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New rules for domestic electrical work
A change to the law in England and Wales governing domestic electrical work come into force on 1st January 2005. The change is intended to prevent some of the annual average 10 fatalities, 750 serious injuries and thousands of fires caused by unsafe electrical installations in the home.

The changes bring England and Wales more in line with Scotland where Building Regulations already address electrical safety issues, and will aid swifter conveyancing, with electrical installation certificates more likely to be available for inclusion in home information packs to give prospective buyers and their legal advisors reassurance of the safety of the dwelling.
Householders can now follow advice outlined in New rules for electrical safety in the home, an ODPM leaflet, hard copies will be available from local authorities and competent person scheme operators in the New Year.


Building Regulations Part P
The changes are effected by the Building Regulations - Electrical safety in dwellings (Part P), from 1 January 2005 all electrical work in dwellings will need to comply with Part P requirements and be carried out by persons who are competent to do the work. Small jobs such as replacing a socket-outlet or a light switch on an existing circuit will not need to be notified to a building control body (although there will be some exceptions for high risk areas such as kitchens and bathrooms).

All work that involves adding a new circuit to a dwelling will need to be either notified to building control, who will then inspect the work, or carried out by a competent person who is registered with a Part P Self-Certification Scheme.
Persons registered with Part P Self-Certification Schemes will be fully qualified electrical contractors with the ability to thoroughly check a circuit for safety. They will be able to issue Building Regulations certificates of compliance.

For the purposes of Building Regulations a fixed electrical system means those parts of the wiring and appliances that are fixed to the building fabric e.g. cables, sockets, switches, fuse-boxes, immersion heaters and ceiling fittings.