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EICR – Electrical Installation Condition Report

electrical engineer

What is an EICR?

An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), is a periodic inspection report on a property’s safety relating to its fixed wiring.

This report has also been labelled as the

  • Landlord Safety Test or
  • Homebuyers Test.

It is a fixed wiring test on the property looking at the hard-wiring and fuse boards within the property. The tests are conducted by qualified electricians. It is  recommended you have an EICR inspection carried out every 10 years for your home.

For rental properties, one should be carried out every 5 years or if there is a change of tenancy. Fixed Wire Testing ensures your electrical installations are safe and it is governed by the IET Wiring Regulations, the latest version of which is the 18th Edition also referred to as BS 7671 (which came into effect on 1 January 2019).

The main purpose of an EICR is to guarantee the safety of the residents and to ensure they are not susceptible to electrical shocks and/or fires.

What does an electrical test and inspection involve?

Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICRs), otherwise known as ‘periodic inspections’ should be carried out by a fully qualified and registered engineer. The purpose of the inspection is to:

  • Find any potential fire hazards or electric shock risks
  • Identify any defective electrical work
  • Detect any lack or earthing or bonding
  • Pinpoint any overloading of electrical circuits or equipment

Landlords must make sure that their inspection is carried out by a legitimate electrical engineer. Local authorities and lettings agents will only accept certificates issued by a qualified person.

How to prepare for an EICR

When an EICR is performed on the property the contractor will need to disconnect the installation from the mains electrical power supply. Depending on the size of the property this can take anywhere from an hour or two to a whole day, some larger installations especially commercial or industrial installations can take days or even weeks.

The contractor needs to switch off and disconnect the power for reasons of safety and also for the purpose of being able to apply the correct test to the relevant electrical circuit. The disconnection of the power supply is of course going to be an inconvenience for those that are using the building at the time, especially if the disconnection of the power impacts on the running of a business or other critical operation.

The engineer will issue an EICR detailing any damage, defects or dangerous conditions found. If the property is deemed unsafe, the electrical installation will be declared as “unsatisfactory” and remedial action will be required.

Who needs an EICR?

The simple answer is yes, whether it’s your home, a business or a property you rent, your electrical installations should always be covered by an in date Electrical Condition Report.

Although it’s not a legal requirement to have an Electrical Condition Report unless you are renting out your property

Many legal documents refer to an Electrical Condition Report as a way of satisfying their requirements – The Electricity at Work Act as one example.

New regulations

New regulations came into force on 1st April 2020. They:

  • Apply to all new tenancies in England from 1st July 2020
  • Apply to all existing tenancies in England from 1st April 2021

What do the new regulations mean for landlords?

The expected regulations set out some duties for landlords. All private landlords will be required to:

  • Ensure that the electrical safety standards are met during a period when the residential premises are occupied under a tenancy
  • Ensure every electrical installation in the residential premises is inspected and tested at regular intervals by a qualified person (‘regular intervals’ is every five years, unless a report from an inspection and test specifies sooner)
  • Ensure the first inspection and testing is carried out before a new tenancy commences
  • Ensure the first inspection is carried out by 1st April 2021 for existing tenancies

After the inspection and testing landlords must:

  • Get a report from the qualified person carrying out the inspection and test, which includes the results of the inspection and test and the date of the next one
  • Supply a copy of the report to each existing tenant on the premises within 28 days of the inspection
  • Supply a copy of the report to the local housing authority within 7 days of receiving a request from the authority
  • Retain a copy of the report to give to the qualified person that carries out the next inspection and test
  • Supply a copy of the most recent report to new tenants and to prospective tenants who request to see it

What happens if my EICR fails?

If the report indicates that the property is not electrically safe, the landlord must ensure that recommended investigated or remedial work detailed on the report is carried out by a qualified person. This work must be carried out within 28 days or within the period specified in the report if sooner – starting from the date of the inspection.

During an EICR, the inspector may make a number of electrical observations and will give each one a recommendation code C1, C2, FI or C3. The observations describe a defect or omission within the electrical installation.

  • C1 – Danger Present, Immediate Remedial Action Required, there is a risk of injury and that immediate remedial action is required to remove the dangerous condition.
  • C2 – Potential Danger Urgent Remedial Action Required, potentially dangerous condition’: Urgent remedial action required, this should declare the nature of the problem, not the remedial actions required.
  • FI – ‘ Further investigation required without delay. ‘ This means that your electrical testing engineer has observed something whilst carrying out the testing.
  • C3 – Improvement Recommended, this code more often than not implies that while the installation may not comply with the current set of regulations, complies with a previous set of regulations and so is deemed to be safe although this safety can be improved upon.

Once the required remedials works have been carried out on the property the electrician can issue the landlord with a SATISFACTORY certificate.

Financial penalties and fines for not having an EICR

If the local authority believes a landlord to be in breach of the duties set out by the regulations, they must serve a remedial notice to the landlord who must then carry out the action recommended.

I If the local authority has concluded, beyond reasonable doubt, that a private landlord has breached their duties under the regulations, they may issue a notice of intent to impose a financial penalty. This penalty is determined by the local authority but cannot exceed the amount of £30,000.

How should landlords prepare for an EICR? 

To prepare for the expected regulations, it is recommended that all landlords ensure they have an up to date Electrical Installation Condition Report.

Although it may seem a while away, the commotion of new regulations is sure to cause a shortage in available electrical engineers as we get closer to the 1st of April

To avoid putting your property at risk, book your Electrical Installation Condition Report this month. Once you have your certificate, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your property is legal and safe – and you won’t have to worry about it for another five years!.

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