Last edited 26 Nov 2015

Approved Document P

The building regulations establish standards that must be achieved in the construction of buildings.

Part P of Schedule 1 to the Building Regulations requires that, ‘Reasonable provision shall be made in the design and installation of electrical installations in order to protect persons operating, maintaining or altering the installations from fire or injury.’

This applies to electrical installations intended to operate at low or extra-low voltage, that are:

  • In or attached to a dwelling.
  • In the common parts of a building serving one or more dwellings, but excluding lifts.
  • In a building that receives its electricity from a source located within or shared with a dwelling.
  • In a garden or in or on land associated with a building where the electricity is from a source located within or shared with a dwelling.

In order to meet this requirement, low voltage and extra-low voltage electrical installations in dwellings must be designed and installed to give appropriate protection against mechanical and thermal damage and not to present electric shock and fire hazards to individuals.

A series of Approved Documents set out what typically would be acceptable for compliance with the relevant requirements of Building Regulations. There is no legal obligation to follow the guidance in the Approved Documents.

Approved Document P - Electrical safety – Dwellings, describes methods for ensuring compliance with the electrical safety requirements for homes in relation to Part P of the Building Regulations. The most recent edition was published in January 2013 and came into effect in April 2013. It replaced Approved Document P (2006) which incorporated 2010 amendments. The main changes brought in by the 2013 edition included:

  • A reduction in the range of the electrical installation work that is notifiable to a building control body.
  • Installers not a registered a competent person are permitted to use a 'registered third-party certifier' to certify work, as an alternative to a using building control body.
  • The technical guidance refers to BS7671:2008 Requirements for Electrical Installations, incorporating Amendment No 1:2011.

The content of the Approved Document includes:

  • Section 1: Design and installation - There is a general requirement that electrical installations should be designed and installed in accordance with BS7671:2008.
  • Section 2: Application of Part P – This section covers the types of buildings and installations that are covered by the Scope of Part P and the types of work that are notifiable and must be certified as complying with Building Regulations.
  • Section 3: Certification, inspection and testing – Certification of notifiable installations is required, along with inspecting and testing in accordance with BS7671.
  • Appendix A: Key terms.
  • Appendix B: Standards referred to.

Parts A, B, C, E, F, L and M of the Building Regulations also contain provisions relating to electrical installations.

An associated leaflet is available from the Planning Portal that provides general information on complying with the Building Regulations when undertaking electrical and other building work in the home.

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