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The Building Regulations 2000 Conservation of fuel and power

Approved Document L1B

Conservation of fuel and power in existing dwellings: Came into effect 1st October 2010 Building Regulation L1B can be downloaded here

This new regulation introduces energy efficiency requirements that must be taken into account when work is carried out on your home.  This affects the provision of new external lighting and the Building Regulation refers the reader to Domestic Building Services Compliance Guide 2010 for the relevant detailed guidance for persons installing what are termed fixed building services, which includes lighting. The relevant pages in this document are 122 – 124.

Domestic Building Services Compliance Guide 2010 can be downloaded here

Table 40 on page 123 of the Guide provides the following recommended minimum standards for fixed external lighting for both new and existing dwellings.

Where fixed external lighting* is installed, provide light fittings with the following characteristics:


  1. Lamp capacity not greater than 100 lamp-watts per light fitting** AND;
  2. All lamps automatically controlled so as to switch off after the area lit by the fitting becomes unoccupied AND;
  3. All lamps automatically controlled so as to switch off when daylight is sufficient


  1. Lamp efficacy greater than 45 lumens per circuit-watt*** AND;
  2. All lamps automatically controlled so as to switch off when daylight is sufficient AND
  3. Light fittings controllable manually by occupants

*             Fixed external lighting means: lighting fixed to an external surface of the dwelling supplied from the occupier’s electrical system.  It excludes lighting in common areas of blocks of flats and in other communal accessways.

**           Light fitting means: a fixed light or lighting unit that can comprise one or more lamps and lamp holders, control gear and an appropriate housing.  The control gear may be integrated in the lamp or located elsewhere in or near to the fixed light.

***        Circuit-watt means: the power consumed in lighting circuits by lamps and, where applicable, their associated control gear (including transformers and drivers) and power factor correction equipment.


The above guidelines allow for the use of 100 Watts tungsten halogen lamps in floodlighting luminaires (light fittings), but they must be activated by PIRs and the whole unit must automatically shut down during daylight hours.  This does not allow the use of a manually operated tungsten halogen floodlight switched from inside the dwelling.  However this does not prevent the use of a manually operated floodlight providing the lamp efficacy is greater than 45 lumens per circuit watt.  Therefore manually operated floodlights using compact fluorescent lamps and LEDs are permitted, providing they incorporate a photoelectric cell that switches the unit off during daylight hours. 

The Building Regulations 2000 Electrical safety – dwellings

Approved Document P

P1 Design and installation of electrical installations: Came into effect 6th April 2006 The Building regulations Approved document P1 can be downloaded here

Many electrical installations, both inside and outside the home, have to be approved by your local council unless they have been carried out by a competent person who is authorised to self-certify their work.  A competent person will be registered with one of several competent self-certification schemes approved by UKAS.  Examples of work that must be carried out by a competent person include the provision of a mains electrical supply into and across a garden and the installation of new external lights on your home.

If you don’t follow the requirements of the building regulations your insurance may be invalid and the council could take enforcement action against you.  You may also find it a problem when you come to sell your house if you are unable to show that the work has been carried out by a competent person.

Many local authorities provide website guidance about what type of electrical work has to be carried out by a competent person, so you are advised to visit these sites and or contact your local building control department for clarification.

The Communities and local government leaflet - Rules for electrical safety in the home can be downloaded here