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Improving Standards of Electrical Works in Homes 4 June 2007

Changes to the Isle of Man Building Regulations were approved by Tynwald in March 2007. These changes will impact on standards of new installations of electrical works in our homes after 1st July 2007. Anyone undertaking electrical installation work in domestic properties after 1st July 2007 must comply with the new Part P of the Building Regulations.

The new Regulations require that all electrical works undertaken in dwellings and flats to comply with minimum standards of safety.

Under the Part P requirements, electricians will be able to self-certify that their work is fully up to the standards required by joining a Government-approved Competent Person Scheme. If they do not register with such a scheme, they must notify the relevant Local Building Control Authority in advance of the work by making an application which will include a fee based on an estimated cost of the work.

The Department introduced the new Regulations to prevent injuries and fires caused by substandard electrical installations carried out by persons who are not appropriately qualified and experienced.

Tables 1 and 2 below show typical works which are exempt from notification and those works which must be notified to your local Building Control Authority.

Table 1: Works which need not be notified to Building Control Authorities, but still need to comply with minimum requirements for electrical installations:

1. Replacing any fixed electrical equipment (for example, socket-outlets, control switches, and ceiling roses) which does not include provision of any new fixed cabling,

2. Replacing the cable for a single circuit only, where damaged, for example, by fire, rodent or impact (on condition that the replacement cable has the same current-carrying capacity and follows the same route),

3. Re-fixing or replacing the enclosures of existing components (if the circuit’s protective measures are unaffected),

4. Providing mechanical protection to existing fixed installations (if the circuit’s protective measures and current-carrying capacity of conductors are unaffected by increased thermal insulation),

5. Installing or upgrading main or supplementary equipotential bonding (such works will need to comply with other applicable legislation, such as the Gas Safety (installations and use) Regulations,

6. Works which are not in kitchens or special locations: a) Adding lighting points (light fittings and switches) to an existing circuit, b) Adding socket-outlets and fuse spurs to an existing ring or radial circuit, c) Telephone or extra-low voltage wiring and equipment for the purposes of communications, information technology, signalling, control and similar purposes, d) Prefabricated equipment sets and associated flexible leads with integral plug and sockets connections.

Table 2: Works and installations which need to be notified to Building Control Authorities and those in special locations and installations are:-

Special Locations

1. Locations containing a bath tub or shower basin,

2. Swimming pools or paddling pools,

3. Hot air saunas

Special Installations

1. Electric floor or ceiling heating system,

2. Garden lighting or power installations,

3. Solar photovoltaic (PV) power supply systems

4. Small Scale generators such as microchip units,

5. Extra-low voltage lighting installations, other than pre-assembled, CE-marked lighting sets, and

6. Any other installations that are not mentioned in Table 1.

If you are proposing to carry out any work mentioned in Table 2, then you must make an application to your Local Building Control Authority for approval so that an inspection of works can be made for which a Building Regulations’ fee based on estimated cost of work will apply. Alternatively, you can employ a Government-approved Competent Person Scheme electrician to carry out the work who will notify your Local Building Control Authority within 30 days of completion of works and will issue a Completion Certificate to you and the Building Authority without charge.

The Department strongly recommends that unless you are experienced in the types of works mentioned in Tables 1 and 2, you should employ a competent electrician to carry out the works for you.

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