Three main types of electrical installation inspections in the UK

According to government statistics, outdated and faulty electrical installations account for almost half of accidental home fires in the UK and affect around 20,000 UK homes each year.

Photo by Hobi industri on Unsplash

Electricians in the UK provide an essential service to ensure the electrical safety of homes, rental properties and commercial buildings.

For commercial properties, the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 legally requires employers to protect their premises and staff from potential electrical hazards; and the Private Rented Electrical Safety Standards Regulations (England) require landlords to keep their rental properties up to electrical standards.

So let’s take a look at what the different types of electrical inspections are and which ones apply to you.

There are three main types of electrical inspections your electrician can carry out in the UK. Some are legal requirements, some apply to homeowners, landlords, and business owners, and some are simply recommended to keep your property electrically safe.

PAT (portable device testing)

More than half of accidental home fires in England were caused by electricity in 2018-19, with 25.9% directly caused by faulty electrical appliances.

A power tool test keeps your property safe. The types of appliances tested are anything that can be plugged and unplugged, including toasters, kettles and televisions.

Although there is no law on how often a PAT test must be performed on residential properties, it is recommended that landlords have portable devices in their rental property tested for each new rental, and then approximately every every two years for small devices and every four years for larger ones. appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines.

Business owners are responsible for ensuring the health and safety of everyone who works or visits their premises. Therefore, it is suggested that an annual PAT test be performed to keep their electrical equipment up to standard.

EICR (Electrical installation condition report)

Also known as fixed wire test, a EICR is the inspection of fixed wiring in a property, including power switches, lights, circuit boards, and panels.

It is advisable to perform an EICR on all new installations or when an existing installation has been modified or supplemented.

The most common cause of fires in the workplace is faulty electricity and around 12,000 fires a year are caused by damaged and faulty electrical appliances. To comply with the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, business premises are legally required to carry out regular EICR tests at least every five years. This can be done gradually and spread over five years.

For homeowners, an EICR is not required, but all electrical installations should be rated “satisfactory” at a minimum, so unless you have obvious wiring issues such as sparking or flickering lights, or a very old property, an electrical wiring test approximately every five years should suffice. However, it is worth checking with your home insurer if an EICR is required to ensure the validity of your insurance.

Legally, rental properties must undergo fixed electrical tests at least every five years and at the start of new tenancies. The Private Hire Electrical Safety Standards (England) Regulations were implemented in 2020 to improve safety in all residential premises and in particular the private hire sector to ensure high quality, safe housing. and secure.

All repair work identified in an EICR report in a rental property will need to be addressed either immediately if unsafe or within 28 days. Local authorities can fine owners up to £30,000 if regular inspections and/or necessary repair work is not carried out to standard.

Emergency lighting tests

Applicable to commercial buildings, it is a fire safety requirement that at a minimum all exit routes are always sufficiently lit and have the correct signage. For commercial premises to legally comply with fire safety regulations, business owners will need an emergency lighting test certificate which shows that the emergency lighting system is working properly. This test should be carried out once a year by a qualified electrician followed by a certificate to also comply with the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. In addition to the annual inspection, a qualified operator on the premises, or a electrician, must carry out shorter interventions. monthly testing.

In addition to legal requirements, there are many important benefits to having your electrical system checked by an expert. Protect your home or investment from life-threatening electrical hazards and keep your property in pristine condition with electrical installation testing. The relatively low price of obtaining electrical certificates far outweighs the potential cost of fixing problems that may arise from electrical failures.

Experienced and qualified engineers can professionally check the safety of your electrical installations, equipment and emergency lighting and repair any problems that may arise. Keeping your installations up to date will reduce the risk of potential hazards and unexpected repair bills. If you are based in London or the South East, you can quickly and easily book your EICR, TAP Where Emergency lighting test with HEXO today.