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Discuss What is a 'dwelling'? in the Electrical Forum area at ElectriciansForums.co.uk.

  1. SparkyChick

    SparkyChick CCTV / Alarms

    Location:
    South Wales
    Business Name:
    SparkyChick
    Hi all,

    Sounds a simple enough question, but try as I might, I can't find a definition of what constitutes a 'dwelling' in the context of Part P.

    The obvious answer is, it's somewhere someone lives. Using that definition however, a hotel could be classed as a dwelling because sometimes people live there for extended periods of time but my understanding is a hotel is classed as a commercial location and as such is exempt from Part P.

    I'm asking because I'm currently pricing up some work for a local bed and breakfast. Whilst it's a large house, there isn't a separate living area for the staff who do actually live on site. From what I can see, they are staying in unused guest rooms, they have no kitchen other than the commercial one used for serving guests. So, is this a dwelling?

    I'm 50/50 at the moment. If the staff weren't sleeping there, I would say no its not a dwelling, based purely on layout, facilities etc. Or am I over simplifying it? Should I be looking at the classification/use of the building because I'm guessing at some point in time it's use was changed from house to hotel/restaurant?

    And my final question (and really why I'm trying to be sure about it's 'dwelling' status)... if it isn't a dwelling, would I be correct in my thinking that I don't need to notify LABC of the work I do there?

    Thanks in advance for your help and guidance.

    Christina
     
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  3. Andy78

    Andy78 Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Kingston upon Hull
    I would notify it, but call your scheme for their clarification and viewpoint.
     
    Murdoch and Wilko like this.
  4. spinlondon

    spinlondon Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Harlow Essex
    It is exempt from Part P as far as I am aware.
    Before the 3rd amendment, sockets in guest rooms required RCD protection, whereas sockets in back of house did not.
    Now back of house sockets require a documented RA to omit RCD protection.
     
  5. sparksburnout

    sparksburnout Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Notts
    Would it not be classed in the same way as, for example, a flat above a shop, sharing the same supply, in which case part "P" would apply? If someone is actually living there (overnight), then its a dwelling, or at least that part in which they are living is? If I were you I would speak to building control.
    EDIT- It's a good one this! Part "P" says that if it is a common supply and it is classed as a dwelling then it is definitely under the scope of part "P". However legal definition:
    dwelling
    a place where a person lives treating it as his home, for the purposes of housing and rent legislation and which may become the object of protection such as a statutory secure tenancy.

    So you could argue that if they are just "lodging" in a spare room it is not classed as a dwelling??
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
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  7. spinlondon

    spinlondon Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Harlow Essex
    My understanding, is that prisons, barracks, hotels, hospitals, etc are not covered by Part P.
     
  8. sparksburnout

    sparksburnout Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Notts
    You could be right, seems a bit odd to me though, in the case of an hotel.
     
  9. Wilko

    Wilko Gorillas are Great Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Berkshire
    Business Name:
    Wilko Electrics
    It is a bit interesting isn't it? I tend towards "if there is a doubt, then there is no doubt". As you are already concerned about it being P affected, def get feedback as Tel advises. Important will be are any of the rooms considered self contained flats (in P) or are they just "rooms for residential purposes" within the hotel business (different definition in building reg schedule 2 and not P afaik). SparksB idea is also good, as the council will have a view on whether there are any flats on the site.
     
  10. SparkyChick

    SparkyChick CCTV / Alarms

    Location:
    South Wales
    Business Name:
    SparkyChick
    Thanks for the responses so far, I'm glad some of you who are more experienced than me are also having difficulty with the is it/ain't it a dwelling decision.

    My immediate thought was, dwelling plus business on shared supply, so I asked questions about living arrangements to try and establish if there are any self-contained flats. I specifically asked about the number of kitchens as I would say it can't be a self-contained dwelling if it doesn't have a kitchen. The only kitchen in the building is the commercial one, so I would say no, there are no self-contained flats, but I haven't verified by visual inspection.

    I was planning on calling my scheme later as Andy78 suggests. Just have (I've walked the dog since I started writing this), and they suggest a call to building control as SparksB suggested. I guess my only concern there would be if it's not listed as a hotel/restaurant (can't see it myself as it's been one for ages) I could be causing a whole world of hurt for the current owner, but right now it's the only choice on that side of things.

    I was planning on skipping the risk assessment route by providing RCD protection on everything. The existing install is lacking any form of documentation and whilst there is some circuit identification information, I'm not inclined to trust it much as I've already encountered some which is less than accurate (probably as a result of organic installation growth). Also, some of the install is downright crazy, like a 40A breaker (now isolated) supplying power to a floodlight at the front of the building wired in 1.5mm T+E. As a consequence of this and one or two other things I've seen, I'd be concerned about a non-RCD risk assessed circuit providing power to a guest area.

    RCBOs would be a good route, but the current CUs (one of which is inaccessible without ladders as it's in the loft - planning on moving that to the wall in a corridor unless anyone thinks that is a bad idea) are simply not big enough to cope with them size wise. I did think about one 30mA RCD on the whole system, replacing an existing fused main switch with an RCD/Type C MCB combination, however, my concern is nuisance trips possibly caused by issues on the installation, so I was leaning towards a 100mA RCD/Type C MCB combination for the whole, for overload protection on the supply cable and fault protection, and then splitting the install out to several RCDs in new consumer units.

    The previous owner has done some things that clearly don't comply (like running twin and earth under a paved area, insulating the outside lighting connections using plastic bags and insulating tape and running white flex on the ground), but at least they have their own RCD ;) Aside from the T+E, that situation should be easily fixed with a decent outside power box and the disconnection of the apparently no longer used flex.

    The biggest issue is a severe lack of funding. The owner is clearly trying to make a go of it on a limited budget and it doesn't help that it appears she's been ripped off by a less than honest spark who got her to pay cash for materials up front and then stopped returning her calls. Plus, she's in the process of renewing her lease and I would hate for her to spend a load of cash and then have the owners not renew.

    Overall, it's in desperate need of some TLC with a view to maximising safety.

    Sorry for the waffle, I'm used to being able to bounce ideas around off other people and at the moment, my head is full of this install.
     
  11. Murdoch

    Murdoch Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Woking
    All you can go is offer her advice and provide written quotes .... Then it's up to her.... The last thing you need is a non payer
     
  12. Vortigern

    Vortigern Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    England
    Business Name:
    F.H. Electrical
    Q3: To what types of electrical work does Part P apply?
    • In or attached to a dwelling
    • In the common parts of buildings serving one or more dwellings, but excluding power supplies to lifts
    • In a building that receives its electricity from a source located within or shared with a dwelling, and
    • In a garden or in or on land associate with a building where the electricity supply is from a source located within or shared with a dwelling
    The term dwelling includes houses, maisonettes and flats. It also applies to electrical installations in business premises that share an electricity supply with dwellings, such as shops and public houses with a flat above.
    I don't know it that helps. Have you considered fire alarm(s) smoke detectors and emergency lighting as well?
     
    westward10 likes this.
  13. SparkyChick

    SparkyChick CCTV / Alarms

    Location:
    South Wales
    Business Name:
    SparkyChick
    The issue is that staff live there, in unused guest rooms. That's the part that's making the dwelling/not a dwelling decision difficult. If they were living somewhere else, it's a no brainer, it's a hotel/restaurant and it's a commercial location.

    Have I considered fire alarms and emergency lighting. She has both. The fire alarm looks in good order as does what I've seen of the wiring for it. I asked her when it was last tested... the period was measured in months rather than weeks but it's there. I'm not insured to work on fire alarms, I specifically excluded it because I wasn't sure about legislation regarding who can do what on them and if there are any on-going obligations in terms of testing it etc. I know there is a BS I need to read and understand (the number I can't remember at the moment, but I was considering taking a course on it at some time in the future - or is the On Site Guide all you need?).

    There is some emergency lighting, although I suspect not enough having narrowly avoided falling down a step when I was investigating something and had the power off (corridor, no windows and no illumination of any form). This is something I need to look into in more detail. I'm fairly confident I could make it safer but I'm not willing to do anything with it (except maybe replace units that aren't working) until I understand the requirements.

    To answer Murdoch's point... absolutely, that's my plan. But I went to see her yesterday and if I'd had a plan to fix her problems, she wanted me to start straight away. She knows there are issues as I'm the third electrician who's been there and told her so. One wanted to rewire the whole place (which I don't believe is necessary based on what I've seen thus far), the second is the one who appears to have done a runner with her cash and that leaves me, so my plan is to pick through the issues and address them in a sensible order with a view to incremental improvements in the safety of the installation as a whole.
     
    Murdoch likes this.
  14. westward10

    westward10 Electrician's Arms

    Top Poster Of Month

    Location:
    Northamptonshire
    These rooms are not deemed as dwellings, #10 is accurate to what I understand. It is not uncommon for some rooms to be used for "staff accommodation" you see it in many hotels and large public houses with accommodation, they are usually pig styes.
    As for the fire alarm and emergency lighting this should be assessed as part of a fire risk assessment.
     
  15. sparksburnout

    sparksburnout Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Notts
    Just cover your Bum and ring your local BCO. If it is not supposed to be an Hotel then it's dodgy anyway and you would be better walking. The ones round here are really friendly and helpful, that's what they are there for.
     
    Murdoch likes this.
  16. rolyberkin

    rolyberkin Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Chelmsford
    Third electrician for a reason!?
     
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  18. sparksburnout

    sparksburnout Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Notts
    Good point. Are you short of work? I reckon I might be thinking of knocking this one on the head to be honest.
     
    Vortigern likes this.
  19. SparkyChick

    SparkyChick CCTV / Alarms

    Location:
    South Wales
    Business Name:
    SparkyChick
    I plan on giving them a call in the morning and asking them to email me with their answer so I have it in writing.
     
    sparksburnout likes this.
  20. Murdoch

    Murdoch Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Woking
    Sounds like a HMO to me.........
     
    westward10 likes this.
  21. sparksburnout

    sparksburnout Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Notts
    Now now.
     
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  22. SparkyChick

    SparkyChick CCTV / Alarms

    Location:
    South Wales
    Business Name:
    SparkyChick
    Could be, but as I mentioned, the first told her she needed the whole place rewiring and she simply can't afford it. It doesn't look like it needs a full rewire as despite some dodgy bits which are more down to implementation and a lack of understanding, the bits I have seen of the installation seem to be in good condition, but I've not tested any of it yet and that could of course find a whole raft of issues. The second one, unless she's spinning me a yarn, did her out of a significant portion of her budget.

    As for being short of work, I'm a fledgling business and I'm no where near capacity yet so I'm not in a rush to turn down work but at the same time, I'm not in a rush to get in over my head and get myself burned which is why I'm kind of bouncing stuff around on here to you guys who are far more experienced than me. My gut feeling is that because her English is poor and she's not a native some people have tried (and it appears succeeded) to take advantage of her. And yes, the idea of walking away had crossed my mind, but only from the perspective of I don't want to get in over my head in terms of any rules and regulations (like the emergency lighting and the fire alarm). On the practical level it's a fairly straightforward installation, the largest I've been asked to work on thus far for sure, but still relatively simple compared to say the installations in some of the offices I've spent a large portion of my adult life in.

    From a business perspective, it would be much easier to go in there all guns blazing "it's all s**t rewire it" and charge her an arm and a leg for the privilege. The problem is if she's not got the money to do that nothing will change. I'm just trying to put some thought into how to improve it incrementally on a limited budget without limiting the options for future improvement and without spending money on stuff that could actually be temporary as a result of improvement in the future.

    Aside from some small items (like accessories that need replacing due to damage), the biggest safety issues are the fact the main supply cable is T+E, runs more than 3m with no overcurrent protection at the origin and is possibly too small, there is limited RCD protection and the poor state of the emergency lighting which I'm looking in to.

    Anyhow, thanks for all the comments and suggestions on the original question. Defo the best bet is a call to building control, I'm going to start with a 'what if' scenario and ask a few questions about what would happen if they didn't know it was a hotel and see where we go from there. I'll post an update about the dwelling/not a dwelling situation when I have an answer from my LABC. The rest of it, comments and thoughts are welcomed :)

    Thanks all
     
    westward10 likes this.
  23. snowhead

    snowhead Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Mildlands
    No, it's NOT a dwelling.

    The permanent occupants, or are they, as staff change regularly in hotel / catering sector, do not have any exclusive area they can call Home.

    They have no Tenancy rights as they don't stay in the same room permanently, I doubt they have a tenancy agreement that would stand up.

    If their employed ceases, they'll be out the same day.