Electrical safety is becoming more of a talking point every day, whether it be in the home or at work.
Insurance companies and the Government are cracking down on Employers and Landlords to ensure that the properties they own are safe.
Like Gas, Electricity is not something that should be messed around with by the average DIY enthusiast, or anyone that isn't a qualified Electrician for that matter and should be regularly checked.
Here at Suresafe Electrical Services Ltd, we pride ourselves on good quality workmanship, guaranteeing the safety and longevity of our installations. We also specialise in Inspection and Testing.
So, what is involved in inspection and testing?
What is an EICR?
An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), also know as the following:
Electrical Safety Inspection
Landlords Electrical Safety Inspection
Fixed Wire Testing
It is an inspection of the fixed wiring of a property as well as any electrical accessories such as sockets, light fittings, Consumer units (fuse board) etc.
The purpose is to Provide an Engineering View on whether or not the installation is in a satisfactory condition where it can continue to be used safely.
The periodic inspection and testing is carried out, so far as is reasonably practicable for:
The safety of persons and livestock against the effect of electric shock and burns
Protection against damage to the property by fire and heat arising from an installation defect
Confirmation that the installation is not damaged or deteriorated so as to impair safety
The identification of installation defects and departures from the requirements of BS 7671 that may give rise to danger.
How often should my electrics be tested?
This can vary depending on the property and what the previous electrician has recommended.
A privately owned domestic property, it is common to be every 10 years.
A rented domestic property is at least every 5 years although a visual inspection should be carried out every year or after a change of tenancy.
An EICR should be carried out if water damage has occurred i.e. roof leak, water leak or flooding.
Your insurance company may specify otherwise.
What is checked?
A visual inspection is carried out as far as practicable then the testing of the fixed wiring.
The inspection list is quite a big one, around 70 items are to be checked as well as the testing process. Here are some of the main things:
Damage to accessories.
Accessories are adequate for their environment i.e. IP44 (or greater) sockets installed outside).
Where applicable, Gas, Water (and a few others) are sufficiently earthed/bonded.
Connections are secure with no undue strain.
Cables are routed correctly and enter enclosures properly.
RCD protection is present for Sockets and Special locations (i.e Bathroom).
Cables are correctly fused.
Circuits are correctly labelled.
Warning labels are present where necessary.
Accessories are wired correctly.
If any faults are present.
There's a lot more, but we'd be here a long time.
How long does it take?
It really is 'how long is a piece of string'. It depends on the size of property and how many circuits are within the property. A huge factor is how accessible things are, sampling size and the 'limitations' that have been agreed.
To give you and idea, for a typical 3 bedroom house, 6 circuits and everything easy to get to, it can take between 2-4 hours, sometimes longer.
What are limitations?
It should be agreed prior what will and will not be inspected and tested. Common limitations are as followed:
Areas which may/do contain asbestos.
Cables that are concealed.
Testing between live conductors (Line and Neutral).
Live testing which may lead to danger.
High level circuits.
Sampling is also part of the agreement. This basically means, it's not practicable to take apart every socket, light, light switch, boiler etc. sample rate is usually 10%, then increased if deemed necessary.
Who should I contact to carry out an EICR?
A registered Electrician should carry out the inspection. Make sure to ask for the Electricians I.D and proof that they are a member of a registered body such as Stroma, NICEIC, Napit etc. If you have any concerns or question, make sure to let your Electrician know.
Classification of Danger & Non-compliances
The following codes are given for any non-compliance:
C1 (Danger Present)
C2 (Potentially Dangerous)
C3 (Improvement Recommended)
FI (Further investigation)
Common examples for codes
C1 - Live, exposed cables.
C2 - No RCD protection on socket circuits that may be used for mobile equipment outdoors.
C3 - Consumer unit not labelled correctly.
FI - Insulation resistance reading below 2 M ohms.
It is important to note that any C1, C2 or FI observations will lead to an unsatisfactory report and remedial work must be carried out, usually within 28 days of the report being issued.
What is the end product?
The electrician should provide you with a written report that will detail any defects as well as all the information about the electrical installation. If anything dangerous is discovered, you should be informed immediately.
C1's should be made safe immediately before any other work (included the continuation of the inspection) is carried out.
If you require an EICR, please contact Suresafe Electrical Services Ltd