Electrical Testing & Inspections

All electrical appliances, home electronics and electrical installations deteriorate over time and can become damaged because of wear and tear for ordinary use, ageing, corrosion, environmental conditions such as humidity, and excessive electrical loading. Damage and deterioration may result in the electrical installation or unit becoming a potential fire hazard. If not caught early, faults can also damage the electrical work. Periodic inspections help extend the life of your electrical installations, appliances and devices. They also keep you and your property safe.

About Electrical Inspections and Testing

Legislation has established a regulatory framework to ensure that electrical installations and devices are safe. Specifically, employers and landlords are legally responsible for ensuring the occupants of their buildings are safe under the Electricity at Work Regulations. This legislation requires all electrical systems such as electrical wiring and appliances to be reasonably maintained to prevent danger, including death or injury to others. The legislation does not apply to private homeowners.

Keeping electrical systems safe is partially achieved through electrical inspection and testing. In addition to complying with legal requirements, periodic inspections and testing may also be required by other organisations such as insurance companies, mortgage lenders and licensing authorities. Periodic inspections are also recommended by Electrical Safety First, a charity of the Electrical Safety Council. Electrical Safety First recommends an inspection and testing every ten years for owner-occupied homes, every five years for rented properties, every three years for a caravan and every year for a swimming pool. An inspection and testing should also be carried out when letting a property and before selling or buying a property.

Electrical inspections and testing look at and identify a range of issues with your electrical work and devices. They reveal if electrical circuits and equipment are overloaded. Inspections and testing also identifies any issues with overloading, earthing or bonding, switch and control gears, and circuit protection. Inspectors also check for defective electrical work, deterioration, damage, electrical shock risks, and fire hazards. Inspectors look at cables and wiring, switches, sockets, light fittings, and other electrical components. Once an inspection is complete, an inspector will provide a detailed report that provides information on the condition of the electrical installation or device. The report is known as the Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). It will also list areas that require immediate attention and provide recommended improvements.

Benefits of Electrical Inspections and Testing

When damaged or not properly maintained, electrical installations and devices can be dangerous. They are a major cause of fire and can kill and injure people. Regular inspections and testing of electrical work and devices ensure that you are compliant with any legal requirements, especially if you are an employer or a landlord. They also promote safety by providing an opportunity to identify potentially hazardous issues before they become a problem. Electrical inspections and testing help protect people from electric shocks and protect property from fire that might be caused by deterioration, damage or defects to electrical wiring and components. Finally, inspections and testing also extends the life of your electrical systems and devices by identifying repairs. This will avoid costly work to replace broken down appliances or damages from heat or fire.

Finding a Qualified Electrical Inspector

Electrical inspections and testing should only be carried out by a registered electrician or other competent person. This will ensure that the inspection and any tests are carried out to comply with Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE) Wiring Regulations and British Standard (BS) 7671, the UK standard for electrical installations. Hiring a qualified electrician will also ensure that any electrical inspection and test will consider The Building Act and Building Regulations, which promote standards for many aspects of a building's construction including electrical safety. Qualified electrical inspectors can be found on the Electrical Competent Person Register, a resource recognised by the UK government listing registered electricians.

In addition to confirming that the inspector is a registered Electrical Competent Person, there are a number of other steps you can take to find the right contractor. Ask potential inspectors about their qualifications. Reputable electricians and inspectors typically receiving training that is recognised by the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC). Other certifying bodies include the British Standards Institution (BSI), National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers (NAPIT), Building and Engineering Services Competence Assessment (BESCA), and Blue Flame Certification. Also, check to see if the contractor is a member of a relevant trade association, such as the Electrical Contractors Association (ECA). Obtain at least three quotes from potential inspections and check their references as well as online reviews to assess value for money and the quality of their work and customer service.