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HMRC internal manual

VAT Construction

HM Revenue & Customs
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Alterations and repair or maintenance - case law and agreements: lighting and wiring

The first time installation of lighting and wiring systems are ‘approved alterations’.

Works to part, or all, of an existing system (including replacing items) are not normally ‘approved alterations’ although extensions to a system, or moving the location of items, may qualify if the works required listed building consent.

Note: The work may in any event be zero-rated if carried out in the course of other approved alterations, such as an extension (VCONST08450).

Works in the grounds of a building, such as the installation of floodlighting around a building, are not ‘approved alterations’.

The case in Parochial Church Council of Holy Trinity Church, Heath Town, Wolverhampton (VTD 13652) provides a useful example of the difference between the two types. In this case, the electrical and lighting system was modified. It was held that replacing pendant lights, replacing single socket with a double were not alterations but moving light switches and installing a light fitting in a new location were ‘approved alterations’.

In All Saints with St Nicholas Church, Icklesham (VTD 16321), the old electric lighting system was removed. The new system re-sited almost all of the light fittings and wiring. It was held that these works were ‘approved alterations’.