A burning question amongst our commercial and residential clients is how often they should be booking in an EICR test. The advice and rules are different from property to property, leaving it a little confusing and sometimes leaving the property exposed to further action.
So, to answer these questions, we run through the topic at length, from the frequency you should be getting an EICR legally, to whether getting an EICR more regularly would be beneficial.
Importance of an EICR
Before diving into how regularly EICR checks should be conducted, it’s crucial to grasp why these evaluations hold such importance. An EICR represents a thorough assessment of a property’s electrical systems undertaken by a qualified electrician. This inspection affirms these systems’ safety and compliance with the British Standard BS7671.
Routine inspections aid in detecting potential risks such as electric shocks, fire hazards, faulty electrical work, overloaded sockets, inadequate earthing or bonding, and dangerous fixed electrical equipment wiring. These checks form the frontline in preventing electrical accidents, a leading cause of domestic fires, injuries, and deaths in the UK.
EICR Test Regularity By Property Type
The regularity of EICR checks predominantly depends on the property type and intended use. Here’s a broad guideline:
Homes Owned by Occupants
For residential properties owned privately, an EICR is advised every ten years. This maximum interval laid out in the IET Wiring Regulations is based on several factors:
- Residential homes and their electrics have less wear and tear than commercial properties
- The steady and consistent electrical usage in private homes minimises the likelihood of sudden failures
- The ten-year interval balances the need for safety with the cost and inconvenience of more frequent inspections.
Rented properties call for an EICR every five years, in line with the electrical safety regulations for landlords put into effect in 2019. This legal requirement also pertains to educational establishments, commercial buildings, laboratories, general hospital areas, and hospitality sector establishments like hotels, restaurants, bars, and more. The five-year requirements are based on the following:
- Rented properties have a higher turnover than private residential homes
- Landlords have a duty of care to their tenants
- The five-year interval aligns with the recommendations for commercial and public buildings
Establishments with Higher Risk
Due to their inherent risks, certain establishments necessitate annual EICR inspections. These include public entertainment venues like cinemas, recreational facilities like swimming pools, holiday accommodations like caravan parks, everyday businesses like laundrettes, and fuel stations.
Selling, Buying, and Renting Properties
Before a property changes hands through buying or selling or is prepared for renting, an EICR becomes essential to guarantee the safety of the new occupants. To ensure this is done, parties involved should consult with a certified electrician and include the EICR as a condition in the property transaction agreement, making it a formal part of the buying, selling, or renting process.
Who is Qualified to Conduct EICR Checks?
Competent, qualified electricians carry out EICR inspections. While it’s not legally required for electricians to complete an Inspection and Testing training course, it does offer numerous advantages, such as eligibility for joining a Part P scheme.
During an EICR assessment, the electrician scrutinises and evaluates various components. These include:
- The type and condition of the wiring system
- The sufficiency of earthing and bonding
- The functionality of switches, sockets, and light fittings
- The degree of wear and tear, damage, and deterioration
- The appropriateness of the switch and control gear
- Ensuring outdoor electrical equipment is RCD protected
- Any alterations to the property that may have resulted in unsafe conditions
- The presence of suitable identification and notices
Factors Influencing EICR Test Frequency
The EICR test frequency isn’t rigid and can be influenced by several considerations. For instance, environments with higher risks, such as facilities handling flammable gases, chemicals, or densely populated buildings, may require more frequent inspections. Also, the overall health of the electrical installation may impact the frequency. An older, deteriorating electrical system might need more regular checks than a newer, well-maintained one. This is because older systems are more likely to run into problems, whereas newer systems are more efficient and have likely been completed to a higher standard.
Significance of Routine EICR Checks
Routine inspections are paramount for averting electrical mishaps in both domestic and commercial settings. Failure to complete these checks can lead to undetected safety hazards such as faulty wiring or overloaded circuits. This can potentially cause serious accidents like electrical fires, shocks, or equipment malfunctions. As highlighted, the frequency of these inspections depends on the property type and usage. It’s always wise to stick to the EICR test frequency prescribed in the IET wiring regulations to guarantee your property’s and its occupants’ ongoing safety.
Grasping the regularity with which you should schedule an EICR is vital for every property custodian. Periodic checks safeguard the occupants of a property and help ward off potential electrical mishaps. Be it a private homeowner, a property manager, or a commercial property owner, conforming to the advised test frequency is a legal and safety obligation that one must take very seriously.
If you need more certainty about the EICR procedure or the duration a test might take, don’t hesitate to contact a proficient electrician for professional advice. Remember that your property’s electrical safety is paramount, and routine EICR checks are critical in guaranteeing this safety.
In addition to understanding the importance and frequency of electrical checks, another factor is just as crucial – staying informed about how to be prepared for these inspections. For guidance, you can look into “How to Prepare for an EICR Inspection“, an in-depth article that provides a step-by-step process to help you prepare your property for an EICR inspection, reducing potential risks or hazards.
Another significant consideration is choosing a competent electrician to perform the EICR test. You want to ensure that your chosen professional is well-equipped to handle the inspection accurately and provide reliable advice. Check out the guide on “Choosing the Right Electrician for an EICR Test” to learn what qualifications and credentials to look for in an electrician and how to make the right choice.