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PART P ELECTRICAL SAFETY
 
Part P of the building regulations issued by the ODPM (office of the deputy prime minister) on the 6th April 2006 imposes the requirements that ' fixed electrical installations in dwellings shall be suitably designed, installed and inspected and tested so as to provide reasonable protection against their being the source of a fire or cause of injury to persons'.

Basically, this means that electrical work in dwellings will need to be installed in accordance with the current edition of the 'wiring regulations' BS 7671 as amended, to include new circuits,extensions or alterations to existing circuits,fuseboard/consumer unit replacement,and work in designated 'special locations' such as bath and shower rooms.
Keith Roberts, Windsor based electricianThere are two ways of ensuring any electrical work you undertake is Part P compliant: the first and by far the easiest is to use an NICEIC approved contractor who can start the work immediately,issue you with the appropriate certificate and inform your local Building control office of the work that has been carried out and that it is compliant.
 
The second is for you the customer to inform your local building control office of the proposed work before you start. Once the area building control inspector is satisfied that the electrical contractor can self-certify the work he will authorise the work to proceed and on larger jobs will visit site usually on completion of the first fix stage and again upon completion. Please bear in mind that the contractor and building control will be charging you so it works out more expensive. Part P of the building regulations requires most domestic electrical work be carried out by government registered electricians and/or to be inspected by building control officers.
 
Part P and BS 7671 go hand in hand as far as electricians are concerned, not only do we need to fully understand the 'wiring regs' but we need a comprehensive knowledge of Part P regarding provision of smoke and heat alarms, heights of electrical accessories for people with disabilities,limitations on the drilling and notching of timber joists, depths of wall chases,recognised cable zones and the proximity of iDon't do thisnsulating material.
 
No electrical system can be considered 'safe for use' until it has been inspected and tested,all systems of electrical supply and distribution will deteriorate with age and use and should be checked at regular intervals for signs of burning,charring or overload, problems can also arise due to a change of ownership of the property,change of use of the property,any alteration or addition to the original installation,any significant increase in load,or where there is reason to believe damage may have been caused to part of the installation.

If you are an employer under the 'Health and Safety at Work Act 1974' which incorporates the 'Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992' you have a statutory legal duty to ensure that employees and all others are not subjected to risks to their health and safety in particular the 'Electricity at Work Regulations 1989' requires that those in control of part or all of an electrical system must ensure that the system is safe to use and is maintained in a safe condition.

The EAWR also places a legal responsibility on the owner of an electrical installation to prevent electrical accidents, this calls for all systems and apparatus which is or maybe connected to the electrical installation to be maintained in a safe condition so that individual users are. protected from electric shock or fire hazards.

From the 6th April 2013 Part P has been amended and two major changes have come in to effect. The first relates to the reduction of electrical work that is notifiable and under this revision electrical installation work in kitchens or outdoors is no longer covered by Part P unless a new circuit is required.

The second major change relates to the use of a registered third party electrician to certify notifiable work as an alternative to using the relevant building control body. Previously, unregistered contractors who were unable to self certify any Part P work, were required to notify the local authority's building control office prior to commencement of any electrical work.

NiCEiC & ELECSA have opted out of operating a third party inspection scheme fearing it will undermine registered electricians; the DCLG has announced amendments to the building regulations with the introduction of third party certification schemes for domestic electrical work from April 6th 2014, however NiCEiC & ELECSA believe the scheme falls well short of the standards & safeguards that will enhance electrical safety and are workable for the trade, the main reasons for opting out of this type of scheme are as follows:
• DIY’ers should not carry out potentially dangerous electrical work, it should be left to competent electricians who will install & test their installations to the wiring regulations
• The third party inspector scheme will not be UKAS accredited, meaning there will be no independent verification that third party inspector scheme operators are doing the job to the required standards
• Who is ultimately responsible for an installation that has been checked by them but wasn’t installed by them, especially if there is anything wrong with it?
• Why would DIY’ers seek to get their work checked in the first place, especially since they are, by nature, inclined to save money by not hiring a competent electrician?