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Many customers get confused about the electrical tests and safety checks that need to be done on their property. These are critical to ensure that your electrics are in good working order AND safe to use. This post explains some of the confusing terminology and answers the question – if you’ve had PAT testing do you still need an Electrical Condition Report (EICR)?

Why do I need my electrics testing?

Because you cannot see electricity it is easy to take it for granted. Cables and wires are concealed behind walls, consumer units are hidden in cupboards, so it is no wonder that people forget to check the condition of these electrical installations.

Electrical installations of all types become damaged and worn over time. This general wear and tear and the passage of time can leave your wiring faulty. And faulty wiring is the main cause of electrical fires.

Therefore, it is important to check your electrical installations are safe. These checks are commonly known as ‘periodic inspection and testing’. Remember this inspection and testing must be carried out by a qualified electrician who checks the condition of the electrics to a UK standard BS 7671.

When the inspection is complete the customer receives an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR).

What is an Electrical Installation Condition Report?

Formerly known as a Periodic Inspection Report (PIR) and before that as Fixed Wire Testing the EICR is a detailed inspection of your property’s electrical installation. The in-depth report details any remedial work required AND any de-energising of an obviously defective part of the installation, until the fault can be fixed. For example, if your shower unit is faulty it will be put out of commission until it is fixed and can be used safely.

A periodic inspection and Condition Report will:

  • Reveal any overloading of your electrical circuits or equipment.

  • Find any potential electric shock risks and fire hazards.

  • Identify any defective electrical work.

  • Highlight any missing earthing or bonding.

  • Test wiring and fixed electrical equipment to check that they are safe.

  • Provide a schedule of circuits

Difference between PAT certificate and EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report)

During a periodic electrical inspection your contractor will check the fixed installation. This will include wiring, switches and earth bonding etc. During PAT testing, on the other hand, your electrician checks portable appliances fridges, washing machines, kettles, fans, toasters etc.. The clue is in the title… Portable Appliance Testing!

So… if you’ve had your PAT testing done, do you still need an Electrical Condition Report?

Well the simple answer is yes. They are two separate tests. If your appliances are safe but the wiring suppling it has a fault there is still a risk of an electrical fire. And vice versa, if your fixed electrics are safe but you have a faulty kettle or fridge there is still a risk.

Hence two tests.

Are EICRs a legal obligation?

There is a legal obligation to keep your electrics safe, but the recommended maximum period between inspection and testing varies. For example, in an industrial environment it is 3 years, whereas in shops it’s every 5 years. There can be repercussions. For example, landlords are obliged by legislation to keep their tenants safe.

The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 pushes the responsibility for tenants’ electrical safety onto the landlord, or agent, throughout the tenure period. Therefore, it is critical that all properties are checked to ensure the fixed wiring and all electrical installations are safe to use. It is a criminal offence, with a maximum penalty of £5000 and six months imprisonment if a landlord fails to comply with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 or the Consumer Protection Act 1987

An EICR needs to be carried out every 5 years for properties with tenants. Please call Gainsborough to arrange a Condition Report for your property. We work with landlords and small businesses in Southend on Sea and across Essex.

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