What regulations affect electrical work?

The electrical installation work is governed by industry standards and a legal framework.

Industry Standards are voluntary codes of rules written by the industry to which they apply and approved by a nationally recognised body.  They are aimed at simplifying the terminology, processes and procedures used within that particular industry.

Standards (whether International, European or British) do not form part of law, nor are they legally enforceable, except where they form part of a contract.  In a contract, the relevant standards will normally be stated as the standard of work required to fulfil the contract.

However, some standards are given an elevated status when referred to either directly or indirectly in statutes.  The most significant example of this for the electrical industry is British Standard 7671 which is referred to indirectly in the Electricity at Work (1989) Regulations (via the HS(R)25 document) and directly in the Approved Document for Part P of the Building Regulations. Being referred to directly or indirectly in legislation gives the standards a pseudo legal status.

Legal Framework

As well as industry standards, electrical contractors are subject to a number of statutory regulations covering health and safety, safe working practices and management of electrical supply and products.  In addition to legislation, contractors are also bound by their duties and responsibilities under contract law. Key legal requirements for electrical work are outlined in:

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 – these regulations have far reaching implications for all employers.  They impose a duty of care on employers to manage their electrical systems and products so as not to cause death or injury to others.  The regulations cover the design, construction, operation and maintenance of these systems.

The Building Act 1984 & 2000: The Building Regulations – stem from the main Act of Parliament, the Building Act 1984.  The Building Regulations exist to promote standards for most aspects of a building’s construction, including its structure, fire safety, sound insulation, drainage, ventilation and electrical safety.

Regulations explained

What is Part P of the Building Regulations?

Since 2005, all electrical work in dwellings in England and Wales, whether carried out professionally or as DIY, must meet the requirements of Part P of the Building Regulations.

Part P is in place to keep you and your family as safe as possible from electrical hazards, and applies to new domestic properties, as well as any alterations or additions to electrical installations in existing properties, including full or partial rewires.

Who is responsible for making sure that electrical work in your home meets the requirements of Part P?

By law, the homeowner or landlord must be able to prove that all electrical installation work on their property meets the requirements of Part P, or they will be committing a criminal offence.

Local Authorities have the power to make homeowners or landlords remove or alter any work that does not meet the requirements of the Building Regulations.

What electrical work is notifiable in England?

Electrical work which requires notification differs between England and Wales. Additional changes were introduced to Part P in England in April 2013. This means that electrical work in a dwelling, or associated with its surroundings, is notifiable to a local building control body where it includes:

  • circuit alteration or addition in a special location*
  • installation of one or more new circuits
  • installation of a replacement consumer unit (fuse box)
  • rewire of all circuits
  • partial rewire
  • new full electrical installation (new build)

What should I do if the work is non-notifiable in England?

If you determine that the work is not subject to notification under Building Regulations, we strongly recommend that you use a competent, registered electrical installer for safety reasons.

* Certain zones within a room containing a bath or shower, or a room containing a swimming pool or sauna heater.

An alteration or addition to an existing circuit in a room containing a bath or shower is notifiable only where carried out in the space surrounding a bath or shower shown below:

What do I need to do if I wish to have electrical installation work carried out in my home?

All electrical work in the home in England must comply with Part P of the Building Regulations. In addition, those items described as notifiable above are required by Law to have a Building Regulations Compliance Certificate.

It is strongly recommended that you employ an electrical installer who is registered with one of the Government-approved Scheme Operators listed on this website. This is the only way in which you can be sure of employing someone who has had their domestic electrical competence verified and is authorised under the Regulations to arrange for you to be issued with the Building Regulations Compliance Certificate.

There are other ways of complying with the Building Regulations, but these do not verify the competence of the electrical installer and they involve making a further payment for electrical work to be inspected. The most common route for home owners to do this is by informing the Building Control Department of your local authority before the work commences. See www.planningportal.gov.uk for full details of how to comply with building and planning regulations.

What should I do if the work is non-notifiable in England?

If you determine that the work is not subject to notification under Building Regulations, we strongly recommend that you use a competent, registered electrical installer for safety reasons.

Are you a householder looking for an electrician that is able to work safely in your home to legally required standards?

The Registered Competent Person Electrical search facility lists all electricians registered for full scope domestic work in England and Wales, making finding the right person for the job easier than ever before.

All electricians listed and permitted to display the mark are registered with an electrical Competent Person Scheme Operator, and have been authorised by Government to self-certify that their work is compliant with Building Regulations. This means they meet strict entry requirements, and their work is regularly assessed, to ensure their ongoing competence and that their work meets the correct standards.

To start using the Registered Competent Person Electrical search facility, simply enter your postcode to find a registered electrician near you. Alternatively, search by company name to see whether an electrician you may be considering is listed as registered.


The generic term ‘Electrician’ has been used in this website for ease of use and to facilitate internet searches. ‘Electrician’ in the context of this website means a firm or individual, who is competent to install electrical equipment and wiring within a domestic premises.

Ordering work

Once you have found an electrician, it’s a good idea to follow these simple suggestions before they begin the work:

  • Before they start, agree a timetable of work and get confirmation of their expected completion date in writing. This should cover all aspects of any agreed work and be signed by both parties. For larger jobs, ask for regular updates on their progress. You should also ask that they tell you immediately if they are not going to meet the completion date given.
  • Agree payment terms so you can ensure that you have the funds available. Some electricians may ask for material costs up-front and also request staged payments for a larger job. If you do need to make changes, confirm them in writing with the electrician and make sure you get a revised quote before the modified work starts.
  • Avoid dealing in cash as it is easy to lose track of what you have paid. Always ask for a receipt or statement of account.
  • Try to avoid making changes or adding to the job halfway through. This will usually cost more and cause delays. If you do need to make changes, confirm them in writing with the electrician.
  • If you have any concerns or questions, talk to the electrician straight away. If you are dealing with a larger company, speak to the person in charge. This will usually be a supervisor or manager. Make it clear exactly what you are concerned or unhappy about, explain what you want done and give the electrician a chance to put things right.
  • If you are unable to resolve any issues with the electrician or the company who employs them, contact the Competent Person Scheme Operator they are certified by. They will be able to advise you and will work with both parties to try and reach a solution. You can find out whether they are certified and who they are certified by via the search facility on this website..
  • If the person you employ is not certified by a DCLG authorised Competent Person Scheme, contact Citizens Advice via their consumer helpline on 0854 04 05 06 or visit www.adviceguide.org.uk

After the work is completed:

  • No matter how big or small the job, the electrician should provide you with an electrical installation certificate which will confirm that the work carried out meets the British Standard for electrical safety, BS7671.
  • All electrical work in dwellings is covered under Building Regulations. For any work that is notifiable, you should always receive a certificate to confirm that the work meets the applicable Building Regulations.
  • Once you have received certificate(s) relating to the electrical work, put them in a safe place. You may need to provide them as proof that you have had the work carried out safely, especially if you decide to sell your property.