Minimum distance from a kitchen sink to an outlet

Written by paul cartmell Google
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Minimum distance from a kitchen sink to an outlet
UK electrical outlets provide a higher voltage than those in other areas of the world. (George Doyle & Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Electrical installations in the UK are covered by specifications laid down under the British Standards set of regulations governed by the Health and Safety Executive. The installation, repair and maintenance of electrical outlets and a wiring system within the UK are covered by the BS7671 regulation that sets down recommendations for residential wiring installations. These regulations make recommendations about the placement of electrical outlets in relation to areas containing water, such as sinks and draining boards.

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The BS7671 regulation covering electrical installations, also known as the wiring regulations are designed to keep people safe when using electrical outlets, according to Planning Portal. Although no specific regulation is in place to cover the exact placement of an electrical outlet in relation to a sink or draining board a recommendation is made in the BS7671 regulation. According to the regulation an electrical outlet is not deemed safe it is positioned closer than 300 millimetre's, or 11.8 inches from a sink or draining board when measured horizontally from the sink, the Electrical Contractors Association reports.


BS7671 is made up of a number of individual regulations designed to reduce the amount of damage to property and injuries to people caused by improperly installed electrical systems. The standards recommend the placement of electrical outlets in bathrooms, kitchens and in proximity to sinks and draining boards because residential outlets are not designed to be splashed with water and still work correctly. Because of the design of electrical outlets in the UK and the high voltage passing through each outlet splashing with water can make an electrical outlet dangerous for use, according to the Electrical Contractors Association.

Building regulations

Under UK building regulations homeowners are not required to apply for permission or have electrical repairs or added electrical installations in their home inspected by a local planning authority, Planning Portal reports. Alterations made to a wiring system or electrical installations in a kitchen or bathroom must be reported to a building control agency in the area the property is located in. In most instances employing an electrician to complete the electrical work registered under the competent person scheme eliminates the need for external inspection by a local authority.

Competent person scheme

The UK Government introduced the competent person scheme to allow an electrician registered with a responsible organisation to complete work and provide a certificate of safety for a building owner. Qualified electricians need to be registered with one of five authorised bodies to prove they have a high level of electrical competency, the Health and Safety Executive reports. There is no regulation barring a building owner from completing their own alterations, repairs or installation of an electrical wiring system.

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