Part P will add to Cost of Building
New building regulations, which according to the Government are aimed at curbing the unacceptable number of deaths, injuries and house fires caused by faulty electrical installations, came into force on January 1.
The unacceptable number of deaths figure seems to hover around the 10 mark annually and that it is by no means clear how the implementation of the new regulations, known as Part P, will reduce this figure, although it will add significantly to costs for builders. Rather like the CDM regs which were introduced in 1994 to a fanfare of publicity about how many lives would be saved: since their implementation, construction site deaths have increased.
Part P inspections do not apply to small electrical works in the home, which are arguably the most dangerous because they are more likely to be undertaken by complete novices. There is also no requirement for a first-fix inspection which would uncover dubious practices like running cables diagonally across walls, the kind of mistake which electrocuted MP Jenny Tongue's daughter last year. Some qualified electricians may undertake first-fix inspections but a large number will only be notified after the works have been completed.
Another interesting aspect of Part P is that it applies exclusively to dwellings: it's the only building regulation to do this. This may be in an attempt to reduce the number of fire brigade call outs for domestic fires, which average around 7,000 a year and cost nearly £50 million a year. But the feeling is that the implementation of Part P will have negligible impact on safety, deaths by electrocution or fire service costs but will add between £150 and £300 to the cost of building a new house or an extension.
For more info visit: www.odpm.gov.uk/stellent/groups/odpm_control/documents/contentservertemplate/odpm_index.hcst?n=3628&l=2
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