How far can one go doing electrical DIY, before calling in a professional? This is a question we hear all the time and it can be quite confusing. Doing electrical work is something that should only be done by competent persons. Watching a Youtube video is not great, unless it is for something basic, such as changing a socket front. However, there is no law that says you have to have a fully qualified electrician carrying out work in your home.
[PART P IN ENGLAND AND WALES] This states that electrical work carried out in the home for anything other than changing a light, switch, socket, or such like, must be installed and tested by an approved electrical contractor, who has third party accreditation, such as being NICEIC approved. You can even replace cable, provided it is a like for like replacement, such as replacing a damaged cable from a cooker control switch to the cooker or hob.
If you wanted to wire several sockets and lights in a new extension for example, you would need to apply to building control for a part P certificate and employ an approved electrical contractor to oversee the work at various stages. Inspection of cable routes and such like before being plaster boarded, for example, as well as the final testing.
The fact is electricity will run along a wet piece of string, and will operate a light, but it is far from safe. Many disregard or fail to fully understand the potential for shock, fire or burns from electricity and take the gamble of putting themselves and family in harm’s way, all for cost saving.
It is not just the testing of the installation, to make sure that insulation surrounding the conductors is fine and there is no potential for short circuit, nor the testing to make sure that the polarity throughout the circuit is correct, and the earth fault path is sufficient to safely disconnect the supply under fault conditions, that is important, but also the method for installing the cables. We see many cables running alongside hot pipes, across floor joist and buried in areas susceptible to damage.
So, while you can carry out your own electrical work, it is strongly recommended that you employ a third party approved electrician to carry out all electrical work. Have it tested and a certificated to prove it is safe. If you have a commercial or industrial property, then you will most likely not be insured if appropriate paperwork is provided upon a claim.