informing the Building Control Department of your local authority before the work commences.

For full details of how to comply with building and planning regulations contact your local building control team

For details on how to locate a competent person visit http://www.electricalcompetentperson.co.uk/