Since 1st January 2005 in England and Wales, all electrical work must comply with new requirements added to the Building Regulations called “Part P”. These regulations have been introduced to cut down the number of accidents associated with badly installed electrics.
How does this impact me?
Under the new requirements it is you who has a duty to notify the Local Authority Building Control of any work that is notifiable under the regulations in England and Wales.
As an alternative the Government have approved a number of ’Competent Persons Schemes’ where suitably qualified businesses can register to enable them to ‘self certify’ that their work complies with the Building Regulations saving you the need to complete this notification.
Are there any costs involved?
If you use a business who are members of a competent person scheme (like British Gas) you need do nothing as the business will report any notifiable work on your behalf. If you were to choose to report the work directly then it would involve a significant cost (typically £150-£400), and it would be subject to inspection from Local Authority Building Control. This effectively means that even if work is carried out by yourself on a DIY basis there is still a requirement for you to report any notifiable work.
How does this impact businesses?
Businesses have to demonstrate that their operatives are competent in a similar way to the CORGI ACS scheme. This work is then notified to their scheme provider who in turn then reports to the relevant Local Authority. What this effectively does is to offer you an option of either submitting an application to your local authority for the work to be undertaken or to employ a business who is a member of a competent persons scheme and can self certify their work.
It is a requirement for any business registered under a Competent Person Scheme to register on a yearly basis and are subject to annual audit and inspections from their approved scheme provider.
What happens if I or the company fail to report the work?
If a householder or company fails to report, the householder and the company becomes liable and could face significant fines for failing to notify if is shown that they are in breach of the Building Regulations. As a further control measure, when a householder comes to sell their property, it will be a requirement that they demonstrate they complied with Building Regulations by producing a certificate, or through the searches made when a property is sold, that work met with the requirements of the Building Regulations and was notified at the time the work was carried out. Failure to provide a certificate could halt the sale and an application for approval will have to be sought from the Local Authority with a cost of up to £400.
For further information you should note that the government have several web sites with additional building and electrical regulations articles.