With the implementation of new regulations from July 2020, all properties in the private rented sector in London must undergo an extensive electrical check and obtain a report also known as Electrical Installation Condition Report, or simply EICR.
Since it’s a relatively new regulation, most landlord friends might not be familiar with it. That’s why we have gathered up all the necessary information you need to know regarding this new requirement. Just read the article to the end to know everything!
What is an EICR report?
There are those electrical installations in your house that you can quickly assess. And then some are hidden behind covers that no one can see nor access without professional expertise.
Why? Because doing it requires some necessary mumbo-jumbos, which could cause significant damage to your property if handled by unskilled hands. An EICR report deals with both. It not only ensures that your property electricals are fully assessed but is also handled by skilful hands as conveniently as possible.
During the check, various things will be taken into account, including the age of the electrics, their current condition, and whether their current state fully complies with the requirements set as per new legislation. After that, you will be issued a detailed report that will either deem the electrics satisfactory or recommend improvements in certain areas.
What is in the report?
An EICR consists of classifications (codes) that indicate whether the electrics’ current condition is fully compliant with the regulations. Here’s what you can expect within the report:
Code 1 (C1): Danger present- Risk of Injury
Code 1 means an immediate threat to the safety of your tenants or employees, and therefore should be dealt with on an immediate basis. A C1 defect can be in many forms, including defective wires, incorrect polarity, poorly modified enclosures etc.
If any of such defects are detected, your engineer will directly inform you, verbally or through writing to have it fixed on an immediate basis (or he will fix it directly upon your permission).
Code 2 (C2): Potentially dangerous- urgent remedial action required.
The term “potentially” dangerous refers to defects that can, although not directly, cause harm in a sequence of events. In other words, a person is susceptible to getting in touch with live wire during a day to day activity.
Anyone can touch a live wire in places that they wouldn’t usually consider harmful. If you get a C2, Your property isn’t clear for new tenancy. Therefore, further investigation and remedial measures are recommended within a specified duration, e.g. 28 days.
Code (FI): Further Investigation is required without delay
A code FI is written when the inspector notices something unusual during the process. Apart from C1 and C2, an FI will also class your electricals as unsatisfactory.
It means you must do further investigations and fixes to comply with regulations. Some common things that can result in code FI include unsheathed flex for lighting pendants and circuits that are not identified at testing.
Code 3 (C3): Improvement recommended
A C3 code means that all of your electrics are safe to use, even though some parts of them are not compliant with the current regulations. A report with code C3 is classed as safe and deems your property qualified for new tenancy.
Once all the faults have been identified and rectified, your inspector will issue you all the necessary paperwork, e.g. Electrical Installation Certificate, Minor Works Certificate and Electrical Installation Condition Report.
It is necessary to keep all the documents together. They will come in handy should any unfortunate event occur regarding the electrics. Also, you must provide a copy of all these certificates to your local housing authority for record-keeping.
When is EICR required?
The duration between conducting two successive EICR reports differs subject to different conditions. Following is a simple list of conditions to follow as per the laws:
As a landlord, you are required to conduct an EICR:
- After every five years
- When a new property is purchased to let
As a homeowner, you are required to conduct an EICR every ten years. However, if there’s a swimming pool on the property, then you must conduct an EICR after every 12 months.
Business owners must conduct an EICR every five years to ensure the safety of their employees.
What to expect during an EICR test?
During the EICR test, a highly qualified electrician will check your whole electrical installation for any faults or components that do not comply with the regulations as specified by the government. Here’s a step by step breakdown of the procedure:
The first step during EICR testing is the visual assessment. The electrician will look for any obvious signs of damage in your electrical system and see if anything requires replacement. It may be overheating wires, cracks in your electrical appliances, or even an outdated installation. In short, anything visually accessible that does not comply with the regulations will be fixed or changed.
After the visual assessment is done, the inspector will perform practical checking, including dead testing of circuits to identify if any wires are connected inadequately. Moreover, there will also be live wire testing. That is to identify if all the components are in tip-top condition and capable of continuing to work correctly in the future.
Earthing and other checks
After the checks mentioned above are carried out, the next thing the electrician will check will include the earthing and other electrical equipment like switches, sockets, light fittings, power outlets, and any fixtures installed in your house. It is the final stage of EICR testing.
Who can carry out an EICR?
An ECIR should only be carried out by an NICEIC registered electrician or engineer. Any EICR carried out by anyone of the lesser position will be automatically deemed void. To hire a qualified electrician or engineer, you can either directly visit the NCIEC website or talk to a reputed contractor in your area.
How much time does EICR testing take?
Well, there’s no specific time for EICR testing. It depends on the type and size of property you have and the number of circuits in your house. For a normal-sized property, you can expect it to take somewhere between 4 to 5 hours.
How much does an EICR cost in London?
Prices can change from professional to professional, depending on their experience and reputation. To give you a rough estimate of what you should expect to hire a decent electrician or contractor, it would be around £170 + VAT.
Other significant factors that can contribute to price variation include:
- Your location
- The size of your property
- The age of your property (old properties are much more challenging to maintain and require more extensive testing)
- The extra duration during the testing, including that for remedial work
What are things usually recommended to change during the EICR?
Well, just in case you are planning to conduct an EICR already, let us give you a brief idea of what you might already change to ensure that your report comes out satisfactory:
- Fixed cables that are coated in black rubber (post-1960 equipment)
- Fixed cables coated in the lead (post-1960 equipment)
- Cast iron switches or fuse boxes with a wooden back (post-1960 equipment)
- Old round pin sockets, braided flex hanging from ceiling roses, and brown or black switches (post-1960 equipment)
- Light switches on the walls/bathrooms (post-1960 equipment)
What If you don’t conduct EICR?
Not conducting an EICR can result in penalties as high as £30,000. Moreover, should any unfortunate event occur regarding the electrics, and you fail to present the reports, you can even face imprisonment.
Also, if any faults are recommended for remedial work, you are bound to attend to them within the specified duration. If you fail to do so, the authorities will conduct the remedial work on your behalf and receive from you any costs incurred.
Do I need to provide a copy of the EICR report with proof of remedial work to authorities? And if I do, why do I need to?
Yes! You must submit a copy of your EICR reports along with proof of remedial work. That informs the local housing authority that your previously sub-standard electrical system is now safe. With the unsatisfactory reports attached with written confirmation of remedial work conducted, you will be free of penalties if any unfortunate event involves electrical installations.
Do I have to conduct a new EICR report with every new tenant moving in?
To be very straight here, NO! You don’t need to conduct an EICR with every new tenant moving in. You can provide them with a copy of the recent one if it has been done in the valid duration as per regulations, which is five years. You are only required to conduct a new EICR at the regular specified intervals. That is, once the old report expires, only then you must go for a new one.
As a landlord or businessman, it’s crucial to conduct EICR testing after regular intervals to ensure the safety of your tenants and employees. It’s not only a requirement but a moral responsibility of everyone. So to keep the lives of others safe and avoid hefty fines, it’s crucial to keep all your electronics tip-top. We hope this simple guide on EICR helped you fully understand different aspects of the procedure.