TESTING & INSPECTION
An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), formally known as a Periodic Inspection Report (PIR) before BS7671:2008 [IET Wiring Regulations] Amendment 1 was published in July 2011, is a report detailing the suitability of an existing electrical installation for continued operation.
Obtaining such a report on your home electrics is not (currently) a legal requirement, however in the case of dwellings it is recommended in BS7671 that you have your installation properly inspected at least every ten years. For offices, shops and properties being rented, an inspection every five years or upon a change of occupancy is recommended. Landlords are obliged to ensure the electrical installation in their property is safe, and ordering an EICR is the only recognised method for legally ensuring compliance.
If you don’t have complete and valid EICR paperwork, you may be required/want to obtain such if you plan to sell or rent your property, if you have major building work planned, if there has been a serious incident such as fire/flood damage, if previous electrical work is suspected to have been botched, if your insurance requires it or if you have purchased/rented a property where you feel the electrical installation may be old, inadequate or unsafe.
An EICR will involve inspection and testing on all of your final circuits, consumer unit, protective devices, service head and earthing arrangements, and the report you receive will classify the overall installation as satisfactory or unsatisfactory as deemed appropriate by the inspector. Any deviations from the regulations will either be coded as C1, danger present, C2, potentially dangerous, C3, improvement recommended or FI, Further Investigation required without delay. Any C1 or C2 observation would result in an ‘unsatisfactory’ verdict being passed on the installation as a whole.
A valid report is not just a few pieces of paper. The inspector who signs the report is transferring legal liability for the ongoing electrical safety of the installation onto his/her company, so in the event of an incident such as an electrical fire or shock injury, having a valid and current report will help you with any legal or insurance claims. It is important therefore that the company undertaking the report is competent and insured. I hold the latest City & Guilds Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications for electrical verification, inspection and testing and the professional indemnity insurance to back up my results, however there are plenty of people out there passing verdict without experience, training or insurance so it is a case of buyer beware.
An EICR fully satisfies the requirements of landlords, estate agents, letting agents, banks, solicitors, mortgage lenders, loan providers, insurers and surveyors. Where someone refers to a 'landlord electrical safety certificate', they actually mean the EICR paperwork as no standard 'landlord safety certificate' is provided by BS7671 and any paperwork claiming to be such is meaningless. Only a proper EICR is relevant when it comes to the inspection and testing of an existing electrical installation.
Pricing and timing.
Domestic EICR's are priced per circuit, therefore larger or more complicated installations naturally cost more than a smaller dwelling. The current circuit price is given on my About page, while a guide for counting up the number of circuits you may have is given here. For landlords I also offer landlords free PAT testing of up to ten items per property for each EICR booked.*
Non domestic EICR's or reports for large properties may incur higher charges to reflect the greater amount of labour involved. In such a case, please contact me for a tailored quotation.
Pricing remains the same regardless of whether an installation passes for the maximum term or less, or if it fails outright. What you are paying for is not only my time to perform the inspection ad create the report, but for me to take on the legal liability for the safety of the electrical installation under my professional indemnity insurance which is why it's important for me to do it right and to be accurate.
The time it takes for me to perform a domestic EICR depends on the size of the installation, but you should allow for it taking at least half a day or more for a domestic property, and the installation would need to be powered down for most of the tests. To minimise disruption, you should make sure you’re ready for the power to go off, i.e. don’t have the dishwasher in mid-cycle when I'm due to turn up, and also clear some space around the consumer unit, especially if it is at the back of a cupboard or suchlike. It would also be helpful to unplug all appliances and move furniture so all socket outlets and light switches are accessible.
Payment would be due on the day however you will need to allow up to 7 days for me to type up and deliver the final report.
Beware of cheap or poor imitations!
It won’t take much shopping around to find cheaper prices than mine, and some of my competitors will be advertising EICRs as low as £60 to £80. The reason my pricing is higher is because I produce a completely honest report. Those charging lower costs will attempt to make their money back on the remedials - i.e. they will try their best to find a C1 or C2 to fail you on and then charge you an arm and a leg for whatever repair work they insist is necessary.
Needless to say, if you order a cheap EICR, it’s likely you’ll get an ‘unsatisfactory’ verdict on the report at best or pay over the odds for unnecessary work at worst.
If you want to use a company who offers cheap EICRs, make it clear to them beforehand that you’ll be using another party for any remedials and don’t sign any agreement authorising them to do the work. If they know any repair work will be going to a competitor then they’ll be less likely to try and make a big thing out of minor issues. Of course, there is also the risk that an unscrupulous company may ignore issues that do need addressing if they think the remedial business is going to a rival.
This is why you’re better off just forking out for an honest report in the first place!
You must also check that the company offering to perform an EICR is registered to do such work with their competent persons accreditation scheme. NAPIT insist that their members hold level 3 test and inspect qualifications or experience, but the likes of Elecsa do not. You can perform a look-up on the website of any competent person scheme to see if a firm is registered for periodic inspections / condition reporting.