Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Part P: Making your Electrical Installation Safe

Part P is one of a series of documents approved by the Secretary of State (of the UK Government). Each document in the series is ordered by lettering; therefore Part P is the sixteenth approved document. The purpose of the documents is to explain to builders how to meet the Building Regulations 2010 for England. Although it not necessary to follow everything in Part P or any other approved document, you still have to comply with the Building Regulations, and the approved documents offer perhaps the best way of doing that.

Part P focuses on electrical safety; designing and installing electrical installations such that anyone who interacts with them is safe from injury.

Injury Risk Sources:
  • Electric shock. 
  • Fire hazards. 
  • Mechanical damage. 
  • Thermal damage. 

Electrical Inspections of Installation Work

One key part of the Building Regulations about electrical safety is that for an installation to be deemed safe, it has to be inspected by a ‘competent’ person. If you’re getting an electrician to do the job for you, then hopefully he is Part P certified (all of BPM Maintenance’s electricians are), because then he will be deemed a competent person and self-certify any work he carries out.

If whoever carried out the electrical installation isn't a competent person, then you’ll have to get certificate from a registered third party or a building control body, otherwise your DIY job will be breaking the Building Regulations 2010 legislation. That means if you do a DIY installation, then it turns out it isn't safe and someone gets injured, you’re going to have a bad time (not to mention your newly electrocuted friend).

Third Party Inspection

A registered third party could be an electrician who inspects your work when you’re done. If you’re going with this route, then you will need to arrange for this certification to happen within 5 days of work completion.

Building Control Body Inspection

If you want certification from a building control body, then you will need to arrange this before you start. A building control body will be part of your local authority. This body will ask you for your qualifications and competence with regards to electrical installations and then arrange for inspections to be carried out to ensure the installation is safe.

It’ll depend on your local building control body, but applications for electrical inspections can take weeks or longer to process with charges of £200+ or more.