Since 1st January 2005, all electrical work carried out in dwellings has had to comply with Part P of the Building Regulations and be carried out by a person who is competent to do the work.

All work which involves adding a new circuit to a dwelling needs either to be notified to building control, which will then inspect the work, or to be carried out by a competent person who is registered under the Part P Self-Certification Scheme.

Small jobs such as replacing a socket-outlet or a light switch on an existing circuit do not need to be notified to a building control body although higher-risk work involving installation of extra power points or changes to circuits in kitchens, bathrooms or the addition of outdoor electrical fittings must be notified.

Persons registered with Part P Self-Certification Schemes are fully qualified electrical contractors with the ability to check a circuit for safety. They will be able to issue Building Regulations certificates of compliance.

The term ‘dwelling’ includes houses, maisonettes and flats. It also applies to electrical installations in business premises that share an electricity supply with dwellings, such as shops and public houses with a flat above, and to the common parts of buildings such as hallways and shared amenities in blocks of flats. Part P also applies to electrical installations in outbuildings such as detached garages, sheds and greenhouses and to electrical installations located on land around dwellings, such as garden lighting.

The Government planning portal has published a booklet entitled New Rules for Electrical Safety in the Home.