What are Electrical Installation Safety Certificates?
It could be sometimes confusing because these Electrical Safety Certificates are also known under the name Electrical Installation Condition Report or EICR, and you can hear it as well as periodic inspection.
The confusing thing here is the meaning, because this report is not a certificate. This is a document that is formal and it is issued on the basis of an assessment made of the electrical installation of the respective property. This task is fulfilled by a Part P Registered Electrician with very good knowledge and experience in his area of work.
Why should I request for such an inspection?
There are a few reasons for doing that, so here they are:
- The first reason for requesting such an inspection comes with its name – landlord safety certificate, which means that people ask for such a certificate when they have a property for renting. In such a way, with this document they can prove that the respective property is safe and should be used without a problem.
- When the owner of the home wants to sell it and in this situation he also requests for this report, again with the aim to prove that he is selling a property which is safe to be used.
- The same EICR is requested by the buyers of property, because they want to be sure for the electrical installation of the house they are intending to buy.
- And there is a situation that is not preferred – when you have just bought a house and you found out that there is a problem with the electrical installation. Then you should request for an EICR. This situation could be avoided of course when this check-up is requested before the purchase.
How long does an EICR last?
The recommended period after which you should make a new request for a certificate is every 10 years. Then you ca be sure that there is no deterioration with the electrical installation in your house with time. But there are a few reasons that you may request if more often:
- If you are living in an old house and the instillation is old, it is recommended to check it more regularly.
- When the owner of the house changes
- Due to environmental conditions
- When there is a change of occupants in the rental property
- And in case of vandalism
What happens during a EICR?
When you contact an approved electrician for fulfilling this task, he will make a visual check of the electrical accessories, such as lights, sockets, etc. The observation that is done by him will be categorized in three categories:
Code 1 – There is danger present, risk of injury and immediate work is required
Code 2 – There is potential danger present, risk of injury and immediate remedial action required
Code 3 – Improvement recommended
The electrical specialists from the company also carry out some specific tests on the electrical installation and the results are written in the report after that. On the basis of the results and the observation of the electrical installation that is made, it is determined if your installation is in satisfactory condition or not.
What should I do if my EICR is unsatisfactory?
If the result that you have is – unsatisfactory reading then you have code 1 and code 2 faults that you need to take care of immediately. The electrician who has made the observation will usually provide you with a quotation together with the report to fix those faults. The report though is written in such a way that you could call another electrician and ask for another quote.
How much does an EICR cost?
The average cost for requesting such a report is between £120 -£180, but this mainly depends on the size of your house and the number of circuits.
Electrical Testing Explained
Sometimes you may think that you could manage with some electrical work, but then you find that you get confused by all the numbers that are used on the respective certificated, given by your electrician.
But as it is required under the British Standard BS7671, electricians have the obligation to make thorough tests of all the aspects of the electrical system. Here, you can find out why these tests are done and what is their basic explanation.
Prospective Fault Current, Ipf
This measure could be calculated if you take the Ze measurement and the voltage of your supply. This is a theoretical measure and it is made so that the current flow could be checked in the event of short circuit or earth fault.
The results that you get and how satisfactory they are depend on the type of your electrical supply.
External earth fault loop impedance, Ze
This is the measure of residence of wiring that you have between the transformer of the supplier (it is usually a bit way away) and the consumer unit, which could be a fuse board or a circuit breaker board. This measure should be precisely set and it is high enough so that the equipment is not damaged in case of short current. At the same time it should be low enough so that when a high-current fault occurs, the devices meant for protection could break the circuit.
Continuity of Ring Circuits (r1, r2, rn)
This measurement is done to define if there is any break along the length of the ring and if there is a problem with a cable somewhere along it. For example the reason for a problem could be a cable that has not been properly joined. So the measurement is done along the length of the ring so that the resistance along it could be defined. For the ring circuits the steps are – live (r1), earth (r2) and neutral cables (rn).
Continuity of Protective Conductors (R1+R2, R1+Rn)
Each separate outlet in one circuit should be measured and checked back to the source so that the resistance of both things is correct – the earth and live conductors. Usually, for the radial circuit, the more you go away from the source the higher the resistance gets, because cables get longer. And if there are any faults along the circuit in connections or cabling this test will immediately show it.
When you have a ring circuit, at each end of the ring you have cross-connected live and earth wires, so generally when the test is done and a fault is present, the measurement in the ends will not be the same. Usually the test is being repeated so that the resistance of live and neutral conductors could be defined together, although the results of this test are usually not written down in the testing forms.
The test is usually done in pairs, both conductors are being tested, R1+R2.In such a way the test is much easier to be performed. Another reason for doing this test is to find out if there are any polarity problems. There could be some mistakes sometimes and a live wire to be switched with a neutral one by accident. A problem with the socket could also be found with this test and solving the problem is quite easy – just replace the socket.
This is also a test that takes a long time, because every single indicator light and every piece of appliance should be checked. The live and the neutral wires are checked with a 250V direct voltage. If the current flows then the electrician has a lot of detective work to do because this means that somewhere on the circuit something is still connected. It should be traced, found out what it is and eliminated. If the current that flows is little, the test is once again carried out, but this time with 500V. The aim of the test is to define that the neutral wires and the live wires are really well insulated from each other and this is shown when the current is at minimal rate.
If it is safe, the resistance of the circuit is measured to define how it works in extreme events like an earth fault or short circuit. If it is not safe the measurement is done on the basis of R1+R2 measurement and Ze measurement. This test is important to be done because in case of an event of the above mentioned circuit is not overloaded before the circuit breaker or a fuse could isolate the fault.
If you have RCDs at home, they also should go under some tests. First you need to ensure that RCD trips normally by pressing the button. Then:
Fault Current test, IΔn @ 0° and 180°
Both phases of the AC supply have to be checked with this test. Here a testing device is used that allows a small fault current to flow between the earth wires and the live wires. Usually for most domestic RCDs the current is 30 mA.
5x Fault Current test, 5IΔn @ 0° and 180°
Here the float current that floats from the testing device is higher, normally 150mA. This should lead to quicker trip of the RCD within a predetermined time for the type of RCD and supply.
What Elsys Electrical Ltd can OFFER
- Electrical installation Condition Reports, which is also famous under the name Landlord safety certificates for the minimum amount of £120.00
- We issue Electrical Installation certificates for the work that we have completed.
- For commercial and industrial premises that usually require regular observation once a year or every five years, we offer Maintenance contracts.
- We specialise in Fault finding.
- We also offer Visual Condition Report for £75, a cheaper alternative for landlords, who want to make sure that everything is fine with the installation after the occupants of the property has left
So if you need Electrical safety certificates or Electrical testing in the Hemel Hempstead, St Albans, Watford and Hertfordshire then you should know that we would be happy to help you and give you a quote.