A beginners guide to the Electrical Safety
So what exactly is it?
The Electrical Safety Certificate, or to use the full terminology – the Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) is the routine safety inspection of the electrical installation within a property.
What are the legal requirements?
Whether you are legally required to have an electrical safety certificate or not will depend on what your intentions are for your property. If you are a private homeowner or household, there is currently no legal requirement for you to have the inspection. However, by having the inspection carried out, you will have the peace of mind that your electrical installation is fit for purpose and safe to use.
If you want to rent the property out, then you are now legally required to provide an electrical certificate before you can move into new tenants. When letting your property through an estate agent, they will need to be provided with a copy of the certificate before they are able to move new tenants in. It is the responsibility of the landlord for private rentals.
If you are looking to sell your property, you are currently not legally required to provide your buyers with a certificate (although it is sometimes requested by the buyer’s solicitors).
In cases where your property already has tenants in place, then you will have until April 1st, 2021 in order to produce a valid report.
What does an electrical inspection involve?
During an electrical safety certificate inspection, the engineer will thoroughly check to see if the electrical system in the property has any electrical faults. The survey is an in-depth inspection that involves a full test of fixed electrical wiring which includes all fixed electrical mains cabling, electrical distribution boards (fuse boards) and goes right through to the final electrical outlets such as electrical sockets, spur sockets, light fittings, and switches
How long should it take?
The length of the inspection can vary greatly. The main factor in determining the time needed is primarily the size of the property and the number of circuits in the system. For smaller properties, such as one or two-bedroom apartments, your engineer will typically need somewhere between 1-2 hours.
This can increase to around 3 or 4 hours for larger family homes. If the installation is quite complicated or if the engineer discovers any defects then the inspection will take longer. The electrical safety certificate is a very detailed report so be prepared and be patient!
How long is the report valid?
The current guidelines recommend that landlords have their electrical safety certificate renewed every five years. For private households, the current recommendation is for a new report to be carried out every ten years.
Who can perform the inspection?
The EICR must be carried out by a ‘fit and proper person’ or to be clear, a fully qualified electrician. They should be registered with one of the government-approved scheme providers – this scheme approval ensures that they are compliant with the latest safety standards (which is currently IET 18th Edition).
Some of the most commonly recognized approved accreditation bodies in the UK are Stroma, Napit, Elecsa, and NICEIC. It is recommended that you ask the engineer which scheme they are approved by and also for their ID/registration number before you allow them to start working on your property.
If you have any doubts about the validity of their credentials, don’t feel obliged or rushed and verify them by checking on the website of the accrediting body.
Can you fail the inspection?
Unfortunately, yes you can fail. With some older properties, the electrical installation may contain some elements that do not conform to current standards. When this is the case, your engineer will make a note of which element does not meet the standard and why.
What happens if I fail?
If the installation does not yield a ‘satisfactory’ report then you have a period of 28 days in order to resolve the issues and a new electrical safety certificate issued. Once the new certificate is issued, you then have a further 28 days to provide it to the tenants.
What will happen if I don’t get one?
Failing to comply with the legislation carries strong penalties. The regulations are enforced by your local authority, who can apply penalties of up to £30,000 per breach
How can I book an Electrical Safety Certificate?
Now that we have covered the basics of electrical safety, the next question you probably have is how can I book mine at the most competitive rate? This is where MyConstructor can help! They provide a price comparison booking platform that gives you access to fully qualified electrical engineers in your local area. Just complete your postcode, number of bedrooms, and book online 24/7!