Fixed Wiring Electrical Inspection

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Fixed wiring in-service electrical inspections, why they are necessary and how they can

benefit your business.

Helping you to understand your responsibilities

Electrical Test Midlands  – sharing technical expertise

It’s a near certainty that your business uses electrical power in

some way. Therefore, in order to manage risks and comply with

the law, your fixed wiring needs to be inspected regularly. Meeting

this requirement effectively, and ensuring that the benefits

outweigh the costs, requires you to be familiar with the concept of

fixed wiring inspection, and to know what approach to take.

Bear in mind, according to the HSE’s website (www.hse.gov.uk/

electricity), about 1,000 people per year have an electrical

accident and about 25 of those are fatal.

Definitions

The independent safety inspection industry tends to categorise

electrical equipment and systems as follows:

  • PAT – Portable Appliance Testing – for items like kettles.
  • Plant – for items such as motors, welding equipment, fans and

air conditioning units

  • Fixed wiring – all the equipment required to distribute electrical

power safely from the origin to all the plant, equipment and

appliances at the relevant site. Fixed wiring includes conductors

(e.g. cables and cords), connections (e.g. distribution boards),

switching devices, protective devices (e.g. fuses, circuit breakers

and residual current devices – RCDs), enclosures and, where

applicable, fire barriers.

Fixed wiring’s broad definition means that its inspection can

encompass little or much. At its simplest, the inspection is a

non-intrusive visual check of accessible components such as

distribution boards, sockets, cables, cords and light fittings.

At its most thorough, it could comprise the following:

? An appraisal of the job, featuring:

  • Job-specific risk assessment
  • Survey and testing of the installation’s earthing,

continuity, insulation, polarity, layout and

accessibility arrangements

  • Enquiries to determine the degree to which parts

of the system can be isolated

  • Review of available documentation

? Visual check of all accessible components

? Labelling, i.e. unique identification of circuits

? Functional tests to check whether all the relevant

components do what they are supposed to do

? Thermographic testing to quickly detect hidden defects as

‘hot-spots’ in the system

? Clear reporting – publishing circuit diagrams, all test

results and a summary of any defects with actions

recommended to make safe.

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Electrical Test Midlands  sharing technical expertise

A balance always has to be struck between inspection and

maintenance. Too little inspection/repair, and the risk will be too

great; too much inspection/repair and the cost will be too great.

Of course, the more preventative your maintenance, the lower

the reliance on in-service inspection and repair to control risks

in the first place. You will need to strike a balance between

inspection and maintenance (repair) activities that you are

comfortable with.

Another important consideration is whether you use the same

inspectors for maintenance or perform maintenance independently.

You will also need to choose whether to subcontract or go

in-house, the depth and frequency of the inspection (and

maintenance); and the degree of detail in the inspection reports.

You may simply wish to add electrical inspection to whatever

in-service inspection arrangements you have for other items,

such as your lifting equipment.

Deciding on the depth and frequency of inspection, and the

detail of reports, may be more difficult. The decision needs to be

based on a potentially complex interaction between inspection

activities, maintenance activities, production requirements, and

stakeholder expectations.

In our view: if you are not already doing so, you should make use

of risk-based inspection (RBI) techniques to determine the approach

that you take for the in-service inspection and maintenance of your

fixed wiring.

You should not be too daunted by the thought of applying RBI. The

rigour applied to the RBI assessment should be commensurate with

the scale of the electrical risk at your premises and it might not take

too much effort to complete.

Generally, the benefits of RBI outweigh the cost. RBI delivers a

specification for an inspection and maintenance regime that is

suitable and sufficient and optimises the risk-control-per-unit cost.

A suite of test methods and required outcomes are specified in

detail in the British Standard BS 7671: 2008, often referred to as

the IEE Wiring Regulations. In fact, the requirements of this

standard are not regulations in the legal sense.

The frequency and scope of your in-service fixed wiring

inspections should always be determined by an assessment

of the risks.

BS 7671: 2008 does provide guidance on both frequency and scope

of inspection for low voltage installations (less than 1,000V a.c.

or 1,500V d.c.), based on criteria like the type of premises:

e.g. ‘Three-yearly for a factory and five-yearly for offices.’

Note: this British Standard does not cover the public electricity

supply, electricity on vehicles, nor fixed wiring in quarries, mines

and other hazardous areas (where there is an explosion risk).

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Electrical test midlands – sharing technical expertise

Repairs and conflict of interest

Regarding repairs, the in-service inspection contractor may be

prohibited from undertaking repairs. For example, Etm is a electrical compliance company.

The risks and benefits

A few mA of electrical current can be fatal and the

mains voltage (230V a.c.) should always be considered

potentially fatal.

The principal hazard associated with fixed wiring is electric shock.

However, other hazards should be considered, including burns,

arcing (which can damage the eyes) and ignition – setting fires or

creating explosions if flammable/explosive materials are present.

What is at stake, of course, is the health and safety of people and

significant financial and business losses. So the benefits are clear:

control the risk to control the cost.

The law

The law says that all employers must safeguard the health and

safety of all people affected by their undertaking and, in the UK,

it is a criminal offence to fail in this duty of care.

Fundamentally, employers are required to assess the risks associated

with their business and manage those risks at a tolerably low level.

More specifically, employers are required to comply with applicable

regulations; often a large number of them.

For fixed wiring, the specific regulations are the Electricity at Work

Regulations, 1989 (EAW). The HSE has issued a very useful

document, which is freely available to download from their

website, entitled ‘Memorandum of Guidance on the Electricity

at Work Regulations, 1989.’

You will note that this guidance is non-prescriptive,

in keeping with the goal-setting format of the

regulations, which means that maintenance is a

statutory requirement, but the scope and frequency

of maintenance and inspection should be risk-based:

i.e. suitable and sufficient.

In spelling-out the requirements of the EAW regulations, the

HSE guidance makes it clear that fixed wiring shall be maintained

so as to prevent danger (so far as is reasonably practicable) and

that regular in-service inspection is an ‘essential’ part of

preventative maintenance.

For prescription, you can turn to the British Standard mentioned

above (BS 7671: 2008). Remember: This British Standard is

comprised of non-statutory regulations.

 

For more information

Should you require any further guidance, please contact:

(Etm) Electrical Test Midlands on 01922 710014

admin@electricaltestmidlands.com

www.electricaltestmidlands.com

 

 

what is Periodic Fixed Installation Testing (or Fixed Wire Testing)

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what is Periodic Fixed Installation Testing (or Fixed Wire Testing)?

Periodic Fixed Installation Testing (or Fixed Wire Testing) involves testing the electrical circuits and systems that distribute electricity around a building. It covers all the hard wiring in a building, whether that building is commercial, industrial or residential.  All electrical circuits in a building that are fixed, such as lighting, socket outlets, supplies to air conditioning and other fixed plant need to be tested.  You can find guidance for this testing and inspection process within BS7671 (The IEE Wiring Regulations).

Test frequency on new builds will be set by the designer responsible for the fixed wire installation. Thereafter it is specified by the test engineer in line with the following guidelines:

Maximum period 5 years between inspections and testing

  • Commercial (or change of occupancy)
  • Offices
  • Shops
  • Hospitals
  • Educational establishments
  • Restaurants and hotels
  • Public Houses

Maximum period 3 years between inspections and testing:

  • Industrial
  • Leisure complexes (excl pools)
  • Theatres
  • Agricultural & horticultural

Note that for some special installations (eg swimming pools, petrol stations, caravan parks) the recommended maximum period between inspections and testing is one year. Other regulations may apply such as Local Authority conditions/cinematograph (safety) regulations, etc.

Fixed Wire Test frequency

Fixed Wire Test frequency
Fixed Wire Test frequency

Periodic Fixed Installation Testing (or Fixed Wire Testing) involves testing the electrical circuits and systems that distribute electricity around a building. It covers all the hard wiring in a building, whether that building is commercial, industrial or residential.  All electrical circuits in a building that are fixed, such as lighting, socket outlets, supplies to air conditioning and other fixed plant need to be tested.  You can find guidance for this testing and inspection process within BS7671 (The IEE Wiring Regulations).

Test frequency on new builds will be set by the designer responsible for the fixed wire installation. Thereafter it is specified by the test engineer in line with the following guidelines:

Maximum period 5 years between inspections and testing

  • Commercial (or change of occupancy)
  • Offices
  • Shops
  • Hospitals
  • Educational establishments
  • Restaurants and hotels
  • Public Houses

Maximum period 3 years between inspections and testing:

  • Industrial
  • Leisure complexes (excl pools)
  • Theaters
  • Agricultural & horticultural

Note that for some special installations (eg swimming pools, petrol stations, caravan parks) the recommended maximum period between inspections and testing is one year. Other regulations may apply such as Local Authority conditions/cinematography (safety) regulations, etc.

How often should i get my electrical installation inspected?

Fixed Wire Testing
Fixed Wire Testing Electrical Test Midlands Ltd

How often should i get my electrical installation inspected?

Every electrical installation deteriorates with use and age. You need to ensure that your tenant(s) – or anyone entering or using your property – are not put at risk, by ensuring that the electrical installation remains in a safe and serviceable condition.

A periodic inspection checks the condition of an existing electrical installation against BS 7671, the UK Standard for the safety of electrical installations. A periodic inspection should:

  • Discover if electrical circuits or equipment are overloaded
  • Identify potential electrical shock risks and fire hazards
  • Find any defective electrical work
  • Highlight any lack of earthing or bonding

How frequently should an electrical installation be inspected?
For rented accommodation, the maximum period recommended between the initial inspection (when the installation was first put into service) and the first periodic inspection and test is five years.

Periods between subsequent inspections will depend on the condition of the installation at the time of the preceding inspection, but it is recommended that periodic inspection and testing is carried out at least every five years or at the end of a tenancy, whichever comes first.

Where a change of tenancy occurs after a short period (for example less than six months) a full periodic inspection and test may not always be needed. In such cases, the landlord or their representative should always carry out a visual check to confirm that the property is safe to re-let.

What about Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)?
The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 and the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Wales) Regulations 2006 require that every electrical installation in an HMO is inspected and tested at least every five years by a suitably qualified person, who should provide a certificate giving the results of the inspection.

Periodic Electrical Testing Specification Confusion

Fixed Wire Testing
Fixed Wire Testing

Periodic Electrical Testing Specification Confusion

Most specifications issued by contractors for Periodic Inspection and Testing services make mention of sample testing. This is an area that can often cause confusion for clients when trying to compare quotations for Periodic Testing, and also trying to ascertain the level of service they will be receiving.

Most electrical contractors will quote on the basis that 100% of electrical circuits from every Distribution Board in the installation will be tested, while only a sample (typically 10 to 20%), of the accessories on each circuit (for example sockets and light fittings) will be tested. This sample will be increased if a significant number of faults are found.

Guidance Note 3 (Inspection & Testing) does not allow for sample testing of circuits only.

When a contractor offers to insulation Test only a sample of the circuits on each Distribution Board (typically 10%), they are in effect offering a much lower level of service that will often be reflected in a lower price. The client should be aware that this lower level of service may not be sufficient to ensure compliance with the various regulations and recommendations.

If a typical electrical Distribution Board had for example 30 circuits, then a testing regime that offered to test a 10% sample of the circuits would only identify and report back on 3 of those circuits. It is also likely that the 3 circuits would be the ones that were most easily identified and tested.

Guidance Note 3 (Inspection & Testing) of the 17th Edition IEE Wiring Regulations recommends that the results of tests should be compared with those taken when the installation was last tested and any differences noted. Unless the reasons for such differences can be clearly identified as relating only to the sample concerned, more tests must be carried out. If these, too, fail to comply with the required values, the complete installation must be retested and the necessary correcting action taken.

The conclusion from this is that there are two possible scenarios that may arise from testing only a 10% sample of circuits:

1) The same 10% of the installation must be tested each time in order to compare results with previous test results, and the remaining 90% will never be tested.

2) A different 10% of the installation will be tested each time, in which case there will be no previous test results to compare against, and in a typical office type environment that will be tested every 5 years it will still take 50 years for all circuits to be tested.

Either scenario will very likely be a major cause of concern for any clients who correctly view Periodic Testing as a valuable Health & Safety function, as well as for insurance companies and/or the courts in the event of an accident or fire.

It is therefore felt by most industry experts that the interpretation of the guidance given in Guidance Note 3 with regard to sampling is that this applies to the accessories on each circuit as mentioned above, and not to the circuits themselves.

 

Did you know Electrical Test Midlands is a ISO 14001 Registered firm ?

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Did you know Electrical Test Midlands is a ISO 14001 Registered firm ?

ISO 14001 Guide

Protect the environment, build customer trust and meet your legal obligations by implementing an ISO 14001 environmental management system within your business.

Strengthen your environmental credentials with ISO 14001

Protecting the environment is an important business issue to us. Many organisations now require their suppliers to have specific environmental management plans. Implementing ISO 14001 policies will enable you to demonstrate to our customers that our business is committed to reducing its environmental impact.

Testing and compliance services

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Every business has an obligation to make sure that their electrical installations comply with Health & Safety legislations and regulatory standards to ensure their staff and customers / visitors are safe.

The risks of failing to meet these standards can be life-threatening and can have a negative impact on your reputation and profits.

Electrical Test Midlands ensure that your workplace, employees and visitors are safe and that your electrical installations comply with the highest standards.

From PAT testing to fixed wiring inspection and testing to emergency lighting testing, we will ensure that your business is a safe and compliant environment, remove the risk from your business and give you peace of mind without the hassle of dealing with multiple companies.

We are fully accredited and have over 20 years’ experience in providing testing and compliance services and guarantee that all work will be carried out in accordance with the relevant standards and approved codes of practice.

Reports are uploaded to our Client Area, meaning you can access current and historic reports quickly and easily 247

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R.E.D January

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Our newest member to our sales team Sharon has ran EVERYDAY in January between 3 & 7 miles to raise money for R.E.D. R.E.D’s mission is to raise awareness and support for mental health, by promoting the positive power exercise can have on our minds and well-being. This is a great cause and if you could make a small donation just to show that Sharon’s hard work and dedication to this great cause has not gone unnoticed it would be very much appreciated not only by Sharon but also the charity. Thank you in advance.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sharon-garbett1

Mind is proud to be teaming up with R.E.D January as their official charity partner for January 2018.

Not only is R.E.D January a brilliant way to kick-start the New Year, but in taking part you are helping to raise awareness and open up the conversation about mental health.

Every penny you raise will fund Mind’s vital work such as the Mind Infoline, our information and advice service, as well as the campaigning we do to make sure everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets the support and respect they deserve.

It costs us £6 to answer one call to the Mind Infoline, our expert helpline for anyone needing advice and support about mental health problems.

Every amount you raise will truly make a huge difference to someone’s life.

ETM Electrical Test Midlands are supporting Sharon with her Goal and will be making a donation just to show that Sharon’s hard work and dedication to this great cause has not gone unnoticed.

Electrical condition report

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Today’s find ETM Electrical Test Midlands Engineer carrying out an electrical condition report.

One good reason for carrying out electrical safety testing on your building.
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989-Reg 4(2) state “The need for maintenance to be done to ensure safety”. As such all commercial premises must be electrically tested and certified to ensure they can continue to be used safety.
BS7671 wiring regulations to the latest edition sets out the requirements for all electrical installations in the UK. The Institute of Engineers and Technology (IET) produce guidance notes to enlarge on the wiring regulations and set out guidance on how compliance can be achieved. Guidance Note 3 covers the Inspection & testing of Electrical Installations.
An electrical installation should be periodically inspected by a qualified electrical engineer. ETM (Electrical Test Midlands) are experts in this field and will advise any customer who may be unsure of the periodicity or scope of the Inspection & Test.

For more information on electrical testing please phone us on 01922 710014

Or use our free phone number 0800 066 3227

https://www.electricaltestmidlands.com

inspection and testing

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Electrical Test Midlands Ltd 

Dedicated to providing safe and ethical electrical inspection and testing to your business.

At (ETM) Electrical Test Midlands we pride ourselves on our high standards, and electrical inspection and testing is no exception to this. Every member of our team is dedicated to providing a high quality service, and ensuring you are fully compliant, no matter the size of the job.

Due to our hard work, and being recommended by our clients regularly, we have been able to work on projects of all shapes and sizes, and across all commercial sectors too, so no electrical job phases us.

We make sure all of our equipment is state of the art, so we can offer you an efficient and comprehensive service. Always ensuring your business follows current laws and regulations, saving you any legal bother you may have faced with previously poor electrical contractors.

To make full use of our equipment, we only hire the best staff, who are not only professional but understanding too. You will experience our staff’s high standards from the moment you start the project, when we work out a plan with you on how to complete your project, meeting all of your specific needs, and with minimal disruption to your business. All the way through to completion and recommendations rather than a hard sale for more parts.

Once you meet our team, see our equipment, and impeccable health and safety record, and experience our high level of service, you will truly understand why we have earned the amount of contracts we have, and why customers keep coming back.