If you’re a homeowner or landlord in the UK, you may have heard of an EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report). An EICR is a report that assesses the safety and condition of the electrical installations in a property. It’s recommended that EICRs are carried out every 5 to 10 years, depending on the type of property and its usage.
As mentioned, the recommended time period between EICRs can vary depending on the type of property and its usage. The following are general guidelines:
Domestic Properties: For domestic properties, the recommended time period between EICRs is every 10 years, or every change of occupancy. This means that if you’re a homeowner and you’ve lived in your property for 10 years without an EICR, it’s recommended that you have one carried out.
Commercial Properties: For commercial properties, the recommended time period between EICRs is every 5 years. This includes offices, shops, factories, and other non-domestic premises.
Industrial Properties: For industrial properties, the recommended time period between EICRs can be as little as 3 years. This is because industrial properties typically have more complex electrical systems, which require more frequent inspection.
Rental Properties: If you’re a landlord, the law now states that an EICR is due every 5 years, or every change of occupancy.
Public Buildings: For public buildings, such as schools, hospitals, and government buildings, the recommended time period between EICRs is every 5 years.
During an EICR, an electrician will inspect the property’s electrical installations, including the wiring, sockets, switches, and consumer unit (fuse box). They will then provide a report that highlights any defects or potential safety hazards. The report will include a list of observations and recommendations, as well as a classification code for each item.
There are four different classification codes that can be assigned to items in an EICR:
C1 (Danger Present): This means that there is an immediate danger that requires urgent attention, and the installation should not be used until the danger has been remedied.
C2 (Potentially Dangerous): This means that there is a fault or defect that could become a danger in the future, and remedial action should be taken as soon as possible.
C3 (Improvement Recommended): This means that there is a fault or defect, but it does not pose an immediate danger. However, it should be remedied in the near future.
FI (Further Investigation): This means that the inspector is unable to determine the safety of an item and further investigation is required.
It’s important to note that any items marked as C1 or C2 will result in the property being deemed “unsatisfactory” for electrical safety. This means that remedial action must be taken before the property can be considered safe.
Common Issues found on EICRs:
Outdated Wiring: Houses built more than 30 years ago may have outdated wiring that does not meet modern safety standards. This can include rubber-insulated cables or older-style fuse boxes. An EICR can identify outdated wiring and recommend updating it to meet current safety standards.
Overloaded Circuits: Overloaded circuits can cause electrical fires. This can occur when too many appliances are plugged into one circuit. An EICR can identify overloaded circuits and recommend installing additional circuits to spread the load.
Damaged Sockets or Switches: Damaged sockets or switches can pose a fire hazard. Cracked or broken switches or sockets can expose live wires, which can cause a fire. An EICR can identify damaged sockets or switches and recommend replacing them.
Lack of Earthing: Earthing is a safety measure that ensures excess electricity flows harmlessly to the ground rather than through a person. A lack of earthing can result in electric shock or fire. An EICR can identify any lack of earthing and recommend installing an earthing system.
In summary, an EICR is an important safety inspection for any property in the UK. The different codes used in the report indicate the severity of any defects or hazards, and whether remedial action is required. If you’re a homeowner or landlord, it’s important to ensure that you have an up-to-date EICR for your property, to help keep you and your tenants safe.