Upcoming changes to Part P

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The UK government have just completed the initial phase a consultation period on Part P building regulations. The goal is to see if they are still fit for purpose and also to see if they can reduce red tape and ultimately unnecessary costs associated with this document.

What are the Building Regulations and what is their purpose?

Back in 1985 the government introduced the building regulations to improve health and safety both for tradesmen and their customers. Within the documents was “document P” otherwise known as “Part P” which covers how the building regulations impact upon electrical installation. The main aim is to prevent people from being electrocuted and also prevent fires cause by poor wiring and installation.
Why do we have Part P, and is there a need for it to be re-addressed?

Part P means that consumers can be confident that if they have electrical work carried out in their home, it will be done correctly and safely. It helps eliminate the cowboys from doing botch jobs and leaving dangerous installations to go wrong at a later date. The need to register as certified installer has meant that fires attributed to electrical faults have dropped by 17.5% since Part P was introduced. Since that time Part P has only been updated once in 2006 and as such it is probably about time that this was revisited.

The Consultation

The government is looking at 3 possible options which fall into the categories of:
Do nothing – Leave it as it is
Do away with Part P all together – Effectively reducing the need for Part P all together
Amend Part P
After initial investigations it was clear that doing away with Part P was not an option. Essentially the financial costs of doing away with the scheme outweighed the cost of keeping it in place and that is before we even look at the emotional and human consequences involved with injury and death.

It was also clear that doing nothing is not an option as it doesn’t address the reasons why the consultation was announced.

So it looks certain that there will be some kind of reform. Looking at the initial details this seems to be fairly minor. In essence the government is looking to reduce the amount of notifiable work from 45% to 40%. They will do this by removing red tape for low risk jobs opening up more work for those with some knowledge but who are not registered such as DIY’ers and electricians mates.

However on the flip side it looks as if the government will also be ensuring all electrical installation equipment sold will also carry warning labels highlighting that installation work should be carried out by a registered professional so it is likely that demand for registered installer with remain the same at least or increase as a result.

We are still waiting for the final results of the consultation but as this is a minor change to the regulations it is likely that most qualified electricians will only need an hour or so to update their knowledge. It will also mean that the range of existing part p courses will need to be updated too.

All we hope is that whatever changes are made in October 2012, they do not compromise the safety of individuals or electricians in the workplace or the home. If they do, then any financial savings will be negligible against the cost to human lives and injuries sustained.

To find out more about Part P courses or electrician training in general visit www.tradeskills4u.co.uk.

Article By: William Pollard

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