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Regular electrical safety checks are a requirement under UK legislation for both domestic and commercial properties.
Since all electrical installations deteriorate over time due to several factors such as damage, corrosion, and wear and tear, the current standards for electrical safety require that they must be periodically maintained, inspected, and tested.
The best way to prove that the electrical wiring and installations are safe to use is through an electrical installation condition report (EICR). It is a formal document that is produced by an experienced qualified electrician at the end of an inspection.
Read on to find out more about home and commercial electrical condition reports, what they include, why they are important, and more:
A home electrical condition report refers to the inspection of the fixed electrical wiring and equipment in a domestic or residential property. It includes checking the electrical wires, sockets, switches, lights, and consumer units, at the end of which a detailed report is drafted that highlights the overall health of the electrical system.
EICRs are a requirement under the law for rental properties and Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMO) in England in order to protect tenants and their possessions.
A commercial electrical condition report is similar to a home electrical condition report, except that it is carried out on commercial properties including offices, schools, care and nursing homes, restaurants, hotels, shopping centres, and other similar properties.
Although there are no specific laws when it comes to electrical testing in commercial spaces, there are quite a few laws covering the health and safety of people and the easiest way to comply with them is to conduct periodic electrical inspections. They include:
An electrical condition report has the following main purposes:
According to several health and safety laws, as a domestic or commercial property owner, you are responsible for the welfare of your tenants and employees.
Failing to meet these standards puts you at risk of negligence if someone on your property suffers injuries or damage to goods due to an electrical fault or issue.
In the event of such a thing happening, you could be charged for non-compliance and required to pay up to £30,000 worth of penalties.
The main purpose of an electrical condition report is to identify any electrical faults that could turn into a safety hazard or issue in the future. As part of the EICR, the age and condition of all of your electrical installations are assessed to make sure they meet British Standards.
The final report will identify and report issues including:
A detailed electrical condition report is carried out in three steps that include:
This is the first step of the process and the health diagnosis of your electrical system. It refers to a qualified electrician looking around your property, checking the wires, and testing the appliances to look for defects.
The electrician will look for damaged parts and wires, general wear and tear, and missing components such as covers and screws. They will also look for signs of overheating and malfunction and make sure that there is adequate labelling for the equipment.
In the second stage, the electrician will try and operate things that show signs of fault or damage and need fixing.
They will check the electrical equipment by switching it on and off and will also test the residual current device (RCD) for the circuits.
Once the first two steps have been completed, the electrician will compile a report of all the faults and issues with the wiring and electrical installations.
Any previously identified defects that have been fixed will be included in the report, and any new ones will be prioritised for completion depending on the level of risk associated with them.
The EICR is not a certificate. It is a report that includes details of the condition of your electrical installations and any remedial work that may be required.
It specifies damages, defects, deterioration, and other conditions that could put the occupants of a property at risk. It may also include pictures to emphasise any areas of concern.
If you do not pass the inspection and the report finds issues with your electrical system, the results will come out as “unsatisfactory” and you will need remedial work done. A quotation for the remedial work may also be given to you by the electrician.
The information is presented in the form of codes that indicate the seriousness of the matter and the urgency of the action to be taken:
|Danger is present and the occupants are at risk of injury. Immediate action required.
|Potential danger. Urgent remedial action required to make the installations safe.
|No serious danger. Improvements can be made.
|Further investigation is required. The safety of the installations could not be determined. Additional information needed.
An electrical condition report is a detailed process that includes deeply analysing all the electrical wiring and installations on the property.
On average, it may take around 1 to 4 hours to complete. The total time depends on several factors such as the size and type of the property, the accessibility of the electrical systems, and the number of electrical components, among other factors.
The best way to ensure that the wiring and electrical installations on your property keep working as they should is to have a reliable electrical contractor periodically check them out.
Following are the recommended time frames for electrical inspections for domestic, commercial, and rented properties:
It is recommended in the wiring regulations BS 7671 that a domestic property must be regularly inspected and tested every 5 to 10 years or if you are buying/selling the property.
It is a requirement under the Electricity of Work Act 1989 that as a business or commercial space, you must make sure that the electrical installation is deemed safe for use by your employees and the public. This is done by carrying out an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) at regular intervals, which can range from 3 to 5 years.
A Landlords Safety Certificate, which provides an electrical installation condition report to identify any issues and to make sure the property is safe for use and up to electrical standards and regulations, must be carried out every 5 years or whenever there is a change in occupancy.
While these timeframes are good recommendations, they are not set in stone. You can have your property inspected more frequently because of the following reasons:
There are a few tips to follow to ensure a smooth electrical inspection. They include:
There are several individuals and companies offering electrical inspections. However, not all are certified and skilled to do so.
To make sure your electrical inspection is smooth, the most important step is hiring the right person(s) to do the job.
A competent electrician will not only carry out the work as per UK regulations but will also hold liability for any damages or unexpected incidents happening during the inspection.
It may seem like a tiresome and boring task, but reading up on the electrical safety regulations will make sure that you are aware of the measures to be taken in order to make your property safe for all its occupants.
Before the inspection by the engineer, conducting a visual inspection of the electrical system and its components will help take note of any obvious issues.
A visual inspection is done to identify any ‘visible’ signs of damage and defect and to reveal any areas that need attention.
These visible signs may include flickering lights, frequent circuit breaker trips, broken fixtures, loose outlets, frayed wires, discolouration near the switchboards, smoke, and weird odours.
If you find any issues during the visual inspection, such as damaged sockets, extension leads, and electrical fittings, have them repaired or replaced immediately.
These visual inspections must be conducted more frequently so that you stay updated on the condition of your electrical system and know immediately when to refer to a professional.
Since an electrical inspection can take a few hours to complete, it may disrupt the tenants, employees, and visitors on the property.
To minimise disruption and to take out the element of surprise, it is best to inform them beforehand regarding the inspection. This includes telling them the date and an approximate time of how long the inspection will take.
Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is a routine inspection to test items that are not part of the fixed wiring and do not fall under the electrical testing of the premises.
Electrical appliances that have a cable and plug, can be disconnected from their power source, and can be easily moved all fall under this category.
Some common portable appliances include desktops, laptops, printers, photocopiers, refrigerators, microwaves, toasters, portable heaters, table lamps, phone chargers, and extension leads.
PAT testing is also carried out by a professional electrician at least once a year, depending on the age of the equipment, how often it is used, and if it has been misused, altered, or repaired in the past.
If you are looking for a registered electrician for the installation, maintenance, inspection, and rewiring of your property’s electrical system, look no further.
We offer a wide range of services to meet the demands of our clients. All our work is fully insured and we work to meet the standards set to us by the NICEIC to make sure all your electrical installations meet the current regulations and all the notifiable work is signed off by the local authorities.
We have been undertaking electrical work since 1976 and are specialists in the field. If you have unplanned issues within your home or business, we can provide a call-out service to rectify and solve any problems.
Anything from circuits tripping to loss of power, broken items that need repairing, or checking if you feel something is unsafe or a potential hazard.
Our team can generate a Visual Inspection Report (VIR) to identify anything visual that does not comply with the standards or looks unsafe, as well as a full Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) where we will identify and test all the circuits to make sure they are not deteriorating and are safe for use within the current standards and regulations set by the BS 7671.
We can also provide PAT testing of appliances to make sure that any items such as kettles, computers, and microwaves are safe for use in the home and workplace.
Contact us here or call us on 0800 612 3001 for more information on electrical condition reports for your home and commercial properties.
Or would like us to provide a survey and quote then please contact us and we will be happy to help.Call us on 0800 612 3001