An EICR is an Electrical Installation Condition Report and is a formal document that is produced following an assessment of the electrical installations within a property.
These reports must be carried out by an experienced qualified electrician or approved contractor who has undertaken a course covering periodic inspection and testing and is registered with various schemes such as the NICEIC and has a good working knowledge and experience of electrical installations.
Who Needs One And Why?
There are many reasons why a homeowner/resident/proprietor may request or require an EICR and indeed they are highly recommended where proof may be required to show an electrical installation is safe. One of the more common requirements for an EICR is for rented accommodation where an EICR is required as of 1st July 2020 for all new tenancies and as of 1st April 2021, this will extend to all tenancies new and existing.
An EICR is valid during a tenancy for up to 5 years, and although there are EICR reports that may be for that property valid for up to 10 years, that now becomes only valid for the first 5 years. If an EICR was carried out when the new regulations began on the 1st April 2020, then you will not need to carry out a new one until the report expires, unless a change of tenancy or other works is being carried out that require a new report to be completed. All rental properties as of 1st April 2021 must have an inspection every 5 years.
An EICR is there for the safety of all. If any part of the electrics is not safe then the landlord must ensure that investigation and remedial work be carried out by a qualified person and that the work must be completed within a 28 day period and a satisfactory EICR certificate produced, with copies available to the tenant and relevant parties. Failure to do this will be in breach of landlord duties and local authorities can issue financial penalties.
An EICR is also recommended in all domestic homes every 10 years to check the condition of the electrical installation and ensure there is no deterioration, however, there may be reasons why an EICR would need to be done more often. Typical reasons include:
- Age of the installation (the older the installation the more often an EICR should be carried out)
- Type of property. For example, if the property has a swimming pool, the recommended interval between an EICR is 1 year, however, only the parts of the installation relating to the swimming pool would need to be assessed.
- Environmental Conditions
- Misuse of the installation such as vandalism
- Change in usage of the domestic premises. This could be a change of occupancy in rental properties (as explained above), or a property that is being purchased is the best way to find out if work needs to be carried out on the electrical system, but not compulsory before purchase.
- Any concerns the householder has about the condition of their electrical installation
An EICR ultimately provides peace of mind that a home is electrically safe and they are not expensive to carry out. In the same way as a boiler would be serviced every year, consider having an EICR carried out at the recommended intervals, the cost comparison of an EICR is extremely low when compared to the cost of an annual car service or annual boiler service but yet could save a sizeable sum of money as an EICR would pick up on a potential problem before it became a serious, and a potentially costly issue.
During an EICR, our electrician will check that your fuse board is safe and compliant with the current regulations – this means whether it has the necessary circuit breakers and RCD protection. (Residual current devices are designed to prevent you from getting a fatal electric shock if you touch something live.) Other checks designed to prevent fatal electric shocks include ensuring that everything is correctly earthed. Your electrician will check this on your gas-meter pipework, water pipework, radiators, and all the metal in the building.
They will also check a sample (at least 10%) of your sockets, lights, switches, and accessories to see that the wiring is installed correctly. The majority of properties inspected do not pass with flying colours the first time and this is partly because the regulations are updated all the time. A property that was compliant today might not be in two years’ time.
Costs and Timing
Whilst there will always be competition in cost, there should never be a compromise to safety by finishing and inspection and producing a report too prematurely. There will always be homes that look great from a glance, but may have issues unseen to the homeowner / tenant / proprietor’s eye, but there are companies out there that offer “low cost options” just to make you compliant, but ultimately they are not helping in preventing potential danger to life.
A question often asked is how long should it take and how much will it cost – an indication below will give an approximate time and cost, however, the reports can take a good hour to complete additionally afterwards and no two homes are the same. You may have a huge home with many circuits, rooms full of downlighters, pool, outhouses, garages, stables, and only one bedroom, so it is difficult to price exactly – most electricians would offer a brief survey to establish the job in question first to include limitations, which indicate areas that are not accessible or not required to be inspected, and these will be recorded as agreed limitations. However please be aware that if you are expecting the whole house to be inspected, then access must be available, no locked doors etc. An idea of time for an EICR on an averaged sized, regular home would be in the region of and not limited to the guide below:
- 3-4 hours in a one bedroomed property
- 4-5 hours in a 2 bedroomed property
- 5-6 hours in a 3 bedroomed property
A sensible cost would be £45 to £50+VAT per hour to complete this test and subsequent certificate, but again, there are many reasons for increased or decreased costs and timings and most electricians usually agree a fixed price beforehand.
To enquire or book an EICR in the Cornwall Area contact SWES Ltd (South West Electrotechnical Services Ltd) us on:
0800 246 5536 / firstname.lastname@example.org