Part P , the Competent Person Scheme and the Tooth Fairy

I recently received a comment, referring to the effect of Part P and the Competent Person Schemes, and the standard of safety in electrical installations.

It just happens that I have been looking at this lately, following a discussion with my son, a fellow Electrical Professional. We were discussing the effect of the above, and how it has contributed to electrical safety in dwellings.

Part P (Building Regs) was introduced in 2005, and all sorts of bodies jumped on the band-waggon selling training courses and 'qualifications' which people were led to believe were required if they wanted to carry out electrical work in dwellings. I say 'led to believe' because most of it was nonsense, just a money-making exercise for certain training providers.

Then 'competent person' schemes developed, led by two or three industry related bodies, but unfortunately the criteria for entry was not strict enough, some just needing a payment of funds and attendance on a five day course - these became known amongst some of us as the 'five day wonder' courses. We challenged these courses through the Select Committee meetings a couple of years back, and fortunately, some of these suddenly 'evaporated' overnight.

Then we had the amendment to BS7671:2008, Amendment 3 2015. In this, a new regulation was introduced, mainly as a result of efforts by London Fire Brigade, who were alarmed at the increase in fires started by electrical installations in recent years.

So, it could be argued that one effect of the introduction of Part P, and the Competent person Scheme, is that electrical installations in dwellings are now MORE dangerous. It seems that installers are NOT as competent, and that material selection is NOT a priority amongst these installers - Domestic Installers I believe they are called?

In other words the industry bodies know that they are NOT electricians!

I am digging into this at the moment, but my reply to the comment is shown below. I think that sometime soon the Government are going to have to shake-up the industry bodies and get them to start doing the job they proclaim to be doing - and I think that anyone installing electrical systems needs to be an ELECTRICIAN ! Stay safe ,


Dear (name supplied)

As you say, it is expected, however that does not seem to be the case judging from the evidence! The whole issue of Part P and the Building Regs has been undermined by the way it has been managed, or should I say mismanaged. Evidence from London Fire Brigade, for instance, has shown an INCREASE in fires in dwellings, caused by poor workmanship or substandard materials. This has now resulted in an amendment to the Wiring Regs- regulation no. 421.1.201, which calls for non-combustible fuse-boards.

It is amazing to think that the industries reaction to sub-standard installation methods is to try to contain the fire within a metal box, rather than improve the standard of installations. All this SINCE Part P and the ‘Competent Person’ schemes came in. With some of our ‘recognised’ industry bodies being involved in delivering ‘Domestic Installer’ schemes and ‘five day wonder’ training, I am not surprised with the shambolic mess that our industry is in now. I am researching at the moment and will comment further on this when I have compiled all my findings. Thanks for your comment.


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