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Q1: How do I know if my electrical installation is safe?

The best way to find out if your electrical installation is safe is to have it inspected and tested by a person who has the competence to do so, such as an approved contractor from:

Electrical Contractors' Association (ECA)

Elecsa Approved contractor

National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC)

Approved electrical contractors from these bodies will be able to advise you how to make your installation safe.

Q2: Can I do my own electrical work?

No, you have to be qualified and registered as a competent person for part p of the building regs.

It is particularly important that anyone who undertakes electrical work is able to satisfy the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.

Q3: To what types of electrical work does Part P apply?

•    In or attached to a dwelling

•    In the common parts of buildings serving one or more dwellings, but excluding power supplies to lifts

•    In a building that receives its electricity from a source located within or shared with a dwelling, and

•    In a garden or in or on land associate with a building where the electricity supply is from a source located within or shared with a dwelling

The term dwelling includes houses, maisonettes and flats. It also applies to electrical installations in business premises that share an electricity supply with dwellings, such as shops and public houses with a flat above.

The common parts of buildings include access areas in blocks of flats such as hallways and shared amenities in blocks of flats such as laundries and gymnasiums.

Part P applies to electrical installations located in outbuildings such as detached garages, sheds and greenhouses.

Part P applies to parts of electrical installations located on land around dwellings such as garden lighting.

Part P applies to electrical installations that operate at voltages not exceeding 1000 V a.c.

Notifiable work includes new installations, house re-wires, and the installation of new circuits. Notifiable work also includes additions to existing circuits in kitchens, bathrooms, outdoors and in other special locations

Q4: When do I need a rewire?

There are no set guidelines as to when a property should be rewired. Just because your wiring’s old, doesn’t mean it’s unsafe. Many factors can affect the wear and tear of your electrical installation, including the materials used and how your property has been used. We would advise that Electrical installation condition report be carried out on owner-occupied properties at least every 10 years and change of occupancy in rented accommodation. The test will certify whether the electrical installation of the property is safe and tell you if anything needs upgrading. You should carry out regular checks around the house on the condition of your cables, switches, sockets and other accessories. If you notice anything unusual - burn marks on plugs and sockets, sounds of ‘arcing’ (buzzing or crackling), fuses blowing or circuit-breakers tripping - get a registered electrician to check your electrics as soon as possible.

Q5: As a landlord, what responsibility do I have in relation to the electrics in a property that I intend to let?

You have a duty of care to your tenant and must ensure that the installation is safe when they enter the property and is maintained throughout their tenure. The Landlords and Tenants Act (1985) requires that the electrical installation in a rented property is:

Safe when a tenancy begins and Maintained in a safe condition throughout the tenancy. We recommend that in order to comply with this Act, you get a registered electrician to carry out a Periodic Inspection Report (PIR) on any property you intend to let before getting tenants in. This will certify whether the electrics are safe and tell you if anything needs upgrading.