ESR makes key recommendations to address poor electrical safety enforcement in England

Research for the Electrical Safety in the Home: Enforcement of Part P of the Building Regulations in England report, sponsored by the National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers, was conducted via an extensive Freedom of Information request that returned an 87 per cent response rate from local authorities in England, making the investigation one of the largest of its kind.

It found that accommodative enforcement of Part P of the Building Regulations, which relies on persuasion over penalties, is common among local authorities.

At the same time, it highlighted the financial strains on local authorities and a lack of enforcement powers below the level of prosecution that could be used to effectively deter non-compliance.

The report also considered other actors that had the potential to influence and improve enforcement, including analysis of the role Competent Person Scheme Operators play in ensuring compliance with Part P.

The central aim of the report was to gather data on enforcement in a subject area of public interest for which only small studies and anecdotal evidence have previously been available.

It also aims to provide recommendations on how enforcement of Part P could be improved, including:
 

  • Giving local authorities greater powers, such as the ability to issue on-the-spot fines, fixed monetary penalties or stop notices to those responsible for sub-standard work
  • Requiring electrical installers to report on dangerous situations found as gas installers are currently required to do
  • Bringing DCLG, LABC and Competent Person Scheme Operators together to discuss whether agreement on how and when referrals to the Building Control Departments of local authorities should be used by scheme operators and how the local authority should act on the information
  • Suggesting that Government could look into making it a legal requirement for all electrical work which falls under Part P of the Building Regulations to be carried out by a registered, competent electrical installer
  • Considering the implementation of a ‘Local Government Transparency Scheme’, where local authority Building Control departments could name and shame those responsible for non-compliant electrical work.

All of the recommendations within the report were based on the principles of encouraging cooperation between industry, Government and local authorities and proposing solutions that take account of and seek to remove the obstacles to effective enforcement.

A summary of the report is available to download at www.electricalsafetyroundtable.co.uk/downloads.aspx and the full report can be requested by email from info@electricalsafetyroundtable.co.uk

Further information on the ESR and its work can be found at: www.electricalsafetyroundtable.co.uk

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