It is very tempting to carry out your electrical work by yourself but we wouldn’t advise it.

Expert advice on what we are allowed to do on our own and what should be left to a professional are many and conflicting. Director of ‘Need an Electrician’ Electrical Contractors Birmingham., Kelvin Cushman shared his thoughts with us on what is the actual state of things.

I’m a homeowner; is it true that I can perform simple electrical jobs on my own?

K: Homeowners have the right to perform electrical works in their properties. It is not mandatory to be informed for Part P compliance if the jobs are small. Nevertheless, in line with BS7671 wiring regulations, you will have to register it with Part P building control for compliance if you need a safety certificate for the work. You will also be obligated to show proof of your competency and that you did the job perfectly. Such a certification is required from you.

Do homeowners tend to attempt carrying out a specifically prohibited DIY more often than other electrical works?

K: The majority of property owners try to perform minor electrical works such as fixing wall lights, light fittings, and light switches, etc. because they believe that such can be fixed easily and it would be expensive to pay an electrician to fix them. For a competent electrician, a minor electrical job can become a homeowner’s horror. Several times, we have received calls to come and amend a homeowner’s faulty wiring resulting from the latter’s attempt to carry out the wiring on their own. Also, we have seen cases of damaged cables, switches, and damaged electrical fittings. In other scenarios, we have seen electrical accessories which fire destroyed. The homeowner, in the end, pays more to fix the damage than what he would have paid a qualified electrician to do the job from the beginning. Electrical hazards are life-threatening and can cause death. Decline the chance to save a few pounds and allow the professionals to carry out their work.

Is it a usual thing for homeowners to invite you or other electricians to verify their electrical works?

K: For a start, the work needs to be carried out by a professional; however, we decline to do so even though it is hardly unusual in our industry for homeowners to request that we certify their electrical work.

You will be required to tender every certification for the electrical work you did on your own if you are a homeowner if you move out from or rent your home. Installation of electrical works at a later stage also bars you from obtaining the appropriate certification after you did the work on your own. If you do not have the right certification to prove that your electrical system is safe and property is damaged, or someone is injured, it will render your insurance policy invalid.

It is imperative that if you are a homeowner who intends to DIY your electrical works, you should study your home building and contents insurance policy to see if it covers accidental damages. Structural changes, repairs, faulty materials and low-quality jobs are usually not covered by most home insurance policies.

However, a survey carried out by which reviewed 421 contents insurance policies and 412 buildings insurance policies revealed the following:

Accidental damage is excluded in 2% of contents policies and 2% of buildings insurance policies.

Accidental damage is included as a standard feature in only 14% of contents of insurance policies and 15% of buildings insurance policies.

For an additional premium, 85% of contents insurance policies and 85% of buildings insurance policies can be extended to cover accidental damage.

In other words, before you undertake electrical works on your property, please consult your insurer and make sure if accidents result from your DIY, your insurance coverage remains intact.

Do you have any parting words for homeowners?

K: Engage qualified electricians at all times. Make sure they possess Part P certification and demand for their registered body and scheme enrolment number. Verify their credentials to determine their validity. Request to see previous reviews they received on their previous jobs – is a tradesmen recommendation site you can trust. After the job is done, make sure you obtain from the electrician the mandatory certification and keep it securely because you would probably need it in future.

Are you in need an electrician in Birmingham? Search here for electrical contractors Birmingham.