Periodic electrical inspection

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Periodic Electrical Inspection

From lighting up your properties to running electrical equipment and machinery, electricity is a necessity in all residential, commercial, and industrial properties.

What allows us to use this blessing is the electrical wiring and its various components installed in all types of homes and workplaces.

While we all know how important it is to have these systems installed properly, it is equally important to maintain them to ensure they keep working in a safe manner.

You must always keep your eye out for any faults and issues with the installations and have professionals test out your systems via periodic electrical inspection and testing.

Read on to find out what periodic electrical inspection is, its legal requirements, how often it must be carried out, and the difference between residential, commercial, and industrial electrical inspections:


Periodic electrical inspection, also known as periodic inspection report, refers to the detailed routine check-up of the electrical systems in a property.

It is carried out by certified and professional electricians using high-quality equipment throughout the process to detect faults and minimise electricity-related hazards.

A periodic electrical inspection aims to ensure that the people, animals, and other assets are safe against electric shocks. It also protects against fire and heat damage caused by defective electrical wiring.

In addition to that, it ensures that the buildings – residential, commercial, and industrial – are following the wiring regulations enforced by law.

A periodic electrical inspection will:

  • Expose any defective or faulty electrical work
  • Check if the electrical system or circuits are getting overloaded
  • Determine any potential dangers of electrical shocks or fire hazards
  • Check for inadequate earthing or bonding
  • Inspect the electronic equipment for any issues


All electrical installations deteriorate over time. The rate of deterioration is dependent on several factors such as the frequency of use, the working environment, and how well they have been maintained.

Regardless, in order to ensure the safety of all those on your property, you must test your electrical installations at frequent intervals as part of a preventative measure.

Not only do frequent inspections protect the occupants from danger, but they also safeguard the property owners when it comes to insurance and demonstrating compliance with the relevant legal regulations.

Although there are no specific laws when it comes to electrical testing, there are quite a few laws covering the health and safety of people, especially in commercial and industrial workplaces, and the easiest way to comply with them is to conduct periodic electrical inspections.

  • The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989: specify what is included as a part of the property’s electrical equipment and place responsibility on those in charge to safely maintain the electrical systems in the workplace.
  • The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974: ensures the health and safety of everyone on the premises, including the workers, visitors, contractors, and general public.
  • The Management of Health and Safety Work Regulations 1999: require employers to perform thorough risk assessments to minimise the danger for employees and to ensure the safety of all those in the workplace as far as possible.
  • The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998: require the employers to ensure the safety of the equipment used by the employees, which includes all fixed and portable equipment that works using electricity.
  • British Standard BS 7671 Wiring Regulations: the current standard and authority for electrical installations in the UK that all property owners must comply with.


Periodic electrical inspections are carried out by qualified individuals who assess the conditions of the electrical wiring and installations following the BS 7671, the UK’s safety standard for electrical installations.

The initial testing is carried out during the construction or completion of a building and provides a basis for future periodic electrical inspections. The initial verification ensures that:

  • All the installations and equipment are of the correct type
  • The electrical wiring complies with the BS 7671
  • There are no damaged or faulty electrical installations or equipment.

Periodic electrical inspection and testing provide a professional view on whether the system is in good shape or not and checks for any faults and issues that may start to manifest over time.

The testing process may start with a visual inspection of the property, which may or may not be carried out by a trained professional. Although you can look for visual signs of wear and tear yourself, you will need a competent person to complete the assessment and detect and fix the defects.

A detailed periodic electrical inspection is carried out in three steps that include:

Step 1: Inspection

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.

Step 2: Operation

In the second stage, the electrician will try and operate things that show signs of fault or damage and need fixing, such as the switchgear.

They will check the electrical equipment by switching it on and off and will also test the residual current device (RCD) for the circuits.

Step 3: Reporting

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.

Once the test has been completed, the electrician will hand over something referred to as the Electrical Inspection Condition Report (EICR), which outlines any unsafe aspects of your electrical system including anything that is not compliant with the current safety regulations and has the potential to put people and property at risk.

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

  • Code 1 (C1) requires immediate attention
  • Code 2 (C2) requires improvement
  • Code 3 (C3) requires further inspection, and
  • Code 4 (C4) does not comply with the BS 7671

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


Portable appliance testing (PAT) refers to checking and inspecting the appliances on a property that are not part of the fixed wiring and do not fall under the electrical testing of the premises.

Portable appliances are all those appliances that have a cable and plug and can be disconnected from their power source. Some common examples include desktops, laptops, printers, photocopiers, refrigerators, microwaves, toasters, portable heaters, table lamps, phone chargers, and extension cords.

PAT tests are also carried out by professional electricians and their frequency depends on several factors such as the age of the equipment, how often it is used, whether it might have been misused, or has been altered or repaired in the past.


The frequency of a periodic electrical inspection will depend on the type of property, with the time varying for residential, commercial, and industrial properties.

Properties that rely heavily on electricity and electrical appliances run a greater risk of electrical hazards, which is why the frequency for testing increases for them. The frequency also varies depending on the age and the environment of the electrical installations.

It is recommended in the wiring regulations BS 7671 that a domestic property must be regularly inspected and tested after an electrical installation every 5 to 10 years, or if you are buying/selling the property.

Under the Electricity of Work Act 1989, all businesses and commercial spaces must make sure that the electrical installations are deemed safe for use by the 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.

For landlords, 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.

Portable Appliance Testing, on the other hand, should be carried out between 3 to 12 months, depending on the type and usage of the item.

Here is a brief summary of the type of properties and the expected frequency for electrical inspections:

  • Owner-occupied home – 10 years
  • Rented home – 5 years
  • Industrial properties – 3 years
  • Offices, shops, and laboratories – 5 years
  • Schools, colleges, and universities – 5 years
  • Commercial buildings – 5 years


According to statistical data, electricity causes a substantial number of deaths and injuries in all kinds of properties, and the main culprit is almost always lack of maintenance and inspections.

Aside from keeping your property and all those in it safe from electrical hazards, periodic electrical inspections have several other benefits as well.

Here are all the reasons why periodic electrical inspections are so important:

  • Stay compliant with the law as per the Electricity at Work Act and the Health and Safety Regulations.
  • Look for signs of damage and deterioration and are a great preventive measure for electrical safety.
  • Requirement when there is a change in ownership or when new tenants come when renting out a property.
  • Needed when buying or selling a property.
  • Meet the criteria of insurance providers in reference to the coverage and costs.


Electrical installations and equipment in households and workplaces wear out as they age and require proper servicing to function safely and adequately. If they are not checked, they may give way to potential safety hazards that might put both lives and property at risk.

Here are a few electrical hazards that may happen due to inadequate testing and maintenance:

  • Inadequate wiring and overloaded circuits: improperly sized wiring can cause power surges that may lead to the circuits overloading and overheating, potentially starting a fire.
  • Exposed electrical parts: all the wiring and electrical installations, including the switch boxes and appliances, must be regularly checked for exposed parts since they may cause electrical shocks upon contact.
  • Improper and inadequate grounding: improper grounding increases the risk of electrocution since the extra voltage is not neutralised, and is a violation of the safety rules.
  • Damaged insulation: inadequate maintenance increases the risk of damaged insulation which may cause injuries, damage, and even death in certain cases.
  • Damaged tools and equipment: damaged machinery, both portable and part of the fixed wiring, is a serious safety hazard because it may malfunction, short-circuit, or even explode if not fixed.


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 the UK regulations but will also hold liability for any damages or unexpected incidents happening during the inspection.


If you are looking for a registered electrician for the installation, maintenance, and inspection of your property’s electrical system, look no further.

We offer a wide range of services to meet the demands of our clients which include all aspects of domestic, commercial, and industrial installations, along with testing services for all kinds of properties.

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 all aspects of electrical work. Our testing services include:

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, 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 make sure your electrical installations are safe and compliant with the law.

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