- Fantastic Team
- 5min read
- Published: February 25, 2019
- Views: 5,398
What Electrical Work Can I do Myself?
Sometimes doing electrical work yourself can seem like a good idea. However, most of the time it’s not that simple. There are many regulations and dangers you should be aware of before taking up any electrical repairs. For example, do you know what kind of electrical work you’re allowed to do by yourself?
- Need to do any electrical repairs;
- Are wondering what electrical work you can do yourself;
- Want to know what your responsibilities are in regards to electrical work,
Then read on!
Sure, you know how to change a lightbulb, but most electrical work is not so easy. And if you’re careless, you might end up endangering your life. So, here, we will shed some light on what electrical work is okay to be handled by an untrained individual and which one should be better left to the professionals.
About electrical safety
Every homeowner would, first, try to fix a property problem themselves or ask their spouse or partner to do it instead. Anytime you decide to do any electrical work, be sure to follow these basic safety instructions.
- Shut off the power. When doing electrical work, your first job would be to switch off the power supply to the specific room from the fusebox. If you have to use power tools in that room, use battery powered ones or use a plug extension from another room.
- Test power. After you’ve switched off the power, test to make sure there is no electricity surging through the room. Switch on the lights or plug an appliance to see if they work.
- Invest in a residual current device. Or an RCD for short. It’s a device that cuts off the power in the event of an electrical fault. They are typically installed in the fusebox. Most new homes already come with one of those. If your home is not fitted with an RCD, get one soon.
- Use a cable detector. Sometimes, when doing renovations, homeowners make the mistake of drilling, nailing or screwing into the wall and hitting an electrical cable. This is very dangerous. So, make sure to use a cable detector beforehand and locate all your cables behind the wall. This way, you’re saving yourself any accidents now or in the future.
- Inspect and repair damaged equipment. Appliances, electronics, power tools and many other electrical devices have a plug and a lead, and often these parts get damaged. Inspect them on a regular basis and if you notice any frayed wires or other signs of damage, repair them before usage.
- Ask a professional electrician. If there is anything you aren’t sure about what to do, don’t risk trying to fix it. Instead, get in touch with a certified electrician and ask for advice. An electrical blunder is dangerous for your life and your property.
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What Are the Part P Building Regulations?
In the UK, Part P Building regulations provide guidance on electrical safety. According to these instructions, the electrical work you do in your home must meet the regulations for your own safety and the safety of anyone who enters your home. If a guest is electrocuted as a result of any electrical work you’ve done, which wasn’t compliant with these regulations, you can be prosecuted.
What Electrical Work Can You Do Yourself
In order to decide whether you need a certified professional to handle the electrical work, think about whether the work is covered by the Building Regulations. They mostly focus on partial and full rewires. These need to be signed off by your local authority and given to a certified electrician. Some work that is non-notifiable you can perform yourself. However, other tasks, even if they are non-notifiable, still need to be carried out by a certified professional.
According to the Approved Document P, the following work is notifiable and needs to be done by a certified electrician:
- Installation of a new circuit;
- Replacement of a consumer unit;
- Addition or alteration to existing circuits in special locations.
A special location is your bathroom, or any area in close proximity to a bath or shower, as well as a room containing a swimming pool or sauna heater.
All other work is non-notifiable, meaning you won’t need to give a building notice or deposit full plans. Minor tasks such as changing a socket cover or changing a lightbulb are something you can do by yourself; however, these tasks might still require a form of acknowledgement from a building supervisor; with regards to materials usage and necessity of the task. Any other completed tasks need to be inspected and tested by a registered competent person or a building control body.
Only trained and experienced personnel are allowed to make alterations. It is vital to leave any adjustments or repairs to a professional electrician that can certify the work done.
Your Responsibilities under Approved Document P
Electricity kills a lot of people in the UK each year and most accidents occur because the victims believed they could fix an electrical problem themselves without having the necessary knowledge and skills. Approved Document P states that any electrical installations must be carried out by a competent electrician with knowledge of electrical installations.
As a homeowner or landlord, it’s your duty to ensure the safety of your household or tenants. Abiding by Approved Document P means that these regulations have been met inside the house, garden, conservatories, garden sheds and any other part of your property. Or in other words, the installation job has been completed by a certified electrician.
If not, the local authority can enforce that the results of your electrical work are removed. If you don’t follow the document regulations and an electrical fault causes damage to your property, your house insurance will become invalid. If it endangers human life, you can be sued.
When you hire a professional electrician, they will ensure that the job is done according to the UK national standard, BS 7671. After that, the specialist will give you an Electrical Installation Certificate or Minor Work Certificate, depending on the job. Along with that, you will also receive a Building Regulations Compliance Certificate that would confirm the work meets the building regulations.
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Approved Document P Updates Frequently!
There are regular changes and updates done to Approved Document P and if you’re going to start any electrical work, your first job would be to check. In theory, most electrical work in a property needs a professional electrician.
Electrical failures should not be taken lightly. If you’re unsure that you can handle an electrical repair or installation job yourself, Fantastic Services advises not to risk it. Call a professional electrician and wait patiently!
- Always switch off and test the power before doing any electrical work.
- Part P Building Regulations are there to provide guidance on electrical safety.
- If you are trained and experienced, you can carry out electrical work that is not notifiable under the Building Regulations. However, any work done needs to be inspected and certified by a registered professional or building control body.
- As a homeowner, it’s your responsibility to abide by Approved Document P and ensure the safety of your home.
- Approved Document P updates frequently, so make sure to always check it before doing any electrical work.
Did you find this article useful? Do you have any further questions? Let us know in the comments!
Image source: Dmitry Kalinovsky/shutterstock.com
- Last update: April 28, 2020
Posted in Electrical Tips
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