Electricity is dangerous, but the law does allow DIYers to carry out simple jobs like replacing sockets and rewiring certain fittings. But when it comes to environments where water is involved, it is a job for a professional and you can get in serious trouble with building control for doing the work yourself.
A bathroom (and the kitchen) is considered to be a special place and comes under Part P of the Building Regulations. This means that any work undertaken in the bathroom should be carried out by a “competent person” who is registered with a government approved scheme. That person will also be required to issue a certificate to show the work has been correctly carried out.
The problem many people face when thinking about redesigning their bathroom is that it is such a small space that it is impossible to have enough distance from water to use electrical items at all. The regulations try to offer alternatives, but it is worth noting that for safety sake you may just need to compromise.
When designing your bathroom, it is worthwhile thinking about some of the electricity restrictions that might apply:
- Regulations split your bathroom into “zones” depending on the electrical risk and the limitations on what you can do in each zone. These mostly apply to how far away each location is from a source of water. These range from Zone 0 which is inside your bath or shower tray to Outside Zones which are far away from water.
- Sockets should not be in bathrooms (unless they can be 3 metres from water) except for shaver sockets (these should not be subject to splashes).
- Light fittings should be enclosed and pull cords used or switches outside of the room.
- Electric heating must be permanently wired and a safe distance from water. The switches for turning the heating on and off should be outside the room or operated by a pull cord.
- An electric shower must be on its own circuit, so that if it is less likely to be overloaded and if it is it will automatically trip and turn off.
The one thing to never take for granted is electricity in wet areas and the law doesn’t allow you to do the work yourself. So sit back and allow the professionals to take over – before you get your hands dirty with tiling and plumbing – click here to find a professional in your area.