- 1 ‘Notifiable’ and ‘non-notifiable’ work
- 2 Alternative certificates
- 3 Building Control (‘Part P’) Certificate
- 4 Summary
A ‘Part P’ certificate, otherwise known as a Building Control certificate, proves that a specific electrical task conducted within a domestic dwelling has been carried out safely and compliantly. The term Part P refers to a specific section of the Buildings Regulations legislation. The Building Regulations (2010) is a statutory document commissioned by the government. It sets out a raft of regulatory measures that all builders and tradesmen must legally comply with.
Up to 2005, electrical professionals were not mandated to have a working knowledge of the Building Regulations. However, a legislative amendment changed the goalposts. It meant that electricians and domestic installers would need to acquire a robust grasp of the detail contained in its Part P section, which relates to the execution of electrical craftsmanship in a residential environment. Ultimately, the Part P guidelines determine that electrical professionals must be aware of the inherent risk of their activities. Specifically, this refers to the threat of fire or electric shock. Furthermore, it emphasises that appropriate steps must be taken to mitigate against these hazards. This supports electricians to protect their clients, the public, and themselves whilst delivering electrical works.
‘Notifiable’ and ‘non-notifiable’ work
All electrical tasks delivered in the context of domestic properties can be categorised into two workstreams. These are ‘notifiable’ and ‘non-notifiable’. Due to the complexity and potential dangers of ‘notifiable’ work, any activity within this bracket must be communicated to the Local Authority Building Control, prior to the task commencing.
The Local Building Authority Control, or LABC, is an arm of the council’s safety apparatus. Their main role is to ensure that building work does not compromise the safety of occupants, and is completed in alignment with Part P standards. Therefore, during ‘notifiable’ work, several interactions between installer and council take place. This is delivered in an effort to ensure the LABC’s aforementioned key objective becomes a reality. Thus, correspondence occurs not only before works are launched, but also during and immediately after, where a final validation visit is required to ‘sign-off’ the project. When this full process has been concluded, the Local Building Authority Control will release a Building Control/Part P certificate.
Part P licensing schemes
However, to reduce over-reliance on the LABC, the government sanctioned the introduction of a series of ‘Part P’ schemes. These licensing programmes give electricians and domestic installers the opportunity to self-certify otherwise ‘notifiable’ work. This means that no contact has to be made with the LABC either before or during works. Indeed, the only mandated communication is to inform the Local Building Authority Control when a task or project has been completed and certified.
The role of the C&G 2393-10
Licenses are acquired by demonstrating a level of competence in relation to the Part P section of the Building Regulations. In order to attain the relevant knowledge needed to support a Part P scheme application, many individuals register for a suitable Part P course. The most popular learning module in this enterprise is the C&G 2393-10. This is a City & Guilds sponsored qualification. The City and Guilds body is a reputable skills and certification provider, that support training endeavours across a number of sectors.
Most private learning facilitators who adopt the C&G module will offer two alternate course frameworks. In this endeavour, they will offer one structure for relative novices, and another for more experienced electricians. Course duration, regardless of which avenue you opt for, tends to be shorter than most other C&G qualifications. Nevertheless, delegates will emerge with a robust understanding on the role, function, and content of the Part P regulations (and an overview of the remaining passages within the Building Regulations). This undoubtedly enhances an attendee’s chances of successfully acquiring a license. Even more importantly, it gives them the tools to address relevant scenarios when out in the trade.
The disadvantages of not acquiring Part P license
Without a license, electrical workers are clearly dependent on the Local Building Authority Control to initially give them the green light, and then again at their mercy when it comes to the commissioning stage. Due to the volume of LABC requests, return communication can be subject to delays. If the process becomes overly protracted, this could lead to client frustration, loss of brand credibility, and could compromise earnings potential, in more ways than one. Remember, time is money, and preservation of business reputation is an extremely important contributor towards positive commercial performance.
Furthermore, the LABC charges for this service, and it can therefore quickly become a costly endeavour. For those installers registered to a Part P scheme, a comparatively small charge is paid to the LABC on confirmation of works completion, and a negligible annual fee is given to their programme provider. However, when offsetting these minimal costs against those incurred by individuals who don’t have a license, one can quickly identify which approach is far more profitable!
‘Non-notifiable’ tasks, which are deemed safer to conduct, do not need to be similarly cascaded to the LABC. Therefore, individuals can press on without needing to receive external authorisation.
Examples of notifiable and non-notifiable work
In order to better understand what types of activities fall into these opposing classifications, we’ve listed some typical tasks aligned to each. However, it should be noted that these lists are not exhaustive.
- Implementation of a new installation or circuit.
- Consumer unit replacement.
- Domestic re-wiring. This process occurs approximately every 25-30 years, and presides over a full and thorough update to all wiring systems within a domestic property. This means that electrical circuits and controls are brought up to contemporary standards, and, in cases where defects are apparent, are made fit for purpose.
- Any work delivered within a ‘Special Location’. These unique spaces are detailed in the bs7671 wiring regulations, a key piece of literature that guides industry stakeholders on the compliant delivery of any electrical installation, in any context. Given their natural environments, Special Locations demand that additional precautions are taken to control the level of risk. In a typical home, this type of work would usually be reserved for bathrooms, shower wells, and wet rooms. Saunas and swimming pools also fall under the ‘Special Location’ definition. However, clearly, in a domestic setting, examples of these items are few and far between!
- Integrating extra lighting fittings into a pre-existing lighting system
- Installing an external light by similarly absorbing it into a current circuit.
- Installing extra sockets or lighting fixtures by utilising an already established electrical configuration system.
Clearly, none of this activity should be classed as non-notifiable if it takes place in a ‘Special Location’ environment. This would be automatically deemed as notifiable work.
It’s important to remember that all electrical work, regardless of scale or difficulty, must be accompanied by appropriate certification. Aside from the Building Control certificate, there are two other documents that are used for this purpose. These items are Minor Works Certificates and Electrical Installation Certificates.
Minor Works Certificates
As the title suggests, Minor Works Certificates are dispensed when tasks are relatively limited in complexity and scope. This type of certification should never be administered in instances where a new circuit, instalment, or consumer unit has been implemented. Indeed, this document is restricted to works completed on existing systems and wiring enclosures.
Given the scope of activity typically associated with Minor Works Certificates, its documentation contains only a few notes on the task undertaken. This short article is then completed by referencing several basic facts. This includes the name of the electrician executing the works, some high-level client information, and the results generated from the inspection and testing process delivered during commissioning.
Examples of when a Minor Works Certificate should be composed include:
- Addressing a broken light fixture.
- Replacing a shower unit, providing its electrical components run to the same specification as the discarded device.
- Electrical Cooker installation, providing this work does not result in altering the supplying circuit’s configuration.
- Installing a socket extension
- Installing extra light fittings to an already established lighting system
- Taking out a superfluous ‘spur’ within a central heating boiler.
Electrical Installation Certificates
In all other scenarios, Electrical Installation Certificates should be utilised. In contrast to the tasks connected to Minor Works Certificates, EIC documentation is pulled together mostly on the back of work associated with new instalments and circuits. However, as documented below, there are some instances where Electrical Installation Certificates are produced based on work delivered within existing circuits and instalments.
Certification content is far more detailed than its Minor Works counterpart. Additional commentary on the condition of instalments is included, alongside an extensive record of measurements. There is also a completely new section, which alludes to the circuit’s future inspection timetable. However, this will refer only to ‘new’ systems and instalments, as existing installations should already be subjected to periodic testing, and have an established assessment schedule in place.
Until all suitable tests have been executed, results information has been collated, and this detail has been summarily added to its notes, a certificate is not valid. Therefore, no certification, regardless of whether its falls under the Minor Works or Electrical Installation category, should be given to the client until it is fully completed.
Examples of when an Electrical Installation Certificate should be composed include:
- Conducting any re-wiring activity, whether that be aligned to on an isolated circuit or a full, domestic re-wire.
- Installing new circuits to support new lighting systems or configurations.
- Installing new circuits to support new lighting systems or configurations in Special Locations
- Altering the power supply on a shower unit
Which certificate is appropriate?
So, whenever addressing a scope of works, make sure you opt for the correct certification. This is vitally important for not only compliance and regulatory purposes, but also for the client themselves. When a homeowner decides to sell their property, prospective buyers are entitled to ask for proof of any electrical works conducted. If recorded tasks have been captured on the wrong documentation, then this can cause huge headaches for the seller!
Building Control (‘Part P’) Certificate
As per the previous certificates analysed, the Building Control Certificate denotes a raft of key information. This is designed to inform the client of any issues, and provide assurances on the work completed.
This certificate includes:
- Confirmation that the electrician or domestic installer delivered the task in line with guidance articulated in regulations notes 4 and 7 within the Part P section of the Building Regulations.
- The electrical worker’s name, and, if registered to a specific certification scheme (which will be more than likely), their registration number.
- Certificate number. This means that specific tasks can be easily tracked, and efficiently located when required.
- The date of works completion.
- House address of where the works occurred. This section will also include a brief description of the type of residence (i.e., dwelling, residential home).
- A description of the task.
- If the installer is affiliated to a Part P scheme, the name of the license provider should be referenced.
Regardless of whether the deliverer of the works is registered to a Part P licensing programme, the content of the certificate will remain consistent (with the exception of Point 7). Nevertheless, the route to acquire this certification varies on whether the electrical worker is in possession of a license.
Acquiring a certificate
In cases where individuals are not members of a Part P scheme, the LABC will take ownership for the composition of the Building Control Certificate. However, the Local Building Authority Control will only commence producing this documentation when they’re satisfied that the project has been competently executed, and aligns to suitable regulatory requirements. In order to gain this assurance, an LABC official will conduct a sign-off visit, as referenced earlier. Here, they will perform a series of tests and inspections. These will aim to ensure the installation is working correctly and does not posses a risk to the building’s inhabitants.
Unsurprisingly, the certification procedure is less complex for a license holder. In this instance, the individual would communicate completion of task to their Part P scheme provider. There are several of these Part P programme organisations across the industry, but 80% are registered to a scheme governed by a Certsure LLP subsidiary. The electrician or domestic installer should strive to inform their respective licensing body as soon as self-certification is finalised. From here, certification will usually take around six weeks to surface.
So, there you have it, a comprehensive review of the certification associated with Part P of the Building Regulations. We’ve also discussed the role and importance of Minor Works and Electrical Installation Certificates within the electrotechnical sector. Remember, every single electrical task performed should be accompanied by a relevant certificate. Electricians should feel confident in selecting which certification document corresponds to the task they’ve delivered.
Attending a Part P course will heighten your chances of successfully applying for a Part license. Furthermore, by tutoring candidates on types of ‘notifiable’ and ‘non-notifiable’ work, and familiarising them with the content of both Part P and the wider Building Regulations, a Part P course will prepare candidates perfectly for future work in the field. Although variant skills providers are available, the City and Guilds Part P training module is highly recommended by a range of sector stakeholders. Therefore, most prospective delegates opt for the C&G 2393-10. For reference, the course’s full name is the City and Guilds 2393-10 Level 3 Certificate in the Building Regulations for Electrical Installations in Dwellings. This might be worth noting down for future internet searching purposes!
Hopefully, you’ll also now feel fully engaged on the information included in a Building Control Certificate, and also the process for acquiring this document on completion of works.
If you require any further information on Part P certification, or indeed the Part P regulations in general, then please consult either a tutor or industry professional. Alternatively, you could visit the official City and Guilds 2393-10 course webpage, located here.