Property Renovation

Part P Explained

Well are you as confused as I am? Have you ever even heard of Part P electrical regulations? Here I will attempt to bring you up to speed so that you have Part P explained.
Since January 1, 2005, all electrical work (apart from simple like-for-like replacements of damaged power points and light fittings) has been subject to approval by local authority building control officers.

Part P explained – what does Part P actually mean?

Any DIYer who fits a new lighting circuit in the kitchen, say, or installs an electric shower, is obliged by the new Part P of the Building Regulations to supply plans in advance to the council, and then pay for an inspector to come out to test the work. 
Electrical works carried out as part of major works requiring a Building Regulations approval will be included within the principal application. If works are only being carried out to the electrical system, a separate application must be made, unless the work is carried out by a competent person, registered with an approved Part P self-certification scheme. If this latter route is chosen, the competent person must provide a self-certification certificate to the customer and forward a copy to the authorities within 30 days.
So what are the chances of that happening? Potentially as likely as every DIYer who fits an outside tap calling the water company to ask if he could please have his water bill increased. It’s the law, but will it be ignored?
For professional electricians, the situation is even more complicated. In order to avoid the expense and hassle of getting a council building control officer to inspect their work, they now have to become a member of one of the five government-approved (but privately administered) competent persons schemes. This requires an annual fee of around £500, and extra fees for the registration of every completed job.

So what is the point of this new Part P legislation?

The Part P changes were intended to regulate building workers who have only peripheral contact with electrical work, such as Kitchen Fitters, heating engineers and burglar alarm installers, whose primary purpose is not to rewire houses, but whose work requires them to connect things to the electricity supply.
However, the government committed to privatised regulation, and it therefore decided that anyone who connects cables to current must pay money to join a private, profit-making scheme. So life-long skilled electricians are being lumped-in with the other trades and forced to pay for this Part P registration.

What are the rules for “non-electricians” under Part P?

There are two levels under Part P – Full Scope and Defined Scope. Those registered with Full Scope schemes (BRE, BSI, ELECSA, NAPIT & NICEIC) can carry out any electrical work and other trades registered under Defined Scope schemes (CORGI, ELECSA, NAPIT, NIC & FTEC) can carry out a limited amount of electrical work, for example gas fitters, kitchen or bathroom fitters and alarm installers.

Will Part P legislation raise standards.

Some people think that Part P will amount more to a collective dumbing-down of standards. There are also concerns as to how is it going to cope with the really dangerous practitioners – the cowboys and incompetent DIYers – who will ignore the new rules and carry on as before. Is it instead, penalising the good guys – the conscientious, qualified electricians who have always done things properly anyway?
We would love to know your views – especially anyone that is effect by Part P directly.
Now for the complicated bit:

To what types of electrical work does Part P apply?

a) in a dwelling
The term dwelling includes houses, maisonettes and flats. It also apply to electrical installations in business premises that share an electricity supply with dwellings, such as shops and public houses with a flat above.
b) in the common parts of buildings serving one or more dwellings
The common parts of buildings includes access areas in blocks of flats such as hallways and shared amenities in blocks of flats such as laundries and gymnasiums, but excludes power supplies to lifts
c) in a building that receives electricity from a source located within or shared with a dwelling
d)in a garden or in or on land associate with a building where the electricity supply is from a source located within or shared with a dwelling
e) electrical installations located in outbuildings
such as detached garages, sheds and greenhouses.
f) 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, also includes additions to existing circuits in kitchens, bathrooms, outdoors and in other special locations.

What types of electrical work are ‘non-notifiable’ under Part P?

a) replacing accessories e.g. socket-outlets, control switches and ceiling roses
b) replacing the cable for a single circuit only, where damaged.
On condition that the replacement cable has the same current-carrying capacity, follows the same route and does not serve more than one sub-circuit through a distribution board
c) re-fixing or replacing the enclosures of existing installation components, if the circuit’s protective measures are unaffected
d) providing mechanical protection to existing fixed installations
If the circuit’s protective measures and current-carrying capacity of conductors are unaffected by increased thermal insulation
e) work that is not in a kitchen or special location and does not involve a special installation and consists of:
– Adding lighting points (light fittings and switches) to an existing circuit, only if the existing circuit protective device is suitable and provides protection for the modified circuit, and other relevant safety provisions are satisfactory.
– Adding socket-outlets and fused spurs to an existing ring or radial circuit, only if the existing circuit protective device is suitable and provides protection for the modified circuit, and other relevant safety provisions are satisfactory
-Installing or upgrading main or supplementary equipotential bonding
Special locations and installations:

  • Locations containing a bath tub or shower basin
  • Swimming pools or paddling pools
  • Hot air saunas
  • Electric floor or ceiling heating systems
  • Garden lighting or power installations
  • Solar photovoltaic (PV) power supply systems
  • Small scale generators such as microCHP units
  • Extra-low voltage lighting installations, other than pre-assembled, CE-marked lighting sets
  • Details of current Full Scope part p schemes: 

    BRE Certification LtdTel: 0870 609 6093Email: partp@eca.co.ukWeb: www.partp.co.uk 
     
     
     
    BSI – British Standards InstitutionTel: 01442 230 442Email:
    product.services@bsi-global.com
    Web: www.bsi-global.com/kitemark
    ELECSA LtdTel: 0870 749 0080Email: enquiries@elecsa.org.ukWeb: www.elecsa.org.uk
    NAPIT Certification LtdTel: 0870 444 1392Email: info@napit.org.ukWeb: www.napit.org.uk
    NICEIC Certification Services LtdTel: 0800 013 0900Email: partp@niceic.org.ukWeb: www.niceic.org.uk

    Any legislation put in place to make things safer is a great idea, but should there be a greater awareness so that homeowners know about Part P and what are the actual benefits of being Part P to a competent elecrician?
    One thing to remember when you come to sell your house, any competent solicitor or conveyancer is going to ask whether any work you have done while living in the house has been properly signed off for building control purposes!
    If you are unsure as to whether the works you are planning are notifable under Part P, contact your local Building Control department also the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), which has driven the new legislation have produced a Part P Explained leaflet.

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    10 Comments

  • Reply
    Mike Salway
    January 12, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    I would love to know how many people year in the UK we actually killed (or maimed) in the past due to incompetent installations. This is by comparison to other things that could do with legislating against. I suspect this was set up to enable a few friends of the UK gov to make money and a spot of “easy spin” to make the gov look like it is actually doing something beneficial without actually costing them anything.

  • Reply
    Miranda de Freston
    February 3, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    Received this anonymous comment today, thought people would find interesting:
    After 30 years in the electrical trade mainly in the distribution side of the indistry I now find myself in the situation that I can nologer do any new work on my or my friends properties as I do not have Part P. Many electricians work in the industrial sectors find themselves in the same boat. Like me they have the skill but do not do enough domestic work to cover the cost of obtaining Part P and the annual fee. Yet plumbers, Kitching fitters etc. are obtaining Part P and I am sorry if the argument is all about safety and improving standards are they really saying by going on a coarse for a short period of time and paying a fee you are going to have a better understanding of electrical installation than those with proper qaulifications and experience. Why did they not do what most European countries do and register all tradesmen, and only registered tradesmen can carry out work in their particular trade. Because of the extra costs imposed by the inplementation of Part P more people are turning to cowboys. The real reason for Part P is to get all work registered so it goes through the bookes and the taxes obtained.

  • Reply
    Andrew Harcourt
    May 11, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    I was trained in domestic electrical wiring at college in the early 1970’s. So after 30 years of doing minor electrical work, suddenly I am not allowed to. I am CORGI registered and a member of the Institute of Heating and Plumbing Engineers. However, until I choose to take an unpaid day off work and attend a ‘training course’ I am apparently unable to connect a gas boiler to the mains and I am apparently unable to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing a new hot water tank. I have to go to a training course to know that all radiators in a house should have a thermostatic radiator valve, and until I attend the course and answer the question ‘should all houses have loft insulation and a thermostatic radiator valve on each radiator? I am not allowed to register a new boiler installation.
    There are only 2 reasons I can think of for this regulation: one is to gather more tax for the government, and the other is that with the reduction in ‘reading, riting and rithmetic’ capabilities of school leavers, there is a genuine need to check that workers can actually read the instructions that come with all boilers, water tanks, showers and so on. What a sad state of affairs!
    Apparently we need CORGI because in a typical year, 7 or 8 people are killed in the UK as a result of a gas incident. Apparently we do not need to check on peoples’ ability to drive a car in spite of the fact that 35,000 people are killed on our roads every year.

  • Reply
    Mark Dell
    August 30, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    How difficult is this to Police. What if a house holders gets the local retired non registered electrician in to re wire the house. The owner decideds to sell the house but tells the solicitor they cant remember who to did the work. All the electrical installation needs is the usuall inspection that is usually done when selling a house whether its re wired or not.
    The house gets sold.
    M C Dell, Manchester

  • Reply
    Anona Mous
    November 18, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    As someone who does the odd bit of DIY now and again, I find these new laws an unjustifiable infringement into dictating what I can and can not do in my own home. It is typical of the vast amount of controlling legislation passed by this NuLab government and infringes all our rights as individual citizens. It is none of the council’s business whether I plan to work in the kitchen or bathroom, or any other room in my own home for that matter. I’m intelligent enough to avoid anything dangerous, and even if I were not then I would be responsible for it. If I sell my home at a later date, then the potential buyer is responsible for getting it checked before they buy. This seems to me to be purely an attempt to control the individual, and raise and much income for doing b all as possible. I await a common sense administration to remove all this nonsense, but I’m not holding my breath.

  • Reply
    Sparky Steve
    July 12, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    Having read these comments i shall offer my pennys worth. I am a time served fully qualified electrician and have experienced the cowboys and like,many of which were kitchen fitters, so giving them the option to purchase part p pay their 800-1000 pound training fee and let them loose is irresponsible as not all installations are the same ,and all the customer has to go bye is if you switch on and it works! . At the end of the day as previous comments , its just another TAX . Maybe MPs and civil servents should have to sit a test to see if their competant persons with the mandatory retest after every new set of regulations. Just ask any part p if he knows OHMs Law- prob thinks its an asbo.

  • Reply
    Robin Brown
    November 4, 2009 at 7:34 am

    I am not a fully qualified elecrician but hold C + G 2360 Parts I & 2 together with a 16th. Edition C+G 2381.
    Am I allowed to rewire my own house and submit the installtion for test [by others] to comply with part P building regulations. I am competent to do this but since retiring regulations seem to have changed greatly. Can anyone explain? A reply posted or direct to my e-mail would be appreciated. robin.brown999@live.co.uk

  • Reply
    Kroe
    November 10, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    So what is everyone saying then?
    That the need to regulate an industry that can leave any part of someones home or workplace lethal to the touch, or a serious fire hazard is not there?
    That anyone who has taken the necessary procedures to be assesed by an independant regulatory board, and deemed competant, must be a cowboy who is wet behind the ears? While a bloke who can’t be botherd to get assesed, or won’t shell out for the fees must be an honest time served sparky, sadly screwed over by the system.
    Surely not!!
    The competant person scheme is not a simple ‘training course’. It is a scheme that annually checks a tradesmans workmanship, along with their business procedures. In order to ensure customers are not getting the wool pulled over their eyes, by lazy, fly-by-night sparks, that wont get registered.
    And by the way ohms law is, voltage is equal to current multiplied by resistance.

  • Reply
    R.Fellows
    November 12, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    Stumbled accross this blog.
    My history
    Studied NVQ2 Electrical manufacture (installations) and GNVQ2 Electrical Engineering in 1999. I didnt get an apprentiship and had a series of dead end jobs untill I decided in Jan 2007 to become an electrician. I worked in the industry since then taking any work I could find. Ive worked on schools, hospitals, houses, chemical plants and even a marina. I paid for all my courses myself and took the time off work unpaid to do so. I compleated C&G PAT, then my 17th edition wiring regs, NVQ3 Electrotechnical Installations. With this recession moving in end of 2008 and being unemployed because of it I decided to do the Part P qualification and go self employed. I took the qualification and passed in march 2009. The course was very dumbed down and some of the questions didnt even make sense as you would simply not go about installing in that way… The course was run by a Plumber (nothing against Plumbers) and I was suprised in the lack knowledge he had. I was to demonstrate to him my knowledge but instead I felt he was learning from me…
    I am still confused as to what is notifiable and what is not! I asked a friend who is in NICEIC (which has 4 levels of membership), building control and the book “the part P doctor” and got different answers to what is notifyable and what isnt. My friend told me periodic inpsections in dwellings require building control to be notified… Building control said “No but the person must be “compitent.””.
    I didnt think allot to the Part P defined and allied scope (I had to take both apparently) nor in the manner it was delivered.
    Here is one of the questions from Part P.
    You are have to join a 10mm single core Earth cable which is to be sealed in a floor which will not be accessible for inspection afterwards. What sort of joining medium would you use?
    Options where something like:
    “Choclate bloks”
    Juntion box
    Thru crimp
    Solder
    I thought about it and said you wouldnt. You’d pull a new cable in… Why would you join an earth which should be an uninterupted single piece of cable?
    Some of you may say “ah but the customer cant afford a new cable… or its cheaper…” Striaght from the regs: the budget of the client shall not be taken into account when selecting materials…
    Part P is a waste of time and money for everyone involved (except the Gov amd the Part P “SCHEMES”). It ties the hands of electricians, confuses home owners and adds hundreds of pounds to jobs. Part P is not difficult to pass and therefore not a barrier against bad and dangerous practice. Cowboys arnt going to bother and allot of homeowners dont care as long as its cheap, works and doesnt cost them allot.
    Having or not having Part P qualification means nothing. Ive seen bad electrical work carried out by electricians with and without it. Its hit and miss and down to personal character, experience and training…
    You wouldnt do a GCSE after an A-level to prove your knew what you were doing, so why are they making us sparks do it?

  • Reply
    Craig Newton
    December 21, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    I consider myself to be fairly intelligent and competent at most DIY jobs like my father was. I am just recently converting my kitchen/dining room into one and can’t have someone install my kitchen without a qualified Part P electrician. To move two sockets and a cooker socket would cost me £600. I could very comfortably, safely and competently do this job within 2 hours myself. I now have to use the last of my holidays in the turn of the year to fit the kitchen myself but am left with no holidays until april to enjoy with my kids! Apparently these regulations came about after a “POLITICIANS” daughter was killed from a poorly installed piece of electrics. My guess is he tried to save a bob or two and used the friend of a friend! My question! Would this regulation have come about if someone like us lost our child??????? No it would have been blinked at and forgotten!

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