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.