Safety and security is a major factor that we need to consider at home and at work. As a homeowner, landlord or business owner, it is your duty to make sure that your constructed dwelling doesn’t have faulty electrical systems. Regulations such as the Electricity at Work Regulations of 1989 have even been set by the Health and Safety Executive in an effort to resolve this issue. It is stated in Regulation 4 that employers should take all necessary steps to prevent the danger that may arise from electrical systems and work activities on or near them.
A regular electrical inspection is advised to prevent any type of electrical-related problems. Your electrical installation should meet the standards that are set by the 18th edition of the Wiring Regulations. The Regulations require landlords to ensure electrical standards are being implemented and that remedial or investigative work must be carried out if the electrical report requires it. An electrical inspection will determine if your electrical installation is safe. If the report indicates that no remedial or investigative work is needed, the landlord is not required to do any further work.
What happens during an inspection? The electrical inspector will thoroughly inspect areas that may be overlooked by other electricians, find areas in your property that are fire hazards or areas that have potential risks of electrical shock, determine any defective electrical work, and examine the lack of bonding or earthing (these are proven ways of preventing electrical shocks from electrical installations).
To make sure that your electrical installation meets that standard set by our government, here are tips as to where duty holders should go for their electrical inspection and testing and when they need to handle defects depending on how severe the problem is.
THE ELECTRICAL INSTALLATION CONDITION REPORT
After the inspector is done with the electrical inspection, the property owner should obtain a copy of the report which will contain detailed information about the current situation of your electrical installation, its outcomes, the need for further investigation or remedial work.
After obtaining a copy of the detailed report, if the property is rented, the landlord must supply a copy of this report to their tenants within 28 days of the electrical inspection and test. For new tenants, this report should be given before they occupy the premises. To prospective tenants, the report must be supplied within 28 days when the request for a report was made. If a local authority is requesting a copy of the report, the landlord must be able to supply it within 7 days when the request was received.
If the electrical report involved the need for further investigation or remedial work, the landlord must complete a written confirmation indicating that the required work was carried out within 28 days of completing it. The landlord must keep a copy of the report and send a copy to the tester and inspector who will carry out the succeeding test and inspection.
The report will indicate that the electrical installation is safe for continued use or show codes that will indicate the specific problem that must be addressed. These are the classification codes that indicate when remedial work must be carried out.
- Code 1 (C1) means there is a risk of injury or danger is present. The electrical inspector may fix any C1 hazards safe before they leave the property.
- Code 2 (C2) means that the electrical installation is potentially dangerous.
- Further Investigation (FI) means that your electrical installation requires further investigation without delay.
- Code 3 (C3) means that your electrical installation needs to be improved. Further remedial work may not be required for the report to be deemed sufficient.
If your report has the C1 or C2 code, remedial work must be scheduled as soon as possible because it indicates your electrical installation is not safe for continued use. If the report indicates FI, remedial work is also required. If the report indicates C3, electrical improvement is recommended but not required.
If your property is new or completely rewired, an Electrical Installation Certificate or EIC must be obtained. The certificate must be supplied to the local authorities or tenants if it is being requested. The landlord is not required to carry out electrical checks or obtain an electrical report 5 years after the IEC was issued, provided that they have maintained the standards set by the Regulations.
THE IET REGULATIONS, DEFECT CODES AND EXPECTED TIME FRAME
The following should be included and the standardised codes that should be part of all electrical testing and reports:
- Test results
- Condition Report: This will state how severe the defects are against the standards.
- Schedule of Defects: These will be given the codes C1, C2, C3, and FI terms of severity of defects and timescales for rectification
The time when you have to carry out repairs depends on the Schedule of Defect code.
C1: DANGER PRESENT (REQUIRES IMMEDIATE ACTION)
When danger is present, immediate action is advised without delay to fix the defect or take any other appropriate step to remove the danger.
- Exposed live parts
- Live conductive parts due to faults
C2: POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS (ACTION SHOULD USUALLY BE TAKEN WITHIN 30 DAYS)
As we all know, the installation may not pose any immediate risk but urgent action is required to remove any potential danger.
- No reliable and/or effective ways of earthing for installation
- No earthing at a socket outlet
- Ineffective overcurrent protection
C3: IMPROVEMENTS NEEDED: NO TIME LIMIT PROVIDED.
This applies when present on the case is a clear non-compliance with a current safety standard is found. Remedial action would significantly improve safety but there is no immediate or potential danger, Remedial work should be given consideration.
- No RCD protection for a socket-outlet that supply portable or mobile equipment for outdoor use
- No RCD protection for cables at a depth of less than 50mm from a surface of a wall where cables do not incorporate an earthed metallic covering, not enclosed in earthed metalwork, or are not mechanically protected against penetration
FI: FOR FURTHER INVESTIGATION: THE ISSUE SHOULD BE INVESTIGATED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
If a potential safety issue has been found but is not yet fully identified, further investigation regarding the matter is highly recommended.
- Characteristics of electricity supply do not conform to supply industry norms
- Presence of circuits that cannot be readily identified or traced
Electrical compliance may not be your cup of tea but it must be carried out to ensure the safety and security of everyone inside a property. To determine if your electrical installations meet the standards of the Regulations or if you require assistance to carry out all the required processes, call on EJS Electrical to meet all your electrical requirements!