Electrical Regulations

An explanation of the UK Building regulations in regard to electrical work in the home, covering certifications, regulatory requirements, and the work that can be carried out by a non-professional


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 home handyman 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 kitchens, bathrooms, utility rooms and other special locations. In these areas they will be considered notifiable.

Examples of such work include adding light fittings and switches to existing circuits or 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 notifiable 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 procedure 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.

You 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.

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