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Electrical Inspection the nuts and bolts

Table Of Contents
  1. Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) what is it?
  2. Electrical checks. Why Do it?
  3. For more information about Landlords Electrical Inspection,
  4. What is an electrical installation?
  5. The Paperwork for a electrical inspection
  6. The Electrical Inspection Method.
  7. On the day of inspection what will happen?
  8. While Conducting the inspection if the inspector finds a dangerous condition (C1 condition) then the inspection is stopped and the person ordering the inspection is notified.
  9. What are possible results of an electrical inspection?
  10. Ok now the inspection has completed, what to do if there are findings?
  11. Free Written Estimate

Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) what is it?

Some times called a Landlords Electrical Inspection or an Electrical Safety Certificate.

An EICR is an inspection on the condition of an existing electrical installation, to identify (in order of priority) any deficiencies against the national safety standard for electrical installations. This standard is set out in BS7671 – Requirements for Electrical Installations (IEE Wiring Regulations) – as amended.

Electrical checks. Why Do it?

  • Every building whether residential, industrial, or commercial requires electrical maintenance. This may be as simple as replacing a light switch or as complicated as replacing the wiring, the fuse box, or the complete installation. 
  • If you are a landlord, the electrical safety certificates will become mandatory for all new tenancies in England from July 1st, 2020. All existing tenancies will have to comply on or before April 1st, 2021. A system of landlords electrical inspections is now in law. 

For more information about Landlords Electrical Inspection,

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  • All electrical installations are subject to deterioration. General wear and tear through use is quite normal. After all that one socket that plugs are being frequently swapped in and out, has got to show wear and tear over time. Occasionally damage occurs from misuse. Also, a little DIY project could lead to a potential unsafe condition.
  • Throughout the life of a building regular electrical inspections helps to ensure that the electrical installation of a building is functional, safe to use and is in line with the current requirements of BS 7671 (Wiring Regulations).
  • The main objectives of a electrical inspection is to confirm adequate protection against
    • Electric shock.
    • Electrical burns.
    • Damage to property.
  • In layman’s terms Inspection and Testing is the testing procedures that electricians use to ensure that a circuit is working correctly and safe for use. It is a set of processes and procedures which involves the use of test equipment combined with experience and expert knowledge of the wiring regulations.

What is an electrical installation?

For the purposes of caring out electrical work in a dwelling or business premises the definition of an electrical installation is.:

  • An electrical installation comprises all the fixed electrical equipment supplied through the electricity meter. It includes the cables that are either hidden in the walls or in trunking and cables in the ceilings. The accessories such as sockets, switches and light fittings, and the consumer unit or fuse box.
  • Appliances that plug in are not part of the electrical system.

The Paperwork for a electrical inspection

This is the first page of a seven page report

The Electrical Inspection Report 1st page
Electrical Report

From time-to-time work on an electrical system must take place. When work in undertaken, there are three main documents that keep historical data on the installation.

  1. EICR. Electrical Installation Condition Report.  This document reports on the condition of an existing installation.
  2. EIC. Electrical Installation Certificate. This document certifies a new installation or certifies an addition/alteration to an existing installation.
  3. MWC. Minor Electrical installation Works Certificate. This document certifies additions/alteration to an installation that does not include a new circuit

Each of these documents keeps a record of who, what, when and where of an electrical installation. With this historical documentation inspectors and installers can better plan future upgrades and spot problems that may be brewing. A good example of historical documentation file might look something like this.

  1. An inspector does an electrical inspection. (EICR)
  2. The inspection identified some problems with the installation.
  3. An electrician corrected the findings and completes an EIC.
  4. The property owner then staples the EICR together with the EIC and files the reports in the property folder.
  5. Sometime later a new tumble dryer requires the installation of an additional socket.
  6. The electrician installs the socket and fills out an MWC.
  7. The property owner then files the MWC in the property folder.
  8. The file is available for future work on the installation. 

This folder is especially important in a landlords electrical inspection or when it comes time to sell your property or to buy a new one. For landlords, showing a continuing electrical maintenance regime is necessary in case there are problems. For home owners a organized folder of all electrical maintenance would help with selling or buying a property.

The Electrical Inspection Method.

How to prepare for the inspection

  1. Clear as much as possible to allow access to plugs and switches
  2. Provide full access to the consumer unit (fuse box).
  3. Provide Access to the Electric Meter.
  4. Unplug any sensitive devices. This includes computers and USB chargers.
  5. Every room in the property will need access.
  6. Access to any structure outside the property that has the same electrical supply as the property.
  7. Identify where the mains water enters the property. Mains water may require an earth connection to the electrical installation.
  8. If the property has gas, then the gas meter may require and earth connection to the electrical installation.
  9. If the property is oil heat, then the oil tank may require an earth connection to the electrical installation.
  10. Prepare for short power outages.
  11. Make your self available either personally or by phone in case any safety issues or questions come to light as the inspection is under way.

An inspection begins with a conversation between the person ordering the inspection and the inspector. This dialog identifies any limitations to the inspection over and above the standard limitations stated on the EICR. The standard limitations are “Cables concealed within trunking and conduits, under floors, in roof spaces, and generally within the fabric of the building,’ Examples of limitations are an outbuilding that is not accessible, a circuit that cannot be deenergised, plug sockets that are inaccessible, or a sensitive device that must remain on.

On the day of inspection what will happen?

Generally, the inspection and test consist of seventy percent inspection and thirty percent test.

  1. The process starts with a visual inspection that will check among other things for.
    • Broken or cracked electrical sockets, switches or other devices that are part of the electrical installation.
    • Devices installed in the wrong location, or if there has been overloading or over heating problems.
    • Adequacy of earthing and bonding.
    • Extent of any wear and tear, damage, or other deterioration.
    • Changes in use of the premises or new construction which have led to, or might lead to, deficiencies in the installation.
  1. Testing incorporates the use of test meters and leads to determine.
    • Continuity testing to check if there are any badly connected devices
    • Insulation resistance testing to make sure the electrical insulation material surrounding the conductors is intact.
    • Polarity testing to ensure Electrical equipment connections are correct.
    • Protection device testing to insure if there is a fault then the circuit will disconnect within the time limit.

While Conducting the inspection if the inspector finds a dangerous condition (C1 condition) then the inspection is stopped and the person ordering the inspection is notified.

What are possible results of an electrical inspection?

The overall results of the inspection will either return a satisfactory or an unsatisfactory result. There are eight possible outcomes for each item inspected.

  1. Pass. The item inspected has an acceptable condition.
  2. N/A. This item on the inspection sheet it not applicable.
  3. C1. Danger Present – Immediate remedial action required. A C1 finding will stop the inspection. A discussion with the property owner as to how to make the installation safe must take place before continuing the inspection.
  4. C2. Potentially dangerous. Urgent remedial action required.
  5. C3. Improvement recommended.
  6. F1. Further investigation must take place after the inspection.
  7. LIM. Inspection limited. These outcomes come from the limitations discussed with the property owner.
  8. N/V.  Not verified.

Any outcome that returns a code of C1, C2 or F1 will result in the overall assessment of the installation as unsatisfactory.

Beyond the mandatory unsatisfactory assessment due to a C1, C2 or F1 the inspection overall classification of the EICR is down to the inspector. 

Ok now the inspection has completed, what to do if there are findings?

Basically, it is down to two things. One, the person ordering the electrical inspection and two, what was the reason the person requested the inspection. BS7671 considers codes C1, C2 or F1 dangerous. These codes return an unsatisfactory result. If you have a view to renting the accommodation, then legally a landlords electrical inspection that results in an unsatisfactory overall assessment will require the outcomes addressed before renting the property.

 Other reasons for inspecting an electrical installation, for example selling or buying a property, the decision to address findings might be different. A muddling of the results in the technical language sometimes camouflages the weight of the results.  At the end of the day, a finding is a finding regardless if it is C1, C2, C3 or F1. Careful considering all findings is essential for safety.

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