When you sell your home or any other residential property, you are required to provide the buyer with certification that building work, including electrical installation work, has been completed to the standards required under the Building Regulations 2010.
With respect to electrical installations, the Regulations aim to reduce the risks of electrocution, fire and injury.
The Regulations apply to significant work carried out since 2005 in any property, whether carried out by a qualified electrician or by you. For example, you must have certified work including:
- full and partial rewires
- replacement of a fuse box
- addition to, or alteration of a circuit
Minor work, such as the replacement of a socket or the installation of a security system that plugs into the mains is not subject to the Regulations.
If you don’t comply with the Building Regs, your local authority can force you to restore your property, at your expense, to the way it was before the work was done.
If the work is carried out by a registered electrician, he or she should provide:
- a Building Regulations Compliance Certificate
- an Electrical Installation Certificate or a Minor Electrical Installation Works Certificate showing the work conforms to BS7671 standards
Shortly after completing the work, he or she should also provide copies of these documents to the building control body.
If the work has been carried out since 2013 by someone who is not registered, then it should be certified as meeting the required standards by a registered third-party certifier. The certifier provides an Electrical Installation Condition Report.
Work performed before 2005 does not have to be certified.
What to do if you don’t have the documents
As well as not having the certificates because the work has not been certified, there are other valid reasons why you might not be able to provide them to the buyer: it might have been completed so recently that the electrician has not provided them to the local authority, or you might have misplaced or damaged them.
If the work has been certified, it should be possible to obtain a duplicate of the certificate from the building control department.
If the work hasn’t been certified, it isn’t possible to obtain a completion certificate in retrospect because building regulation officers need to inspect the property before the work starts.
There are other options.
For example, you could take out an indemnity insurance policy that covers the buyer for the cost of restoring the property to its former state if the local authority requires it.
Such policies are relatively common, and reasonably inexpensive. However, you need to be aware that a policy is likely to be invalidated if anyone has already notified the local authority about the work.