FIXED INSTALLATION INSPECTION AND TEST SURVEYS
To comply with The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, The Electricity at Work (Northern Ireland) 1991 and HSE guidelines, all electrical systems must be tested and inspected and tested every three months to five years depending on the type of premises.
All electrical installations deteriorate over time due to a number of factors such as damage, wear, tear, corrosion, excessive electrical loading, ageing and environmental influences. As a result, the purpose of a Periodic Inspection & Testing Report of a Fixed Installation is to prove, so far as is reasonably practicable:
Who should carry out the periodic inspection and what happens?
Periodic inspection and testing should be carried out only by electrically competent persons, such as registered electricians. They will check the condition of the electrics against the UK standard for the safety of electrical installations, BS 7671 – Requirements for Electrical Installations (IET Wiring Regulations).
The inspection takes into account all the relevant circumstances and checks on:
- The adequacy of earthing and bonding.
- The suitability of the switchgear and control gear. For example, an old fuse box with a wooden back, cast-iron switches, or a mixture of both will need replacing.
- The serviceability of switches, sockets and lighting fittings. Items that may need replacing include: older round-pin sockets, round light switches, cables with fabric coating hanging from ceiling roses to light fittings, black switches and sockets mounted in skirting boards.
- The type of wiring system and its condition. For example, cables coated in black rubber were phased out in the 1960s. Likewise cables coated in lead or fabric are even older and may well need replacing (modern cables use longer-lasting pvc insulation).
- Sockets that may be used to supply portable electrical equipment for use outdoors, making sure they are protected by a suitable residual current device (RCD).
- The presence of adequate identification and notices.
- The extent of any wear and tear, damage or other deterioration.
- Any changes in the use of the premises that have led to, or may lead to, unsafe conditions.
Our competent electrician will then issue an Electrical Installation Condition Report detailing any observed damage, deterioration, defects, dangerous conditions and any non-compliance’s with the present-day safety standard that might give rise to danger.
If anything dangerous or potentially dangerous is found, the overall condition of the electrical installation will be declared to be ‘unsatisfactory’, meaning that remedial action is required without delay to remove the risks to those in the premises.
A periodic inspection will:
- Reveal if any of your electrical circuits or equipment are overloaded.
- Find any potential electric shock risks and fire hazards.
- Identify any defective electrical work.
- Highlight any lack of earthing or bonding.
Tests are also carried out on wiring and fixed electrical equipment to check that they are safe. A schedule of circuits is also provided, which is invaluable for a property.
How often is a periodic inspection required?
Your electrics should be inspected and tested every:
- 5 years for commercial premises
- 3 years for industrial premises
- 3 years for a caravan
- 1 year for a swimming pool.
Other times when a periodic inspection should be carried out are:
- When a property is being prepared for letting.
- Before selling a property or buying a previously-occupied property.