An electrical safety certificate is a document issued to show a property’s electrical installation is safe to use. Once a property is deemed electrically safe the certificate will be issued and this will be valid for 5 years from the date of the original test.
This certificate is issued by a qualified electrician after they carry out a full test and inspection of a property’s electrical system.
You may have also heard of these being referred to as electrical safety checks or landlord safety certificate. However, the correct title for the document is ‘Electrical Installation Condition Report’ (EICR).
Why do I need an Electrical Safety Certificate?
Electricity, while essential to everyday life, can be very dangerous if the infrastructure providing it is poorly maintained.
More than 10% of all UK house fires today are caused by electrical faults. Another chilling statistic tells us that on average 30 people die from household electric shocks each year. Another 4,000 will sustain an injury relating to electrical issues. And so, making sure a property is electrically safe should be a top priority for all homeowners.
An EICR can help to ensure any faults which may affect your property are found and resolved to reduce these risks.
If you selling your property you will be asked to provide a copy of the electrical safety certificate as part of the legal process of selling your home to a new buyer.
What does an Electrical Safety Check involve?
An electrical safety check inspects all the fixed electrical installations in a home. In simple terms, this means everything electrical that is permanently attached to the property.
- Light fittings and associated switches
- Plug sockets (including shaving sockets)
- All wiring, both internal and external
- The main consumer unit (fuse box) and any Residual Current Devices (RCDs) attached
- Permanently connected electrical equipment (solar panels, shower pumps, storage heaters etc.)
The electrician will consider the age, condition, and suitability of all aspects of your electrical installation when deciding what is and is not safe. While older installations do not need to adhere to the latest edition of the wiring regulations, they do need to be deemed safe.
Non-fixed electrics are not covered by an electrical safety check. In order to ensure these are safe, you will need an electrician to conduct portable appliance tests on them. This is often termed a PAT test. But this is not required as part of selling a home.
What does an Electrical Safety Check show?
An electrical safety check tests for a number of potential issues with a property.
When conducting the safety inspection, the electrician will check the permanent electrical installations for any potential safety risks and identify anything which could be potentially hazardous.
If an electrician finds a fault with the property’s electrical system, they will note it down alongside a classification code. These run from one to three and indicate how hazardous the fault is.
A Code One (C1) fault means there is a danger present that poses a risk of injury. An electrical inspector must make a C1 hazard safe before leaving the property. This will often involve disconnecting the faulting part of the electrical installation, rendering it ‘dead’ until it can be repaired. Any such faults will mean that your property will receive an ‘Unsatisfactory’ mark. This means that until such time as these faults have been rectified your property will be deemed ‘unsafe’ from an electrical standpoint.
A Code Two (C2) fault means something is potentially dangerous. It can be marked with FI, indicating the potential fault requires further investigation. If you are a landlord this type of code necessitates rectification within 28 days.
A Code Three (C3) means an improvement is recommended but is not required. Typically, this code is given to aspects of the electrical installation that, while not posing a substantial danger, could be potentially made safer. It is often used when part of the installation does not match the latest edition of the Wiring Regulations.
If any of the above faults are found during the electrical safety check your electrician will note these on the initial report.
Your electrician will then follow up with an estimate of costs of repair in order that you can have the remedial works carried out. Once these are completed your electrician will then issue a ‘Satisfactory’ certificate.
Do I need a new Electrical Safety Test after remedial works?
If an electrical safety test is deemed ‘unsatisfactory’ initially, you will not need to have a full test once again.
The electrical installation certificate will be issued by the electrician once any necessary remedial works have been carried out.
Who can issue an Electrical Safety Certificate?
An electrical safety certificate can only be issued by a “qualified and competent” registered electrician.
In order to be considered qualified and competent, the inspecting electrician must have two years relevant experience. This experience must be the direct result of carrying out EICR tests. The electrician must also hold qualifications covering the latest edition of the Wiring Regulations.
You can find a competent electrician by using the Electrical Competent Person Scheme. This has a register of regularly assessed qualified electricians.
Electricians can be registered with a number of bodies, including NICEIC and NAPIT. If you would like further information about a particular electrician, checking out online reviews can be a good idea.
What does an Electrical Safety Test cost?
These ill vary. Fees typically range between £120 – £200 and will depend on the number of electrical circuits in your property.
Larger properties will be significantly more expen0sive, as there is more electrical equipment to check. Similarly, older properties can be more expensive, given the inherent complexity of dealing with older electrical systems.
Why do I need an Electrical Safety Check if I am selling my home?
When selling a property, you should try to ensure that it has a valid electrical safety certificate. While this is not a legal requirement for selling a property, the document will give potential buyers peace of mind that the property you are selling is electrically safe. This will mean that any buyer will not need to worry over the electrical condition of your property. This can mean you do not have to worry when they have their property survey carried out as you are able to prove your electrics are safe.
Why do I need an EICR if I’m a landlord?
On top of being just a sensible idea to protect your tenants’ lives and possessions, landlords are actually obligated to obtain a valid EICR every five years.
This law has applied to all new tenancies since May 2020, and since April 2021, has applied to all rental properties in England and Wales. Landlords of properties in Scotland have been required to have an EICR since 2016.
If you fail to provide a valid certificate, you could be fined up to £30,000. On top of this, tenants often leave reviews of landlords online, at sites such as ratemylandlord.org.uk. If you find yourself getting a reputation for not caring about your tenant’s safety, this could seriously damage your chances of letting out your property again.
Landlords of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HIMO’s) must also hold a valid electrical certificate as a strict requirement of any HMO licence being granted by a local authority. This will also be vital when it comes to selling an HIMO property with any new buyer requiring this.
Electrical safety checks are carried out to discover if a property is electrically safe. These consist of an electrician assessing a property’s electrical installation and marking down any potential dangers.
These dangers are given codes, to signify how great a hazard they represent. Code one dangers need to be made safe immediately, while code two’s must be repaired within 28 days.
Landlords are obligated by law to have an EICR conducted every five years and rectify any dangerous faults they find. If they fail to do this, they can be subject to a £30,000 fine.
Owner-occupiers have no such obligation. Nonetheless, having an electrical safety test carried out regularly will help to ensure your property and family’s safety.
In addition, having a valid electrical safety certificate can be highly beneficial to be able to show a potential buyer. This will reassure them the electrical installation in the property is safe and mean that you can avoid having to get into any negotiations over unnecessary electrical works.
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