New Electrical Regs

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On Mon, 01 Sep 2003 17:19:49 +0100, PoP

Following the announcement in July, I wrote again to my MP, John Redwood, on the subject. He in turn wrote to Jeff Rooker and eventually a reply was provided by Nick Raynsford, Minister of State for Local and Regional Government. I received a copy of this with a covering letter from John Redwood last week.
I won't include all of Nick Raynsford's letter - the preamble is a repeat of what is on the ODPM web site, but herewith a few paragraphs:
"Electrical installers will have two ways to comply with the new requirements. They may choose to become a member of a competent person scheme. Such members will need to demonstrate that they have the competence to carry out work to the standards of BS7671 (the Wiring Regulations) before they will be able to join a scheme. If they can demonstrate this they will be able to self-certify their work complies with the B uilding Regulations without having to submit a building notice to the local authority or pay a building control fee. There is likely to be an annual fee to join such a scheme but until applications to operate such schemes are received I cannot tell you what such fees might be.
The alternative is to submit a building notice the the local authority and pay a building control fee. All DIY work will need to follow this route. It will be for electrical installers to decide on the basis of what is most suitable for their business whether to join a competent person scheme or use the local authority route. Where the local authority route is followed it will be for building control officers to inspect an installation and make sure that it is safe.
Mr. Hall is concerned that building control officers will not be able to provide all the support and inspection required. It is true that most local authorities would not have this expertise at the moment. We anticipate that much of the electrical installation work done will be done by members of competent person schemes and local authorities will not normally need to inspect it. All local authority building control departments will, however, need to train staff to deal with electrical installation work and, where necessary, contract with outside experts to help them. At the very least they will need to deal with all notifiable DIY work.
The Government is of course mindful that the electrical contraacting industry and householders should not be overburdened by unnecessary regulation. We have therefore decided to exempt much minor electrical work from notification under the new requirements - for example, adding additional power points, spurs or lighting fixtures to an existing circuit - as the risk to safety is low. Much of this work is typically done on a DIY basis and in this respect will continue as at present. Because of the increased risk all electrical work in kitchens and bathrooms will be notifiable.
The Government recognise that that there will be some extra costs for both householders and electrical installers from these new requirements. In most cases the extra costs should be relatively modest. We believe they will be justified by the reduction in deaths, injuries and fires. As the new requirements will affect all carry out electrical installation work, including that done on a DIY basis, small electrical contractors should not be placed at a competitive disadvantage because of their introduction."
From John Redwood's letter:
"I have had the attached very unsatisfactory reply for the Deputy Prime Minister's Office about new rules for electrical safety in domestic buildings.
The Minister tells us that the reason for introducing the new requirements is to reduce the number of fatal accidents, injuries and fires caused by faulty installations. Effectively, this government's plans will mean we will all have to pay more for any electrical work to be carried out, whether by submitting a notice to the local authority, or hiring an electrical firm to do the work. It will also result in more bureaucracy, red tape and delays as Councils struggle to cope with the increase in applications and inspections.
Please be assured I will continue to press the government hard to consider workable alternatives which will address safety without unnecessary bureaucratic expense."
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