So what is an electrical installation condition report (EICR)? It is not a certificate and does not certify that the installation is safe for continued use. The EICR is the first step to a continued program of maintenance that ensures safety. Usually this is done by periodically testing and inspecting the property, but it is the production of the report, its contents and subsequent actions which are important for business and home owners.
Every electrical installation deteriorates with use and time. Therefore, if the safety of your family or employees is not to be put at risk, it is important that every installation is periodically inspected and tested by a competent person.
Purpose of periodic inspection, testing and reporting
The main purpose of periodic inspection and testing is to detect so far as is reasonably practicable, and to report on, any factors impairing or likely to impair the safety of an electrical installation.
The aspects to be covered include all of the following:
- Safety of persons against the effects of electric shock and burns
- Protection against damage to property by fire and heat arising from an installation defect
- Confirmation that the installation is not damaged or deteriorated so as to impair safety
- Identification of non-compliances with the current edition of BS 7671, or installation defects, which may give rise to danger.
The new electrical condition reporting format was designed to bring a sense of trust and honesty back into the market. Carrying out an EICR is a two stage process:-
- You have your report carried out. This will require an electrician to inspect and test a percentage of your installation in order to provide you with a report including any recommendations found at the time of test.
- All corrective works that are carried out are supported with the relevant certificate or work sheets.
For businesses the initial report and the supplementary minor works documentation this is more than sufficient to highlight to the HSE that you are fulfilling your duty in ensuring a safe working environment.
Implications for homeowners
Over time electrics in the home can become damaged and worn through wear and tear.
So, homeowners should get them tested at least every five years to check whether they are still safe to use. If appliances aren’t safe, they could be a fire hazard or give you an electrical shock, causing injury or even death, as well as damage to your property.
The wiring regulations recommend that a domestic installation is fully inspected and tested every 5 years (or on change of occupant). Also, if you have a EICR done on your electrical installation you will be able to show evidence of the condition of your installation. This will be of value especially if you come to sell your property and it is proof that the risk is low that the installation might be unsafe. Insurance companies may also require it in the event you make a claim on your property.
Businesses failing to take action
Leaving the electrical condition report and any subsequent recommendations at business premises for a considerable amount of time, should the HSE investigate can mean that you are in breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act which may result in a fine and further costs to correct the inadequate works. It is noteworthy that Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 states: ‘It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees’, and while electrical inspection and testing is not a statutory requirement, the statement is quite frequently enforced.
So how can you protect yourself?
After you electrical inspection ask your electrician for two things to follow up:-
- A quotation to correct the works highlighted in the recommendations of the report; and
- A proposed program to highlight when and how the work is to be done.
This will show that you have been inspected and there is evidence to prove that you are serious in keeping your home and work place safe. Finally, make sure the works are carried out.
The important thing is, get your property checked properly and more than that, act upon the recommendation made after the testers leave and go home.
If you are unsure about an installation, need advice or assistance please contact PC Electricals. We also have more electrical safety tips on our website www.pcelectricals-dorset.co.uk Facebook or Twitter pages.