mastered the art of assembling flat pack furniture, laid down a new garden patio and tiled a bathroom floor – there’s seemingly no limit to your DIY talents. But even the most competent DIY expert feels slightly nervous undertaking basic electrical work in the home, even if it could save them money, and it’s perfectly understandable given the risks and expense of getting it wrong.
Before considering any domestic electrical project in your home, you need to have a basic understanding of electricity and how it works to ensure you can work safely. Many simple electrical tasks can be carried out with help from a DIY guide but if in doubt it’s always best to seek advice from a professional electrician.
Fairly recent changes to building regulations have placed restrictions on which electrical tasks can be performed in the home without inspection or notifying the local authority. These rules come under Part P of Building Regulations and are designed to limit the type of electrical work which can be carried out by anyone other than a qualified electrician who is also a member of the Competent Persons Scheme. The scheme enables electricians to self-certify their own electrical work.
Any electrical work you decide to undertake in your home will fall under two categories – non-notifiable and notifiable work. For the former, there is no legal obligation to inform a building control officer however it is still advisable to seek reassurances from a qualified electrician that any DIY work you’ve undertaken is safe. For all notifiable work, it is your responsibility to alert a building control officer on the local authority before any work takes place.
For those keen on undertaking electrical DIY, the kind of jobs which fall into the non-notifiable category include replacing sockets, switches and ceiling roses, adding a lighting point to an existing circuit, connecting a cooker to an existing circuit, replacing a damaged cable in a single circuit, replacing a damaged accessory such as a light switch or socket outlet and replacing a light fitting. These jobs specifically relate to areas not in a kitchen, bathroom, garden or special location. There are additional restrictions for work undertaken in these areas of your home.
Notifiable electrical work includes a complete new installation or rewiring, installing a new circuit, replacing a fuse board, installing a lighting point or socket outlet outdoors, installing electrical under-floor heating or ceiling heating and installing an electricity generator. Again, there are additional restrictions in kitchens, bathrooms, garden or special locations.
So how important is it that you follow the regulations? Failing to comply with Part P of the Building Regulations is a criminal offence and you can be fined up to £5,000 as well as ordered to correct the faulty work. It is also worth remembering that the penalties for getting it wrong are not just financial. Every year, 10 people die and 750 are seriously injured through faulty electrical work either carried out by DIY novices or incompetent electricians. If in doubt, it is always best to seek advice from a professional electrician and it could be cheaper in the long-run to call in the experts from the start. A qualified electrician will contact Building Control Officers on your behalf so you don’t have to worry yourself over whether or not the work being undertaken complies because this will be taken care of.
If you are looking for a qualified electrician to complete domestic work or would like more information about building regulations contact Thurrock electrical specialists P Carter Electrical and Building Contractors Ltd on 01375 308156.
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