Are you planning any electrical work in or around your home? Perhaps you would like an extra power socket or two in the kitchen, or some garden lighting? Well please take a seat and read on because this affects you!

As Safe As Houses? How Safe is Yours? The New Part P of the Building Regulations for England & Wale

| Whole Home Systems

As Safe As Houses? How Safe is Yours?
The New Part P of the Building Regulations
 for England & Wales, UK

Are you planning any electrical work in or around your home? Perhaps you would like an extra power socket or two in the kitchen, or some garden lighting? Well please take a seat and read on because this affects you!

In an effort to inform homeowners in England and Wales together with other interested parties about the new law that affects domestic electrical work, Whole Home Systems is promoting improved safety through greater awareness.

Each year an average 10 people die and about 750 are seriously injured in accidents involving unsafe electrical installations in UK homes. The government has therefore been looking at ways to regulate the electrical industry for some time but last year, when the daughter of a Member of Parliament in the UK was unfortunately killed due to incorrectly installed electrical wiring, it was only a matter of time before new legislation was passed.

Consequently the government added a new section, known as Part P, to the Building Regulations and set up a select number of new 'Competent Persons Schemes' to regulate the electrical industry with effect from January 1st 2005, and whilst there were some intermediate measures in place for work started before the end of last year but not completed, these measures have now passed.

"The aim of the new law in England and Wales is to improve electrical safety in the home and reduce the risk to human life. Hopefully, the systems in place will also eliminate the unsafe or shoddy electrical work by so called 'cowboy' traders" says Managing Director of Whole Home Systems, Kate Parker "which is great news as we feel so sorry for clients that have fallen foul of such people when we have to go in, pick up the pieces and make their homes safe again".

The new regulations also apply to many of the electrical tasks around the home that some DIY enthusiasts would normally tackle themselves, and electrical work is now divided up into notifiable and non-notifiable categories.

For instance, the notifiable category for electrical work includes:

  • Mains (230V) electrical work in kitchens, bath/shower rooms, and gardens
  • Any works needing new circuits run back to the consumer unit
  • Electric floor or ceiling heating

But there are more!

If any electrical work is classified as notifiable, you have two choices:

  • You can use a company like Whole Home Systems - which is registered and approved under one of the new Competent Persons Schemes - to carry out all of your electrical work to the highest standard and complete the appropriate paperwork for you. This way you can be sure that your completed electrical work will comply with the new regulations without having to worry about the detail yourself and you will not have any of the potential delays and hassle that could come with the second option.
  • Alternatively, you must notify Building Control at your local council before the work starts and pay the appropriate initial fees. Then you could potentially take a risk and do the work yourself or even use an unregistered electrician - as long as you are sure that the person doing the work is competent to do so and applying the regulations fully and safely. When the electrical work is finished, you will also have to pay Building Control to inspect and test the completed work, make sure that it meets the required standards, and check that you have the correct certificates. You will also need to consider the possible delays that may occur due to the extra demand on the already busy Building Control departments. Furthermore, if Building Control decides that the completed work does not satisfy the regulations you will certainly have to pay to have the work corrected and re-inspected, and you may even be fined as well.

On the other hand, the following examples fall into the non-notifiable category and therefore do not require notification to Building Control:

  • Changing a light fitting, wall switch or power socket with a like-for-like replacement
  • Replacing damaged cable in an existing single circuit
  • Adding new lights or sockets on the correct circuit as long as they are not in a kitchen, bath/shower room, or outdoors

Mind you, even if the proposed work is non-notifiable, it must still comply with the IEE Wiring Regulations (BS7671). Furthermore, it should be clear that anyone tackling electrical work should only do so if they are experienced enough to do so and making sure that the circuits being worked on are completely isolated. So, if you are in any doubt, always consult a qualified and registered company.

The new rules also make it necessary to take account of other sections of the Building Regulations when completing electrical work, including Fire Safety (Part B), Energy Conservation (Part L), and Access to Buildings (Part M).

Whilst the IEE Wiring Regulations are not in themselves statutory (legal) rules, the new Part P of the Building Regulations also now makes it law to follow them in all domestic installations. Moreover, some aspects of the Wiring Regulations, which until now have merely been recommendations, are now legal requirements. This can mean that modifications to existing circuits can involve more than expected at first sight. For example, it is now necessary to protect all power sockets that could feasibly be used to power portable equipment outdoors with a Residual Current Device (RCD). Therefore, if an extra socket is added where there is not an existing RCD, a new RCD must be fitted to protect the whole circuit and this would then be classified as notifiable work.

Taking this in the context of a Whole-Home Automation project, just like Whole Home Systems do with all of their renowned peerless solutions, there are many considerations that need to be carefully planned - including the lighting circuits which often need to be altered to allow for control, convenience and presence simulation. As a result you will find that most home automation and security projects will fall within the scope of the new rules and hence it is very important to comply with the regulations to the letter of the law.

If you really want to be safe with any Home Automation and/or other electrical project, it will always prove worth your while to engage an approved company, such as Whole Home Systems, that continually invests in the necessary up-to-date training, qualifications, calibrated equipment, and expertise - together with the essential registration and approval under the new Competent Persons Schemes - to look after your home for you. As part of the approval process under the Competent Persons Schemes, each company also has to pass a thorough independent assessment, and by doing so they are demonstrating that they have the necessary qualified personnel together with the right procedures and calibrated test equipment in place to competently and safely complete any of your electrical work.

Remember, if you choose to ignore the new rules, you may encounter problems when you come to sell your home and there is always the chance that your insurance company could repudiate a claim resulting from non-compliance just when you most need financial assistance. Furthermore, if you were to ask an acquaintance to do some electrical work for you, 'no questions asked', you and your acquaintance could be fined up to £5000 each, quite apart from having to pay for the work to be completed and tested properly by a registered company.

So why take a chance with your life and that of your family and friends? There is now no longer any need to worry about the new rules and what applies to which aspect of your project - Whole Home Systems will ensure that the installations are safe, meet all the required standards and regulations, and will issue you with the correct certificates, whilst also taking care of the Building Control notification for you. Contact Whole Home Systems today by phoning them on +44 (0)1280 851006, by emailing or via their website at to deal with all the new rules and paperwork for you whilst they expertly looking after all of your automation, electrical, entertainment, security, and other control needs safely - just as you deserve.

About Whole Home Systems

Whole Home Systems is a division of Actio Limited - an established family controlled company whose select and valued worldwide clients unreservedly place their confidence in the end results being faithful to their individual vision.

Uniquely, Whole Home Systems implement their peerless 'ATD System™' without exception and thereby they successfully unite leading edge design techniques, supreme standards, specialist skills and expert resources with the individual visions of their private clients to design and implement unsurpassed, tailored results that you will always be proud of.

Your safety and enjoyment is paramount to the way that they work and as a result their superior and elegant solutions enable their clients to achieve the highest degree of refinement in their homes complete with incredible intuitive ease of use. Your home is always treated with the respect and care you deserve, and every aspect is seamlessly integrated into your home - complimenting the style you want to achieve and enabling you to realise the home of your dreams.

So whether you are looking to undertake a home or commercial project, it is time to de-risk and achieve stunning results! Whole Home Systems will look after every aspect for you from minor electrical additions, to safe and compliant wiring for new build or renovation projects, all the way up to their amazing large scale 'whole-home' automation projects.

Operating throughout the UK, Europe and beyond from offices based in the centre of England, and using highly advanced techniques, you too could benefit from their approach and solutions. Whole Home Systems is never surpassed, so why not make your "Life Easier, Safer and More Enjoyable"?

Additional information about Whole Home Systems is available from their web site at, by emailing them at or by phoning them on +44 (0) 128 085 1006.

© Whole Home Systems 2005. All Rights Reserved.

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