On January 1 st 2005, new Part P Building Regulations were enforced in England and Wales to reduce the number of deaths, injuries and fires caused by faulty electrical installations and to make it harder for 'cowboy builders' to leave electrical installations in an unsafe condition. Part P is intended to increase the safety of households by improving the design, installation, inspection and testing of electrical installations in dwellings when these installations are being newly built, extended or altered. 

The risks posed by unsafe electrical installations and portable appliances are electric shock, burns and other injuries arising from fires in buildings ignited by electrical components overheating or building up dangerous currents causing 'arcing'. Installations that are properly designed, fitted, tested and commissioned in accordance with British Standard BS 7671 (a requirement of Part P) will help minimize these risks. 

Why should I use a contractor or installer who is registered with a competent person scheme? 

For the purposes of Part P, the Government has defined ‘Competent Firms' as those registered under the NICEIC Approved Contractor scheme, the Domestic Installer Scheme and the Electro technical Assessment Scheme. 

  • Members of schemes can deal with all the new rules for you. 
  • Members are qualified to carry out electrical work. 
  • Members will give you a certificate to confirm their work follows the new rules. 
  • You will not have to pay Building Control charges. 
  • You will have the option of taking out an insurance-backed guarantee for the work. 
  • You will have access to a formal complaints procedure if you are not happy with the work. 
  • If you decide against using a registered firm to carry out any work for you, bear in mind the following points: 
  • There is no guarantee that the electrical installation is safe 
  • You will have no official record of the work you’ve had carried out 
  • You may have difficulty selling your home if you do not have the right electrical safety certificates 
  • Your local authority’s Building Control Department may insist that you put right any faulty work 
  • What will happen if I do not follow the Building Regulations? 
  • The electrical installation might not be safe. 
  • You will have no record of the work done. 
  • You may have difficulty selling your home if you do not have the right electrical safety certificates. 
  • Your local authority's Building Control Department may insist that you put right faulty work.
  • Enforcement 

Failure to comply with the requirement will be a criminal offence. Local authorities will also have the power to require the removal or alteration of work that does not comply with the Building Regulations. Failing to comply with the Building Regulations is a criminal offence; however, registration with a Competent Person scheme is not compulsory.  If you decide to use a firm that has not registered as a Competent Person, you must ensure that the firm has submitted notification of the work and arranged for it to be inspected and certified by your local authority's Building Control Department on completion. Part P applies to all electrical installation work carried out in dwellings