The Electrical Safety Council (ESC), the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA), and NICEIC have welcomed the government’s approach to amending Part P of the Building Regulations for England, but there has also been some concerns regarding these changes.

There have been two principal modifications to Part P. The first relates to the reduction in the range of electrical installation work that is notifiable – that is, work which is legally required to display compliance with the Building Regulations. Under the new, revised regulations, electrical work undertaken in kitchens or outdoors is no longer covered by Part P unless a new circuit is required.

The second major change relates to the use of a registered third party to certify notifiable work, as an alternative to using a building control body. Previously, an electrical contractor undertaking work covered by Part P, but who was not registered with a competent persons’ scheme, was required to notify their local authority’s building control – who could then determine if the work was acceptable under the regulations.

Phil Buckle, director general of the ESC commented, “We have appreciated and welcomed the government’s concern to make Part P less bureaucratic and more effective – and we have been closely involved in the review of this regulation. As most people in the industry know, we have been very active in establishing partnership working to ensure we can offer government a fully informed and integrated perspective on Part P.

“While we support the amendment allowing a registered third party to certify notifiable work – which we believe will reduce time, costs and inconvenience to both the consumer and the contractor – we consider it imperative that this is properly ‘policed’, in order to be effective, and that the public are made fully aware of Part P and its requirements.

”We are disappointed with the proposed reductions in notifiable work. Both statistical data and anecdotal evidence indicates that kitchens and outdoors are high risk areas, so any electrical work must be of a particularly high standard. Given that Part P is the only legislation which protects the individual within their home, we would argue that notifiable installations should continue to include kitchens and outdoors. We understand that the regulation will be revised in two years’ time and we hope government will be inclined to gather evidence on the safety implications of the amendments to Part P.”

The ECA and NICEIC also claim that plans to reduce the number of notifiable works will cut some of the red tape faced by industry.

Both also say that the launch of the Electrical Safety Register in November fits well with the government’s plans to work with external partners to promote the use of certified electricians.

Steve Bratt, ECA group CEO, said, “While we await full details, we are delighted that the government has listened to industry. A tighter focus on notification requirements will maintain safety, while reducing the burden placed on electrical contractors. This is exactly what we need to ensure the regulations protect the public, while ensuring our sector can still benefit from vital work opportunities.”

Emma Clancy, NICEIC CEO, added, “The government’s intention to work with external partners to promote the use of qualified electricians is an important step forward. The newly launched Electrical Safety Register is perfectly placed to communicate to the general public not only why certification is important, but where they can find a certified electrician. We are delighted that Government is in sync with the electrical industry about the best way of ensuring safety.”