Electricity is in use all around us, it can be dangerous and has the potential to be fatal, yet the legislation surrounding the safety standards of electrical installations in dwellings differs throughout the UK and between tenures. NAPIT are calling on the UK Government and devolved administrations to end this disparity to enable parity of safety for all.
In a recently published infographic, NAPIT examines the disparity of electrical safety standards within the UK, and within the 3 typical housing settings: owner occupied, social housing and the private rented sector.
The summary clearly highlights the risk to life posed by electricity, with the number of fires in dwellings from an electrical origin being over 50% across all administrations. Yet, only England and Scotland have Regulations which require the regular inspection and testing of the electrical installations within privately rented homes at least once every 5 years, and only Scotland requires the regular inspecting and testing of electrical installations in Socially Rented Homes.
There is currently no legal requirement to undertake any electrical safety checks in owner occupied dwellings, but with the current focus on Building Safety Reform, and enhancing safety standards in Higher Risk Buildings, NAPIT are supporting recommendation 188 from the Housing, Communities and Local Communities Select Committee’s pre-legislative scrutiny of the Building Safety Bill to: “recommend that the Government include supplementary provisions in the Bill for mandating regular electrical safety checks in higher-risk buildings.” This needs to be regardless of tenure to ensure the same safety standards are applied to all properties for parity.
Four key requests:
- UK wide legislation to require every electrical installation in socially rented dwellings to have an electrical inspection and test, in the form of an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) carried out by a competent and qualified electrical inspector at least once every 5 years.
- Legislation to require every electrical installation in privately rented dwellings to have an electrical inspection and test, in the form of an EICR carried out by a competent and qualified electrical inspector at least once every 5 years. (Needed in Wales and Northern Ireland)
- Legislation to require an EICR is carried out prior to the sale of all dwellings to protect the purchaser from potential electrical hazards.
- Legislation to require every electrical installation in dwellings within a Higher Risk Building, as defined by the Building Safety Bill, to have an electrical inspection and test, in the form of an EICR carried out by a competent and qualified electrical inspector at least once every 5 years.
Commenting on the release of this infographic, Frank Bertie Chairman of The National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers says: ‘Choosing to enhance the safety of electrical installations in dwellings can be a matter of life and death. Protection from electrical dangers should not be dependent on where you live. Policy alignment in this area is key to improving the electrical safety in dwellings and should build on the positive steps taken by the UK and Scottish Government’s in recent years, but it must go further. Unity provides clarity and consistency and must be adopted to provide assurance that regardless of the tenure or location of the home people live in, they are equally protected from electrical risks.’