5 things you need to know about electrical testing

What is electrical testing?

Whether it’s a home, rented accommodation, commercial property or business, Electrical testing is essential to ensure continued safe operation of your electrical installation and/or devices. Electrical Installation condition Reports (EICR), sometimes referred to as landlord reports or fixed wire testing, are full scale inspection and testing of your electrical installation. An EICR provides you with a full report into the condition of your electrical installation, similar to a MOT on your car.

Is it a legal requirement?

Laws such as the Landlord and Tenants Act (1985) and Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) outline the responsibilities that landlords and employers have with regards to the safety of tenants and employees respectively. The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 also require that precautions are taken against the risk of injury sustained from electricity used in work activities. Landlords could face prosecution if a tenant is electrocuted due to unsafe electrics however, there are no current legislation that specifically states that home owners, business and landlords must have EICR certification

What does it involve?

An EICR comprises of a number of visual checks, and tests with the use of specialist test equipment. The testing and inspections will involve, but not limited to:

 

  • Inspection of the consumer unit
  • Inspection of accessories (light switches, sockets etc)
  • Testing of the cabling within the walls.
  • Checking compliance with latest version of the IET wiring regulations.
  • Checking the adequacy of the earthing and bonding.
  • Checking and inspecting devices for protection against fire and electric shock.
  • Any damage or wear and tear that might affect the safety of the properties inhabitants.
  • Identification of any exposed live wires that could cause a fire or injury.

The duration of the test and inspection will vary depending on the size of your installation, a typical 3 bed house will take approximately 6 hours. All of the information collected is then compiled into a report that is presented on completion of the testing. The report will be presented as either satisfactory or unsatisfactory. Unsatisfactory means that the required work needs to be done, without delay, to remove the risk to those living or working at the property.  As well as returning an “unsatisfactory” result, the report will detail which electrical system(s) failed the test. Work required is classified using the following codes:

 

  • C1 – ‘danger is present’, risk of injury is likely and immediate action is required.
  • C2 – potentially dangerous and remedial action is needed urgently.
  • C3 – improvement to your electrical system is recommended. C3 is the only classification code that can appear on a report and still pass the EICR test.

 

Once your electrical system has passed the inspection fully and any urgent remedial work has been completed, you will be provided with an EICR Certificate of Safety, giving you peace of mind that your electrics are safe.

How often do I need it?

Electrical installations are not immune to the process of ageing, deterioration and even general wear and tear. For this reason, an EICR should be conducted at regular intervals. British Standard BS 76719 (IET Wiring Regulations) recommends the following intervals for businesses, landlords and homeowners:

  • Businesses – employers are recommended to have an EICR test undertaken once every five years.
  • Buy-to-let or rented property – landlords should have an EICR test done every five years or when new tenants enter the property.
  • Homeowners – an EICR is recommended every 10 years.

 

Please note that these are recommendations. Actual durations may vary depending on the age and use of the installation.

What does it cost?

This is a difficult question to answer as it depends on the size and extent of the installation. A typical 3 bed house is around £200 including VAT. Bison Electrical offers a range of test and inspection services, including comprehensive electrical compliance for contracts larger properties/businesses. For more information Contact Us now on 01502512219