You’ve got an electrical job that needs to be done, either around the house or at your place of business. It doesn’t seem like much; you’ve got a toolbox handy, you pride yourself on being a practical person and you can find a how-to guide for anything on YouTube these days. So, can you save yourself some cash by doing it yourself – or is that a false economy?
The fact is, nearly half of all severe electrical shocks are caused by attempted DIY, and a third of registered electricians have either seen or had to fix electrical DIY mishaps which had resulted in fires, serious electric shocks or significant repair costs. Those online guides may not be as helpful as they appear, either, as you don’t know whether the person giving you advice is qualified or not.
Knowing what you can or can’t do is the first step to getting it done right – and if you’re ever in any doubt, assuming you can’t do it and getting in a professional is the wisest course of action. As electrical contractors in Liverpool, we’re always happy to advise you if you’re unsure.
Changing a light switch – if you don’t like the style of the current one, or want a different type of switch – is relatively straightforward. As with all electrical work, you’ll need to ensure the power is safely off before you proceed, but with that proviso it’s a job that can be done yourself if you wish.
Adding a new light switch to an existing circuit – for example, if you’ve got a hallway light that can only be operated from one end, and you want to add another switch at the other end – is more complex, but from a legal standpoint can generally be tackled yourself.
Wiring in a completely new light and accompanying switch may be notifiable work under Part P, if it requires the addition of a new circuit, which means you will need a professional electrician.
Electricity and water most certainly do not mix, so working on the electrics in your bathroom is generally best left to the professionals.
Legally, any addition to or alteration of circuits in the vicinity of the bath taps and/or shower tray is notifiable, because this is a special location under Part P. This means that it must be carried out and self-certified by a registered competent person, or certified by a registered third party afterwards – either way, you need professional involvement.
Kitchens used to be a special location, just like bathrooms, however this requirement was removed in more recent updates to Part P. Nevertheless, the presence of a water supply in this room means it’s one in which to take particular care, and if you need to work on any circuits near a water supply you should contact a professional.
Installing major fixed appliances, such as cookers, is covered by Part P, but it isn’t generally notifiable work under the regulations unless you need to install a new circuit or consumer unit in order to run the new appliance. We would naturally recommend professional assistance regardless.
Thanks to the effects of the great British weather, working on external electrics is another area which requires care. Part P applies to electrical installations outside the dwelling and in outbuildings, so it covers things like pond pumps and fixed garden lighting. Again, garden lighting and power installations were originally covered by the regulations as a special location where work was notifiable, but this requirement has been removed in the current legislation; it would still be recommended to seek professional advice.
Although Part P is for dwellings, it does cover some business properties too. If your business is in the same building, for example if you’re on the ground floor and there is a flat above, and if you share an electricity meter then you must comply with Part P for all your electrical work.
Electrical safety in business premises is covered by a range of regulations, which means it’s always best to use a professional for even simple jobs.
This is only a brief overview, and we must stress that if you’re not absolutely, 100% sure that you can carry out a job safely and legally you should always call in a professional! If you need us, or if you’d like advice, you can call us on 0151 482 5534.