Electrical Inspection, Testing and Certification
All electrical installations deteriorate over time, so it is crucial you have them checked over on a regular basis. Forgetting to have your electric installation tested could lead to major problems such as electric shock burns and in more severe circumstances fire or even death. The EIC recommend your home gets tested by a qualified electrician at an interval no longer than ten years. If you are unsure or worried about your house wiring please get in touch with us now.
Which Test and Certificate?
Following completion of inspection and testing, an electrical installation certificate, together with particulars of the electrical installation and a schedule of test results, must be provided to the person who ordered the work. It must be signed three times (by the designer, the installer and the inspector/tester) to certify that the installation has been designed, constructed, inspected and tested in accordance with BS 7671 2008 (the 17th Edition of the lEE Wiring Regulations).
(a single-signature version of the certificate may be used where design, construction, inspection and testing are all the work of the same person.)
The form of the certificate will give particulars of the electrical installation and of completion and inspection.
In some cases, where there are good reasons and where a qualified electrical engineer has given his approval, the installation may not comply fully with the Regulations. In such a case, full details of the departures from BS7671 must be stated on the completion and inspection certificate.
A full schedule of test results must be appended to the Electrical Installation Certificate (and an Electrical Installation Condition Report).
The complete certificate must be handed (or sent) to the person ordering the work, a copy to be retained by the issuer for their records.
What is an EICRAn EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) formally PIR (Periodic Inspection Report) is as the name implies a report into the condition of the electrical installation and to highlight any safety shortcomings, defects or deviations from the current revision of the electrical regulations BS7671.
Who should perform an EICRAn electrical installation condition report should be performed by a competent electrician with the necessary experience and extensive knowledge of the type of installation that is being tested.
Are there any considerations that you need to be aware of when you commission an electrician to conduct an EICR?When an EICR is performed on the property the electrician will need to disconnect the installation from the mains electrical power supply; depending on the size of the property this can be anywhere from an hour or two to a whole day, some larger installations especially commercial or industrial installations can take days or even weeks.
The electrician needs to switch off and disconnect the power for reasons of safety and also for the purpose of being able to apply the correct test to the relevant electrical circuit. The disconnection of the power supply is of course going to be an inconvenience for those that are using the building at the time, especially if the disconnection of the power impacts on the running of a business or other critical operation.
Who needs an EICRAlthough for privately owned domestic properties it is not a statutory requirement to have an EICR performed on the electrical installation, it is advisable that the electrical installation of all properties are tested and inspected at regular intervals and no longer than once every ten years.
For privately rented properties it might not be a statutory requirement, although that is dependent on the area that you live in. It is important to ensure that all electrical appliances and fittings within the property are safe and in good working order, as you can still be held liable if there is an injury caused by an unsafe electrical installation.
For a House of Multiple Occupancy or an HMO, it has been a statutory requirement for over five years; it states that the building management should;
'ensures that every fixed electrical installation is inspected and tested at intervals not exceeding five years by a person qualified to undertake such inspection and testing'It is a statutory requirement that commercial properties and properties where the public have access; are regularly checked and that an EICR is perform on the electrical services.
The period between inspections is determined by the function and the use of the building.
What are the processes of an EICR?
This is where the electrician will survey the electrical installation before he/she commences with the electrical testing. The visual inspection will highlight broken or cracked devices, where devices may have been installed in the wrong location, or if there have been overloading or over heating problems.
Insulation resistance testing: this test is to make sure that the electrical insulation material surrounding the conductors is intact.
Polarity: this test is to check that the connection are connected in the right sequence
Earthing arrangement testing: this check is to make sure that the earthing arrangement complies with regulations and that all connections are sound. Live testing: Earth fault loop impedance testing: this test is to check that if a fault did occur, that the system meets requirements to cause a disconnection of the supply within the time limit specified
RCD testing: on modern electrical systems RCD's and RCBO's are regularly fitted, these devices react to electricity missing from the circuit or installation such as when a person is receiving an electric shock as the electricity passes through his body to the ground (earth)
Understanding the CODESThe codes used to determine whether there are non-compliances or issue with the electrical installation and are numbered C1 to C3.
These codes will be entered on the Electrical Installation Condition Report, along with a description of the nature of the fault, and will determine whether a 'Satisfactory' or 'Unsatisfactory' report will be applied to the installation.
Code C1 'Danger present': There is a risk of injury and that immediate remedial action is required to remove the dangerous condition.
Code C2 'Potentially dangerous condition': Urgent remedial action required, this should declare the nature of the problem, not the remedial actions required.
Code C3 'Improvement recommended' This code more often than not implies that while the installation may not comply with the current set of regulations, complies with a previous set of regulations and so is deemed to be safe although this safety can be improved upon.
Code F1 'Further Investigation': There is a problem but further investigation is required.
The first part of an EICR is the visual inspection, which should be conducted throughout the property both inside and out if required. The Domestic Visual Report is designed for use where it has been ascertained that the electrical installation requires only a visual inspection.The visual inspection should consist of checks to ensure that:
Who would use a Visual Inspection Report?An example of where the visual report could be used is for a rented property where the tenants have recently changed and a recent (say within 2 years) Electrical Installation Certificate or Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR - Periodic Inspection Report) exists and any recorded C1 and/or C2 codes have been rectified. Should the visual inspection detect unsafe items the client should be informed and advised to have an EICR undertaken.
Occasionally a visual inspection could be carried out before conducting an EICR to get a measure of the extent and limitations for that particular installation.
All operatives issuing visual reports will need to be deemed competent under the Electricity at Work Regulations (EWR, Regulation 16) and meet the definition of a competent person as stated in BS7671:2008 Amd 1.
Along with a new format to the certificate, a new code system has been developed to replace the old codes. The new codes are C1, C2, C3, and FI.
Code C1Code C1's are deemed to be so severe that the electrical engineer should take immediate action, it could be that there are 'exposed live parts' this is where a person is able to make direct contact with the live parts of the circuit and so get an electric shock. It could be that a cover, a switch or a socket outlet, are missing or broken and so the live wire is accessible. This problem has to be amended immediately either by installing or replacing the device, or by isolating (that's a fancy term that electricians use for switching off the power, although it can also mean the disconnection of the wire supplying power to the circuit)the supply from the offending device.
Code C2Code C2's are regarded not as severe as C1's but are deemed to be dangerous or to be able to cause a dangerous situation arising if the circuit is used under certain conditions. A C2 will cause a certificate to be classified as 'Unsatisfactory', and can be considered to be like your car failing its MOT.
Code C3If you have code C3's on your certificate, then this usually mean that the issue is to do with the evolution of the electrical regulations. As the regulations change and new technologies come on the market, so the systems that are installed have become safer. So while an installation that was fitted twenty or thirty years ago might have seemed safe at the time they are not considered to be so safe now. C3 conditions can be commented on an EICR and the certificate will still be deemed to be 'Satisfactory'. When C3's are rectified then this will bring the installation up to date, and hence make the installation safer.
Code F1 (Further investigation required)The existing PIR Code 4 (does not comply with BS7671:2008) will no longer be used and an "FI" will be marked down if further investigation to the installation is needed.
The change in name will not invalidate a current Periodic Inspection Report.
A Periodic Inspection Report, now an Electrical Installation Condition Report, should be carried out every 5-10years for domestic properties, after each tenancy for rented properties and 3 years for commercial properties.
These tasks may be carried out by a competent person who should issue a Minor Works Certificate to the owner upon completion and satifactory testing of the circuit worked upon.
Examples of minor works are:
Replacing accessories such as socket outlets, control switches and ceiling roses
Replacing the cable for a single circuit only, where damaged, in other words by fire, rodent or impact
Re-fixing or replacing the enclosures of existing installation components
Providing mechanical protection to existing fixed installations.
Work that is not in a kitchen or special location may include:
Adding lighting points (light fittings and switches) to an existing circuit
Adding socket outlets and fused spurs to an existing ring or radial circuit
Installing or upgrading main or supplementary equipotential bonding