Part P. Again. Legally.

Well actually this is my first post on the subject, but my searches did not find answers to my queries. Be warned, this is a relatively long post, so if you need the loo then go now and if you are in a rush then don't bother reading this....
I'm in the process of some major DIY work around my house, I have ceilings down, busy plastering walls and putting in some simple plumbing for a new toilet and other. In the process I have been looking up at the upstairs wiring from underneath, and poking around finally tracing all my wiring circuits.
Naturally I have come to conclusion that in 135+ years the wiring has evolved into "a right bloody mess" (yes, I know its not going to be all that time). Rings have been added to and spurred to death. Some of the wiring is archaic. There are numerous examples of non BS7671 compliance to the modern versions that might of been ok back then, and no doubt are not placing me in imminent danger - but I would like removed and replaced.
So a staged rewire is called for - since I have such splendid access to large parts of my house I can put in new circuits and then remove the old. If I do this circuit by circuit then I should be able to manage the transition in a week off work.
Which brings me to our old favorite discussion of Part P. I have lurked around enough to know this is an emotive subject.
I am not by my nature inclined to rush into things - I have had a month or two to think about this. I have in that time acquired off eBay and other net sources full NICEIC docs, IEE onsite/testing, two complete fixed installation training course, complete 7671 and other misc matieral. I have also acquired a almost full suite of test equipment (ok, some of it is outside calibration by a year or so) and done a complete test run on one of the existing circuits (which it all passed, apart from a single polarity fault). Its amazing what you can pick up on the internet these days. I have also, on paper, been designing the new circuits I want, the changes required to the consumer unit, where conduit is required and so forth. I have also already added in some missing bonding. In a few more weeks of reading and research I will count myself ready to actually do some real work on the house.
Yes, I know house wiring is not complicated - some of the newer parts of my mess I did myself before Part P came into force. But I can appreciate now - I did not before I read all the documentation - that it is not a simple as I once thought, and there are many pitfalls that can turn a safe installation into a dangerous one. I will gladly eat some humble pie and my metaphorical hat for some of my more virulent anti Part P rantings years ago.
Anyhow, now I am trying to legally - and I stress the point legally - rewire sections of my house. I am not interested in dropping in some pre Part P non harmonized wires in a wall and pretending it was done in 2003. I am not interested in a potentially unsafe installation. I am ONLY interested in wiring that meets 7671, is certified as tested by an approved person and is signed of by building control. I have already put in for a building notice for a staged rewiring. I need legal cover on this to keep my house insurance legit, and frankly I would want it for my peace of mind as well.
I added the other background information, just so people would (hopefully) get the idea that I am not blundering blindly into dangerous waters without carrying out as much research as I can.
These are my options as I see them.
1. chase out, remove boards, cut box holes and in every way prepare the groundwork for each circuit and then get an approved person out to fit and test. This has the advantage of getting certification for design and installation as well as testing.
2. as above, then fit the circuit and test it all myself before commissioning it. I then get the work inspected for 7671 and use the test certificate to close of the building notice - building control are happy with this (several long conversations with them). they will not test wiring, they are only interested in any changes I make to the material fabric of the building. I do this circuit by circuit.
3. as above for all circuits one by one and then get them all tested simultaneously. probably the cheapest of all, but means I will be running my house on formally untested wiring for a week or so.
Does anybody have any comments?
I think a good compromise is to wire up a simple circuit, then test that to gain confidence and gain feedback from the chosen approved contractor before tackling the rest. I intend that all chases will be covered with a plastering duct nailed to the wall until the work is certified - only then will I fill and plaster. Does this sound sensible?
7671 has another few items of note for me - there are some requirements for complete rewires or major works (like mains smokes, heat detectors) that I assume I now need to add a few new circuits too?
A big problem I have is under the ground floor, I need to buy a cavity access kit to get though the TnG flooring. The floor is suspended over the original concrete shop floor (think concrete, 8 inches of air then joists then floor). I cannot remove the floor and the cavity access kit will give me a few little 7" holes to feed wires through. My first thought was to use MI or armoured cable (in case rodents ever get under the floor) and then feed enough through so the cables lie along the old concrete shop floor. This will be expensive - but it would support the cable and prevent the classic fire risk of rats eating thermoplastic*, can anybody advise if this is a good idea? (the current solution has wiring behind skirting boards not designed for the job, and has to go - I deactivated that circuit already).
*I don't think I have rats, or any other rodent. In any case running over concrete there is very little fire risk. But why take the chance? peace of mind is cheap at the cost of better cable.
I need a new consumer unit, and even though there is a rather large isolation switch between the tails and my consumer unit - I am not doing this job. I know enough not to venture where my confidence is not absolute. The existing one does not support a split RCD layout to separate the circuits as advised by 7671 - or it might do and I only need to rearrange and fit RCDs, I'll take advice on this one.
Lastly I need a competent person to inspect. As far I am aware there are two tiers - competent people and full certified body approved like the NICEIC. What is the minimum I should look for in terms of who to inspect?
If anybody has any comment then please let me know, I am open to all advice and comment. Any sparkys out there - your comments advice would be invaluable, after all you do this stuff for your job. I don't, and believe me I am aware of that.
I have noticed two attitudes I find puzzling in my research, maybe this will sound familiar to some of you. Firstly the building control attitude - they are simply not interested at all. The duty surveyor I last spoke to more or less told me that everybody just made changes and ignored part P, this I find incredible as it implies that many of them have not read the T&C on their building insurance - or have no insurance. More to the point, for building control to insinuate this implies they find the whol thing to be a waste of time, they certainly don't seem overly interested in the job. As long as I proffer inspection certificates they they are happy, its not even certain that they will ever inspect the job before completion.
The trade attitude is noticeable as well. There seems a total absolute certainty that any DIY electrical work is a disaster area and we (DIYers) should not be trusted with our own electric tooth brushes. I found, frankly, the attitude of some trades people to be insulting. I am definitely not tarring all trades people with the same brush, some have been incredibly helpful and polite - but others have been amazingly rude. The same attitude can be found in much of the trade paperwork and instructions/documentation (of which I have alot now). Is this generic? I can understand that there are some appallingly bad DIYers out there - but there are also others who are exacting master craftsmen in their own right. Has anybody else noticed this?
Back to continuing my research - if anybody has read this far or added helpful comments then my grateful thanks. And if anybody can recommend a NICEIC approved contractor who is willing to inspect in Southampton...
J.
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snipped-for-privacy@btinternet.com wrote:

Tradesmen are, on the whole, pissed off by DIY'ers wanting them to inspect their work free of charge. I don't say this with any disrespect to you or any other DIY'er, but from the tradesman's POV, he's making feckall in order to point out what he sees as glaring mistakes all over the place....yes, I know they get paid, but they don't get paid for having people argue the toss with them and going through the intricasies of a detailed 'plan of attack' WRT the customer's latest 'quest' and spending 45 minutes generally explaining how to do the job, they want to be in, look around for 5 minutes, then go home and so most just won't even bother turning up.
If it were me, I would ring a few electricians and let them take a look at the house, giving them the opportunity to price up at least /some/ of the work. If you then tell them that you can do the first fix if they can come back and connect up, they will probably be more than happy to do this, coupled with the fact that you will do the plastering / floorboard replacement etc and any other donkey work, they will issue a part P cert and you'll save a bundle.
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I'm pissed off by electricians turning up in Mercedes and BMWs demanding hourly rates that would make a lawyer blush.
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Steve Firth wrote:

No shortage of lawyers though it seems... ;-)
--
Cheers,

John.

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Leave one in a room and it divides asexually.
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Two in the room & their bills multiply rapidly!
Don.
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On Sat, 26 Jan 2008 22:55:22 -0000, "cerberus"

A town that can't support one lawyer can often support two.
--
Regards, Paul Herber, Sandrila Ltd.
http://www.sandrila.co.uk/ http://www.pherber.com /
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Steve Firth wrote:

They would not want to waste effort screwing each other now would they?
--
Cheers,

John.

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I don't know about that.
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     snipped-for-privacy@btinternet.com writes:

I have. I've never seen any such restrictions in any policy. What does yours actually say?

I've heard a number of instances of BCO's telling people to ignore Part P -- they know it's a pointless waste of time and money. Sounds like that was the view of yours too.

Did you expect any different? Remember, they will only ever see the DIY that goes wrong, so they can't have a balanaced view. (Actually it's worse than that -- they generally assume any poor wiring they see is DIY and good wiring isn't, regardless if that's the case or not, and it re-enforces their misguided view that DIY wiring is all bad.) Other than initial wiring, most domestic wiring is DIY or odd-job-man in this country.

For your building inspection, the inspection has to be done or arranged by the BCO (or not done if they don't want to -- that's up to them). You can't get it inspected by someone else -- that's contrary to Part P, and the BCO is not permitted to ask you to do this, nor are they permitted to ask you to pay for it. If someone else does inspect it and do Part P paperwork for it, you never needed to do a building application in the first place (it's an either/or case).
--
Andrew Gabriel
[email address is not usable -- followup in the newsgroup]
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Andrew Gabriel wrote:

I'm glad to hear it - I too live in Southampton :-)
Pete
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On Tue, 22 Jan 2008 08:34:42 +0000,it is alleged that Pete Verdon
uk.d-i-y:

AOL, I may have to contact building control myself as I want to put in outside sockets (on their own circuits).. if our local building control have an anti part P attitude, it'll make me very happy.
--
_
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I'll choose my words carefully and clarify the matter. They do not seem anti Part P, they just seem very wearied by the whole thing. They know there is a large amount of non-compliance either by non- notification or by people using non harmonized equipment after the date. Like all people they want an easy life and are seeking to get it, and so they have my sympathy - I cannot imagine it is easy dealing with people who are convinced they are correct or inside their rights every day.
I myself am not anti Part P - I am however annoyed about the way it has been implemented and crammed down the throat of the general public. The regulations are there for a reason, and much of 7671 reads more like common sense and wise precautions. I think we all know what can happen when a house is wired badly.
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On Wed, 23 Jan 2008 04:51:04 -0800 (PST) someone who may be snipped-for-privacy@btinternet.com wrote this:-

If this happens then it is part of the job. If they don't like it and they are capable of getting another job then they can do so.

I am.
The objective of making the Wiring Regulations enforceable down south was a worthy one and would have brought the south into line with the old Scottish system. Had they just done this then I would have been in favour and it would have been simple.
However, officials seem incapable of doing something simple. Perhaps they enjoy the challenge of making things as complicated and inpenetrable as possible. They are also influenced by vested interests. The CORGI con is an earlier example of the same thing. As a result they make things unnecessarily complicated.
In this particular case there was also the MP going on about the death of her daughter, sad but nothing to do with DIY as the cable had been installed by "professionals" [1]. Part P has done nothing to prevent a recurrence, even if it was followed completely, as it does not cover the erecting of utensil racks.
The Scots have now gone even further with this stupidity. Whether one is permitted to do work on a house without wasting money on the like of CORGI cons now depends on the number of storeys in the house.
Officials have yet to provide any evidence that the CORGI con has made gas work safer. However, they have taken the opportunity to use it to allow themselves to spy on people. "Rogue" gas fitters who are not part of the CORGI con were a specific example raised when the Home Office wanted to extend the spying provisions of RIP (see my sig) to every Tom, Dick and Harriet they could think of. Although watered down a little the brain-dead people who only think what their pager tells them to think voted the Tom, Dick and Harriet provisions through the Westminster rogue's gallery.
I doubt if they will be able to produce any evidence on this con, but they will certainly use it to expand their empires.
[1] <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3735928.stm
--
David Hansen, Edinburgh
I will *always* explain revoked encryption keys, unless RIP prevents me
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On Jan 23, 12:51pm, snipped-for-privacy@btinternet.com wrote:

What? How often does it happen? Do tell.
Compared to other sources of "electrical" accidents like tripping over trailing extension leads used to circumvent Part P or hanging clothes too close to electric fires it hardly registers on the scale.
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snipped-for-privacy@btinternet.com wrote:

What is Part P apart from a cramming down the throat? As far as I'm aware it doesn't add any new technical requirements, it simply mandates the giving of money to the local council and associated bureaucracy.

Right. I have gone to a certain amount of trouble (less than it might have been thanks to the assistance of this newsgroup) and expense to ensure that my shed power supply will be reliable, safe, and in accordance with _technical_ regulations. But none of it (and by implication, your comment above) has anything to do with Part P.
Pete
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snipped-for-privacy@btinternet.com wrote:

The real danger from part P is that some people will take notice of it, and as a result more people will die. What would be nice would be to see if a charge of contributory manslaughter could be brought against the prime movers who implemented such a daft and counter productive bit of legislation in the first place!

Yes, not much usually. I agree that BS7671 is well thought out and worth following, but part P makes the likelihood of people doing this lesser rather than greater.
--
Cheers,

John.

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On 22 Jan, 00:39, snipped-for-privacy@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel) wrote:

It is the policy of my local Building Control department that you _must_ provide a certificate from third party if you aren't Part P registered or "qualified". For a full rewire they want a periodic inspection.
T
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It is my understanding, and IANAL, thart there is no legal requirement to follow "Part P". There is an Act (and I don't recall which one) which covers building work. One way to follow this Act is to follow the Building Regulations, of which Part P is one. However the Act does not require you to follow the Building Regs - this is simply one way of ensuring compliance with the Act. There are other ways of following the Act - but it's simply easier to tell a court when prosecuted that you followed Part P (and being able to prove with a certificate) than go into a long involved explanation of why what you did is OK (ie "I followed BS 7671 in this way, that way and other way ...").
I'm pretty sure I got this impression from Building Regulations in Brief. My copy (which is pre-Part P) is still packed up since moving house so I can't check.
And, as Mr Gabriel says, my house insurance neither says nor implies anything about me doing electrical work on my house! (Nor does it comment on plumbing, etc.)
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snipped-for-privacy@btinternet.com wrote:

ok it was a bit of a slog, but I got to the end.... ;-)

I would hardly call doing the work in a week "staged" - I would tend to treat that simply as a rewire - but with less making good after.

Seems to be getting less so (pretty much everyone thinks its a waste of space now)

When you stop and think, is part P really the answer to that question? People who in their nature bodge will do so regardless of legislation. Just think what you could have done with for example a govt sponsored scheme that made good quality information such as you have sought, readily available and at a reasonable price. It would have a far bigger impact on safety.

Since it does not sound like you are planning to cover up all the work immediately that makes testing after the fact possible. Note that obviously that is all a third party can do - they can't sign it off for part P for you. That can only be done by the person doing the work or by building control.

Option 0 would have to be to badger the BCOs to do what the legislation requires - accept your own test results, or if they want independent verification to test it themselves (or hire a subcontractor to do it) and do it all at their own expense since you have already paid for this service with your building notice fee.
(and yes I realise this is a financial disaster for them, but that is hardly your problem)

By implication you will have had to do some of the design work already even at this stage...
If you go this route piecemeal then it may work out expensive.

Workable.
This is obviously the best option if you are going to end up footing the bill.
I note your use of the word "formally", but in reality the thing that matters is proper testing - regardless of who carries it out. You have the equipment and the information to do a proper job of this, and more importantly better motivation than anyone else to get it right.

It sounds fine. Although I expect that just installing and testing the first circuit will give you all the confidence that you need. Since it is not building control signing off the work via inspection the ability to see wiring runs etc is a bit of a moot point. An electrician doing a an inspection and test would not normally be able to see this either.
So the intent of the inspection regime has already been watered down by the way your LA is choosing to work.

Ignoring the regulations for a moment, common sense suggests that adding smoke detectors is a very worthwhile activity at this point. As may be some emergency lighting.

You have several options here... I expect most electricians in the same situation would simply lay ordinary T&E under the floor space and allow it to rest on the concrete. You are not talking about a big drop by the sounds of it - only 8" more than the space under your upstairs floor.
You could use SWA - it is not as expensive as you think. MICC would want clipping to a joist or something along the route that may make it impractical in this situation. It also requires more tools etc to terminate.
The most practical solution may be to treat it like many modern properties and simply wire the ground floor from above - chasing down the walls etc (cynics may argue that if you are following part M recommendations on socket heights, you are half way up the wall already!)

Sticking it in a chase in a wall makes it even less vulnerable to damage from rodents. (unless they are fond of hanging pictures)

You really want to do this bit first then, there is no point installing all your new wiring to an old CU and then replacing it. Not only does this make extra work, there is no guarantee that the wiring layout will be the same, and it would be a shame to have to start crimping 5" wire extensions onto new wiring to make it reach a MCB etc.

Since your real confidence will come from your own testing, you are looking for the cheapest way to keep the LA happy. Membership of various trade bodies does not confer competence in the true sense, so to an extent you take pot luck. Having said that, from the information you have and your own testing, it would be quickly apparent to you if the work is being done to an acceptable standard.

I can understand their position, so don't find it that surprising. I am a little surprised how many of them seem to ignore their responsibilities as laid out by part P though.

I have not seen any T&Cs that prevent DIY electrical work... more to the point I have not heard any suggestion that insures have tried to escape their liabilities using this as an excuse (which actually surprises me since they will usually use anything else they can!)

I expect that they genuinely do think it is a waste of time. Even if one notionally supports the idea that the activity should be in some way regulated on controlled, the shear incompetence of the implementation of the legislation has rendered it worthless.

You may find if you filled em out yourself there is a fair chance they would accept them. (especially if you did not draw their attention to the fact that the contractors name may seem familiar!)
I expect that the BC departments only interest is making it all go away with as little risk of comeback on themselves. So if it can be reduced to a rubber stamping exercise all the better since it leave them to worry about real issues.

The fact that some feel they can be obnoxious and get away with it (i.e. still have ample work) is a reflection on it being a sellers market perhaps. No doubt they do get to see plenty of botched wiring.
(having said that - most of the truly dangerous bodges I have seen have been done by so called professionals)

Can't say I have seen it in the paperwork, although I don't have copies of any of the NICIEC stuff. The IEE stuff seems neutral on the subject.
With the trade bodies it is in their interest to promote their superiority over the great unwashed since this yields and justifies membership.
Note that many of these bodies were instrumental in pushing this legislation through in the first place, and when you think about it, are the only people to derive any benefit from it.
--
Cheers,

John.

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