No electrical installation certificate? What you need to do before selling your home
When selling your home, you must be able to prove that electrical installation work meets Building Regulations. If you can't, you may be committing a criminal offence. Here's what to do:
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Have you made alterations to the electrics in your home?
If you've had any alterations or additions made to the electrics in your property since 2005, they must meet the requirements of 'Part P of the Building Regulations', whether the work was completed professionally or by yourself.
The legislation applies to new homes and any alterations – such as partial or full rewires – or additions (for example, an extension) to the electrical installations in an existing property. Your local authority has the power to force you to alter or undo the work if it does not meet Building Regulations standards.
What does the legislation state?
The legislation was introduced to ensure that homeowners are protected from the risk of being injured by electricity.
Part P of the Building Regulations states: 'Reasonable provision shall be made in the design and installation of electrical installations in order to protect persons operating, maintaining or altering the installations from fire or injury'.
To reduce the scope of electrical work that you need to notify to the local building control body, the regulations were revised in April 2013. These revisions mean that some electrical work is not notifiable.
For example, if you have added a new socket in your kitchen, installed a new cooker or added new security light outdoors, unless a new circuit was required there will be no documentation. However, you must notify the authority of any electrical work in your home if that work included:
- Installing a new electrical circuit, whether at low voltage (typically 230 V) or extra-low voltage)
- Replacing the fuse box
- Altering or adding to an existing circuit in a special location such as a bathroom or shower room, or swimming pool or sauna heater.
NB. In bath or shower rooms, notification is only necessary where the work is carried out within 600mm of the bath or shower.
What documentation should I have?
If the work was carried out by a registered electrician you should have received two certificates:
- An Electrical Installation Certificate or, where applicable, a Minor Electrical Installation Works Certificate that confirms the work meets BS 7671.
- A Building Regulations Compliance Certificate to confirm the work meets the Building Regulations.
Your local building control body should also have received a copy of the documentation.
If the work was carried out after April 2013 and:
- you used an installer who was not a registered competent person or;
- you did the work yourself,
A registered third-party certifier should have checked the work within 5 days of the work's completion.
Subject to the work being satisfactory, the third-party certifier would have completed an Electrical Installation Condition Report and given you a copy.
Not sure what an Electrical Installation Certificate looks like? See a sample pdf.
I do not have any documentation to prove the work met the required standards
You may not be able to demonstrate the work met the required standards if:
- The work was carried out before the regulations were introduced in 2005 when completion certificates were not required, there will not be any documentation.
- The work was completed more recently but not documented with the building authority.
- You have lost the certification documents.
It is not possible to acquire a completion certificate in retrospect as building regulation officers have to be able to inspect the work from its commencement.
You may be able to obtain a copy of the certification from your local building control office (if one was issued). However, you should be but be cautious about declaring that you have no completion certificate.
What should I do if I don't have a completion certificate?
If you wish to sell your house but do not have the necessary documentation to prove that work has been carried out in accordance with Building Regulations, there is a solution. During the conveyancing process, your solicitor should identify the problem and propose an indemnity insurance policy.
The right indemnity insurance policy will cover any costs incurred if the local authority forced you to revert the electrical works to the previous state. The extent of cover can vary, but the policy should also cover any subsequent diminution of value in the property.
Many conveyancing solicitors routinely ask for indemnity insurance policies on behalf of the purchaser, so it is wise to look into whether you need one or not, before putting your house on the market.
IMPORTANT - What you must not do
If you or anyone else (e.g. the vendor or purchaser) approaches the local authority before a policy is taken out, the policy will likely be invalid.
Also, an indemnity policy can only be taken out 12 months after the completion of the work as local authorities have 12 months to issue a notice for lack of building regulations.
How Can Quittance help?
As part of the conveyancing process, our solicitors will identify an indemnity policy that gives you the best possible cover.
How much does a policy cost?
The cost of the insurance is linked to the value of the property and is usually nominal (in the region of £100).
If you are buying or selling a home and have concerns about lack of building regulations, or to get a conveyancing quote, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.
Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:
- IET BS761. The Institution of Engineering and Technology, 2018.
- Building Regulations 2010, Part P - Electrical Safety. Planning Portal, 2013.