An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), or a periodic inspection report (as it use to be called) are often referred to by customers as a Landlord safety test or a homebuyer’s test.
Do I need an Electrical Condition Report?
The quickest and most straightforward answer is yes. Regardless if it is your home, a business, or a property that you rent out, your electrical installation should always be completed by a qualified electrician and covered by an in-date Electrical Condition Report. Although it is not a legal requirement at the moment, it will be starting in July 2020. The government has changed the law and states:
“The Law around the EICR has now changed and will come into effect in July 2020. There will be a legal onus on all landlords to have an electrical installation condition report in place. The government has also laid down the law that all existing tenancies will require an EICR report by April 2021.”
An EICR can also be used as a way of satisfying requirements for legal documents- The Electricity at Work Act is just one example.
Did you know that if you rent out a property and your tenant is electrocuted due to unsafe electrics, then you could be prosecuted? If you claim in court that you were unaware of the condition of the electrical installation, then it will not stand as a suitable defence. In various areas, the local council will insist on a Condition Report for licencing your property as a rental.
What about insurance? Nearly all insurers will require an Electrical Installation Condition Report before they even think about providing cover, especially if members of the public are involved. How would you feel if you are taken to court for an employee, or a customer is electrocuted, and then your insurer tells you that you are not covered?
What Is Inspected in an EICR?
During the EICR, the consumer unit (or fuse board as it’s also known), wiring and electrical accessories are thoroughly tested and inspected for any faults or deviations against the Wiring Standards. Throughout the test, the following will be inspected and tested:
- The adequacy of the earthing and bonding.
- Devices for protection against fire and electric shock.
- Any damage or wear and tear that might affect the safety of the property’s inhabitants.
- Identification of any damaged electrical fittings and accessories.
- Identification of any exposed live wires that could cause a fire or injury.
A lot of faults cannot be seen simply by looking, they are only picked up on during testing. Therefore, having an EICR completed can help to protect you and your tenants.
An EICR should only be carried out by a qualified and skilled registered electrician who has the experience to know what they are looking for. Not all electricians are the same. Electrical Inspection Condition reports require a high level of skill and these skills are only gained after enormous amounts of training and years of experience!
Recommended Frequencies for Electrical Installation Condition Reports
This all depends on the type of property that you have, the recommended frequencies are as follows:
Homeowners – BS7671 (18th Edition Wiring Regulations) recommend that you should have an EICR carried out at least every 10 years. It is also important to have one completed if you are moving out or into a new home. The only exception to this is if the property has a swimming pool then it should ideally be tested every year.
BTL or Rent Homes – Under the “Landlord and Tenants ACT (1985)” landlords have to ensure that the electrical system in a rented property is maintained safely throughout a tenancy. To ensure that the property is safe BS7671 recommend that an Electrical Installation Condition Report is completed at a change of tenancy or at least every 5 years. FBS Electrical Thanet also recommends an annual Pat Testing.
Businesses – While it is not a legal requirement to have an EICR carried out, as an employer you are responsible for the welfare of your employees. Under the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act, it states that employers are “responsible for the health and safety of their employees” and, the Electricity at work regulations states which required precautions you as a business must take against the risk of injury by electrocution. It is recommended to have an EICR undertaken at least every 5 years.
How Much Will It Cost & Is There Anything I Need to Be Aware Of?
This is a very good question but, it is a tricky one! BS7671 (The 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations) give the necessary guidance on testing and sample testing. With larger installations, it is acceptable to just test a sample of the complete circuit (lighting and socket circuits for example). This sample can go as low as 10%. Obviously, this can give you a misleading view of an installation and it is not typically recommended. This could lead to one contractor pricing to test 10% of the circuit whilst another could quote to test 75-100% of the circuits. It is for this reason that it is important to check your quotation thoroughly to see what percentage is going to be tested.
Some contractors who price for an EICR may also price it as at a loss to them on the basis that they will increase the costs of any remedial works to make up for the initial low cost quoted for the EICR. Unfortunately, it can become very difficult to quote for remedial works from another electrician’s test certificate, this is what the more unscrupulous contractors count on. This is something that we at FBS Electrical Thanet do not do. We will not increase our costs for the remedial works as this would be extremely unfair and does not meet our businesses core values.
So, back the original question, how much will it cost. Prices vary from business to business, if you would like a cost for an EICR then please use the contact us or call us on 01843 260465 and a member of our team will get back to you. It can take around 4 hours to complete a test on a typical 3-bedroom property.
Electrical Checks You Can Carry Out in Your Home
There are a few checks that you can carry out around your home. The best way to prevent remedial work down the line is to find electrical problems early. Here are a few and easy ways to carry out a visual check around your home:
- Ensure your extension leads are being used correctly. If you find yourself ‘daisy-chaining’ (plugging one extension lead into another) rearrange your plugs or buy a larger extension cable.
- Check the casings of your sockets and light switches for any cracks, discolouration or burn marks.
- Ensure that electrics in your bathroom are situated at least 3 metres from your bath or shower.
- Testing your RCD, this can be done by pressing the ‘test’ button – when pressing the button all the appliances protected by the RCD should switch off. If they do not, call an electrician.
In addition, various remedial works that we encounter occur as a result of poorly installed electrical work. Therefore, you should always use a professional electrician to carry out your Electrical Installation Condition Report. Try to use a local registered electrician instead of some of the big companies. Bigger companies may offer a cheap EICR but as mentioned previously they will increase their prices on the remedial works.
The last thing to mention is that a lot of properties in the Thanet area are over 100 years old and a lot of them still have old wiring, they may also still have black rubber VIR cables. If you do come across these then please do not disturb them and call your local electrician for immediate advice. If you are concerned in any way about the safety of the electrics installed in your home, rental premises or business then please get in touch with us today.
We are NCIEC approved contractors operating in the Thanet and surrounding areas for many years. Why not give us a call on 01843 260465 for further information? Alternatively, you can read more of our blogs by clicking here.