Part P has been changed. The original Approved Document P Electrical Safety came into force on 1 January 2005. The document's purpose, as with all other approved documents, was to provide practical guidance for some of the more common building situations. Part P of Schedule 1 to the Building Regulations (England) has been amended in an attempt to provide greater clarity of the requirement and to make enforcement more proportionate to the risk.
To reflect these amendments, a new version of Approved Document P was issued by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) Department. This came into effect on 6 April 2006.
These Regulations have now been superseded by the release of a new version of Approved Document P, which came into effect on 6 April 2013 for use in England and can be downloaded from the Government website. For work which has begun before this date or work, subject to a building notice, which means the full planning application was submitted before 6 April 2013, the 2006 edition will continue to apply.
There are five Government-approved competent persons self-certification schemes, BESCA, Blue Flame Certification, Napit, OFTEC and Certsure trading as NIC-EIC and ELECSA.
There are also defined competence self-certification schemes, such as Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC), BESCA, Blue Flame Certification, NAPIT Registration Ltd and Certsure LLP trading as NICEIC and ELECSA, aimed at those who carry out installation work only as an adjunct to or in connection with the primary activity of their business.
There is only one body currently authorised to operate third party certification which is NAPIT.
Guidance on competent person schemes can be found on the Government website.
In May 2003 the Government announced that it was introducing a new Part to the Building Regulations, Part P, which would bring domestic electrical installation work in England and Wales under the legal framework of the Building Regulations. It will, for the first time, place a legal requirement for safety upon electrical installation work in dwellings, although the sector is highly regarded for its high levels of conformity with its chief standard, BS 7671.
It was announced that Part P would only be introduced in law when self-certification schemes were in place to ensure competency of the work undertaken. Such schemes have been in place for many years, Part P of the Building Regulations became a legal requirement on 1 January 2005.
As of 6 April 2013, Part P contains the following requirement which is from Part P of Schedule 1 to the Building Regulations 2010. This can be downloaded from the Government website.
Requirement P1: Design and installation
Reasonable provision shall be made in the design and installation of electrical installations in order to protect persons operating, maintaining or altering the installations from fire or injury.
In the Secretary of State’s view, the requirements of Part P will be met if low voltage and extra low voltage electrical installations in dwellings are designed and installed so that both of the following conditions are satisfied.
- They afford appropriate protection against mechanical and thermal damage.
- They do not present electric shock and fire hazards to people.
Interaction with other parts of the Building Regulations
In addition, electrical installation work must comply with the Building Regulations in general. Such requirements include those placed by:
- Part A – Structure
(Depth of chases in walls, size of holes, notches in floors and roof joists.)
- Part B - Fire Safety
(Fire safety of certain electrical installations, provision of fire alarm and fire detection systems, fire resistance of service penetrations through floors, walls and ceilings.)
- Part C - Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture
(Resistance of service penetrations to rainwater and contaminants such as radon.)
- Part E - Resistance to the passage of sound
(Soundproofing of service penetrations)
- Part F – Ventilation
(Dwelling ventilation rates)
- Part L - Conservation of Fuel and Power
(Metering, energy-efficient lighting and controls)
- Part M - Access to and use of buildings
(Height of socket outlet and switches.)
Changes to Part P 2013
There are two main changes in the latest version of Part P of the Building Regulations. The first change relates to the range of electrical installation work which requires notification. The range has been reduced, previously work in kitchens and outdoors was notifiable. Under the new regulations, unless the work requires the provision of a new circuit and is not in a special location it will not require notification.
- The installation of a new circuit
- The replacement of a consumer unit
Any addition or alteration to an existing circuit in a special location.
- All other work is considered non-notifiable, namely additions and alterations to existing installations outside special locations, maintenance, replacement and repair work.
A special location means:
- A room containing a bath or shower, the space surrounding a bath tap or showerhead where the space extends vertically from the finished floor level to a height of 2.25 metres or the position of the showerhead where it is attached to a wall or ceiling at a height higher than 2.25 metres from that level or horizontally where there is a bathtub or shower tray, from the edge of the bathtub or shower tray to a distance of 0.6 metres. Or where there is no bathtub or shower tray from the centre point of the showerhead where it is attached to the wall or ceiling to a distance of 1.2 metres, or
- A room containing a swimming pool or sauna heater.
The other major change is regarding the use of a registered third party to certify notifiable work. In the previous edition of the Building Regulations, an electrical contractor carrying out work covered by Part P, but not registered with a competent persons scheme, was required to notify Local Authority Building Control (LABC). It would then be down to LABC to consider if the proposed works were acceptable under Building Regulations. Under the current edition of Part P any installers, which are not registered with a competent person scheme, are required to get work signed off by a registered third party.