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How Are Electrical Safety Certificates Issued In the UK?
An electrical safety certificate, or EICR (electrical installation condition report), is a necessity when renting or selling property in the UK. To ensure safety, the process of obtaining such a certificate is thorough, and all relevant examinations of electrical systems must be completed by a qualified electrician.
So, what does an engineer do to test out the electrical systems in a property?
Before inspecting the property’s electrical systems with precision, the electrician will do a quick visual inspection to see that everything is running smoothly. This is done to identify potential problems before testing a property’s electrical wires.
After the visual inspection, the electrician goes on to examine the electrical wiring of the building. The first tests are done when the relevant wires are “dead,” or de-energized.
Dead testing often includes the following procedures:
- Continuity testing: This test is conducted to determine if there are any faulty wire connections in a property.
- Earthing arrangement testing: If electricity makes contact with a person, it may use their body as a medium of traveling back into the ground, which can be very dangerous. The earthing system examined in this dead test, therefore, is a way to ensure that systems are properly in place to direct such potential electric shocks away from people.
- Insulation resistance testing: This test is done to ensure that insulation materials around an electric system’s conductors are properly in place.
After the dead tests, tests are then done on wires and other equipment while they are carrying electrical currents, or are “live.”
Such examinations include the following:
- Residual Current Device Testing, or RCD testing: This test is meant to determine whether a building’s Residual Current Device, a safety switch that monitors imbalances in electrical flows, will shut off in time to prevent electrocution in case of a major power surge or other electrical emergency.
- Polarity testing: This test is done to ensure that wires are connected properly to their respective electrical circuits.
- Earth Fault Loop Impedance testing: This test is done to see whether electrical systems are able to quickly disconnect on their own in case of immediate danger.
If such tests demonstrate that there is a problem, or if the electric systems inspected are not up to date, the electrician must issue a code on the certificate. The three codes you may find on your certificate when issued are the following:
- C1 "Danger Present": This code means that there is currently a major safety hazard in the property due to the state of its electrical systems. This is the most urgent code, which means that, if listed on the issued certificate, action must be taken immediately.
- C2 "Potentially Dangerous Conditions": While not as urgent as C1, this code means that the property’s electrical systems could lead to potentially hazardous conditions on the property. Action must be taken by the property owner as soon as possible to prevent further problems.
- C3 "Improvement recommended": While you are not legally obligated to update the property’s electrical systems if this code is listed, it is recommended. If a C3 is present on the electrical safety certificate after the inspection, after all, it is likely that the systems in place are compliant with older codes, but are simply not up to date with the current standard.
If the electrician issues a code, it is best to speak with them individually to know what steps should be taken to ensure the house’s electrical systems are in order.
It is important to note, furthermore, that if you receive the code “C1” or “C2,” the electrical safety certificate will say that the property’s electrical hardware is “unsatisfactory” according to legal standards, and that you must take action. Remember, these are not simply recommendations: if you are a landlord, this is your responsibility under UK law.
Hire a professional today!
You never can be sure whether the electric systems in a home or business are completely safe without thorough and frequent inspection.
When you arrange to get an electrical safety certificate on a consistent basis, you can feel confident about the safety of yourself and others because you know the testing done for such a document is thorough.
Not sure where to find a trusted electrician who can issue the certificate in your area? You can find one through our website! All persons listed on our site are experienced professionals who will be able to provide you with a price estimate before examining the home. That way, you can feel confident you are paying for excellent service at a great price. Try today!