Information on Part 'P' Competent Installers

Frequently Asked Questions

What's all the fuss?

From 1st January 2005 most electrical work in houses, some of which is quite routine such as changing a socket in a kitchen, must, by law, be notified to the local authority building control department; this includes DIY as well as tradesmen who undertake electrical work as a part of their normal activities (such as kitchen and bathroom fitters). The only exception is where the work is undertaken by a competent person who is a member of a government authorised scheme. The notification to the local authority is then handled by the organisation running the scheme.

When did the law change?

The law was announced in Parliament on the 29th June 2004 to be effective from 1st January 2005. There WAS a small transition period but this was ONLY to allow contracts signed prior to the 1st January 2005 to be completed; all work entered into after that date must be within an approved scheme.

What is the purpose of the change in legislation?

The Building Act is being revised to include electrical installations to provide protection against their being a source of a fire or a cause of injury.

What is a competent person?

A competent person is a firm who is approved by one of the government authorised bodies.

What types of properties are covered?

In addition to electrical work within dwellings, the controls include parts of fixed electrical installations external to premises, such as in gardens, sheds and detached garages. Unfortunately the definition of a dwelling is not particularly helpful but for the purposes of this scheme, we are saying a place that was designed to accommodate people for durations in excess of 30 days. Properties specifically designed as holiday homes are excluded.

Are you saying that I now have to notify minor works?

The BS7671 definitions of minor (e.g. the additions or modifications to circuits) and major works (e.g. installation of a new circuit) have not been mirrored in the new legislation and there are minor works such as the fitting of a new socket in a kitchen that require notification.