A Guide to the Electrical Part P Building Regulations
Building regulations are constantly being updated and amended to keep up to date with the fast-paced construction industry. Updates are made to promote efficiency and effectiveness, and there is always room for improvement when it comes to health and safety. The UK’s official building guidelines are enforced for a number of reasons. First, they set the standard for all building work carried out in the UK. Second, they regulate the knock-on impact that construction work can have. In addition, they aim to standardize health and safety, while making energy conservation and accessibility a priority as well. To surmise, every aspect of construction is taken into consideration by the appropriate government-backed legislation.
One area that has been updated recently is “Part P” of the “Schedule 1 building regulations.” These regulations analyse electrical safety. They are mostly updated to provide more clarity. The latest version of these guidelines came into force on Thursday 6th of April 2006.
What has been updated?
The 2006 version builds upon guidance outlined in the 2005 edition. Where there were two main requirements in the outdated regulations (P1 and P2) these parts have now been incorporated into one singular rule (P1). P1 used to cover design, installation, inspection and testing, but now it analyses just design and installation. This is not to say that testing and inspections are no longer needed, as information relating to this area can be found in sub-section 1.7 of the latest guidelines.
Who carries out the work?
The 2005 regulations only provided guidance for professional electricians who were registered with the appropriate governing body. It failed to offer guidance for those people who possessed a good level of competence, but were not legally registered. In other words, it neglected and ignored DIY workers.
The latest version of the Part P regulations now provides information for those individuals without BS 7671 certificates. This aims to reduce the workload faced by building control departments.
What about DIY?
For those who don’t possess a BS 7671 certificate, but have carried out electrical work, the building control department must be informed. They will run relevant tests and inspections, and have the power to issue the appropriate certifications assuming that the work has been completed to a high standard. However, they will demand a fee for their services.
In sub-section 1.28, it states that an unregistered individual must not arrange for a third party to issue a certificate upon the final inspection. This is because the third party did not provide supervision from the onset, and so is not in a position to issue a certificate of completion.
Changes in application
Various changes have been made to the Part P regulations regarding how and where it is applied. These changes have been made to improve clarity, and now the Part P regulations are only appropriate for electrical installations in, or attached to a building. This includes conservatories and garages, and all work involved in “non-special” locations.
Further information relating to Part P’s application and how it is applied to “special” locations can be found in tables 1 and 2.
A number of changes have taken place regarding Part P’s specific safety guidelines, but these only apply to electrical installations that are intended to operate using low levels of voltage.
This includes low voltage devices that are; attached to a building, service a number of buildings receive electricity from a source located in a building, or located in land associated with a building. The appropriate changes may need to be made where necessary.
Other amended areas
Other amended areas include; outdoor lighting, earthing and bonding, central heating and control wiring, while changes have been made regarding the individuals undertaking these tasks.
- Outdoor lighting is now an activity that needs to be notified
- Upgrading or installing equipotential bonding is no longer something that needs to be notified
- Upgrading or installing central heating control wiring is now something that has to be notified
- Electrical wiring work can now be carried out by a competent person not registered with a self-certification scheme, but qualified enough to complete BS 7671 installation certificates
Despite the fact that non-registered competent workers can now inspect, test, and certify their work, they may still be required to inform the building control before undertaking any electrical tasks.
Before any work begins, the building control department will decide on the qualifications and experience required to act as a competent worker legally. There will be a fee for this assessment, and the 1998 “Local authority charge” regulations state that local authorities must produce schemes to cover the costs associated with this work.
While lower costs have been brought in for non-registered competent workers, courtesy of the building control, it is much more cost-effective in the long run to register with an official self-certification scheme. In addition, registered individuals will benefit from not having to notify the control department every time electrical work is carried out or electrical advice is offered.
Further details regarding electrical safety and the Part P 2006 regulations can be found online. Alternatively the “department for communities and local government” can be contacted for further information.