What are competent person self-certification schemes?
Electrical contractors, who register with a competent person self-certification scheme, will be able to self-certify compliance with Part P of the Building Regulations whenever they carry out 'notifiable' work. Persons who are not registered with a self-certification scheme - including DIYers - will need to notify or submit plans to a Building Control Body (BCB), unless the work is non-notifiable.
How many electrical self-certification schemes have been approved?
On the recommendation of BRAC (the Building Regulations Advisory Committee), the Government has approved self-certification schemes to be operated by:
- BSI - British Standards Institution - BSI no longer accepts new scheme members but has a small number of existing registered competent persons across England and Wales
- NAPIT Certification Ltd.
- Benchmark Certification
These schemes are aimed at those carrying out electrical installation work as the primary activity of their business.
The following defined competence self-certification schemes, aimed at those who carry out installation work only as an adjunct to or in connection with the primary activity of their business (e.g. gas installations, plumbing, kitchen or bathroom fitting, heat installation, security systems) have also been approved.
- APHC Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors
- NAPIT Registration Ltd (National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers)
- OFTEC (Oil Firing Technical Association Ltd)
- Benchmark Certification
What are the competency criteria for joining a Part P scheme?
The competency requirements for the Part P schemes are specified in the Electrotechnical Assessment Scheme (EAS).
Compliance with the EAS can be achieved through a mix of experience and qualifications. There are additional requirements, mostly of an administrative nature, including the provision of certificates and a complaints procedure. These can be found on the ODPM website at www.odpm.gov.uk.
What are defined competence self-certification schemes?
These are schemes aimed at contractors who do electrical work as an adjunct to their main activity e.g. kitchen and bathroom fitters and central heating installers, etc.
Third party certification schemes
Third party certification schemes allow registered competent persons to certify notifiable electrical work in dwellings, carried out by persons not registered with a self-certification scheme, or who do not wish to register their work with a Building Control Body (BCB).
In all cases, the third party certifier is not the person carrying out the electrical installation.
Will electrical contractors be forced to join a competent person scheme?
There are four routes for those carrying out 'notifiable' electrical installation work in dwellings to demonstrate that they have complied with the requirements of Part P of the Building Regulations, They are:
- To join a competent person self-certification scheme, which is recommended for those who regularly undertake notifiable work in domestic premises.
- Where competent persons who only infrequently carry out work in domestic premises, they need not register with a competent person’s self-certification scheme. However, if they are not registered, they must notify building control before carrying out the work and should meet all of the requirements of BS 7671 regarding design, installation, inspection and testing, and certification. The BCB will arrange for the work to be inspected and tested at various stages and will charge a fee to cover any costs incurred.
The BCB can also use the IET/BCA alliance document. The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and the Building Control Alliance (BCA), co-produced this document and it is downloadable free from the IET website, to gauge an individual’s level of electrical and Building Regulations competency. The BCB can then use this information to adjust building control charges accordingly, based around the level of risk an individual poses and how much work the BCB would incur to confirm this. Using this method, a BCB may accept a BS 7671 Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC) from an un-registered competent person.
- Although DIY electrical work is not to be encouraged, where a householder wishes to carry out electrical work they must notify their BCB before commencing work. The BCB will arrange for the work to be inspected and tested at various stages and will charge a fee to cover any costs incurred. The work should meet all of the requirements of BS 7671 regarding design, installation, inspection and testing, and certification.
The BCB can also use the IET/BCA alliance document, downloadable free from the IET website, to gauge a householder’s level of electrical and Building Regulations competency. The BCB can then use this information to adjust building control charges accordingly, based around the level of risk an individual poses and how much work the BCB would incur to confirm this. Using this method, a BCB may accept a BS 7671 Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC) from a householder.
- Any individual can now use a third party to certify their work. There are currently two scheme operators offering this service, STROMA and NAPIT Certification Ltd. Third part certifiers registered with these scheme operators should be consulted prior to any work being carried out.
There is no requirement to join a scheme. It is perfectly acceptable to submit building notices to the local authority. Individual electrical contracting firms can decide which of the above routes to compliance would best suit them.