Moving into a new home in the United Kingdom (UK) requires certain salient things to be put in place. While getting the perfect sitting arrangement and internal decoration is important, getting your domestic electrical wiring right is paramount as this pertains to the safety of life and property. This article takes you through what you need to know about carrying out a domestic electrical wiring and repair in your home and whether or not you need a registered electrician to get the job done.
What is Domestic Electrical Installation?
Law Insider defines domestic electrical installation as the construction or installation of electrical wiring and the permanent attachment or installation of electrical products in or on any structure that is not itself an electrical product.
However, this is not only limited to first time installation. The maintenance and repair of installed electrical wiring in dwellings is also covered in the scope of domestic electrical wiring or installation.
Domestic electrical installation itself is under the umbrella of Building Regulations and covers the design, installation, inspection and testing of domestic electrical wiring. Building Regulations in the UK got stricter in 2005 when all domestic electrical wiring and domestic electrical testing had to meet the requirements of Part P of the regulations. This includes whether the work was done by a professional or as DIY.
What Is Part P of the Building Regulations?
As stated above, UK residents have to ensure that any notifiable domestic electrical wiring installed after January 2005 complies with Part P of the new Building Regulations. According to Electrical Safety First, electrical wiring in a dwelling is notifiable to a local building control body where the work involves a low voltage or extra-low voltage (typically 230 V) circuit; replacing a fusebox/consumer unit; testing of an existing circuit in special locations (parts of bathrooms).
Non-notifiable work includes everything else such as additions or alterations to existing installations where new circuits are not required.
The Part P of the new Building Regulations is intended to keep families safe from fire, injury or electric shock that may come from the use, maintenance or alteration of the domestic electrical wiring in a dwelling. On April 6, 2013, amendments to the Part P requirements for England took effect.
On April 6, 2013, amendments to the Part P requirements for England took effect.
In the event that you have to sell your property, you would need to present your purchaser’s surveyors with evidence that notifiable domestic electrical wiring complies with Part P of the new Building Regulations.
The UK Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (gov.uk) provides how to prove compliance. It states that the work must meet up with the applicable requirements of the Building Regulations and that the work on the building must be no more unsatisfactory before the domestic electrical wiring was carried out.
Part P regulations require that socket heights are a minimum of 450mm above floor level, while light switches must be a maximum height of 1.2m from the floor. This, however, does not apply to kitchens and garages.
It is also required that cables are run vertically or horizontally — not diagonally — across walls to sockets and switches. Also, fuseboards in domestic electrical wiring systems must be enclosed in a metal box — not plastic cases. This is as a result of the fact that substandard wiring can cause plastic enclosures to overheat and ignite. Hence, domestic electrical wiring must comply with Building Regulations of using non-combustible materials.
Domestic Electrical Wiring: RCDs, RCBOs & Circuits
The meter which belongs to the electricity board is where electrical systems start from. This is followed by your fuseboard then to the Residual Current Device (RCD), and then it is distributed to the dwelling’s circuits.
Residual Current Devices (RCD) help to halt the flow of electricity in situations where there is an imbalance of electric current from a circuit. When an RCD performs this, it is indicative of the fact that the power going into the circuit, flowing through and returning, is not stable. The importance of an RCD cannot be overemphasized, especially when putting into consideration the need to comply with the Building Regulations. RCDs can prevent instances of life-threatening electric shock.
UK domestic dwellings typically use single-phase supply. However, a three-phase supply is needed if what you’re installing has a high peak load. An inverter can be used to convert a single-phase supply to that of three-phase.
A three-phase supply, however, requires that you use an industrial fuseboard which costs more than the domestic version. Building Regulations also require that you use individual Residual Current Circuit Breakers (RCBOs) with overcurrent protection.
It is needful to have different circuits so that there are other options if one trips. There is also the need to prevent loading of circuits. There should be separate circuits for your lighting, sockets, oven, boiler, electric heater, as well as your heating system. Cable sizes determine the limit to how much load a circuit can take.
Domestic Electric Installation Condition Report
An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), is a periodic inspection report on the safety of the fixed wiring in a domestic dwelling. This domestic electrical testing report has also been labelled as the ‘Landlord Safety Test’ or ‘Homebuyers Test’.
An EICR inspection in your home should be carried out every 10 years. Rented properties should have their domestic electrical testing conducted every 5 years or if a new tenant takes over the place. The EICR ensures that residents are kept safe from any electrical shocks or fires. The tests are conducted by highly qualified electricians.
There are two broad types of domestic EICR. The first is the visual condition report. Domestic electrical testing is not covered under this. This report is recommended for wiring that has recently been tested. The second which the periodic inspection report is more recommended as it is comprehensive and will test all your installations, even to the parts that you would often overlook. It should be noted that domestic dwellings before or during the 1960s are in serious need of EICR.
An effective EICR should find and report any electrical faults that could be hazardous; check electrical installations and wiring to ensure they meet Building Regulations; identify components that could cause electric shocks; keep records of the inspection for future purposes.
C&M electrical contractors provide you excellent and quality work in domestic electrical installation and repair. Our vision is to become the topmost household name in electricals. We assure you to provide all kinds of support you may be looking for. You can also expect timely service with high standards and at the best possible price in the midlands.
Definition of Electrical Installations, https://www.lawinsider.com/dictionary/electrical-installations
Building regulations in England – Electrical Safety First, https://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/find-an-electrician/building-regulations/england/
Electrics: The Basics – Homebuilding & Renovating, https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.homebuilding.co.uk/amp/advice/electrics
House wiring for beginners – DIY WIKI, http://wiki.diyfaq.org.uk/index.php/House_Wiring_for_Beginners
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