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What is EICR?
Sometimes referred to as fixed wire testing or periodic inspection (PIR), EICR stands for Electrical Installation Condition Report. The report is an official document which is created following a detailed inspection of the fixed or hardwired electrical system in a building or premises.
Why do I need an EICR?
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 mean that if your building or premises is used for commercial, industrial, service or any other public or non-dwelling use then you have a legal requirement to keep the electrical system safe at all times. This applies to all business, regardless of size and includes sole traders.
Whilst the law does not state specifically that you must have an EICR, in practice EICR is the only way to ensure the system is safe and you are fulfilling your legal responsibilities. If an accident does occur because of your electrical system, being able to produce an up to date EICR and / or maintenance records can act as proof that you fulfilled your legal responsibilities and that you are not criminally liable for the accident.
What are the legal responsibilities regards Electrical Testing?
Under The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his (and her) employees.”
Not only are all employers liable for the health and safety of their employees, but they must also protect any members of the public accessing, using or in contact with their business and premises.
In addition to this legislation, the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 are made under The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and relate specifically to the electrical systems in the workplace.
Regulation 3 from The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 identifies specifically those who are duty bound by the regulations:
(1) Except where otherwise expressly provided in these Regulations, it shall be the duty of every–
(a) employer and self-employed person to comply with the provisions of these Regulations in so far as they relate to matters which are within his control; and
(b) manager of a mine or quarry (within in either case the meaning of section 180 of the Mines and Quarries Act 1954) to ensure that all requirements or prohibitions imposed by or under these Regulations are complied with in so far as they relate to the mine or quarry or part of a quarry of which he is the manager and to matters which are within his control.
(2) It shall be the duty of every employee while at work–
(a) to co-operate with his employer so far as is necessary to enable any duty placed on that employer by the provisions of these Regulations to be complied with; and
(b) to comply with the provisions of these Regulations in so far as they relate to matters which are within his control.
What testing is carried out during EICR?
The testing consists of multiple visual inspections and electrical tests and covers all hardwiring such as sockets, lighting, switches, main panels, distribution boards, air conditioning and other fixed electrical components.
To begin with, our engineers will make sure a full diagram of the whole electrical system is available. If you do not have one already, they will survey the system to create one.
Once this is available they will conduct visual tests to check the condition of the electrical system and identify any risks or hazards.
Next, our fully trained engineers will isolate each circuit and conduct electrical tests on the performance and safety of the fixed electrical system.
All of the testing results and recommendations should be included in your EICR.
What information should an EICR contain?
An EICR should contain:
- Your business details and the details of the inspection
- Any limitations of the inspection – e.g. Were there areas of the system that were inaccessible?
- Details about the type of system and components in use
- A list of all the tests carried out and their results
- A summary of the condition of the system
- Detailed observations and recommendations for required actions
- Signature of the contractor completing the tests
Black Pear Electrical are an NICEIC Approved Contractor – NICEIC is the UK’s leading voluntary regulatory body for the electrical contracting industry. As such we provide all of our clients with unique referenced NICEIC supported reports.
You should store your EICR and any accompanying paperwork safely. Future contractors and insurance or trade bodies may ask to see your report in the future. Crucially if there is an accident, relating to your electrical system your EICR can be used as evidence to protect you and your organisation.
Why choose an NICEIC Registered Contractor?
NICEIC is the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting. It’s a government-approved agency which regulates training and work in the electrical installation sector. It’s widely recognised as the most important industry body by insurers, contractors, education bodies and others within our sector.
Engineers and Contractors who register with the NICEIC are regularly assessed to make sure their skills and work continues to meet the most up to date safety standards and technical requirements.
In relation to Building Regulations Schemes in England and Wales, NICEIC contractors can certify their own work to the Local Building Control Body. This gives you cost and time savings on projects which need certification under Building Regulations.
Importantly for clients, the NICEIC offers a Platinum Promise. If for any reason you feel work completed by an NICEIC contractor is sub-standard and the contractor’s complaints procedure has left you unsatisfied, you can raise your complaint directly with the NICEIC. They will investigate your claim independently and if they agree you have a valid complaint they will help you remedy the work completed.
What do the Observation Codes in an EICR mean?
If our engineers identify a risk or potential risk they will list it in the EICR and allocate it a code, according to its severity.
These codes are:
C1 – ‘Danger present. Risk of injury. Immediate remedial action required.’
C2 – ‘Potentially dangerous – urgent remedial action required.’
C3 – ‘Improvement recommended.’
FI – ‘Further investigation required without delay.’
Issues given a code of C1, C2 and FI will mean that you are not or in the case of FI may not, be fulfilling your legal responsibilities to keep the fixed electrical system safe. This means they should be actioned immediately.
While C3 issues are less severe, if left they may become more of a risk so it is strongly advised that these are rectified as soon as possible.
Do I HAVE to complete the actions listed in my EICR?
Any recommendation in an EICR is not legally binding. However, if there is an accident relating to your fixed electrical system and your EICR features recommendations which you did not action, you will be deemed to have failed your legal responsibilities and you as an individual as well as your business could be criminally prosecuted.
How can I be sure the contractor completing my EICR is not creating work just to charge me more money?
You should always check the credentials and qualifications of any contractor you choose to use. Look for a contractor who holds NICEIC, CHAS and Registered Competent Person qualifications, as Black Pear Electrical do, and check what experience they have in your particular sector.
To remove the risk of unnecessary work being charged to clients you can use any, qualified electrical contractor to complete the actions identified in your EICR report – you do not have to use the same contractor which completed the report.
In addition, you do not have to have complete all the EICR testing again once the actions have been taken and any issues rectified. The contractor you choose to use for the actions should provide you with either an Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC) or a Minor Works Certificate (MW) as evidence that the faults have been fixed. It’s important you keep these documents and can provide them with the original EICR as evidence that you have fulfilled your legal responsibilities.
How often should I have an EICR?
This depends on a number of factors. We can give you bespoke advice on the right frequency to ensure the safety of your specific system. We will take into account the type of fixed electrical system you have, how much and in what ways it is used. We will also look at how much testing and maintenance has been conducted to date, the age of the system and any other factors which could impact the system.
If you know or suspect the fixed electrical system may have been exposed to damage or interfered with it’s a good idea to get in touch with us immediately, to discuss the best way forward
Beneath is guidance on how often EICR should be performed. However, in between formal testing, we recommend regular working condition and safety tests be completed.
Building use Recommended EICR intervals Agricultural & Horticultural 1 year Caravans 3 years Caravan Parks 1 year Churches 5 years Community Centres 5 years Construction Sites 3 months Educational Buildings 5 years Emergency Lighting 3 years Fire Alarm Systems 1 year General Commercial change of occupancy or every 5 years General Industrial change of occupancy or every 3 years Hospitals & medical general areas 5 years Hospitals & medical medical areas 1 year Leisure Centres (excl. swimming pools) 3 years Laboratories 5 years Offices & Shops 5 years Owned Domestic change of occupancy or every 10 years Petrol Stations 1 year Rented Domestic change of occupancy or every 5 years Restaurants, Hotels & Pubs change of occupancy or every 5 years Swimming Pools 1 year Theatres 3 years
Won’t electrical testing disrupt my business?
Usually, a short loss of power will occur when we test each circuit in your electrical system. However, these outages can be planned to cause minimal disruption. Since each circuit is tested individually it is common for outages to be contained to smaller areas and not across your entire system all at once.
It is common for clients to have concerns about power supply to their I.T. infrastructure and computers. For this reason, we conduct a full survey before completing any electrical testing. We will work with your teams to schedule testing and circuit isolation in a way which ensures your network will not be damaged.
We understand that many businesses such as manufacturing or hospitality need to be constantly up and running. We have many years of experience managing projects like this and work closely with our clients to create installation, testing and maintenance schedules which cause minimal disruption. Because we run testing while the system is live and on individual circuits we can ensure power stays available. We can complete works, during holidays, breakdowns, process changes, cleaning or maintenance stoppages, shift changes or weekends.
Is it acceptable to test just a sample of my fixed electrical system and not the whole thing?
Some electrical contractors will quote to test your system based on testing only a given percentage – typically 10% to 30%. This means they offer a lower cost, which can seem attractive.
However, industry best practise advises against this.
One reason is that Guidance Note 3 (Inspection & Testing) of the 17th Edition IEE Wiring Regulations BS 7671: 2008 recommends that the results of tests should be compared with those taken when the installation was last tested and any differences noted.
If a significant difference is noted, then a full investigation should be undertaken because this is a potential indicator of a fault in the system.
If you are only testing a small, different portion of the system each time then you will have no previous results to compare against and may miss a fault.
And if you only test the same small area each time then the rest of the entire system will be going untested and faults will go unnoticed until an accident happens. Unfortunately, if an accident does happen and you can not produce proof that you did all within your power to ensure the safety of the entire system then you and your organisation may be liable for prosecution.
In addition, many insurers will require a full system EICR as part of their contract with you.
As such we strongly recommend that full electrical system testing and maintenance is undertaken.