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Part P for Buiding Regulations - Wiring Regulations
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Commentary on Part P for Wiring Regulations
Having read and heard all the goings on about changes to building regulations in particular Part P. I decided to send the following to the IEE, being a member of this institute who are partly responsible for electrical wiring standards in the UK. However realising that they will get inundated with comments on this subject (as they already are) and they have a vested interest in protection of the status of their standard, it would probably not see the light of day. So I have placed my comments here for others to read.
Part P - The Four P's and Risk Analysis
The "Four P's" but it is only one P? That may be the case but Part P is a sledgehammer to crack an atom, and the wrong atom at that!
Yes there may be declining fatalities and increasing non-fatal electrical incidents, what is new or worrying about that - not very much. That may seem a scandalous viewpoint to some who take the view - one life lost is one too many. However as usual the general public, politicians and bureaucrats (IEE included) lose the plot when it comes to risk analysis. Under current Health & Safety regimes in the workplace more time is spent by lots of people worrying about the correct procedures, training and certified personnel on how to open a tin of paint and dispose of it, than their driving habits!
Whatever we do to regulate somebody will do something stupid - like overload sockets, not get frayed cabling repaired, do their own cheap fix and not notify or get inspected wiring. No amount of regulations and standards will stop ALL lives being lost, it can only be minimised, how often we forget Darwinism!
What is the analysis of the fatal and non-fatal incidents involving electrical wiring in any year compared to road traffic incidents (fatal and non-fatal). The public (as a whole) does not change its driving habits and even get the slightest bit worried at the thousands of road deaths a year, those affected do. Those affected may well change their habits and driving safety for a while and at a specific incident area they know, but nearly all revert back to their old ways.
So how does this relate to Part P? Well in this way that the blame culture and litigious nature of the world means that everybody is trying to prevent themselves being sued, but excluding quite a bit of the major areas of electrical safety - the DIY market. What proportion of the incidents was due to qualified and semi-qualified technicians or installation engineers compared to the DIY jobs? The vast majority will be the end user or landlord of commercial and residential property being the cause of the problem, which Part P will NOT resolve.
How many people buy a new house and know how old the wiring is or care, and have a wiring diagram of the circuits or even know where the circuits run! Most have no idea about it and pay scant regard to safety in their own home or the new home they want whatever way possible as the other issues of buying take over their thoughts. Too many times I have seen and made good atrocious wiring that has classics of:-
None of this will be stopped by Part P, as it is all DIY within the house, not bathroom or kitchen. None of this I dare touch now due the regulations and no doubt further incantations of it and litigation due to it.
How many buildings commercial or even public, have you heard of being rewired? Some of these buildings may well have 30+ year old wiring. When have you heard of your 1960's school being rewired?
So if we really want to cut down on electrical incidents, we already have regular PAT testing for appliances in non-residential premises to ensure appliances are still safe. So we really need to start thinking the other way round with measures such as:-
Now we get to the "Four P's" which Part P is really about the following four things:-
As usual we have ended up with regualtions that are the tail wagging the dog.
There are easier and better ways to achieve the goals of better safety and training, Part P is not it as it is not an Engineering or Safety orientated solution, but a Political solution to a problem that needs less change than Road Safety.
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