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Electrical safety in the home must be improved

Trade association NAPIT has called for government and industry to ensure appropriate action is taken to improve electrical safety in the home, following the publication of a Electrical Safety Roundtable (ESR) report.

The report, which analysed enforcement of Part P of the Building Regulations in England, found that on average 72% of local authorities each year had not taken action against Part P non-compliance between 2011 and 2013.

It also suggested that only 2% attempted to prosecute a case under this part of the Building Regulations and that there had only been one successful prosecution during the three-year period surveyed.

NAPIT chairman Frank Bertie said: “Significant anecdotal evidence from our members has long suggested that Part P is not being enforced as effectively as it could be. It was their concern regarding safety of the public that led us to sponsor this investigation.

“The report has gathered substantial evidence on levels of enforcement for the first time. It found that there is little legal or financial deterrence to prevent Part P noncompliance. This may be allowing the dangerous work of rogue traders to go unchecked and could be putting properties and householders at risk.”

The investigation included a major Freedom of Information request. It surveyed the enforcement practices of all local authorities in England and returned an 87% response rate, making it one of the largest studies of its kind.

Mr Bertie said: “The Freedom of Information section of this investigation has focused on local authorities because they have formal enforcement powers under the Building Regulations, but the report also shows that the Competent Person Scheme operators have a key role to play in influencing positive change.”

“Nevertheless, building control departments are stuck between a rock and a hard place, with funding cuts to housing services of 34% in the past five years on the one hand and a lack of effective deterrence powers on the other. More limited still, Competent Person Scheme operators lack any legal enforcement powers or the ability to carry out safety checks on work carried out by unregistered contractors.

“We urge the government to carefully consider the findings and recommendations in this report. Local authorities and industry bodies need to be given appropriate powers and support to enforce Part P effectively.”

NAPIT members have also been encouraged to sign the online petition for our Time for Change campaign, which seeks to gain 100,000 signatures to drive a Parliamentary debate on placing retention funds in trust accounts in future.

Time for Change

Time for Change was conceived as an industry-wide initiative and aims to include all sectors of the industry to drive improvement and deliver benefits for the entire supply chain in the future.

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