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
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."
To email, substitute .nospam with .gl
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