The essentials of electrical work

At one point or another, your home may be in need of some electrical expertise. Whether that’s because you’re renovating your bathroom or want to install underfloor heating, there are guidelines in place to prevent you endangering yourself and your family. One shock from faulty electrics could leave you seriously injured or at worst, result in death.

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Most of us will hire a local tradesman to take the problem out of our hands. But you may be thinking of undertaking some work yourself. If so, it’s important that you know where you stand legally.

Whether or not you can pick up your toolkit depends on two things: 1) Whether you are extending or modifying an existing circuit or creating a new one and 2) the location of the work.

Jobs such as installing plug switches and replacing light fittings can all be carried out with a spot of DIY, if you know what you’re doing. Yet, they can’t be touched in rooms which come into contact with water. So leave those kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms with sinks and maybe swimming pools for a lucky few(!) well alone.


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The same goes for any outdoor work. You will always need a registered tradesman to complete your job no matter how easy and quick it may seem. That’s because electrics and water just don’t mix and the government are quite rightly not taking any chances!

If you’re not sure whether you’re qualified to carry out a home improvement, it’s always worth checking with your Local Authority’s Building Control. It may be that you receive the green light to start work yourself but that a registered electrician will need to check your work after it’s complete.

If you do decide to ignore the rules and carry out electrical work in restricted areas yourself, should you come to sell your property, a surveyor will pick up any work that hasn’t been done by a qualified electrician. When electrical work is carried out an electrician will supply you with a certificate. Without this documentation you will need a qualified electrician to verify the work, which many are not keen to do. If the electrics don’t meet adequate standards you may need to re-do any illegal work in order to complete on the sale.

Personally, I would call in a tradesman from the start. Many electricians aren’t keen on verifying work and you can rest easy knowing your job is in safe, Part P qualified, hands!


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