Periodic condition reporting explained.

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 up to 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 to or 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 or rented a property where you feel the electrical installation may be old, inadequate or unsafe.

An EICR will involve the inspection and testing of all of your final circuits, your consumer unit(s), the protective devices, the suppliers’ service head & earthing arrangements, and the earth bonding. 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, C2 or FI 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. Without it, you won’t be able to prove that you kept the electrical installation suitably maintained. It is important therefore that the company undertaking the report is competent and insured. I hold the latest City & Guilds Level 3 qualification for electrical verification, inspection and testing and I have 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, local authority building control 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 if it doesn’t contain the information BS7671 demands.

Previous/next inspection dates.

The date of any previous inspection, along with the date that the next inspection is due, should be printed on any previous EICR/PIR paperwork as well as being visible on a sticker affixed at or near to your consumer unit. If the Next Inspection date has lapsed, then you should consider having the installation re-inspected. Note that ten years for dwellings and five years for offices/shops is the maximum period between inspections as prescribed by BS7671, however the re-inspection date is at the discretion of the inspector. As a general rule, if I believe an installation is sound, then I will pass it for the maximum period. If there are items that may need monitoring such as low insulation resistance readings, then I may issue a shorter re-inspection date to ensure the condition is monitored and not getting worse. then it is not necessary to perform repeat inspections so regularly.