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Frequently Asked Questions – Electrical testing of a buildings electrical systems (EICR)

May 31, 2017

Q- Why do I need to have my wiring tested?

A – Electrical installations in buildings deteriorate over time and building occupiers do carry out modifications to the electrical systems, adding sockets, lights etc. Most of the electrical installation is hidden and faults can develop. Due to the nature of electricity faults in the system can lead to serious or fatal injuries. An Electrical Installation Condition Report will detect any faults and recommend a solution.

Q – What is an EICR?

A – An EICR is an Electrical Installation Condition Report which is a full inspection and test of a buildings fixed electrical wiring which includes all fixed electrical mains cabling, electrical distribution boards and goes right through to the final electrical outlets such as electrical sockets, fused spurs, light fittings, switches etc. Further information

NC Brochure – Electrical Testing

Q – Do I get a certificate?

A – Yes you should always get a certificate.

Q – Do I have to use a NICEIC or ECA approved electrician?

A – No but your insurance company may well insist that you do. An approved electrician is regularly audited by the approving body to ensure that standards of competence, workmanship, insurance and financial stability are maintained. NICEIC

Q – Does it have to be an electrician to carry out the testing?

A – Yes it does have to be a fully qualified electrician who has the relevant inspection and test qualifications and experience.

                                                                EICR Testing

Q – What is the cost of the electrical testing?

A – A personalised instant on screen price can be obtained in seconds at Electrical Testing

Q – How do I check that the electrician is properly qualified to carry out the electrical testing?

A – Use an NICEIC or ECA approved electrician or electrical contractor who will be able to give you their registration number. You can check that they are registered and their competency for electrical testing type work at NICEIC  ECA

Q – Will testing mean turning the mains power off?

A – There will be a short power outage when each circuit is tested. However, if you have critical circuits that cannot be switched off then the testing electrician may at their discretion write an exception on the certificate. Bear in mind that the exception means that the circuit has not been fully tested. This would not prevent a satisfactory certificate being issued.

Q – Is it a legal requirement to have my electrical installation tested?

A – The law requires that you keep your electrical system safe at all times. To do that effectively means that you must have it inspected and tested by a competent person regularly and remedy any faults identified as a safety issue.

Q – Why is my insurance company asking for an electrical certificate?

A – Increasingly insurers are insisting that EICR’s are carried out regularly. This reduces the risk of a building fire (buildings insurance) and injuries to building occupiers (Public and employers liability insurance). If you suffer an avoidable accident, then under the law, if found guilty, you will be deemed to have committed a criminal offence. Insurers will not pay fines or compensation suffered resulting from a criminal offence.

Q – Why have I not needed the electrical testing done previously?

A – There has always been a requirement to satisfy Health and Safety legislation. In 1989, The Electricity at Work Regulations clarified the need to maintain electrical systems safely. There has always been a requirement and test results and certification will form a major part of your defence should an accident occur which leads to prosecution.

Q – Is it my landlord’s responsibility to get the testing completed?

A – This depends upon the terms of your lease. If you have a full repairing lease then the cost will usually fall to you. Always remember that you are responsible for ensuring that you and your staff comply with Health and Safety legislation so you should co-operate with your landlord and check that a valid and current test certificate exists for the premises.

Q – I have heard that I only need to have a percentage of the system tested to comply with regulations. Is this true?

A – The IEE regulations dictate that you can only rely upon sample testing if you hold previous full system records, the installation is in excellent condition, no faults are found during the sample testing and no undocumented alterations have been carried out since the system was new or last tested. This is not true of most electrical installations, for which a full Electrical Installation Condition Report should be undertaken.

Q – If I have thermal imaging do I still need a full inspection and test of my electrical installation?

A – Yes absolutely. Thermal imaging cannot identify damaged equipment, lack of earthing, over fusing, excessive cable runs, voltage drop, potential fuse disconnection time failures and many other potential faults.

Q – How often should my electrical installation be tested?

A – This is derived from your risk assessment however the IEE guidance suggests the following test intervals:

Domestic – 10 years

Commercial – 5 years

Industrial – 3 years