Practical Property Services UK Ltd


On January 1st 2005 the government implemented a new section of the building regulations, part P, which covers all electrical work carried out in homes in England and Wales.

People carrying out electrical work in homes and gardens in England and Wales should follow the rules set out in Part P of the Building Regulations, to ensure that they are complying with the law. These rules are designed to ensure that electrical work is safe.

  • Part P has been introduced in order to:

  • Reduce the number of deaths, injuries and fires caused by faulty electrical installations
  • Make life harder for 'cowboys' to leave electrical installations in an unsafe condition

All electrical work carried out in domestic properties now needs to be notified to the local Building Control body before work commences. The only exceptions to these rules are where;

  • The proposed work is to be undertaken by a Competent Person (an individual or a company authorised to self-certify compliance on completion of the work);
  • The proposed work is of a minor nature.

The person carrying out electrical work that contravenes the Building Regulations can be fined up to £5000 for each contravention, and £50 each day the contravention continues. Additionally, householders may encounter problems selling their houses if work fails to comply with the Building Regulations. In Newcastle, an electrician admitted 23 counts of breaching regulations with shoddy repairs, leading to fines in excess of £16,000.

In addition, the members of Competent Person schemes that are able to self-certify their own work must have an appreciation of how the Building Regulations in general affect their electrical installation work and they need to be sufficiently competent to confirm that their electrical work complies with all the applicable requirements of the Building Regulations, not just Part P. Such requirements include, but are not limited to:

  • Part A (structure) – depth of chases in walls and size of openings in joists or structural elements.
  • Part B (fire safety) – fire resistance of ceilings and walls including provision of fire alarm and detection systems.
  • Part C (site preparation and resistance to moisture) – moisture resistance of openings or penetrations for cables through external walls.
  • Part E (resistance to the passage of sound) – penetrations through ceilings and walls.
  • Part F (ventilation) – ventilation rates for areas within a dwelling.
  • Part L (conservation of fuel and power) – energy efficient lighting, effective controls including automatic controls.
  • Part M (access to and use of buildings) – heights of switches, socket outlets, etc.
  • Part P (electrical safety) – fixed electrical installations in dwellings

Minor Work

Work that need not be notified to building control bodies includes:

  • Replacing accessories such as socket-outlets, switches and ceiling roses
  • Replacing the cable for a single circuit only, where damaged, for example, by fire, rodent or impact (a)
  • Re-fixing or replacing the enclosures of existing installation components (b)
  • Providing mechanical protection to existing fixed installations (c)
  • Installing or upgrading main or supplementary equi-potential bonding

Work that is not in a kitchen or special location and does not involve a special installation (d) and consists of:

  • Adding lighting points (light fittings and switches) to an existing circuit (e)
  • Adding socket-outlets and fused spurs to an existing ring or radial circuit (e)
  • Installing or upgrading main or supplementary equi-potential bonding (f)

Special locations and installations include:

  • 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 micro CHP units
  • Extra-low voltage lighting installations, other than pre-assembled, CE-marked lighting sets


(a) 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.

(b) If the circuit’s protective measures are unaffected.

(c) If the circuit’s protective measures and current-carrying capacity of conductors are unaffected by increased thermal insulation.

(d) Special locations and installations are listed in Table 2.

(e) Only if the existing circuit protective device is suitable and provides protection for the modified circuit, and other relevant safety provisions are satisfactory.

(f) Such work shall comply with other applicable legislation, such as the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations.