One of my pet complaints has been the ridiculous Part P of the Building Regulations that us electrical contractors have had to suffer.

I have refused to join the Part P ranks, condemning it as a complete waste of time and an unnecessary expense for those of us trying to compete and offer a good, cost-efficient service.

“Yeah yeah yeah,” you will all say, “he just likes to moan” – but let me back it all up with a simple example.

I visited the vicar’s house recently (don’t ask why, as divine guidance has never helped me understand the IEE Regulations anyway).

“Let me show you my new kitchen,” says the Reverend, bristling with pride and a glass or two of port.

Nice kitchen, shame about the electrics. “They were done by the kitchen fitter,” says His Holiness, “because he was certified to do them at the same time.

“The trouble is, the upstairs lights trip out every time we turn them on, and we can’t use the new shower because he connected it to the upstairs sockets.”

“Righto,” says I, “let’s have a look.”

So I turn on the upstairs lights and, yes, the main residual-current device goes off.

I should mention here that the house is fed by an overhead supply, and I wasn’t unduly surprised that the RCD tripped off.

“I’ll get a torch,” I say.

“No need,” says the Vic, “I’ll just open the oven door…”

On closer inspection, the main RCD was off in the consumer unit, but all the downstairs sockets, and the cooker, still worked!

Now the Holy Man of God faces a not inconsiderable bill to undo all the work done by the Part P man, and have it put right. Trouble is, I can’t do it. Despite 40 years’ experience, I’m not Part P-registered, so I’m not allowed to do the work.

Now who says that Part P was a good idea? Do tell me how it safeguards the consumer and makes us all sleep safely in our beds?

Without the back-up of the ECA or NICEIC to complain to, how does the customer get recompense for shoddy and dangerous work?

A happy (and safe) new year to you all.

Andrew Ferguson, Solent Power Systems, Wiltshire