As some of you may know, on the 1st of Jan Part P building regs came into force which basically restricts (drastically) what electrical work you can do without getting building control involved (ie, without paying the council for a piece of paper and a sparky a callout charge to sign a certificate). You can replace faceplates and the like. Change a light fitting or switch but not a lot else. You also can’t do any of these things at all in a kitchen or outside.
The reasoning behind this is safety. However, the governments own research shows that very few people are killed through dodgy fixed wiring each year. More are killed by dodgy extension leads, dropping hair dryers in the bath etc etc. ROSPA have some independant figures on this or hunt the web – there are plenty of stats out there. Part P only relates to fixed wiring. It doesn’t cover the mad man who runs 18 4way extension leads from one socket (presumably this is deemed to be fine?).
Figures for last year show that 10 people were killed through dodgy fixed wiring last year. Sad indeed. Hardly a huge number though and barely justification for lumbering people who want an extra socket in the kitchen for their new microwave with an extra 80 quid inspection fee. Also, most of these deaths (reports seem to disagree but it is somewhere from 6 – 8) were caused through dodgy wiring installed by cowboy sparkies. I’m sure all of these dodgy electricians will stop now that the government has told them. Not. Dodgy electricians will continue doing dodgy work, getting paid in cash and working from untracable mobile phones. Qualified electricians will be able to self certify (actually, any electrician working for a company where there is one sparky qualified to certify will be covered – even if the qualified one is not involved in the job. How the hell is that an improvement??) but then qualified electricians are not likely to run T+E diagonally across the wall in a kitchen (or anywhere). Interestingly that article seems to highlight flaws in the argument nicely:
The court heard a new kitchen was installed at the house in 1999 by unnamed builders
and then a few sentances later:
Roger Vincent, a spokesman for the Royal Society of Prevention of Accidents, said: “This case re-emphasises the need to ensure that all electrical work is carried out by experts – it isn’t something for DIY.
No. It re-emphasises that dodgy builders don’t follow the well established rules and standards for wiring. Quite why the hell they think that dodgy builders are suddenly going to start inviting the building inspectors around is beyond me.
Also, the goverment have said that no changes to the gas regulations are planned. This is mad. I can plumb in gas appliances (regs say that for work on your own house and not for money you only need to be “competent”) without having to get BC involved but I can’t add a spur for my printer (another dodgy 4way then) or extend the kitchen ring for my Microwave (that’ll be great on a nice dirty extension lead). Basically I can do dodgy gas work and risk blowing up the street but I’m not allowed to run the risk of electricuting *myself*.
Also, due to cockups the new colour cables (yellow, blue + E) have not been brought in to coincide with the new regs. If I have the new colour wiring in my house there is no way that anyone can prove that it was not done before Jan 1st 2005 as the new cable has been available since last June. Also, calling into Wickes on my way home I note that old colour twin+E is still for sale!
Basically, DIYers who know what they are doing are likely to carry on any way and only get a cert when it comes to selling the house. Dodgy builders will carry on anyway (they are more likely to fly to work on a pig than get a building inspector anywhere near their work) and the old lady who needs a new socket in her kitchen for her microwave? Well, her well meaning and perfectly capable neighbour won’t want to risk the 5k fine (which is a mad amount when you look at what you get for many other crimes IMHO but don’t get me started) so she will run it off of an extension lead. Hopefully she won’t trip over it and kill herself (over 1000 over 75s died from trip injures a year). Maybe it will overheat and catch fire? Still, at least she’ll be proving the government right – it won’t be recorded as an electrical death.
Anyway. I’ve ranted enough. Having spent near on 500 quid to get the fiesta through its mott and service this afternoon I needed a rant 🙂 Worse thing is, my car is now booked in for a couple of weeks time and I know that needs tyres at least (60 quid a shot :-() *gulp*
Right. I need food