Electrical testing in shops

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Electrical Testing in shops

Electricity is an essential part of a business’s operations. Retail shops, like any other business establishment, cannot offer their goods and services without electricity to power their daily operations.

From lighting to heating, ventilation, computers, and other essential devices, the importance of electricity in a shop cannot be overstated.

With such dependency on electricity, shop owners have a legal responsibility to carry out regular electrical tests and inspections to make sure the electrical wiring and installations are safe to use.

Safety is of utmost importance in any work environment, and it is the right of every employee and every customer walking into the business.

You can benefit greatly by ensuring electrical safety on the premises. Having an accident-free environment gives employees a sense of security and your business a good name for carrying out its due diligence.

Read on to find out all about electrical testing in shops, what it involves, how often it must be carried out, why it is so important, and more:


The importance of electrical safety cannot be overstated in any type of business, including shops. Electrical accidents are incredibly common and can result in serious injuries, and even death, along with damages to property and equipment.

Therefore, it is extremely important for shop owners and managers to take the required steps to ensure everyone and everything in the shop is safe and protected from such threats.

One of the best safety measures, which is also a legal requirement, is to carry out periodic testing and inspections of the electrical systems and installations in the shops.

They should also ensure that all appliances and electrical devices are in good working condition, and have them regularly inspected and maintained.

The inability to maintain the shop’s electrics may also lead to financial losses due to costly repairs and replacements for damaged property and equipment.

By implementing proper electrical safety protocols including electrical tests and inspections, shop owners can reduce the risk of accidents and financial losses and help protect their business.

In the UK, shop owners and managers have a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of their employees and customers and can be held accountable for any electrical accidents that occur on the premises.

They must comply with various regulatory bodies and standards related to electrical safety, including the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

By adopting the best practices when it comes to electrical safety, shop owners can ensure that they are in compliance with relevant laws and regulations and protect themselves from potential legal and regulatory consequences.


To meet the requirements of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, all electrical installations must be tested and inspected regularly to make sure they are safe to use.

Electrical testing in shops typically includes the use of specialised testing equipment for checking the condition and operation of the electrical systems.

This may involve testing the various components of the electrical system including the electrical wiring, switches, sockets, consumer units, distribution boards, and circuit breakers.

The testing process may also involve checking the electrical installations for signs of damage, wear, or other issues that could pose a risk to the safety of the building and its occupants.

There are several different types of electrical tests that may be carried out in shops. They include:

User checks

User checks refer to a type of electrical safety inspection conducted by electrical equipment users or operators. In a shop setting, the users may be the employees and staff members using the electrical equipment.

These checks are designed to ensure that the electrical equipment is being used safely and in accordance with the electrical safety standards and regulations.

User checks may involve checking the condition of electrical equipment, verifying that it has been installed and maintained properly and that it is being used in a safe and appropriate manner.

They may be required by law or company policy and may be conducted on a regular basis to ensure ongoing safety.

The checks may include checking the electrical outlets, extension cords, electrical tools and appliances, and electrical machinery for visible damage to equipment, verifying that equipment is properly grounded, electrical cords are in good condition, and ensuring that everything is functioning properly

It is important for electrical equipment users to be familiar with the proper procedures for conducting electrical user checks, as well as the potential risks associated with using electrical equipment and how to mitigate those risks.

Visual inspections

Electrical visual inspections are a type of electrical safety inspection that involves visually inspecting electrical equipment and systems to identify any potential hazards or defects.

They are more thorough and require a bit of technical knowledge, at the end of which a Visual Inspection Report (VIR) is made.

They are performed by trained employees and must be done every 6 to 12 months. They include looking for damages to any part of the plug, fuses and wires connected incorrectly, exposed wiring, and discolouration of any sockets.

The inspector may also check for other issues, such as the presence of moisture or other contaminants, which can create hazards or impair the functioning of electrical equipment.

Detailed inspections

Detailed inspections, also known as fixed wiring testing, are more detailed than visual inspections and are done to identify any damages, defects, or deterioration that may have been missed in the initial checks.

They are typically conducted every 3 to 5 years and are carried out by trained and certified professionals who test the wiring and various circuits around the property.

The purpose of a detailed inspection is to determine whether the current electrical installations are satisfactory for continued use or not, at the end of which an EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) is made.

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is conducted on all portable appliances including laptops, printers, electric fans, electric heaters, and microwaves.

It is carried out by a professional electrician once a year depending on the age of the equipment, how often it is used, and whether it has been misused, altered, or repaired in the past.

It 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.


An electrical installation condition report (EICR) is a comprehensive assessment of the electrical installations in a building or facility.

It is a legal requirement in the UK for all commercial properties to have an EICR carried out at least once every five years, and in some cases, more frequently. This includes shops and other retail spaces, which rely heavily on electricity to power their operations.

The purpose of an EICR is to ensure that the electrical installations in a building are safe and compliant with the current edition of the British Standards (BS 7671).

An EICR is carried out by a qualified electrical contractor or engineer, who will conduct a thorough inspection of the electrical installation and test all of the electrical systems and equipment.

An EICR typically involves the following steps:

  1. Inspection: The electrical contractor will conduct a visual inspection of the electrical installation, looking for any visible signs of damage or deterioration, as well as any potential hazards. They will also check the condition and operation of electrical equipment, such as outlets, switches, and circuit breakers.
  2. Testing: The electrical contractor will conduct a variety of tests on the electrical installation, including continuity tests, insulation resistance tests, and earth fault loop impedance tests. These tests will help to identify any issues with the wiring or equipment that may not be visible during the inspection.
  3. Reporting: After the testing and inspection are completed, a detailed report will be prepared to outline the findings of the EICR. The report will include a list of any defects or hazards that were identified, as well as recommendations for repairs or improvements.

The information is presented in the form of codes that indicate the seriousness of the matter:

  • Code 1 (C1): Danger is present and the occupants are at risk of injury. Immediate action is required.
  • Code 2 (C2): Potential danger. Urgent remedial action is required to make the installations safe.
  • Code 3 (C3): No serious danger. Improvements can be made.
  • Code FI: Further investigation is required. The safety of the installations could not be determined. Additional information is needed.

Once the electrician has carried out the required remedial work, a certificate is issued to the property owner that confirms that all the tests have been carried out in compliance with the current safety regulations.


As mentioned above, PAT testing tests the items that are not part of the fixed wiring and so do not fall under the electrical testing of the premises.

Although there is no legal requirement to carry out the tests, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advises all commercial property owners to conduct PAT tests every 3 to 12 months, depending on the type and use of the appliance.

The type of appliance in question is a huge determining factor in the frequency of PAT tests. Class 1 appliances are at a greater risk of faults and danger than Class 2 appliances, and must therefore be tested more frequently.

Class 1 appliances have basic insulation and rely on an earth connection for protection. They are made of metal, have a three-core cable, and have a metal earth pin. Typical examples of Class 1 appliances include refrigerators, washing machines, microwaves, and toasters.

Class 2 appliances, also known as double insulated, have supplementary insulation and do not rely on an earth connection for protection. Typical examples of Class 2 appliances include televisions, computers, and photocopiers.


According to BS 7671, periodic electrical inspection and testing must be carried out by a skilled person who possesses the right knowledge and experience to perceive the risks and avoid hazards.

The competent individual must have a formal qualification and must know how to operate electrical instruments to carry out the tests.

To ensure that all your electrical work meets the current regulations and you receive a certificate of compliance, you must choose a registered electrician to do it for you.

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.


Other than conducting regular electrical tests and inspections, it is very important that everyone on the premises adopts the best practices when it comes to electrical safety.

Everyone, including the owners, managers, employees, staff members, customers, and visitors have a responsibility to safely use the electrical installations and appliances.

Here are a few safety tips for everyone to follow:

  • Avoid overloading the outlets. Make sure the wattage of the appliance doesn’t exceed the maximum capacity of the socket and circuit.
  • Unplug electrical appliances when they are not in use to protect them from overheating and surges, and also to save energy.
  • Use surge protection devices to protect your appliances and circuits.
  • Minimise the use of extension leads. Get rid of any damaged or frayed ones as they can be very unsafe to use.
  • Always connect high-power appliances directly to the sockets and not an adapter or extension.
  • Tidy up long electrical cords and keep them away from high-traffic areas as they can become a tripping hazard.
  • Avoid running cords under rugs and carpets as it is a fire hazard.
  • Keep flammable materials away from electrics.
  • Keep electrical equipment at least 5 feet away from water and water sources.
  • Provide a clearly identifiable switch near the fixed machinery to cut off the power supply in case of an electrical fault or emergency.
  • Ensure all the appliances and machines in the shop are double-insulated and properly grounded.
  • Make sure all appliances are in well-ventilated areas for proper heat dispersion.
  • Train all the employees on the best practices and how to safely use the electrical appliances and equipment.
  • Know and follow the course of action in case of an electric shock.
  • Know how to operate a manual fire alarm systemin case of a fire.
  • Call the fire and rescue services immediately in case of an electrical fire.
  • Avoid DIYs as most of them can cause more damage than actually fixing the issue.
  • In case of an electrical emergency, do not hesitate to call a professional electrical service to help you out.


We have been providing electrical services to residential, commercial, and industrial properties for over 40 years and are specialists in all aspects of electrical installations, maintenance, and testing.

All our work is fully insured and we work to meet the standards set 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.

If you have unplanned issues within your home or business, we can provide a call-out service to rectify and solve any problems such as circuits tripping, loss of power, broken items that need repairing, or to check 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 each circuit 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 to get in touch with our professional electricians for more information on electrical testing in shops.

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