Ensuring the safety and compliance of an electrical system is paramount, whether in a residential property, commercial building, or industrial facility. A key tool in this process is the Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR).
This crucial document provides a thorough assessment of the electrical installations, verifying their adherence to safety standards. Particularly for landlords and business owners, obtaining an EICR is not just a testament to the property’s electrical safety—it’s often a legal requirement.
Who can do an EICR report?
The task of carrying out an EICR report falls on the shoulders of those deemed ‘qualified and competent’. This requirement, stipulated by the government, is especially relevant for landlords, who are legally obligated to conduct an EICR at least every five years.
But what exactly does ‘qualified and competent’ entail? While there are no specific legal qualifications to carry out an EICR, the industry standard leans towards registered electricians. These professionals have proven their competence through rigorous testing and regular assessments. They possess a thorough understanding of the BS 7671 standards, the Electricity at Work Regulations (1989), and the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974)—all vital elements for a comprehensive and accurate EICR.
While technically anyone can carry out an EICR, only a report conducted by a registered electrician carries the necessary weight and assurance for legal compliance and insurance purposes. As such, landlords and business owners are strongly advised to engage registered electricians for their EICR reports.
What is ‘qualified and competent’?
Being ‘qualified and competent‘ in the context of an EICR extends beyond basic electrical knowledge. It necessitates a profound understanding of electrical installations’ complexities and the ability to identify potential safety hazards. A ‘qualified and competent’ individual possesses the necessary qualifications, experience, and skills to inspect and test electrical installations.
In the UK, one of the key qualifications is the Level 3 Award in the Inspection and Testing of Electrical Installations. This qualification—or its equivalent- often held by registered electricians—serves as a clear indicator of competence.
Furthermore, membership in a recognized industry body, such as the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC), or the National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers (NAPIT), validates their qualifications and competence.
Finding someone to carry out an EICR
Several factors must be considered when looking for a professional to carry out an EICR. Here are some steps you can take to ensure you’re choosing a trustworthy and competent professional:
- Check their qualifications: The person should have the necessary experience and knowledge to conduct a thorough and accurate inspection. This includes a deep understanding of the BS 7671 standards and the ability to identify potential safety hazards. Look for qualifications such as the Level 3 Award in the Inspection and Testing of Electrical Installations.
- Look for accreditations: Professionals accredited by bodies like the Electrical Safety Register and NICEIC or NAPIT have demonstrated competence and adherence to industry standards. Choosing an NICEIC or NAPIT contractor, for instance, assures their qualifications, as they are regularly assessed to ensure they meet the highest industry standards.
- Read reviews and testimonials: Look for reviews and testimonials from previous clients. This can give you a sense of the professional’s reliability, quality of work, and customer service.
- Check their website: A professional and well-maintained website can be a good indicator of a reputable company. Look for precise information about their services, qualifications, and accreditations. They should also provide clear contact information.
- Ask for a quote: A reputable professional can provide a clear and detailed quote for their services. Be wary of quotes that seem too good to be true, as they often are.
- Understand your liability: Landlords should know their potential liability if they fail to instruct the correct trade. If an EICR is carried out by someone who is not ‘qualified and competent’, the landlord could be held liable for any electrical faults or accidents that occur as a result.
Where can we conduct an EICR?
An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) can be conducted on all properties, from domestic premises to residential homes to commercial buildings and industrial facilities. Getting an EICR is often likened to an MOT for the building’s electrical systems, ensuring they are safe and up to standard.
For landlords, an EICR is particularly important. It’s a legal requirement to ensure the electrical installations in rented properties are safe when tenants move in and maintained in a safe condition throughout the tenancy.
This includes the property’s fixed electrical parts, such as the wiring, socket outlets (plug sockets), light fittings and the consumer unit. Any appliances provided by the landlord should be inspected under Portable Appliance Testing or PAT.
EICR Certificate Cost
The cost of an EICR certificate can vary depending on several factors. These include the property’s size, the electrics’ age, and the electrical system’s complexity. The cost may be relatively low for a small property with modern electrics.
So, the price may be higher for a larger property or a property with older or more complex electrics.
It’s important to remember that while cost is a factor, it should not be the deciding factor. The most important thing is to ensure that the EICR is carried out by a qualified and competent professional.
Cutting corners by choosing a cheaper, less skilled professional could cost more in the long run if the EICR is not carried out correctly.
EICR Inspection carried out by an unregistered electrical contractor?
Choosing an unregistered electrical contractor to carry out an EICR can lead to many problems. While they may offer a lower price, the risks associated with their lack of accreditation and potentially insufficient training can result in a substandard report or even safety issues.
These can include issues such as lack of earthing or bonding, overloaded electrical circuits or equipment, potential electric shock risks and fire hazards, defective electrical work, or lack of RCD’s for circuits which require such protection.
It’s crucial to remember that if you use an unregistered contractor and issues with the EICR arise later; the landlord could be held liable for any electrical faults or accidents that occur. Therefore, choosing a registered electrician to carry out an EICR is always recommended.
- Do you have to be qualified to do an EICR? While no specific legal qualifications are required to carry out an EICR, the industry standard is for the task to be undertaken by a registered electrician. Registered electricians have demonstrated their competence through rigorous testing and regular assessments.
- Can you do EICR without 2391? 2391 is a qualification that provides electricians with the knowledge and skills to inspect and test electrical installations. While it’s not a legal requirement to have this qualification to carry out an EICR, it’s highly recommended as it demonstrates a high level of competence.
- Who can carry out an electrical safety certificate? An electrical safety certificate, or EICR, should be carried out by a ‘qualified and competent’ person. This typically means a registered electrician with the necessary qualifications, experience, and skills to inspect and test electrical installations.