Common EICR questions answered
If you rarely think about electrical systems, you’re not alone. As they say: out of sight, out of mind. This means you’re less likely to consider the effects of potential wear and tear. Make no mistake though; all electrics degrade with time, and causes range from damage because of DIY attempts, to moisture and infestation. Sometimes, tiny vibrations will occur as current passes through the wiring when a switch is thrown – loosening connections. Before you know it, your system demands urgent care, and you may need to upgrade the installation as new safety regulations come into force. So how do you stay on top of things? Arrange for an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). Below, we discuss these reports in detail, how they relate to electrical safety testing, and answer some of our customers’ most commonly asked EICR questions.
What is an EICR?
Think of an EICR as something of an MOT, but for the fixed wire installation at a property. After a thorough inspection of your system, you’ll receive a document outlining its condition, with a list detailing circuits, earthing arrangements, and more. It also includes observations and recommendations made by the electrician.
Am I required by law to have an EICR?
EICR legal requirements changed in July 2020 due to the government’s renewed focus on fire safety. Now every landlord of a private tenanted property must ensure the safety of their tenants with a valid EICR, whether it’s a flat or lively commercial space.
How long does an EICR last for?
If you’re confused about how often you should renew your report, consider this the rule of thumb:
‘Your EICR is valid for five years unless stipulated otherwise.’
Homeowners aren’t legally obliged to get an EICR, but they’re strongly recommended to get one. Why risk the safety of yourself, your family members, and visitors? These reports identify remedial work that will help protect people from accidents and damage. With a reduced risk comes extra peace of mind, so it’s worth getting your home inspected and tested every five years for potential hazards.
What can I expect during the process?
When your electrician arrives to perform an EICR, they’ll turn off the power to each circuit for a short period of time – this process is known as dead testing. Next comes live testing, which checks the condition of the components and makes sure the system will disconnect quickly in case of a fault. Your electrician inspects the consumer unit, wiring, plug sockets, lights and other essential fixtures for signs of risk. Some elements they watch out for include:
- Poor installation work or outdated wiring
- Low-quality components, like plastic consumer units
- Issues with your property’s earthing and bonding
- Any overloaded circuits
- A lack of residual current devices
Since recent updates to the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations, they will now also check the system for a surge protection device.
What problems will an EICR identify?
The report splits any issues the electrician finds into four categories. These clarify the urgency of the problem based on the level of risk.
C1 – Immediate action is required. Your electrician will issue a warning notice, and either repair the problem right away, or isolate the hazard. An EICR will only display this code if there’s a serious danger present.
C2 – This indicates the need for urgent remedial action. Your electrician has noted a risk that may become hazardous if more faults arise, either with the installation itself or the equipment you have connected.
C3 – There’s a clear recommendation for remedial works. Your installation might not comply with the latest regulations, so updates are strongly advised.
FI – Further investigation is needed. Should this code appear on your EICR, it indicates a potential concern that’s not immediately clear.
If you’re a landlord and you receive an EICR with C1 or C2 error code listed, you have 28 days to take immediate remedial action. This timeframe also applies when further investigation is needed.
Is an EICR needed for new tenants?
Contrary to what you might see online, you’re not legally required to renew the EICR before each new tenancy – but letting agents tend to expect it anyway. You only need a new EICR every five years, unless the electrician states otherwise. Your tenants also have the right to ask for a copy of the report, which landlords must then provide within 28 days.
Is the EICR the same as an EIC?
These two documents are easily confused. The EIC stands for an Electrical Installation Certificate, which you should receive for any “notifiable” changes. Examples include a new consumer unit, new circuit, additions through a special area like a wet zone/bathroom, and full property rewires. It shows that work has been carried out by a competent person. An EIC is passed to the local authority so they have a record of the work carried out, when and by whom.
An EICR is something you receive once an electrician performs a test and inspection. One is not a substitute for the other, but some authorities do take the EICR as proof that your property complies with The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020. An EICR is for the entire installation. For those looking to move, remember that a missing EIC can cause delays.
How long does the process take?
This will depend on the size of your property and the number of circuits to test. Electrical inspections also demand expert care, so bear this in mind; you really don’t want your engineer to rush the process. If pressed for an answer, we recommend allowing up to half an hour for each circuit.
EICRs | What You Need to Know
- EICRs are more detailed than visual inspections
- You should only ever contact the most qualified engineers
- Letting agents and insurance firms usually demand an EICR
- The reports allow your electrician to suggest new safety measures
- As of July 2020, landlords are legally bound to renew them
- NICEIC recommends an EICR for each change in occupancy
- A tenant has the right to receive a copy within 30 days of asking
Here at Aspect, we’re on hand to answer any EICR questions you have and provide the certificates you need. We also offer everything from periodic inspections to consumer unit upgrades – all performed by the qualified engineers.
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