All you need to know about EICR Reports and what to expect.
“All electrical installations, over time, will deteriorate naturally as they are a working mechanism made up of various components and working systems”.
An electrical installation condition report (EICR) is produced when periodic electrical inspection & testing is carried out to a building or property by a certified electrician. EICR reports or periodic inspection reports as they used to be called are often referred to as a Landlord Safety Test or Electrical Safety Certificates.
Who Should Undertake Electrical Testing?
Periodic electrical inspection and testing should only be carried out by electrical contractors who are approved by the NICEIC or ECA. These Governing Bodies assess electrical contractors to ensure they are competent and capable of meeting the relevant technical and safety standards.
Do I Need an EICR Report?
Much like an MOT for cars it is important that you ensure you carry out checks on the condition of the electrics in your home at regular intervals. It is recommended that periodic inspection and testing is carried out at the following times:
- Domestic properties – every 10 years or change of occupancy
- Businesses – every 5 years or change of occupancy
Periodic inspection and testing should be carried out more frequently on certain types of installations such as; 3 years for industrial installations, or 1 year for hotels and restaurants. For rented accommodation, the maximum period recommended between inspections is five years or at the end of a tenancy, whichever comes first.
What About When Buying A House?
We highly recommend property buyers to have the electrical installation checked before purchasing a property.
Research carried out by Electrical Safety First found that only 37% of buyers had the electrics checked before purchase. One in five believed that electrical checks were included in the recommended home survey report and just under half were unaware that checks were needed at all.
Over a third of home buyers then went on to discover electrical problems that they were not aware of before purchase – something that could easily be avoided by getting a certified electrician to inspect the electrics and issue an Electrical Installation Condition Report.
The cost of remedying electrical issues after moving in averages approximately £2,000, according to the charity, with some costs rising as high as £10,000. Whereas an EICR Report can cost as little as £99.00 + VAT.
Before purchasing a property, it is always worth asking the current occupier if they have an up to date EICR. This will give you an overview of the current state of the electrics in the property. If they do not have an EICR you could request that one be carried out with costs to be agreed between either party.
What About Landlords or Rented Properties?
Landlords are required by law to ensure that the electrical installation in a rented property is safe when tenants move in and maintained in a safe condition throughout its duration. If the property is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) a periodic inspection must be carried out every five years. If the property is not an HMO, a landlord is not legally obliged to do this (except in Scotland where it became law on December 1, 2015)
However, we recommend that a landlord should have a periodic inspection and test carried out by a registered electrician on rental properties at least every five years. Any appliance provided should also be safe and has at least the CE marking (which is the manufacturer’s claim that it meets all the requirements of European law).
To meet these requirements a landlord will need to regularly carry out basic safety checks to ensure that the electrical installation and appliances are safe and working.
What Happens During An EICR?
An electrical installation condition report (EICR) identifies any damage, deterioration, defects and/or conditions which may give rise to danger along with observations for which improvement is recommended. It will involve the testing of various circuits which will require the turning off the electrics at the main supply. This allows the contractor to identify any possible hidden defects or issues that cannot be identified.
The approved contractor will check the electrical installation against the requirements of BS7671 – Requirements for Electrical Installations (IEE Wiring Regulations) – as amended, which is the national safety standard for electrical installations.
It should take 4 hours to test an average sized home with 3 bedrooms and roughly eight circuits.
The EICR will take into account all relevant circumstances including the following factors:
- Adequacy of earthing and bonding
- Suitability of the switchgear and control gear e.g. consumer unit e.g. an old fuse box with a wooden back, cast iron switches, a haphazard mixture of such equipment is likely to need replacing
- Serviceability of equipment e.g. switches, socket-outlets and light fittings e.g. older round pin sockets, round light switches and braided flex hanging from ceiling roses to light fittings, black switches, sockets mounted in skirting boards may require replacing.
- Type of wiring system and its condition e.g. cables coated in black- rubber, black-rubber was phased out in the 1960s or cables coated in lead or fabric are even older and may need replacing (modern cables use pvc insulation)
- Provision of residual current devices for socket-outlets that may be used to plug in electrical equipment used outdoors
- Presence of adequate identification and notices
- Extent of any wear and tear, damage, or other deterioration
- Changes in use of the premises which have led to, or might lead to, deficiencies in the installation.
The Approved Contractor will provide an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) which you should retain.
What Will an EICR Report Tell Me?
An EICR will provide a full summary of the condition of the electrics in your home and determine whether it complies with the current British Standard for electrical safety (BS 7671).
It will record a number of observations in line with BS 7671 and make various recommendations where improvement may be necessary or beneficial to improving safety in your home. Once the EICR is completed the registered contractor will provide you with a certificate outlining the overall condition of the electrical installation.
Generally, an EICR will provide observation codes against the condition of the installation. The classification codes are as follows:
- Code C1 – ‘This code should indicate that danger exists, requiring immediate remedial action. The persons using the installation are at immediate risk.
- Code C2 –This code indicates that, whilst an observed deficiency is not considered to be dangerous at the time of the inspection, it could become a real and immediate danger if a fault or other foreseeable event were to occur in the installation or connected equipment.
- Code C3 – This code indicates that, whilst an observed deficiency is not considered to be a source of immediate or potential danger, improvement would contribute to a significant enhancement of the safety of the electrical installation.
- Code FI – Further investigation required
What If It Fails the EICR Inspection?
If the electrician has graded your installation on the EICR Report as “unsatisfactory”, code C1, C2 or FI will be identified on the observation and recommendations section of the report. You are under no obligation to have any of the issues fixed, though it is recommended that corrective action to rectify any C1 and C2s.
A satisfactory certificate cannot be issued until all C1, C2 or FI codes have been rectified.