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.
Reply to
jlspam1
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.
Reply to
Phil L
In article , 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).
Reply to
Andrew Gabriel
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.)
Reply to
Piers Finlayson
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.
Reply to
John Rumm
What legislation? If you mean:
"Building control bodies will carry out the necessary inspection and testing at their expense, not at the householders' expense"
Taken from section 1.26 in
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building control officer just bounced it back with:
"Further to my earlier Email on the above I would explain our position as follows; The rationale on the Part P fee approach is based on Local Authorities having the authority to recover it's costs in performing its function. The £70.00 is purely an administrative charge and the £300.00 fee is based upon an inspection carried out by one of our representatives.
It would be the same situation if we used outside consultants to carry out some of our work on our behalf, we would include that cost to us within the set fee. Local Authorities have the jurisdiction to set fees to recover their costs."
and
"With respect to a Local Authority's legal position to fix charges I would refer you to The Statutory Instrument (1998/3129) Building(Local Authority Charges)Regulations 1998 and specifically regulation 3(1). Regarding paragraph 1.26 in Part P I would refer to what it states within every Approved Document in terms of its use, that is to say that the contents of the AD's are purely guidance and not legally binding."
Reply to
Cod Roe
On Tue, 22 Jan 2008 13:48:56 +0000 someone who may be Cod Roe wrote this:-
Is your MP Labour? If so ask them why their party lies to the public.
If they are not Labour, ask them to expose yet another piece of stupid government interference.
Reply to
David Hansen
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
Reply to
tom.harrigan
For what it is worth we currently have a Conservative MP. Would you care to expand on why you think the BCO is lying, if that is indeed what you are saying? I would like to collect evidence.
Reply to
Cod Roe
There is more - including a public letter from the then ODPM that makes the intent of the charging rationale of the legislation quite clear[1]. It explicitly instructs LAs not to charge over and above the building notice fee.
[1] used to be on the web - just trying to find it...
So one might respond with "so are you saying it is ok if I ignore part P entirely then since it is not legally binding".
Being more realistic the more of this stuff that can be collected and used to badger MPs the better.
Reply to
John Rumm
On Tue, 22 Jan 2008 08:34:42 +0000,it is alleged that Pete Verdon spake thusly in 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.
Reply to
Chip
On Tue, 22 Jan 2008 19:24:19 +0000 someone who may be Cod Roe wrote this:-
Then I would suggest considering the advice I offered for a non-Labour MP.
Let me add a word to what I typed. Is your MP Labour? If so ask them why their political party lies to the public.
Reply to
David Hansen
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.
Reply to
jlspam1
Is it this one?
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's another along similar lines, which deprecates trying to levy additional fees along the way for testing, i.e. ones which are not set out in a fixed scheme in advance.
That circular is all about councils not having the power to require householders to pay for and carry out tests to prove compliance with the regs. That's a different issue from whether the council can charge for their own costs of carrying out tests themselves, though (provided they set out the fees in a fixed scheme as per the general requirements).
I haven't traced through the legislation properly, but the SI which was quoted doesn't seem at first glance to say anything which precludes them charging for part p testing if they set up an appropriate fee scheme.
Reply to
boltmail
On Wed, 23 Jan 2008 04:51:04 -0800 (PST) someone who may be 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]
Reply to
David Hansen
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.
Reply to
Man at B&Q
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
Reply to
Pete Verdon
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.
Reply to
John Rumm
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, that was one of them - well found!
In reality is is probably just complicated enough that they can flannel their way out of most challenges to the practice alas.
Reply to
John Rumm

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