The Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) aims to ultimately improve electrical safety across all UK homes. This comes as a response to the rising number of electrical fires in the UK.
According to data from the Home Office, over 53% of UK house fires were the result of electrical faults in 2019, as the nation’s fire and rescue service reported over 19,000 domestic house fires were caused by electrical issues alone.
In order to improve the standard of electrical safety in the private rented sector in England, the EICR is required for completion before the 1st July 2020 or from 1st April 2021 for existing tenancies. The report explains that landlords must hire a qualified professional to conduct an electrical inspection of their property/properties before the commencement of any new tenancy.
As a national requirement, all electrical installations (lighting and electrical sockets, etc.) in properties are subject to review, with the aim of this report to ensure that all electrical components work well and without any fault before any upcoming tenancies take place.
To pass this test, landlords will have to conduct initial reviews and then report any potential electrical problems their property has to industry professionals who will then rectify any issue before the stated deadline date.
For tenants who fall into the category of vulnerable as a result of COVID-19, these in-person EICR tests will not be necessary and will instead be subject to alternative actions such as an online video walkthrough from a professional contractor. It must be noted that this will only be accepted if written evidence of the tenant’s unavailability is provided where it is clear that an inspection has been discussed and attempted.
Failure to contact and explain the situation to industry professionals will result in landlords with existing tenants having to allow contractors to enter the property and conduct the inspection regardless of the tenant’s health status. This could be an issue for many different reasons, so it is advised that landlords contact authorities as soon as possible to prevent this from happening.
As health and hygiene standards need to be met, during the test, each professional should be wearing PPE equipment. They also should be following social distancing rules in an effort to maximise the safety of both the hired contractor and tenant.
With new test methods are now becoming increasingly more common as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, professionals are choosing modern examination techniques to ensure the safety of landlords, tenants, and electricians from the virus. However, these new techniques need to be met properly for tests to be conducted thoroughly and to the highest standard.
London Electricians 24/7 explains the different ways in which professionals and landlords can conduct these tests safely at home.
Conducting a home electrical test
“Stereotypically, in-person checks are seemingly the most suitable method of conducting electrical tests. Examining a house in person ensures that electrical assessments are conducted thoroughly on a property without any issue been missed.
“As a result of the test being essential to the safety of future tenants, EICR reports should also take into account any coronavirus safety precautions. With this in mind, it is important for landlords to understand how to conduct any home electric evaluations correctly. This includes an understanding of general safety precautions regarding electrical safety and coronavirus. Landlords must also inform tenants to obey any rules or government guidelines when conducting checks and inspections under the pandemic measurements.
“A new way of ensuring the EICR test takes place is via a self-service check-in. This approach involves tenants completing daily checks on their property to maintain the condition of electrical appliances and hotspots on a regular basis.
“Live inspections are now a common occurrence and a popular way for contractors to virtually evaluate electricals at a property. This consists of property inspectors conducting evaluations via video link. These new socially distanced methods of performing home electrical tests are safe ways to not breach any coronavirus guidelines, however, with this comes some consequences. One of which is the increased chance of human error, with possible hidden issues getting missed.
“For landlords or existing tenants, there is an element of pressure when conducting home checkups. It is fundamental that you must have a good knowledge and understanding of the dangers of electricity and how to conduct safe and thorough examinations.
“A general ability to follow clear instructions given by a professional is essential as this will guide you clearly and accurately through important stages, helping you become aware of any possible dangers before and during the test.
“After listening to detailed instructions by a professional electrician prior to the EICR test, in order to ensure yours and the electrician’s safety, the electricity must be turned off for the test to take place. You will need to bear this in mind if there are already tenants in the property as failure to turn any electrical components off whilst conducting the test could prove fatal, so always double-check.
“One main piece of equipment to have when conducting any electrical inspection at home is insulated and suitable clothing such as gloves and dielectric shoes. These will help prevent and absorb any electrical shocks from majorly harming you. For workers and tenants coming in contact with each other, wearing the correct PPE safety gear is crucial. Recommended items for maximum safety include PPE face coverings and safety glasses.
“For electricians as well as landlords and tenants, when conducting an electrical test, despite any prior initial assessments, never assume that an electrical component you are handling in a residence is safe. Always run the necessary checks. To assess the safety of the property you should follow recommended steps of a visual test, earth test (for outdoor living), resistance test, and a leakage test. These can all help reduce the risk of electrical hazards occurring at home and in outdoor spaces.
“Making sure you are 100% knowledgeable on the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations is also vital for conducting the EICR report. Not only will this help you locate hazards and faults, but it is also a requirement for properties to ensure these regulations are met when conducting the report and final test.
“We know that having accurate and up to date industry knowledge is key to identifying the warning signs of electrical safety, but let’s not forget it is also critical to know the best type of safety equipment for dealing with electrical faults.
“It’s key to always have the most proven and advanced equipment for the job. An approved voltage indicator (AVI) is a key piece of equipment used for checking electrical currents within a property. This device is an absolute must as it determines the presence/absence of electricity in an area that you are unable to identify just by looking at it. Primarily used to detect AC voltages on sockets, switches, outlets, circuit breakers, when used correctly it could save your life.
“Although the correct equipment which has been approved and verified by a professional is always a safety essential, the main advice is to always seek expert advice if you are unsure. A detailed review by a professional is always the safest option so if you are a tenant or a landlord, I would recommend maintaining a safe social distance from a contractor and allow them to conduct the test.
“Even though following guidelines, procedures, and ultimately using your common sense is deemed obvious, it’s important to remember that these points are referenced to help you perform safe and inspections of properties with the intention of reducing the number of electrical fires happening at home. Equally as important, these rules and recommendations could also shield you from another threat – the global pandemic of coronavirus.”