What is periodic inspection?
A periodic inspection is an inspection and associated testing to check whether an electrical installation is in a satisfactory condition for continued service.
On completion of the necessary inspection and testing, an Electrical Installation Condition Report will be issued detailing any observed damage, deterioration, defects, dangerous conditions, and any non-compliances with the present-day safety standard which might give rise to danger.
Every electrical installation deteriorates with use and age. You need to ensure that your tenant(s) – or anyone entering or using your property – are not put at risk, by ensuring that the electrical installation remains in a safe and serviceable condition.
What happens during an electrical inspection?
Our Electrical Engineers will check the electrical installation against the requirements of BS 7671 – Requirements for Electrical Installations (IEE Wiring Regulations) – as amended which is the national safety standard for electrical installations.
Our Electrical Engineer will visit your property, make a visual assessment, and then carry out a series of checks on your electrical installation. The Electrical Inspector will check that your distribution board is safe and compliant with the current regulations – this means whether it has the correctly rated protective devices in place (e.g. MCB & RCBO fuses) circuit breakers and RCD protection. (Residual current devices are designed to prevent you from getting a fatal electric shock if you touch something live.)
If they find any ‘code one’ problems, i.e. problems that are immediately dangerous, they will need to arrange to fix those there and then or at least make them safe. They will note any other ‘code two’ problems that are potentially dangerous and will provide a quote to fix them at the end of the process, along with any ‘code threes’, which are recommendations and not deemed unsafe.
The periodic inspection will take into account all relevant circumstances including the following factors:
a) adequacy of earthing and bonding
b) suitability of the switchgear and controlgear
c) serviceability of equipment
d) type of wiring system and its condition
e) provision of residual current devices for socket-outlets that may be used to plug in electrical equipment used outdoors
f) presence of adequate identification and notices
g) extent of any wear and tear, damage or other deterioration
h) changes in use of the premises which have to led to, or might lead to, deficiencies in the installation.
A periodic inspection should:
• Discover if electrical circuits or equipment are overloaded
• Identify potential electrical shock risks and fire hazards
• Find any defective electrical work
• Highlight any lack of earthing or bonding
We provide an electrical installation condition report (EICR) as part of the inspection
Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)
During the visit, the Electrical Inspector will complete a seven-page report. A qualified supervisor will then sign off the report to make sure it is correct
based on the supporting documentation provided (including photos). We will then provide you with a copy, following your payment for the visit and any work carried out. It will also provide you with a quote for any further remedial works recommended in order to bring your system up to standard. It can take a couple of days to process the paperwork.
You will receive a copy of the Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) produced from the testing which will inform you about the overall condition of the electrics. Any faults are coded based on the risk of danger associated with them.
C1 – observation means ‘Danger Present’.
This code means that there is a risk of injury and immediate remedial action is required. The person using the electrical installation will need to be advised to take immediate action without delay.
Examples of types of C1 codes are:
• exposed live parts are accessible to touch
• conductive parts have become live as a result of the fault
• incorrect polarity
C3- observation means ‘Improvement Recommended’.
This code means that a non-compliance with the current safety standard has been revealed. Whilst this does not present immediate or potential danger, it would result in a significant safety improvement if remedied.
Examples of types of C3 codes are:
• absence of an RCD periodic test notice
• absence of a ‘Safety Electrical Connection – Do Not Remove’ notice
• socket outlet mounted in a position that may result in potential damage to socket/plug/flex
FI- observation means ‘Further Investigation required without delay’.
These are observations that are departures from the requirements of the current edition of BS 7671 and therefore need to be recorded separately as F1.
Examples of types of F1 codes are:
• use of unsheathed flex for lighting pendants
• cable core colours complying with a previous edition of BS 7671
• circuits that are not verified at the time of testing
Where an ECIR contains either a C1, C2 or F1 observation then it is not reasonable for the installation to be assessed as ‘satisfactory’ for continued use and will therefore be categorised as ‘unsatisfactory’.
However, if there are C3’s on the report then it is entirely down to the decision of the customer if any action is taken and is deemed as ‘satisfactory’.
It does not make any difference on how many C3’s are on the report either, it is merely important to be advised where you stand with regards to the
current installation and what has been recommended.
Some faults may require immediate attention, whilst others might be recommendations to improve your installation. Even if the testing is passed, you still will be provided with the recommendations our Electrical Engineer has documented to improve your installation.
The EICR is a comprehensive check of the fixed wiring of your electrical installation. It is a snapshot of your electrics to establish whether they are safe and compliant with the regulations, and to identify any potential safety issues. It is about checking the underlying electrical system – the wiring, the fuse board, earth bonding and all the other bits you can’t see that could be a risk – rather than whether your lights come on or not.
What should you look for in an EICR provider?
Make sure your electrical engineer is correctly qualified. They should be:
NICEIC accredited at approved contractor level or approved by another electrical regulatory body at a similar or higher level – you can check this on the Electrical Safety Register. NICEIC, STROMA and the ECA are regulatory bodies for the UK electrical industry that carry out competency checks on electricians. There are different levels of qualification, and an approved contractor will have the relevant experience to carry out an electrical condition report.
How can you prepare for a periodic inspection?
Be aware that the Electrical Inspector will need to turn the power off before working on the wiring. You will not have access to any electrical gadgets, so it may not be the best day to work from home. It might be easier to let them in and leave them to get on with it for a few hours. It is possible to put circuits back on once they have been tested, but it will slow down the process.
• Ensure the Electrical Inspector has access to all lights, sockets, and light switches. This means clearing areas where they will need to work before they arrive (children’s bedrooms, lofts and offices can be tricky).
• Do not expect your electrician to issue you with a quote for remedial works immediately. It will take approximately 48 hours to process the data from the check itself before they can do this. It can take longer, particularly if you need extensive remedial works, which require a further visit from a
Supervisor to discuss options before they can issue a quote.
• Expect the report to uncover some ‘failures’ in your wiring system. Just because your sockets work and your lights switch on, it does not mean the
underlying system is safe.
How often should I get my electrical installation inspected?
It is recommended that periodic inspection and testing is carried out at the following times:
• for tenanted properties, every 5 years or at each change of occupancy, whichever is sooner
• at least every 10 years for an owner-occupied home
• at least every 5 years for a business