A recent survey sent to UK householders reveal the dangerous risks that UK householders take when carrying out work on their home electrics.
Whilst not all DIY electrical work is illegal, it does require a common sense approach. It is perfectly legal for to carry out like for like DIY electrical work in your home so if you are looking to replace some lights in your living room or replace a broken or cracked socket then you can do this – but only if you feel confident in doing so.
However it seems as though householders are not aware that they are breaking the law as they carry out some high scale electrical projects in their homes. The main problem of course here is that there is no guarantee that the work is safe nor is it certified meaning the work not only puts the home and family members at risk but it could also cause problems if the home is put on the market in the future.
Looking at the results of the survey, it is concerning what electrical DIY work householders will undertake. Furthermore, when asked about the Part P building regulation, it would seem that these people are just not aware of it, despite huge public campaigns in recent years highlighting the importance of only using Part P Registered Electricians.
So what sort of work are householders undertaking? According to the survey 1 in 7 householders have rewired parts of their home, 1 in 5 have changed a consumer unit, 1 in 6 have installed new garden lighting, and 1 in 8 would attempt or have attempted to install under floor cabling in their home. With electricity killing 1 person per week in the UK and injuring 1000′s more, there is growing concern that the lack of understanding is contributing to these alarming statistics.
It appears that many of these rewiring and extensive electrical works are being carried out in an attempt to save money. Whilst I do understand the situation and realise that if people feel they can do the work, they will often ‘have a go’ I would always recommend having the work certified for piece of mind. This can be arranged with the building control department at your local authority. They will certify the work if the installation is satisfactory. Of course this is the cheaper option and you will still have the peace of mind that your work is safe and legal.
I would exercise caution over carrying out any electrical work in your home if you are not confident in doing so. Damage caused to electrical circuits from incorrect DIY work can be costly to repair and its far cheaper to use a Part P Registered Electrician from the outset to carry out the work.
Very often I am doing repairer in houses in Medway where a lot of DIY electrical has been done. This undoubtedly can cause injury to the householder. The frightening reality is that this doesn’t happen straight away, it can be a number of years down the line when catastrophe occurs.
In 2012 the NICEIC launched the Electrical Safety Register where the public can search a database of registered, competent electricians. I hope it goes some way to resolving the current crisis surrounding DIY home electrics as well as educating the public on the dangers of using someone who is not on this database. I am proud to be on it, and I would strongly recommend anyone who is looking for a Part P Registered electrician to use this database and be safe in the knowledge that these are the right people to be working in your home.
George is a fully qualified electrician in Gillingham. He is also the owner of Eru Electrics ltd