Electrical Installation Condition Reports – Explained
According to Government statistics, each year around 70 people are killed & 350000 people are seriously injured because of electrical faults in the home.
Commercially the number of fatalities due to contact with electricity falls to 8 people with a further 14928 serious non fatal & other electrical related injuries.
15,432 fires caused by electricity (out of a total of 28,350 fires)
54.4% of fires in England were caused by electricity (2015/16)
What Is An EICR Or PIR?
And EICR is an electrical inspection condition. This was formerly known as a periodic inspection report. The Electrical inspection condition reports became active in 2013 under the new 17th edition regulations. If you are provided a Periodic inspection report this is now obsolete!
What’s Involved With An EICR?
In short the best description is somewhat like an MOT for your electrics. Electrical installations deteriorate over time due to adverse conditions, heat, movement within buildings as well as external elements or even rodent damage.
To ascertain the condition of an electrical system a series of tests are carried out in conjunction with the current edition of the IET wiring regulations BS7671 to highlight any issues which are unsafe or non compliant with current regulations. These tests are carried out along with mathematical calculations and visual observations to ensure the system is safe and that it will disconnect under fault conditions. All the results are recorded and each item is coded depending on risk. Not all items may be actionable.
For example a code 3 for green sleeving may be recorded if the installation was installed to an older edition. The current edition stipulates earth sleeving standard should be of green and yellow, however this does not affect the safety of the installation so a satisfactory report can still be issued.
C1 – Danger Present. Risk of Injury. Immediate remedial action required.
C2 – Potentially Dangerous – Urgent remedial action required.
C3 – Improvement needed
FI – Further investigation required
How Long Does An EICR Take?
For a full report to be carried out properly is a complex and in depth task. Many companies apply limitations to reports that consumers are not aware of and can sometimes end up paying for a cheap report which is not worth the paper it has been written on. If it’s too good top be true it generally is!
Commercially each system would have to be assessed individually as there can be many factors and variables to be taken into account.
All installations both domestic and commercial depend on the number of Distribution boards, the number of circuits, the size of each circuit with the number of points to be tested as well as the actual size of the property/premises.
Typically a 3 bedroom house with 8 or 9 circuits will take one electrician all day or a pair of electricians 4-6 hours. If anyone achieves a thorough report with no limitations quicker than this there is an extremely good chance that it has not been carried out properly!
Requirements For Home Owners
BS7671 (Current Edition Wiring Regulations) recommends having an EICR carried out not more than 10 years apart. It is also important to have this carried out if you are moving out or into a new home. It is common practice to be required to produce these documents during the sale of a property especially if any electrical works has been carried out in previous years. It is advisable to have an EICR carried out if it has never been carried out or you suspect poor quality additions. If you purchase a new home just because the fuse-board looks new it does not mean it has been inspected and is safe. It should have a 5 page report or installation certificate. If it hasn’t it is likely that it is not complaint with current regulations & a potentially dangerous installation. The usual cause of most faults and fires are sub standard work or even worse DIY electrical installations. The expression a little bit of knowledge is dangerous springs to mind. Just because something works it does not mean it is necessarily safe and will not go up in smoke or disconnect under fault conditions!
Responsibilities And Requirements For Landlords
Currently the legal requirements are somewhat confusing and it is recommended the property be electrically inspected & tested at least every 5 year and change of occupancy.
Under the ‘Landlord and Tenants Act (1985) landlords must ensure that the electrical installation in a rented property is maintained safely throughout a tenancy.
The Actual legal requirements for an EICR in England and Wales is are a grey area, it is already a legal requirement in Scotland & legislation is currently in progress to follow suite in the rest of the UK.
The law currently requires Landlords to provide electrical installation certificates and also places a duty to keep all electrical systems and appliances in good repair and safe working order. This said there is no legal requirement to have this regularly inspected as there is with gas, however the failure to do so resulting in injury to tenants you could expect to be prosecuted under the health and safety act 1974.
Responsibilities And Requirements For HMO’s
It is now a legal requirement for licensing of an HMO to have a fixed wiring test along with fire alarm and emergency lighting service certificates. This can differ between counties in England and the number of rooms and floors a property has. It is advisable to seek advise and your legal requirements directly from your local borough council.
Responsibilities And Requirements For Businesses
As an employer you are responsible for the welfare of your employees and general public Under the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act stating that employers are ‘responsible for the health and safety of their employees’ and the ‘Electricity at work regulations’ which required that precautions must be taken against the risk of injury from electricity used as part of work activities.
An EICR should be undertaken not more than 5 year intervals & in most cases this is required by your insurers as well as ISO certification.
Portable appliance testing is also a requirement commercially and should be carried out annually, certain low use items may differ in frequency providing a risk assessment has been provided.