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What is an electrical report and do you need one?

Heather

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Heather

Last updated Thursday 9th September 2021

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You rarely hear people talking about electrical reports, but they are a vital part of owning a home and you might be surprised by how often you need one.

According to the charity Electrical Safety First, 350,000 people are seriously injured each year because of electrical faults. This is why it’s vital to stay on top of the condition of your electrics. An electrical installation condition report (EICR) is one way to make sure you’re up to date, but you could also go with a full inspection.

Not sure which is right for you? Confused about whether or not you need one? Don’t worry, here’s a breakdown of all you need to know…

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What is an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)?

Think of an Electrical Installation Condition Report as a health check for your home, specifically your wiring and other electrical touchpoints. This report will provide a snapshot of any potential safety issues and will help establish whether or not your electrical system is within the current regulations.

During an EICR, an electrician will first make a visual inspection before carrying out a series of checks on your system. This will involve checking your fuse box; making sure everything is correctly ‘earthed’ around the metal in your building, such as pipework; checking a sample of your sockets, lights, and switches - at least 10%.

If any ‘code one’ issues are present, meaning problems that could cause immediate harm to your household, the electrician will make arrangements for these to be fixed there and then. Otherwise, after your inspections, they’ll then complete a seven-page report that will then be checked by a qualified supervisor before making its way to you.

Inside this report, any potential problems will be broken down into codes one, two, and three, based on their severity. Code one issues should have already been addressed by the time your report arrives, but for any other issues, your electrician will provide you with both solutions and a quote for addressing these issues.

Remember: nearly every home will have at least one or two issues, so don’t panic if your report doesn’t come back spotless.

When do you need an electrical report?

How often and when you’ll need to carry a report out will depend on whether or not you’re a landlord. For people who let their properties out, you’ll be held to a much higher safety standard.

Landlords

New legislation means landlords must have their property inspected and tested by an electrician at least every five years to ensure tenant safety. If a report hasn’t been carried out, or you haven’t resolved the issues raised by the report in good time, your local authority does have the power to enforce the new Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations, 2020. Breaches can result in fines of up to £30,000.

It’s also recommended that you carry out a report between tenants.

Homebuyer

If you plan on buying a house that is less than 10 years old and has no extensions or very little DIY, then we recommend carrying out a standard Electrical Installation Condition Report before you move in.

However, if the property is older than 10 years old or you spot either an extension, loft conversion, or evidence of DIY, then you might want to go for a more intensive inspection. Qualified electricians will be able to perform a full inspection for an increased fee, and this will really dig deep into the condition of your wiring and electrical accessories.

If you’re worried about spending money on a full inspection, just remember that if a lot of issues are raised, you can always negotiate for these repairs to be made by the current owner before the sale is complete. The same applies if you carry out an EICR.

Homeowner

Even if you plan on living in your home for many, many years with no intention of selling, you should still do a little electrical health check every 10 years.

After all, most of your electrics are out of sight and out of mind, so it can be difficult to stay on top of the condition without a pro entering the picture.

Get a qualified electrician!

Whatever you do, don’t try to carry out an electrical inspection yourself. Get a professional onboard.

We always recommend you use an electrician who is Part P qualified (this is in relation to building regulations) and who is registered with one of the following schemes…

  • BRE Certification Ltd
  • Benchmark Certification Ltd t/a CORGI Membership
  • British Standards Institution
  • ELECSA Ltd
  • NAPIT Registration Ltd (including Northern Ireland)
  • ECA (Northern Ireland only)
  • NICEIC Group Ltd (including Scotland and Northern Ireland)
  • OFTEC Ltd
  • SELECT (Scotland only)
  • STROMA

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