As the final deadline for the new PRS legislation in England came into force on April 1 2021, calls to NICEIC and ELECSA’s technical helpline peaked at over 600 calls a day, a figure which is more than double the daily average seen during the same period last year.
The majority of the call volume came from contractors seeking clarity on the rules relating to EICRs and guidance on appropriate coding. In addition, there was also a significant increase in calls from landlords and letting agents who were again seeking advice on the rules, particularly concerning enforcement during the pandemic.
Sam Donaghy, NICEIC and ELECSA’s Technical Helpline Manager, says: “In the run-up to the deadline for carrying out electrical checks in the PRS, the calls increased significantly. From the conversations myself and my colleagues were having, it was clear, despite the deadline being set in 2020, many landlords had left it to the last minute to comply. A situation which, of course, wasn’t helped by COVID-19.
“Many of the questions from contractors related to appropriate coding on EICRs which, as we all know, are not always straight forward, while landlords sought guidance on the legislation itself. In both scenarios, we signposted callers to the NICEIC website.
“Here we outlined the latest government advice which promotes the use of free materials such as Electrical Safety First’s Best Practice Guide 4 and the Wiring Regulations Advisory Groups (WRAG) FAQ’s.”
Issued by MHCLG on April 1, the latest Government advice confirmed the planned implementation and timings of the PRS legislation would not change. Recognising the impact of COVID-19, the guidance went on to discuss renting during the pandemic. In this general guidance, MHCLG called for a pragmatic risk-based approach to enforcement during COVID-19.
The advice also signposted Electrical Contractors and Landlords to resources relating to undertaking EICRs and correct coding. The two reference points given were Electrical Safety First’s Best Practice Guide 4 and the WRAG FAQs.
“We welcome MHCLG’s promotion of the Best Practice Guide 4 and WRAG FAQs comments Martyn Allen, Electrical Safety First’s Technical Director,
“Offering industry agreed best practice guidance on EICR coding and the application of BS 7671, these resources have been created to support the industry as collectively we strive to maintain standards, provide consistency for inspectors and installers, and protect the consumer. Free to download and easy to follow, the Guides are available via our website or through the links provided on NICEIC’s PRS page.”
“If you are an Electrical Contractor undertaking electrical safety checks I urge you to download your free copy today.”