Frequently Asked Questions - Electrical (2023)

When did Part P initially come into effect?

Part P came into effect in England and Wales on 1 January 2005.

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What is the current edition of Part P Building Regulations?

The current edition of Part P of the Building Regulations came into effect on 6April 2013 and is applicable to all work commenced after this date.

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What are the requirements of Part P?

As of 1January 2005 it is a legal requirement for all work on fixed electrical installations in dwellings and associated buildings to comply with relevant standards. The relevant UK standard is BS 7671:2018, Requirements for electrical installations (The IET Wiring Regulations 18th Edition). BS 7671 covers requirements for design, installation, inspection, testing, verification and certification of electrical installations.

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To what types of electrical work does Part P apply?

  • In or attached to a dwelling
  • In the common parts of buildings serving one or more dwellings, but excluding power supplies to lifts
  • In a building that receives its electricity from a source located within or shared with a dwelling, and
  • In a garden or in or on land associated with a building where the electricity supply is from a source located within or shared with a dwelling.

The termdwellingincludes houses, maisonettes and flats. It also applies to electrical installations in business premises that share an electricity supply with dwellings, such as shops and public houses with a flat above.

The common parts of buildings include access areas in blocks of flats such as hallways and shared amenities in blocks of flats such as laundries and gymnasiums.

Part P applies to electrical installations located in outbuildings such as detached garages, sheds and greenhouses.

Part P applies to parts of electrical installations located on land around dwellings such as garden lighting.

Part P applies to electrical installations that operate at voltages not exceeding 1000 V a.c.

Notifiable work includes new installations, house re-wires, and the installation of new circuits. Notifiable work also includes additions to existing circuits in special locations. (See What types of electrical work are notifiable?)

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Will all electrical work need Building Regulations approval?

No. In general, notification will need to be given to, or full plans deposited with, a building control body only if the work is major involving one or more complete new circuits, and is not being carried out by an electrical contractor registered with an authorised competent person self-certification or third-party self-certification scheme.

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What types of electrical work are notifiable?

The introduction of the latest version of Part P was introduced on 6April 2013, the range of works requiring notification has been reduced.

Notifiable works

  • The installation of a new circuit
  • The replacement of a consumer unit
  • Any addition or alteration to an existing circuit in a special location

Non- notifiable works

  • All other work is considered non-notifiable, namely additions and alterations to existing installations outside special locations, maintenance, replacement and repair work.

Special locations and installations

  • A room containing a bathtub or shower
  • A room containing a swimming pool or sauna heater.

A special location means:

  • A room containing a bath or shower, the space surrounding a bath tap or showerhead where the space extends vertically from the finished floor level to a height of 2.25 metres or the position of the showerhead where it is attached to a wall or ceiling at a height higher than 2.25 metres from that level or horizontally where there is a bathtub or shower tray, from the edge of the bath tub or shower tray to a distance of 0.6 metres. Or where there is no bath tub or shower tray from the centre point of the shower head where it is attached to the wall or ceiling to a distance of 1.2 metres.

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How will Part P apply to DIY work?

Part P will apply to all electrical work in dwellings, whether carried out by professionals or DIYers.

Some DIY work will require the submission of a building notice to the local authority and the payment of a building control fee.

Some minor electrical work will not be notifiable (see above). Examples include adding a lighting or power point to an existing circuit, adding a spur to an existing circuit or replacing a light fitting.

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How will compliance with Part P be enforced?

Failure to comply with the Building Regulations is a criminal offence and local authorities have the power to require the removal or alteration of work that does not comply with the requirements.

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What extra costs will be imposed on electricians?

The annual cost of joining a Competent Person Scheme should be negligible when spread over the number of jobs undertaken during the year.

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Local authorities will require more resources to cope with the extra work - where will these come from?

There should be no additional financial implications for local authorities. The money to pay for additional Building Control Inspectors will accrue from building control fees.

Some local authorities will employ electrical inspectors, whilst others will operate a system of call-off contracts.

MHCLG require that the joining and inspection fees set by the scheme operator are sufficient only to cover their costs and allow future development of the schemes.

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Many electrical faults are not caused by bad workmanship, so why bother with Part P?

In the Regulatory Impact Assessment, the Government estimated that around 30 per cent of electrical accidents could be prevented through regulation and that this would justify bringing electrical work in dwellings under Building Regulations control.

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Won't Part P simply drive more work underground?

The Regulatory Impact Assessment considered the question of whether regulation would result in more unsafe work. The Government does not consider there is any evidence that this will be the case.

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What will be the benefits of Part P?

It is expected that bringing electrical work in dwellings under building regulations control will reduce the number of deaths, injuries and fires caused by faults in electrical installations. It is expected that nationally Part P will lead to an improvement in the competence of electrical contractors and to an improvement in the overall quality of electrical work.

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What are the main changes in the latest Part P 2013 edition of the Building Regulations?

There are two main changes in the latest version of Part P of the Building Regulations. The first change relates to the range of electrical installation work which requires notification. The range has been reduced, previously work in kitchens and outdoors was notifiable. Under the new regulations, unless the work requires the provision of a new circuit and is not in a special location it will not require notification.

The other major change is regarding the use of a registered third party to certify notifiable work. In the previous edition of the Building Regulations, an electrical contractor carrying out work covered by Part P but not registered with a competent persons scheme was required to notify Local Authority Building Control (LABC). It would then be down to LABC to consider if the proposed works were acceptable under Building Regulations. Under the current edition of Part P, any installers which are not registered with a competent person scheme, are required to get work signed off by a registered third-party.

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Are the Building Regulations the same in England and Wales?

Previously, England and Wales shared the same Building Regulations. on 31 July 2014, the Welsh Building Regulations were amended, diverging from those used in England. Since this date, different Regulations have been made to various parts of the Building Regulations which are only applicable to the relevant countries.

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