Homeowners, landlords, and business owners have a moral responsibility and sometimes a legal requirement to ensure their property’s electrical systems are safe and meet the latest building and safety regulations. However, electrical systems are not something for the layman to tamper with. Instead, qualified electricians can fulfil this obligation through EICR testing and by providing documented evidence.
When testing takes place, the electrician creates an Electrical Installation Condition Report. Conducted at regular intervals, the EICR is proof that you are taking the necessary measures to ensure your home or premise’s electrical systems are safe.
What Does The Test Involve?
An EICR test is a preemptive measure that identifies risks and safety hazards. Electrical systems deteriorate as they age, with wear and tear causing the potential for shorts, electrocution, or an electrical fire.
Testing is an in-depth inspection that is carried out with the intention of discovering real risks from faulty wiring, overheating, bonding, or earthing issues.
The qualified electrician first disconnects the electrics from the mains power supply. They then conduct a visual inspection, checking insulation resistance and polarity, dead testing for continuity, and live testing to ensure the system reacts effectively if a fault occurs.
The test takes a few hours in a typical home or small office. In large buildings with extensive electrical systems, the testing may take a few days or weeks.
Once the qualified electrician completes the testing, an EICR test certificate is issued. If dangers exist, then these are categorised as follows:
C1: The electrical systems need immediate attention because they pose an imminent danger
C2: The electrical systems need urgent attention because they pose a potential danger
C3: The electrical systems pose no threat, but improvements are advisable
When Do I need An EICR Test?
When you need EICR testing is dependent on who you are and the premise’s use and state. The IET Wiring Regulations (BS 7671) recommends the following intervals between EICR testing.
Homeowners: Once every ten years or annually, if a swimming pool is is attached to or part of the premises
Landlords: Once every five years or whenever a tenant change occurs
Businesses: Once every five years
EICR testing itself is not a legal requirement, but the premise’s owner is responsible for tenant’s and employees’ welfare. Failure to take measures to ensure their safety can result in prosecution, and hence, EICR testing plays a crucial role in fulfilling these obligations.
If you are buying a house or business premises, then an EICR will identify any requirement for expensive electrical upgrades that could cost you dearly. Furthermore, an EICR can prevent disastrous events by identifying problems that might cause injury or a fatality.