Electrical Safety: Creating a paper trail

Whether you’re a tenant or a homeowner, keeping a paper trail of any work conducted on your property is important – especially if it’s to do with electricity. The regulations governing electrical safety certification are being reviewed and updated all the time and proof of compliance is a legal necessity. So what paperwork do you need?

Proof of compliance for electrical work

All electrical work done in a home, garden or conservatory in England and Wales must meet Part P of the Building Regulations.

Part P requires all electrical installations to be designed, installed and maintained to prevent the risk of injury. It was introduced to protect homeowners and tenants from unsafe or careless electrical work.

Electricians must ensure that all work is carried out in line with the UK National Standard for Electrical Safety, BS 7671.

And so must homeowners and tenants.

Anyone who has electrical work done is legally required to prove that the work meets Part P. For a property owner or inhabitant, this means obtaining the necessary electrical safety certification.

Electrical Installation Certificate or Minor Work Certificate

An Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC) / Minor Electrical Installation Work Certificate (MEIWCs) is a formal declaration that a new installation, alteration or addition complies with the national standards and is safe for use at the time it was put into service.

The difference between the two electrical safety certificates is as the names suggest – a Minor Work Certificate is for more minor electrical work.

For example; if the work involves a new installation or alteration to a new installation/circuit, you will need an Electrical Installation Certificate. On the other hand, where an alteration or addition is carried out but does not include a new circuit, either a Minor Work Certificate or an Electrical Installation Certificate may be used.

Whatever the size of the job, a certificate must be issued for all electrical work, meaning you must obtain one or the other at the end of a job.

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Building Regulations Compliance Certificate

A Building Regulations Compliance Certificate is a formal declaration that the work meets the Building Regulations.

While an Electrical Installation Certificate applies to electrical installations, a Building Regulations Certificate relates to the design and construction of buildings and sets out the minimum standards for safety and high performance.

What if I don’t get the electrical safety certificates?

Failure to obtain and provide documentary evidence that your electrical installation complies with Part P is a criminal offence. Local authorities can make homeowners remove or alter any work that does not have proof that it meets Building Regulations and safety standards.

The building and electrical safety certifications are also important for insurance purposes. In the event of an injury or fire caused by electrical failure, they provide documentary evidence that the installation was installed to the national standard.

Hiring a qualified electrician who is registered with a government-approved Part P scheme is the best and easiest way to make sure you receive the necessary certification. They can self-certify that their work complies with the regulations and provide you with the documents you need.

What’s more, as members of a government-approved scheme, the quality of their work is routinely checked for ongoing compliance – and you’ll have access to a formal complaints procedure if the work doesn’t end up complying.

Electrician Installation Condition Report

An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) – also known as an electrical safety certificate – is an in-depth assessment of your home’s electrics.

If you’re a landlord, you are legally required to organise and obtain an EICR on all privately rented properties under your remit. For more information, read our landlord’s guide to EICRs.

If you’re a homeowner, you’re not legally obligated to have an EICR but it is highly recommended. Aside from providing you with useful information about your electrical installation, the purpose of an EICR is to make sure you’re safe.

You may also find that certain jobs, house sales or insurance policies require it.

To find out more about the costs involved, read our cost guide for EICRs.