Industry sector:

Electrician: Licences


Electricians who do notifiable work on domestic premises in England and Wales must carry out the work to the standards of Part P of the Building Regulations. To avoid having to get each job approved and inspected it is possible to register as an approved 'competent person' who can self-certify their own work. If you are registered with a third party certification scheme for domestic work then you can sign off notifiable electrical work done by other people too. More information about the Building Regulations is available on the Planning Portal website. Details of approved competent person schemes are available on the Gov.uk website.

Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own separate building control and certification arrangements. You can find out more about Building Regulations in Northern Ireland on the Department of Finance website. There's more about Scottish Building Regulations on the Scottish Government website.

Becoming a competent person involves having the necessary training and qualifications and submitting a sample of work for inspection. Competent person approval schemes also involve quite regular assessment. There is a charge - normally several hundred pounds - to cover registration and assessment, and a similar charge for periodic renewal and reassessment. There are several competent person registration schemes for electricians to choose from, including those run by the main trade associations.

If you intend to carry out installations of microgeneration systems such as photovoltaic solar panels you'll need to be certified under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) or an equivalent recognised scheme to enable your clients to claim subsidy payments through the feed-in tariff. You can find out more about certification on the MCS website.

You should also be aware of the following:

  • skips placed on a public highway require a Skip Permit from the local authority. Certain conditions may be attached to the licence. Normally the skip hire company will arrange the necessary licences, but it is worth making certain of this
  • if you pay sub-contractors for work done within the Construction Industry Scheme for taxation (CIS) then you must register as a contractor with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). More information is available on the HMRC section of the Gov.uk website
  • if you to do any work involving asbestos - for example disturbing or removing old asbestos insulation - then you may need a licence from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Asbestos Licensing Unit - or from the Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI). In practice, you'll probably use the services of a licensed specialist if you come across any asbestos that needs to be disturbed
  • if you offer an insurance backed warranty - even if you make no extra charge for this - then you may be covered by general insurance legislation administered by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). You may need to be either directly authorised by the FCA or an 'appointed representative' of an FCA approved principal. Note that installers who belong to a Part P competent person scheme must be able to offer their customers an insurance-backed warranty - this may be available from the scheme provider
  • if you are going to carry away waste that you have generated in the course of a job (and that isn't building waste) you'll need to register as a 'lower tier' waste carrier (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or a professional collector or transporter of waste (Scotland). Registration is free of charge and lasts indefinitely. If you think that you will transport building waste, you will need a certificate of registration as an 'upper tier' waste carrier (waste carrier in Scotland), for which there is a charge. Waste registration is dealt with by the Environment Agency in England, Natural Resources Wales, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) in Scotland