House Buyer Beware: Illegal Electrics In Hundreds Of Homes

30 June 2007

Safety warning for property hunters

With the long-awaited Home Information Pack (HIP) finally launching this week, research carried out by the Electrical Safety Council reveals that 72% of people would like to see a mandatory report on the condition of the electric wiring in a home included as part of the home buying and selling process.

Electrical work that complies with Part P of the Building Regulations will be reported in the HIP as part of the local authority searches. However, with 90% of the general public unaware of the regulations it is likely that hundreds of homeowners will be putting their homes on the market without the legally required certification for any electrical work that has recently been carried out in the property.

By law, all domestic electrical installation work carried out since January 2005 must comply with Part P of the Building Regulations. This means that most electrical work carried out in the home must be notified to local authority building control or carried out by an electrician registered as a ‘competent person’ with one of the government-approved Part P schemes.

Terry Pack, head of external affairs at the Electrical Safety Council, comments, “Part P has been in force for over two years yet the majority of householders are unaware of the legislation. Failure to comply with the building regulations is a criminal offence and homeowners could find themselves having to undertake costly remedial work or may even be forced to remove any installations that contravene the regulations. More worryingly there are very serious safety issues to be considered and home buyers may be at risk if the electrical installation in the property they’re purchasing is not up to standard.”

According to government figures, around 30 people die each year and around 4,000 are seriously injured in accidents involving unsafe electrical installations in the home. Additionally, 17% of all fires in domestic premises in England and Wales are caused by electrical faults.

Part P was introduced into the Building Regulations to increase the safety of households by improving the standard of the electrical wiring in homes. However, with public awareness of Part P as low as 10% the Electrical Safety Council is campaigning for better enforcement of the regulations.

The Electrical Safety Council is working to raise awareness of the potential dangers of electricity and reduce the number of deaths, injuries and fires caused as a result of faulty electrics. 

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