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What is an EICR?
An EICR, long for Electrical Inspection Condition Report, is a detailed inspection of your property’s electrical systems and installation. The idea is to is to assess and identify any condition, deterioration or defect that has the potential to result in danger. In the condition report all the electrical systems and installations present in residential or commercial buildings are thoroughly inspected.
Do I need an EICR report?
From July 1st 2020 legislation had changed to say that privately rented properties will need a valid EICR for all new tenancies and renewals. If you have an existing tenancy the deadline was April 1st 2021 to have a valid EICR for the property. Business owners also require a valid Electrical Inspection Condition Report as it is their legal responsibility to look after the welfare of their staff, customers or tenants. Potentially, they could face prosecution if there were any harm caused due to unsafe electrical systems or installs.
If you are a homeowner, it is not a legal requirement to have a condition report carried out. Although, it is recommended that a new report should be undertaken every ten years for a privately owned property. In addition, if you are looking to sell your property, it is an increasing possibility that the buyer’s solicitor will request the EICR in order for the seller to demonstrate the property has has regular maintenance. It is also worth noting that if you fail to maintain your electrical systems, insurance companies can use this as a reason to refuse claims.
How long are they valid for?
Current guidelines state that for rental properties the report lasts for 5 years but also recommends having the report renewed at the start of each new tenancy.
How much does an EICR cost?
Generally, across the board the average cost of an Electrical Installation Condition Report ranges from £80 – £160. Some of this varies with the number of bedrooms or number of fuse boards.
Who can issue a report?
Guidelines state that the report must be carried out by a competent and qualified person. Typically, you would approach a qualified electrician to carry out the assessment. They must have taken the proper courses and training that cover periodic testing and inspection of electrical installations and must be registered with scheme providers to ensure their compliance with the latest standards of safety in the field (IET 18th Edition).
It is always a good idea to ask the contractor which scheme they are approved with and their certification credentials. The main accreditation bodies in the UK are NICEIC, Stroma, Napit and Elecsa.
Can I self-certify my properties?
You can self-certify your properties if you hold the qualifications to check installations, to the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations and provide a report.
What does an EICR check?
The EICR inspection is done to determine if there are any serious issues with a property’s electrical systems. The inspection includes a visual check of the electrical systems as well as thorough testing for relevant parts, such as interior (main system cables, electrical distribution boards, etc.) and exterior pieces (including light fittings, switches, sockets). Such tests include Dead testing, Live testing, and RCD testing— note that these tests will require the power to be turned off for a short amount of time! Ultimately, the duration of the inspection may depend on the size and age of the property, the complexity of the property’s power systems, the number of circuits, and whether there are serious issues identified during the inspection.
Tests for the electrical safety certificate include a Visual Inspection, Dead Testing, Live Testing, and, if needed, RCD testing. To begin, the electrician will inspect the property and the electrical systems in question to identify any obvious issues.
Next, Dead Testing will begin. The process of Dead Testing includes three parts: Insulation Resistance Testing, Continuity Testing, and Polarity Testing. These tests will determine whether any faulty electric connectors exist, to check whether insulation where needed is present and functioning to prevent potential system shocks, and, ultimately, ensure that everything is properly connected.
Collectively, these tests ensure that, if there is a major problem or emergency, the electric system is able to quickly shut down to prevent potentially dangerous situations and further damage.
RCD Tests may then be done on more modern electrical systems’ RCDs (Residual-Current Devices), which are in place for fire prevention purposes.
Will the engineer need to turn off the power?
Yes, there will be a short power outage whilst each circuit is tested.
How long does it take?
This varies greatly depending on the size of the property, number of circuits, complexity of the installation and what potential issues are discovered during the inspection. However, a small apartment can take around an hour with large homes sometimes taking up to 3 or 4 hours.
Can I fail the EICR?
Yes. Simply having the inspection carried out is not enough if you plan to rent the property. If the engineer deems any part of the system to be unsafe or not fit for purpose then they can mark the installation as ‘unsatisfactory’.
What are the legal implications when it comes to the electrical certificate?
The EICR report must be given to all of the tenants before they occupy the property and when a new report is undertaken you must provide tenants with a new report within 28 days of the inspection.
Electrical faults cause almost half of all household fires in the UK and as a result, failure to comply with regulations is taken very seriously. The local authority is responsible for enforcement and they can issue civil penalties of up to £30,000 per breach of these regulations.
Where non-urgent work have been identified they must serve the landlord a notice detailing the work required and giving them 28 days to perform the work. The landlord may make representations to this within 21 days of the notice being served. If they do then the local authority must respond to these representations within 7 days. Until they respond the requirement to perform the work is suspended.
Lastly, if the local authority is satisfied the landlord is in breach and they have the tenant’s permission to do so, they may perform emergency remedial work on the property and bill the landlord for any costs incurred.
What should I expect from an EICR inspection?
An inspection will consist of a Visual Inspection, Dead Testing, and Live Testing, and sometimes, RCD Testing.
First the qualified engineer will survey the installation before carrying out any testing. This will help highlight any issues caused by wear and tear, e.g. damaged cables or power switches. These are often the most obvious risks present in electrical installations.
There are three aspects to dead testing – Continuity Testing, Insulation Resistance Testing, and Polarity Testing. These three aspects check if there are any badly connected conductors, make sure that the insulation material surrounding the conductors is intact and that the connection is connected in the right sequence.
This testing is to make sure that if a fault did occur, the system meets the right requirements to cause a disconnection of the supply within a time limit specified.
On modern electrical systems there is also RCD testing – these are devices that are fitted to prevent fires.
How often should I get an EICR?
In general, it is a good idea to have a visual inspection of a property’s electrical systems once per year. The full inspection for an EICR, however, must now be done more frequently as per UK law: as of June 2020, the full inspection is mandatory at least once every five years. A new EICR must also be produced every time there is a change of tenants.
In addition to getting the EICR every five years, you must also follow EICR guidelines to repair your property if the certificate issues after the inspection says repairs are urgently needed, as indicated by “unsatisfactory” EICR codes C2 and C1. When repairs are done, you must notify your tenants and your local authorities in writing so that they are able to stay up to date with the property’s safety status.
As a landlord, not following electrical safety certificate rules and regulations has consequences. In addition to potential legal ramifications for not following EICR guidelines (usually a fine), many insurance companies may not be willing to offer their services to you, or may reject repair claims if you fail to maintain your properties’ electrical systems.
What happens after the Inspection?
Getting the results of the report can sometimes take a few days as the engineer will need to upload his findings in a digital format which will then be emailed to you. If your property meets the required standard then your report will be marked as ‘satisfactory’. Should your EICR not meet current requirements, the report will be classed as “unsatisfactory” meaning that the required work needs to be done in order to bring the installation to the required level.
As well as returning an “unsatisfactory” result, the report will then detail which part of the electrical system failed the test and why. Work required is classified using the following codes:
Keep in mind that after the inspections are complete, the electrician who assessed the property may need a few days to issue the certificate, as it may take a few days to upload and calculate findings online.
- C1 – ‘danger is present’, risk of injury is likely and immediate action is required.
- C2 – potentially dangerous and remedial action is needed urgently.
- C3 – improvement to your electrical system is recommended. C3 is the only classification code that can appear on a report and still pass the EICR test.
If you receive a C1 fault, the assessor may shut-down the property, or, if viable, remedial work will be carried out immediately. If you receive a C2 code on your EICR, remedial work must be done to absolve the issue within 28 days as per UK law. Once the repairs are complete, the landlord must update tenants and local authorities in written form that the necessary repairs have been done on time. Once completed, the Landlord must provide written confirmation to both their tenant and local authority that the works have been carried out within the required 28 days.
Benefits of an up to date EICR
With the recent change in legislation it is vitally important that you act accordingly in order to make sure you and your properties are fully compliant. Just because you have a modern installation, or there have been no issues with it, it does not automatically mean that it is safe to use and meets the current guidelines.
As stated by the government statistics, around four people a day are injured or killed in fires connected with electrical faults, and electrical faults are the cause of almost half of all accidental UK house fires. Hence why every home should have a regular EICR check to ensure that all electrics are safe.
More and more insurance companies are requesting that periodic inspection is carried out on a regular basis. It may be required that electrical testing is regularly carried out and evidenced as part of your policy agreement. In most cases, the EICR will tell the insurance company if the accident was avoidable and it can help strengthen your insurance claim.
Do not wait until the electrical system is not working properly because you may end up spending more money on the repairs. If potential problems are identified early, they can be rectified before creating any further damage. In addition, the EICR offers solutions that improve the energy efficiency of the system and by reducing your energy consumption, you can also save money.
While the EICR is mandatory under UK law, the certificate’s suggestions for energy efficiency and reducing energy consumption can also help you to save money. Remember, the EICR’s recommendations are tailored to be specific to your property: this means that you can follow its suggestions for keeping the property safe and keeping electricity usage to a minimum alike. If you have questions or would like further advice about electrical safety and efficiency, it’s also worth speaking to the electrician who issued the certificate for tips specific to your building.
Frequently asked questions regarding the Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)
If you are looking to market your property for sale then the current guidelines state that you are not legally required to provide an electrical certificate. However, it is quite a common practice for the buyer’s solicitor to request a report as part of the conveyancing process.
Electrical report prices vary depending on the size of the property to be inspected. Smaller properties will have less circuits to inspect so will naturally cost less, with studio apartments costing from just £79.
As of 1st July 2020, legislation states that landlords need to provide a satisfactory electrical certificate before they can move new tenants into a property. This also applies for tenancy renewals and changes of occupancy. For instances when you already have tenants in the property, the deadline to produce a valid certificate is 1st April 2021.
The inspection survey involves a fully qualified electrician testing the fixed electrical system within the property. This includes a thorough inspection of all of the fixed mains cabling, distribution/fuse boards and continues through to the electrical accessories such as electrical sockets, fused spurs, hard-wired smoke alarms, light fittings, and switches.
The current Government guidelines state that an electrical report must be renewed every five years for privately rented properties, although it is also recommended to have the certificate renewed for each change of tenancy within that time frame. Private homeowners are recommended to have a new report every ten years.