No electrical completion certificate? What to do before selling your home

fusebox

When it comes to selling your house, you must be able to prove that certain electrical installation work meets Building Regulations. If you cannot, you may be committing a criminal offence.

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 the 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 remove the work if it does not meet Building Regulations standards.

What does the legislation state?

The legislation was introduced to ensure that homeowners and their families 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 needed to be notified to the local building control body, the regulations were revised in April 2013. This means that much 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 With regard to 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 2 certificates:

  1. An Electrical Installation Certificate or, where applicable, a Minor Electrical Installation Works Certificate that confirms the work meets BS 7671.
  2. 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 did the work yourself, it should have been checked by a registered third-party certifier 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.

I do not have any documentation to prove the work met the required standards

You may not be able to prove 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.

However, you may be able to obtain a copy of the certification from your local building control office, if one was issued, but be cautious about declaring that you have no completion certificate.

No completion certificate exists

In the situation where 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, the best way forward is to obtain building regulation indemnity insurance.

The cost of the insurance is linked to the value of the property, and provides cover in the event that the works have not been carried out correctly.

Such a policy may only be taken out 12 months after the completion of the work, since a local council has a 12 month period in which to issue a notice for lack of building regulations.

However, the policy is invalid if anyone (vendor or purchaser) approaches the local authority where there is no completion certificate, because in order to issue the certificate the authority would dismantle everything in order to check the work had been carried out properly.

Many conveyancing solicitors routinely ask for indemnity insurance policies on behalf of the purchaser, so it wise to look into whether you need one or not, before putting your house on the market.