Electrical Installation Condition Reporting

You may know this particular type of work as a Fixed Wire Test, Landlords Electrical Safety Report or a Periodic Inspection & Test. These are all phrases which mean the same thing and all relate to the condition of an electrical installation.

An Electrical Installation Condition Report (or EICR as I will now refer to it as) is probably the single most important electrical document you should have in your possession as it not only provides you with a detailed report on the condition of your electrcial installation as a whole, but also contains vital information regarding circuit details along with a schedule of test results.

To the untrained eye, an EICR can be a rather confusing and sometimes overwhelming document to read and understand due to the complex nature of the report and the technical information it contains.
A little bit of help here from the electrician you employ can go a long way and will allow you to understand the parts of the EICR document you need to know in a way that is understandable to the unskilled person/s.

CODINGS

Contained within the pages of the EICR is Section 7 which is titled “Observations and Recommendations for Action to be Taken”. It is this section that deals with Codings and it is here that you will find the relevent information regarding the reason/s why your property was given an “Unsatisfactory” status.

The Codings are as follows:

C1 – Danger Present – Risk of injury. Immediate remedial action required.
C2 – Potentially Dnagerous – Urgent remedial action required.
C3 – Improvement Recommended.
FI – Further Investigation required without delay.

C1 Coding: This coding will be given in the case of immediate danger to persons or property being present within the electrical installation and is a very serious event. Fortunately, this type of coding is rare to see but does happen and when it does, the danger must be rectified immediately regardless of time or cost to rectify the fault.

C2 Coding: This coding is given in the case of potential danger to persons or property being present within the electrical installation and is a serious event.
This type of coding is fairly common and will require remedial works to be carried out without delay.

C3 Coding: This coding is given in the case of a minor infraction and is usually of small concern.
This type of coding is very common and is to be expected in the vast majority of electrical installations. There is no obligation to rectify a C3 coding but it is recommended that the item in question is rectified.

FI – Further Investigation Coding – This coding will be given in the case of an item or items within the electrical installation which cannot immediately be identified. This type of coding is common and is deemed to be the equivalent of a C2 Coding and as such, is considered to be of utmost importance.

Commercial/Industrial EICR

EICR’s carried out in a commercial or industrial environment are generally known as “Fixed Wire Testing” but are essentially the same as a domestic EICR as far as the sequence of tests are concerned but obviously on a much much bigger scale.
Commercial and Industrial electrical installations are generally on a 3 phase incoming supply and have multiple distribution circuits as well as multiple final circuits.
There are usually many limitations to this type of EICR as you have to consider the fact that these installations are working businesses and as such, cannot function without power or lighting.
Out of hours working is common for this type of EICR as this is the only time the power can be safely switched off without causing distruption to the day to day running of the business.

DOMESTIC EICR

There a two types of EICR for the Domestic Sector which are exactly the same but are worded ever so slightly differently, these are:

Domestic EICR
Domestic EICR for the Private Rented Sector

The standard Domestic EICR is the document used for Private Individuals who own their own home and are not renting their property out. In my experience, most porperties I attend of this nature do not have a recent EICR as the property owner isn’t aware of the importance of such a document. In fact, most properties of this nature have not had an EICR done since the house was built in the first place.
I don’t place any blame on howmeowners here as the importance of an EICR is not exactly advertised on the radio or TV so the fact that so few are carried out in this sector of housing is of no surpise to us.
There is no legal requirement at present for a domestic homeowner to have an EICR carried out on their property with the exception of some mortgages/insurance policies which may contain this requirement within the smallprint of the terms and conditions.

A Domestic EICR for the Private Rented Sector is exactly the same as the above standard Domestic EICR with a small change to the wording used within the small print of the document.
The Private Rented Sector is different in that this document is a legal requirement for Landlords to ensure that the property they rent out to a tenant complies with the curretn IEE BS7671 Wiring Regulations, is electrically safe and fit for continued use.

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What happens if my Domestic property fails the EICR?

There are two possible outcomes for an EICR which will be either “Satisfactory” or “Unsatisfactory”.

If your property is deemed to be “Satisfactory”, that means the electrician carrying out the EICR has deemed the property to meet the current IEE BS7671 Wiring Regulations and is safe for continued use with no further action required. There is a caveat to this which I will explain under the heading “CODINGS” below.

If your property is deemed to be “unsatisfactory”, then this means the electrician has determined that the electrical installation does not meet the current IEE BS7671 Wiring Regulations and that remedial works will be required. This could be for a number of reasons and does not necessarily mean that the electrical installation is unsafe so you shouldn’t worry if your property comes under this category.
Hopefully, the electrician you employ to carry out the EICR will explain the reasons to you in a way that you will understand.
In this case, a date and time will be agreed with either yourself (if you are the property owner) or via your landlord/letting agent for the remedial works to take place and you will be informed in writing of the agreed date and time.
In the case of Private Rented properties, the property owner/landlord has 28 days to have the remedial works booked in for completion. This is legal requirement on the part of the property owner/landlord.

Sequence of Tests

1. Continuity – to ascertain that the earthing is continuous throughout the circuit.
2. Bonding Conductors Continuity – to ensure bonding is in place and effective.
3. Ring Circuit Continuity – ascertains whether or not the ring is complete.
4. Insulation Resistance – to test whether there has been any breakdown in insulation to the installation.
5. Polarity – to check that the installation is correctly wired.
6. Earth Fault Loop Impedance – to ascertain the Zs of the installation.
7. Earth Electrode Resistance – applies to TT systems only, to test the stability earthing rod/s.
8. RCD/AFDD testing – to check that Residual Current Device/Arc Fault Detection Device disconnects the supply in the event of a single fault.
9. Functional testing of isolators and breakers – to ensure that they disconnect the supply.

Importantly, there is no stipulated sequence of testing for periodic inspections. An assessment should be made by the engineer undertaking the test to determine the most appropriate, efficient and safest sequence of testing. In practical terms, this includes consideration of the nature of the problem, the type and location of the equipment, the environment, as well as taking into account mitigating cost and minimising operational disruption.

A Periodic Inspection Report is issued following a periodic testing exercise, to include a Schedule of Inspection and Schedule of Test Results and guidance information.

While the frequency of testing is determined by factors such as the equipment, the environment and the results of previous checks, standards and sequence for electrical testing procedures need to be followed correctly to ensure effectiveness of the exercise.

Frequency of Insoection and Testing

The recommended frequency of Fixed Wire Testing varies between 1 and 5 years depending upon the business type, so how often do you need to test your workplace?
Fixed Wire Testing, also known as an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), checks that your electrical installations or circuits conform to the latest wiring regulations, in order to ensure you are compliant with relevant workplace safety legislation.

The frequency of testing is specified in the latest version of the IET Wiring Regulations (currently BS7671:2022) and is determined by;

1. The type of installation
2. How often it is used
3. The external influences or environment to which the electrical installation is exposed.

For many commercial businesses, an EICR, which used to be called a periodic testing report, will be required at the lowest frequency interval – every 5 Years. However, higher risk environments will require 3 Yearly or even more frequent testing.

It should be noted that all stated periods are maximum intervals. Deterioration of the installation may indicate a need to reduce the interval between testing.

5 Year Fixed Wire Testing

Most standard workplace environments need an Electrical Installation Condition Report to be produced at least every 5 years. However, there should be regular routine inspections conducted at least annually.

Typical workplaces which require 5 Yearly Fixed Wire Testing include:

1. Commercial spaces such as offices and retail outlets
2. Hotels and restaurants (excluding spa hotels)
3. Schools, colleges and universities
4. Laboratories
5. Community centres, churches and public houses
6. Care homes and hospitals (excluding medical locations)
7. Halls of residence, houses of multiple occupancy

3 Year or 1 Year Fixed Wire Testing

Environments which for example, are exposed to moisture, dust, extreme temperatures or which are open to the general public constitute a higher risk and therefore require more frequent testing. These workplaces require testing every 1 -3 years, with more frequent routine inspections also required.

Typical workplaces or environments which require 3 or 1 year Fixed Wire Testing include:

1. Spa hotels and leisure centres – 3 years
2. Industrial Units – 3 years
3. Theatres and places of public entertainment – 3 years
4. Caravans – 3 years
5. Cinemas – 1 year (front of house), 3 years (back of house)
6. Agricultural or horticultural establishments – 3 years
7. Medical locations in hospitals or clinics – 1 year
8. Swimming pools and saunas – 1 year
9. Caravan Parks and Marinas – 1 year
10. Fish Farms, Laundrettes, Petrol Stations – 1 year

Manufacturing, warehouses, workshops and maintenance garages generally fall under the industrial category (3 years) if they utilise heavy machinery.

Mixed use buildings on the same site

Often there are elements within a single organisation, or even building, with different testing frequencies, for example a hotel (5 years) with a swimming pool (1 year), or a manufacturing plant (3 years) with offices (5 years), or a leisure centre (3 years) with sauna (1 year).

Each element should be inspected at the appropriate frequency.

M B Electrical Services are fully insured, accredited and qualified to carry out your Domestic, Commercial or Industrial EICR (Fixed Wire Inspection & Test) at a time to suit you.

Contact us if require any further advice or assistance.