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Part P FAQs

Part P of the Building Regulations imposes the requirement that:

"Reasonable provision shall be made in the design, installation, inspection and testing of electrical installations to protect persons against fire or injury."

Where an electrical installation is provided, extended or altered, sufficient information shall be provided so that persons wishing to operate, maintain or alter the installation in the future can do so reasonably safely.

If you carry out electrical installation work in dwellings, it almost certainly applies to you.

All fixed electrical installation work in dwellings has become a 'controlled service' under the Building Regulations.

Unless the notifiable work is carried out by a Competent Person for Part P, it will have to be notified to the Local Building Control office – before work commences – in order that they may inspect the work during construction and upon completion.

This will apply to all work carried out, professionally or as DIY, with the following exceptions:

  • where the proposed work is to be undertaken by a Competent Person authorised under Part P to self-certify
  • the work is not listed as ‘Notifiable Work’ within the relevant Part P document

Note: the requirements in Wales are different to England

If contractors are either not registered with a Part P Certification Scheme, or do not formally notify relevant work, an offence is deemed to have occurred under the Building Act, which may have legal ramifications.

An electrical contractor wanting to be able to self-certify compliance with Part P and wishing to avoid the complications and costs of using Building Control, should consider becoming a Competent Person.

Competent Persons would save on the time and trouble associated with the submitting of building notices to, and having their work inspected by, Building Control and, as a consequence, they would not incur building notice and inspection fees.

To become a Competent Person for Part P, a firm is assessed for its competence to work in compliance with BS 7671 and the Building Regulations. On becoming a Competent Person, the work of the firm is monitored through annual surveillance visits.

Fees are chargeable both for the initial assessment and the subsequent surveillance inspections.

The electrical safety requirement in Part P of the Building Regulations is simply that:"Fixed electrical installations in dwellings shall be suitably designed, installed, inspected and tested so as to provide reasonable protection against their being the source of a fire or a cause of injury to persons".

The requirement applies to fixed electrical installations in dwellings intended to operate at low voltage or extra-low voltage.

The requirement applies to alterations and extensions to existing electrical installations in dwellings as well as to new construction.

Compliance with Part P of the Building Regulations will be achieved by following the safety rules and the applicable regulations in the IET Wiring Regulations BS 7671, and the guidance published in the IET On- Site Guide.

Part P requires electrical installation work to be inspected and tested during and on completion to verify that it is safe (e.g. for compliance with BS 7671).

If your company undertakes work in dwellings or anticipates being asked to undertake such work in the future, you will almost certainly be affected.

Part P applies to England and Wales and is restricted to fixed electrical installations in dwellings and:

  • combined dwellings and business premises such as shops with a common supply
  • common access parts in blocks of flats
  • shared amenities in flats (e.g. laundries, gyms etc).

The versions of Part P applicable in England and Wales are however different, and respectively detail lists of notifiable work in these building areas.

The following definition of a dwelling is given in Approved Document B (Fire Safety). It may be equally applicable to Part P.

"A unit of residential accommodation occupied (whether or not as a sole or main residence)

  1. by a single person or by people living together as a family; or
  2. by not more than 6 residents living together as a single household, including a household where care is provided for a resident."

This is a somewhat unfortunate legal term used for Part P purposes  to describe a firm that has been independently assessed by a government-approved scheme as competent to self-certify that its own work complies with the Building Regulations.

Thus, a Competent Person is the firm that is responsible for carrying out the work. Firms can be a sole trader, but they are not, for example, employees.

All electrical work needs to comply with the requirements of Part P but only certain installations need notifying to the Local Authority Building Control.  The requirements differ in England and Wales so reference should be made to either the English or Welsh Approved Document P for further details.

Your firm may meet the requirement of Part P if the electrical installation work it carries out complies with the requirements of BS 7671, the IET Wiring Regulations, and the relevant sections in other Approved Documents containing sections that relate to electrical work in dwellings such as Parts A, B, C, E, F , L1 and M.

To be able to self certify such work, will however require your company to in addition be registered with a Part P Self Certification scheme such as NICEIC Domestic Installer.

No! You must bear in mind that the non-electrical builder's work that you carry out in connection with the electrical installation work should also comply with all the applicable requirements of the Building Regulations - not just Part P.

Local Authorities (Building Control) have the responsibility for enforcing the Building Regulations. Solicitors responsible for conveyancing property will seek the appropriate documentation certifying that any electrical work carried out does comply with the Building Regulations. 
It should also be remembered, that it is the building owner – sometimes the householder, who is responsible for ensuring Building Regulations compliance overall.

No. The requirement applies to all fixed electrical installation work in dwellings, whether carried out professionally or by DIY, whether or not minor and whether or not the work is notifiable to a Building Control body.

No. Part P covers electrical installation work only; not the inspection and testing of existing electrical installations to determine their suitability for continued use. However, any remedial work carried out to correct deficiencies identified in a periodic inspection report will come within the scope of Part P.

All proposed electrical installation work in dwellings will need to be notified to a Building Control body before work commences, unless:

  • the proposed work is to be undertaken by a prescribed Competent Person  authorised to self-certify compliance on completion of the work; or
  • the proposed work is not classed as notifiable under the relevant Part P document.

Minor work' is electrical work which does not include the provision of a new circuit, but is work which may include the addition of socket outlets, lighting points or switches to existing circuits.

A special location in the 2013 edition of Approved Document P applying in England is essentially:

·        The BS 7671-defined zones around a bath or a shower

·        A room containing a swimming pool or sauna

Any electrical work in these areas is ‘notifiable work’

In addition to these areas, the following two jobs are also classified as ‘notifiable work’  in England:

·        Replacing or Installing a new consumer unit

·        Wiring a new circuit

The list of notifiable work in the Welsh Part P document is more extensive.

Anyone can still undertake electrical work in dwellings; even the householder. However, this work must comply with the requirements of Part P – which require the work to be such that it does not pose a fire or electric shock hazard. As such, the work would usually need to comply with BS 7671 – The IET Wiring Regulations. In addition, some types work will also need to be notified to Building Control prior to its commencement. Building Control will wish to inspect the work in order to confirm that the work complies fully with the Building Regulations.

It should be noted that the work that is notifiable under Building Regulations applying in Wales, differs to that work that is notifiable in England.

Generally no. The Competent Persons' schemes are self-certification schemes. Some scheme providers offer a ‘third party certification’ option to their registrations.  The contractor should check with their scheme provider for details.

No. Connection of equipment to an existing point is not notifiable work, even in a special location or a kitchen.

Approved Document P covering electrical safety in dwellings applying in England since April 2013 now defines two types of sign off.

‘Self Certification’ and ‘Third Party Certification’.

Self Certification, as its name suggests allows only work undertaken by a registered self certifying contractor to be notified via a Part P scheme.

If a scheme operator offers a ‘Third Party’ Certification membership category and a contractor is registered as such then work carried out by others can be notified via this route.

The majority of Self Certification Schemes only operate Self certification membership categories.

You can, however, provide a Electrical Installation Condition Report on an existing installation.

You can install a new spur from an existing circuit without being registered on a Competent Persons' scheme provided it is not in a special location. It is worth noting that the different versions of Approved Document P, applying since April 2013, define special locations and what is notifiable work differently in England and Wales.

No; providing it is a proper caravan, i.e. it meets the requirements for the construction and use of road vehicles, it does not come under the scope of Part P regardless of whether it actually moves or not.

It really depends on whether the ceiling forms part of a fire compartment, its type of construction, its load-bearing capacity or if it has been specified by the client/contract.

Generally speaking, many dwellings are considered to be a single compartment with regards to fire (Approved Document B of the Building Regulations) unless it has an integral garage or has a protected stairway leading to a third floor.

In the case of 3-storey dwellings, it is advisable to fit fire protection to downlighters installed in intermediate floors, especially where the integrity of flooring above has been compromised (e.g. gaps between floor boards, etc.). 

Where recessed downlighters are installed in ceilings that are not fire compartments such as the intermediate floors of 2-storey dwellings, the ceiling usually needs to have a minimum fire rating of 30 minutes. 

In all cases, it should be remembered that when working with any existing aspect of the Building Regulations applying in existing situations, the general requirement is to be seen as making any particular aspect no less compliant than before the work was carried out.