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Electrical regulations

Strict rules govern what electrical work can be done without notification and inspection.

Part P of the Building Regulations limit what electrical work may be carried out by anyone other than a professional electrician who is a competent person registered with an electrical self-certification scheme.

When work is carried out by a professional electrician, they will deal with the necessary paperwork to comply with the Regulations. They will also provide you with a signed Building Regulations Self Certification document together with a completed Electrical Installation Certificate.

The Regulations come under the jurisdiction of the Building Control Officer of the Local Authority for the area. You should contact them to find out exactly how they apply the Regulations.

Essentially, work falls into two categories: Non-notifiable and Notifiable.

For Non-notifiable work, your Building Control Officer may not require any notification but you should establish this for yourself.

For Notifiable work, your Building Control Officer must be notified before any work is carried out.

All work must comply with the IEE Wiring Regulations.

A competent DIYer may be allowed to carry out Non-notifiable work without having to notify the Building Control Officer, but it is always best to check with them first.
Examples of such work are:
Replacing sockets, switches and ceiling roses
Replacing damaged cable in one circuit
Replacing socket boxes

In addition, some other works may be deemed Non-notifiable anywhere except in kichens, bathrooms, utility rooms and other special locations. In these areas they will be considered Notifiable
Examples of such work are:
Adding light fittings and switches to existing circuits
Adding sockets or fused spurs to existing ring or radial circuits

You should refer to the Regulations themselves for exact details

If you are competent, you may carry out Noifiable work provided you notify your Building Control Officer in advance exactly what you plan to do. Once you have obtained permission, you will then need to have the work inspected and certified upon completion by a suitably qualified inspector. Full details of the proceedure and costs involved may be obtained from the Building Control Officer.

Remember the golden rule: "if you don’t know – ask"

People are often a little nervous about tackling wiring jobs – fair enough, it is potentially dangerous. But, treated with respect, many household electrical jobs are within the scope of the competent DIY person. What it boils down to is knowing what you are doing, how to do it safely, and complying with the Regulations.

read regulationsYou should know how electrical circuits work, know the rules, and give priority to safety

In the UK, we have the Institute of Electrical Engineers Wiring Regulations which sets out all the rules. This is no coffee table book though. It is a comprehensive and fairly complex book. Luckily, there is also a guide to this which details methods of carrying out electrical work which will satisfy the Regulations. If you follow the methods in this guide precisely, you can be sure your work is up to the necessary standard.

A copy of both of these books can be bought, or you could ask at your local library.

If there is anything you don’t understand in them or you are unsure how something should be done, always seek professional advice.

Most wiring jobs need to be tested by a suitably qualified person. This may be a professional electrician or your Electricity Company. If you do not know whether the work must be tested, speak to your local Electricity Board and ask them.

If the wiring needs to be connected to the mains, you will certainly need a certificate showing that it satisfies the Regulations.

Connection to the meter and the Electricity Company's earth terminal may only be carried out by authorised personnel.

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