The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) has just published a survey stating that women may be at greater risk than men of having an electric shock whilst working in the garden as they have not heard of an RCD (Residual Current Device), something covered in all electrical courses. The report published by the ECS was derived from Government data which found that 70 people a year die from accidents in and around UK homes and that if an RCD was fitted it could have prevented some of these accidents. If you have attended an electrical course with us then you will understand the importance of RCDs already but to those who don’t know it appears they could be putting themselves at some risk through a simple lack of understanding.
So what is an RCD? The ESC website gives a wealth of information regarding this but essentially it is a sensitive switch device that trips (or switches off) if there is a fault. An RCD protects people against the risks of electrocution and fire caused by an earth fault, an area that is covered on our electrical courses. The most obvious scenario for this being that a cable is cut when mowing the lawn. Obviously this situation could occur this coming weekend of all weekends as a bank holiday means more people will be working in the garden preparing lawns, flower beds and hedge rows for the summer. No doubt many people will be using electrical devices such as mowers and hedge trimmers for the first time this year. An RCD would protect the user if the device was faulty and the appliance overheats causing electric current to flow to earth.
The ECA found that almost 50% of the women surveyed for the report have either never used (23%) or never actually heard of an RCD and what it does (26%). Surprisingly however, women were less likely than men to appreciate the dangers of using electrical equipment in the garden. A Mori Poll also reported that 25% of women have actually experienced at least one electric shock in the garden during their lifetime which should be a reminder to us all of the potential dangers over this coming bank holiday weekend.
Access Training’s electrical courses teach the importance of RCDs and explains the application, installation and testing of these devices during the electrical course curriculums with the emphasis being that it teaches you to work that at all times you must work safely after attending a domestic electrical course.
After our last post regarding how the proposed changes to Government red tape are likely to affect electrical courses graduates, it has become apparent that there is widespread confusion among many of our current electrical courses students, as well as those currently working in the trade.
So here, by way of explanation, is exactly how Part P applies:
1) You will not need to notify your local authority if you do limited minor electrical work such as:
a. Replacing or repairing a socket, light or cable in a room;
b. Adding extra spurs, sockets or lights to an existing circuit (except in a kitchen, bathroom or outdoors);
c. Adding lights to an outdoor wall on an existing circuit (provided there are no exposed outdoor connections, and the circuit is not extended from a kitchen or bathroom).
2) Before you start other electrical work, you must notify your Local Authority Building Control Department, which has responsibility for ensuring the work is inspected and tested. This work includes:
a. Adding new circuits to your existing installation;
b. Any work (other than repairs / replacements) in a room where there is water (e.g. kitchen, bathroom, etc);
c. Any work (other than repairs / replacements) outdoors (e.g. installing outdoor sockets or non-pre wired garden lighting etc).
And remember, Building Control will charge you a fee. Diynot.com has some interesting discussions by contributors on this subject, such as: “My local authority charges £202 + vat for work up to £2000 and it goes up from there and they won't inspect or test - they want an EIC/MWC [electrical certificate] signed by a qualified electrician”, which essentially means the process could become very expensive.
However, when you perform any electrical installation after attending one of our electrical courses and become a member of a competent person scheme, you will be able to self certify your own work with no need to inform Building Control, thus avoiding such high costs. Therefore it makes sense to undergo electrical courses with us here at Access Training and join a Competent Person Scheme. This will ensure you are able to perform many different types of domestic electrical installation in accordance with Part P.
We hope this clears up any confusion for our present electrical courses students and for those electrical courses graduates we have taught in the past. If you require any further information regarding Part P, our electrical courses or any other of our services for that matter, please do not hesitate to give us a call on 0800 345 7492.
In our last post we talked briefly about the Government’s review of current building regulations and the emphasis of Part P, as well as how this applies to those individuals undergoing electrical training. We mentioned the building regulations exercise which was conducted with over 800 direct and indirect responses which produced some interesting results. We felt it was important to inform our electrical training graduates as well as our potential electrical training students of the future of the details and timescale of any prospective changes so you know exactly what is expected of you.
The key finding is that current building regulations are far from perfect; there is plenty to be improved upon, although, for the most part, they are in pretty good shape. The Part P section of the regulations seemed to be a contentious point amongst many, especially those who have recently completed electrical training. The following viewpoints were highlighted on the Government website:
- Large-scale support for reducing cost of compliance with Part P;
- A questioning of the role of regulation and its scope e.g. why do we control what people do in their own homes (e.g. water temperature);
- Make building regulations less bureaucratic and restrictive;
- Review Part P home DIY electrical.
There was a common misunderstanding:
- Have you ever wanted to change that socket from a single socket to a double? Well you can’t, it’s illegal.
The regulations for DIYers left the following general complaint:
- Competent DIYers must pay to have work inspected by building control, or pay to have work carried out by perhaps less competent individuals who have completed the relevant electrical training.
Competent registered electricians also commented:
- Electricians who comply, register and have undergone thorough electrical training are undercut by cowboys who ignore rules and regulations
- Regulations are not enforced – cowboys are never prosecuted
There were also some broad views expressed regarding Part P rules:
- Electrical installation work in new and existing dwellings, however minor, must follow rules in BS 7671: 2001. (There is currently no technical guidance in Approved Document P)
- Riskier jobs are ‘notifiable’ and must either be:
- inspected, tested and approved by a building control body, or
- self-certified by a registered electrician who has undergone the relevant electrical training (‘Competent Person’)
- Notifiable jobs are:
- new circuits and new/ replacement consumer units
- extensions to circuits in kitchens, bathrooms and outdoors
- Repairs and replacements are not notifiable
- Rules too confusing and not well understood by general public
- High building control charges discourage notification (especially simple jobs in kitchens)
Having reviewed the responses, MP Andrew Stunell, said: “For me this is just the start of the process - their contribution has informed my programme of work for the next year, and I want to work with them further to ensure building regulations are fit for the 21st century."
The programme of reform has also now been set out with the following actions:
- Set up Building Regulations Part P Technical Working Party
- Develop proposals for amending regulations and guidance
- Prepare formal Impact Assessment
- Publish consultation document – December 2011
- Conduct formal three month consultation
- Publish analysis of responses – July 2012
- Publish amended regulations and Approved Document – October 2012
- Bring new regulations and guidance into effect – April 2013
At Access Training we will, as ever, continue to monitor and report on statements from the Government as well as electrical training awarding bodies to bring to you the latest and most up to date information. Upon reflection it appears that Part P of the building regulations will receive further scrutiny over the next few years, culminating in a more refined set of regulations being implemented in a few years time. What is certain is that Part P electrical training courses will continue to be essential for the safety of consumers and installers alike.
Here at Access Training we aim to bring you all the latest industry news for electrical training graduates and prospective students alike, so you are fully equipped to make a name for yourself as a reputable and highly skilled electrician.
Throughout 2010 the Government has been making a lot of noise about its intention to cut red tape and reform regulations across a wide range of industries. Current building regulations are to be looked at in detail to ensure they aid rather than prohibit the new Government policy of increasing the housing supply. It is also their intention to reform the planning system so it is more efficient, effective and supportive of economic development. In addition, the Government has stated that it will introduce a New Homes Bonus and will also reduce the total regulatory burden on the house building industry. This is potentially good news for individuals currently attending electrical courses, and especially those electrical courses which include the Part P elements.
In a move which was welcomed back in early 2010, MP Andrew Stunnell stated the need for free and open feedback from individuals in the construction industry as well as those running electrical courses in an attempt to streamline regulations: “I want to hear your views on how regulations can be improved, added to, or slimmed down. I would also welcome suggestions as to how we can deliver better levels of compliance in the future.”
The result of this Building Regulations Exercise was that over 200 responses were received; many from those who had recently completed electrical courses, although surprisingly not a lot of unexpected issues or suggestions arose. The conclusions we can draw at this stage will come as welcome news for those individuals currently attending electrician courses and especially for those thinking of attending electrical courses in the future, as less red tape will result in the creation of many more employment opportunities.
For those of you considering electrical courses, Access Training really should be your first choice. Our facilities are state of the art, as is the level of training our electrical courses provide. For further information call Access today on 0800 345 7492.