NICEIC WARNS CASH-STRAPPED CONSUMERS OF DIY DANGER
• Each year, unsafe electrics cause 12,500 house fires, 750 serious injuries and 10 deaths
• Still, 63% of Brits are happy to have a go at DIY in the home
• 74% aren’t aware this work could be subject to law under Part P of the Building Regulations
As the recession continues to bite and unemployment levels soar, cash-strapped Brits attempting to have a go at electrical repairs and improvements are being urged to think again or risk putting themselves in danger and their homes being illegal.
‘Don’t Take the P out of Your Home’, a new campaign fronted by home-improvement expert Linda Barker, for NICEIC, the UK’s leading regulatory body for the electrical contracting industry, aims to make homeowners aware that any electrical work carried out in the home needs to meet the requirements of Part P of the Building Regulations to make it safe and legal
The launch follows a poll of over 3,000 consumers carried out by NICEIC which showed that nearly two thirds (63%) of homeowners would happily have a go at home improvements themselves rather than employ a qualified electrician. Worse still, a third (32%) admit they are now even more likely to dabble in home DIY as a result of money worries and the financial strain brought on by the current recession.
Of this new breed of ‘have a go’ DIYers, over a third (35%) said they would attempt to rewire a socket, three in ten (29%) would add a new light switch and a further 28% would go so far as to install new garden lighting. With around 12,500 house fires, 750 serious injuries and 10 deaths caused by unsafe electrics in the home each year, this laidback attitude to electrical work presents a major cause for concern. In particular, installing electrical appliances outdoors is even more hazardous because of the presence of water and damp conditions.
Devised in order to protect homeowners from the occurrence of such risks, Part P of the Building Regulations was introduced by the Government in January 2005. The law, which applies to England and Wales, aims to improve electrical safety in the home and prevent the number of accidents caused by faulty electrical work. Under the law, homeowners who choose to do their own electrical work must notify their local building control office before beginning any work and pay the appropriate fee for them to inspect the work, after which they will receive an electrical safety certificate if confirmed as safe.
Shockingly, the survey showed that, despite being enforced over four years ago, only two in ten (22%) UK consumers have actually heard of Part P of the Building Regulations. Unsurprisingly then, three quarters (74%) aren’t aware that certain electrical work is subject to this law and three in five (61%) are oblivious to the requirement for an electrical safety certificate, as part of the Home Information Pack (HIP).
The research across the UK’s biggest towns and cities also identifies the top 10 locations where people are most likely to dabble in potentially dangerous home DIY:
9. Brighton and Hove
Linda Barker, NICEIC spokesperson says: “People are far too casual about electrics in the home, especially in the current economic climate when it is too tempting to try to save a few pennies where possible. However, this can come at a price. What many fail to realise is that by attempting to do DIY electrics they could be putting their family’s lives at risk. Also, without the right electrical safety certificates, they may face difficulty when it comes to selling their home. Even if it might appear to be a simple job, always use a qualified electrician.”
Tony Cable at NICEIC adds: “It is important to remember that Government building regulations, such as Part P, have been put in place for a reason and shouldn’t be considered unessential. It is always advisable to enlist the help of a qualified electrician registered with a certified government body, such as NICEIC.”
All work carried out by an NICEIC registered electrician is tested and certified as safe. The certificate issued for the work will prove to the homeowner and any future buyers that the work has been carried out correctly.