An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) is an official document that is produced following an assessment of an electrical installation; it could be domestic, commercial or industrial.
Electrical testing on your property is an important part of running any business, and this is especially true for businesses which are heavily used by members of the public.
Buildings such as hotels or offices are often in use around the clock, with large-scale electrical systems that are subject to wear, tear, corrosion, overloading and a whole host of other factors that could lead to deterioration and eventual faults, and we all know that it is better to prevent than to treat or fix.
Regular electrical testing by qualified electricians in the form of an Electrical Installation Condition Report is a great and simple way to get your premises' electrics checked.
When do you need an EICR?
You need it as soon as possible, as an EICR will pick up any potential problem before it can become a serious, or even hazardous or dangerous, issue.
What does an EICR consist of?
The test will follow along the lines detailed below:
This is where the electrician will survey the electrical installation before they commence with the electrical testing.
The visual inspection will highlight broken or cracked devices, where devices may have been installed in the wrong location, or if there have been overloading or overheating problems.
This is done with the use of electrical test meters and includes:
1. Continuity testing: A test to check if there are any badly connected conductors.
2. Insulation resistance testing: This test is to make sure that the electrical insulation material surrounding the conductors is intact.
3. Polarity: This test is to check that the connection is connected in the right sequence
1. Earth fault loop impedance testing: This test is to check that if a fault did occur, the system meets the requirements to cause a disconnection of the supply within the time limit specified.
2. RCD testing: On modern electrical systems, RCDs and RCBOs are regularly fitted. These devices react to electricity missing from the circuit or installation such as when a person is receiving an electric shock as the electricity passes through his body to the ground (earthing).
During an EICR, the inspector may make several electrical observations and will give each one a recommendation code C1 C2 or C3.
The observations describe a defect or omission within the electrical installation.
C1 = Danger Present, Immediate Remedial Action Required,
C2 = Potential Danger Urgent Remedial Action Required, potentially dangerous condition’: Urgent remedial action required,
C3 = Improvement Recommended, this code more often than not implies that while the installation may not comply with the current set of regulations, complies with a previous set of regulations and so is deemed to be safe although this safety can be improved upon.
Most companies as a matter of course would provide an estimate to rectify the remedial works, although the report will enable the tenant/owner to source further quotations to check the competitiveness of the quotation.
On larger installations, it is possible to carry out a 20% test every year for 5 years, if the system is shown to be in a good state of repair. This is a particularly appealing solution to large premises such as factories, where it might not be feasible to carry out the inspection in one hit and there is a long track record of good electrical maintenance.
There are several reasons why EICR testing is important. Here are just four of them...
Safety – protecting your customers and staff from serious injury or death.
The safety of visitors, guests and employees should be paramount to any business owner. Regular electrical testing will provide peace of mind that measures have been taken to ensure your premises are safe, and it’s almost impossible to put a price on that.
This is not to mention the cost of a fire or serious accident, which could have been avoided.
Compliance – meeting your electrical safety obligations.
There are various laws which require business/premises owners to carry out risk assessments and take appropriate measures to prevent accidents, including:
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 which states that employers are responsible for the health and safety of their employees in the workplace.
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 which require precautions to be taken against the risk of death or personal injury from electricity used as part of work activities.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) regularly prosecutes businesses which fail to protect employees from electrical injuries at work. An EICR helps you fulfil your obligations by providing documented proof that your electrics have been thoroughly inspected. This can be crucial in the event of any accidents that are investigated by the HSE.
Insurance – making sure your insurance pays out in the event of a claim.
Insurance companies are increasingly requesting that electrical testing is carried out and evidenced on a regular basis as part of your policy agreement. Requirements such as this should be detailed in your policy, so it’s important to make sure you have thoroughly read and understood it.
Whether your insurance will pay out in the event of a claim related to an electrical incident depends on the terms of your policy and whether you have met those terms. This may include being able to prove robust processes for checking your electrics are safe – such as an EICR certificate – and that the incident was therefore unavoidable.
Saving money – how an electrical inspection can save you money.
As well as making sure your electrics are safe, getting an EICR-trained and qualified electrician to inspect your installations could even save you money. The EICR tests systems and identifies faults. It could be, for example, that you have an overloaded circuit, or a piece of equipment that is overheating and is therefore wasting energy and costing you money.
An EICR report can make recommendations for efficiency improvements that you hadn’t thought of or didn’t realise were necessary.