Electrical installations - how safe is yours?
All electrical installations, over time, will deteriorate naturally as they are a working mechanism made up of various components and working systems. How safe is yours?
Much like an MOT for cars it is important that you ensure you carry out checks on the condition of the previous electrical installations taken place within your home at regular intervals. This will help identify any faults or defects which could require improvement and will ensure the continued operation of the installation in a safe and effective manner. There are two kinds of checks that can be carried out and we recommend that you always employ a registered electrician to carry out such checks.
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A visual inspection is a basic check to identify any visible signs of defects, damage or deterioration. No circuit testing will be undertaken, so your electricity will likely remain on during the inspection.
The electrician will need to be given access to all of the rooms in your home. The report will typically take around 1 hour to complete depending on the size of the property. Notes will be taken by the electrician as part of the visual inspection and a Visual Inspection Report (VIR) will be issued to the home owner at the end. The Visual Inspection report will record a number of observations and recommendations and provide an overall summary of the condition of the installation. Below is a check list of the things you can expect to be looked at during a visual inspection:
– Consumer Unit (main fuse board) – Sockets – Plugs – Light fittings – Light switches – Electrical cables or leads – Earthing and bonding – Extension leads – Kitchen safety – Bathroom safety – Signs of wear and tear – Visible signs of burning/scorching – RCD protection around the home
Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)
An electrical installation condition report (EICR) identifies any damage, deterioration, defects and/or conditions which may give rise to danger along with observations for which improvement is recommended. It is a more detailed report than a VIR and will involve the testing of various circuits which will require the turning off of the
electrics at the main supply. This allows the contractor to identify any possible hidden defects or issues that cannot be identified during a VIR.
The purpose of an EICR (also known as periodic inspection and testing of an electrical installation), is to determine, so far as is reasonably practicable, whether the installation is in a satisfactory condition for continued service. Homeowners often ask for, or obtain a condition report as part of a house sale. Similarly, landlords with an increasing awareness of their electrical safety obligations undertake regular periodic inspections in relation to their rental properties.
It is generally recommended that an EICR is carried out every ten years (five for privately rented properties) or when there is a change of occupancy in a dwelling.
Typically an EICR will take around 3-4 hours to complete, depending on the size of a property and the number of circuits requiring testing.
What will an EICR tell me?
An EICR will provide a full summary of the condition of the electrics in your home and determine whether it complies with the current British Standard for electrical safety (BS 7671). It will record a number of observations in line with BS 7671 and make various recommendations where improvement may be necessary or beneficial to improving safety in your home. Once the EICR is completed the registered contractor will provide you with a certificate outlining the overall condition of the electrical installation. Generally, an EICR will provide codings against the condition of the installation.
The classification codes are as follows:
This code should indicates that danger exists, requiring immediate remedial action. The persons using the installation are at immediate risk.
This code indicates that, whilst an observed deficiency is not considered to be dangerous at the time of the inspection, it could become a real and immediate danger if a fault or other foreseeable event was to occur in the installation or connected equipment.
This code indicates that, whilst an observed deficiency is not considered to be a source of immediate or potential danger, improvement would contribute to a significant enhancement of the safety of the electrical installation.
You are under no obligation to have any of the issues fixed, though it is recommended that corrective action to rectify any C1 and C2s is completed as soon as possible.
I am looking to buy a property and would like to know the condition of the electrics?
Before purchasing a property it is always worth asking the current occupier if they have an up-to-date EICR. This will give you an overview of the current state of the electrics in the property. If they do not have an EICR you could request that one be carried out with costs to be agreed between the parties.
I am about to move into a rented property but am worried about the condition of the electrics?
Landlords are required by law to ensure that the electrical installation in a rented property is safe when tenants move in and maintained in a safe condition throughout its duration.
If the property is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) a periodic inspection must be carried out every five years. If the property is not an HMO, a landlord is not legally obliged to do this (except in Scotland where it became law on December 1, 2015)
However, we recommend that a landlord should have a periodic inspection and test carried out by a registered electrician on rental properties at least every five years.
Any appliance provided should also be safe and has at least the CE marking (which is the manufacturer’s claim that it meets all the requirements of European law).
To meet these requirements a landlord will need to regularly carry out basic safety checks to ensure that the electrical installation and appliances are safe and working.
Who should carry out an EICR?
Only registered electricians should carry out an EICR such as smartplc.com
Do you need, or would you like to talk to someone about your electrical installation, call today 0345 3 822 833 and speak with our qualified experts. For more information on Smart please go to smartplc.com