Sometimes electricians are simply unavailable in your area and you’re left with an electrical failure that just ruins your day. So, why shouldn’t you try to fix the problem yourself? Well, the Fantastic Services team advises proceeding with great caution, because electrical work isn’t for everybody and much less if you’re someone with no comprehensive training whatsoever.

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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 or be given to a certified electrician. If the work is not notifiable under the Building Regulations, you can do it yourself if you feel confident in your electrical skills.

Bear in mind that close proximity to water sources or a high demand of appliances can turn even a small electrical task into a dangerous one. In these instances, you need to notify your Building Control Department.

The following explains what is allowed to be done by a non-certified person, however, this is only a generalization. Check with the Building Control Department of your Local Council, first.

  • Connecting a cooker to an existing connection unit. Requires no notification, no matter the room.
  • Replacing a damaged cable for a single circuit. Requires no notification, no matter the place.
  • Replacing a damaged socket outlet. Requires no notification, no matter the place.
  • Replacing a light fitting. Requires no notification, no matter the place.
  • Fitting a final connection of a storage heater. Requires no notification, no matter the place.
  • Installation of an additional socket. You can do this by yourself without having to call a professional. However, if the socket is within a kitchen, a notification of your building control department is needed. Or you can leave the job to a certified contractor.
  • Installation of additional light. Again, you can do it by yourself, unless you’re installing it in a kitchen, a bathroom or a wet room of any kind. Or you can leave the job to a certified contractor.
  • Additional fused connection unit to ring the final circuit. You can do it yourself unless the area is in a kitchen or a wet room. Or you can leave the job to a certified contractor.
  • Installation or an upgrade of a main or supplementary equipotential bonding. You can do it yourself unless the area is in a kitchen or a wet room. Or you can leave the job to a certified contractor.

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!

Image source: Dmitry Kalinovsky/shutterstock.com

Posted in Electrical Tips

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