What is a fixed wire testing?

Q1. What is a fixed wire testing?

A. Fixed wire testing is an inspection on the condition of an existing electrical installation, to identify (in order of priority) any deficiencies against the national safety standard for electrical installations.

Fixed wire testing will:

• reveal if any of your electrical circuits or equipment is overloaded
• find any potential electrical shock risks and fire hazards in your electrical installation
• identify any defective DIY electrical work
• highlight any lack of earthing or bonding
Tests are also carried out on wiring and associated fixed electrical equipment to check that it is safe.

 

Q2. Why is fixed wire testing needed?

A. Every electrical installation deteriorates with use and age. It is important for the person responsible for the maintenance of the installation to be sure that the safety of users is not put at risk, and that the installation continues to be in a safe and serviceable condition.

According to Government statistics, each year on average 10 people die and about 750 are seriously injured in accidents involving unsafe electrical installations in the home.

 

Q3. When is fixed wire testing needed?

A. It is recommended that fixed wire testing is carried out at least every:

• 10 years for a domestic installation
• 5 years for a commercial installation
• 3 years for caravans
• 1 year for swimming pools

Other instances when a fixed wire testing should be carried out are:

• when a property is being prepared to be let
• prior to selling a property or when buying a previously occupied property
• where there is reason to believe that damage has been cause to the building such as flooding or fire.

 

Q4. Who should undertake fixed wire testing?

A. Fixed wire testing are best left to an experienced electrician or electrical engineer who holds a City and Guilds 2391 – Inspection, Testing and Verification of electrical installations with relevant experience in the installation types being tested.

 

Q5. What happens during Fixed wire testing?

A. The NICEIC Approved Contractor will check the electrical installation against the requirements of BS7671 – Requirements for Electrical Installations ( IEE Wiring Regulations) – as amended, which is the national safety standard for electrical installations, and contains around 850 Regulations.

The period inspection will take into account all relevant circumstances including the following factors:

• Adequacy of earthing and bonding
• Suitability of the switchgear and controlgear e.g. consumer unit e.g. an old fusebox with a wooden back, cast iron switches, a haphazard mixture of such equipment is likely to need replacing
• Serviceability of equipment e.g. switches, socket-outlets and light fittings e.g. older round pin sockets, round light switches and braided flex hanging from ceiling roses to light fittings, black switches, sockets mounted in skirting boards may require replacing.
• Type of wiring system and its condition e.g. cables coated in black- rubber, black-rubber was phased out in the 1960s or cables coated in lead or fabric are even older and may need replacing (modern cables use pvc insulation)
• Provision of residual current devices for socket-outlets that may be used to plug in electrical equipment used outdoors
• Presence of adequate identification and notices
• Extent of any wear and tear, damage or other deterioration
• Changes in use of the premises which have led to, or might lead to, deficiencies in the installation.

The Approved Contractor will provide an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) as part of the fixed wire testing.

 

Q6. Will testing cause a lot of disruption to the power?

A. A short power outage can be expected on each circuit within the system. But because most of the testing is carried out whilst the system is still live, these outages can be planned around your daily activities

 

Q7. What is a fixed wire testing report?

A. Fixed wire testing report is an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) is a formal method of recording the findings of the periodic inspection, on at least seven pages.

The main purpose of a EICR is to report on the safety condition of an existing installation. Box E on page 1 should describe the overall condition as either ’satisfactory’, in which case no immediate remedial work is required, or ‘unsatisfactory’ which means remedial work is required to make the installation safe to use.

 

Q8. What happens after a fixed wire test?

A. If the Fixed wire test Report recommends improvements to the installation, Electrical Test Midlands will provide a fixed price quotation for the remedial work to be carried out if you require one.

 

Q9. Is electrical testing a requirement of my insurance company?

A. Increasingly, insurers are insisting that inspection and testing be carried out on a regular basis. If an avoidable accident or a fire occurs where electricity is suspected to have been the cause, then under law if found guilty you will be deemed to have committed a criminal offence. Insurers will not pay fines or compensation suffered resulting from a criminal offence.

 

Q10. My insurers have recently carried out a site survey and they didn’t ask me to have electrical testing carried out?

A. A visiting inspector will not necessarily identify the need to maintain electrical safety at every inspection he makes, especially if there are other issues to be addressed. Because testing has not been specifically demanded does not mean that the legal requirements to comply with electrical safety do not apply.

Q11. Why have I not needed to have testing carried out before?

A. There has always been a requirement to satisfy Health & Safety legislation. In 1989 The Electricity at Work Regulations came into force, which clarifies the need to maintain electrical systems safely. So there has always been the need and test data results will form a major part of your defense should an accident occur which leads to prosecution.

 

Q12. What does it cost to have my portable appliances and/or electrical installation tested?

A. Costs are based on a cost per circuit or appliance tested multiplied by the numbers involved. This, together with the existing condition of and accessibility to the system will determine the overall cost. Please contact us on 01543 546 547 to assess your portable appliance testing or electrical testing needs further.

 

Q13. I rent my business premises, is testing my landlords responsibility or mine?

A. You are responsible to make sure that you and your staff complies with Health & Safety legislation. However, it is usually dependent on the terms of your lease as to whether you or your landlord pays for testing to be carried out on the electrical installation. Usually, if you are on a full repairing lease then the cost will fall to you. Portable Appliance testing will always be at your expense.

 

Q14. I have been told that I only need to have a percentage of the system tested in order to comply.

A. As per the IEE Regulations, you can only rely on sample testing if you hold previous full system records, the installation is considered to be in excellent condition, no faults are found during sample testing and no undocumented alterations have been carried out since the
system was new or last tested. This does not hold true for the vast majority, for which full inspection and testing should be undertaken.

 

Q15. What will happen if I don’t have testing carried out?

A. Unless and until you suffer an accident then probably nothing will happen. However, remember that maintenance of a safe electrical system is a legal requirement. Therefore a preventable accident could lead to prosecution, for which there will be no insurance cover.
You may also find that an insurance loss adjuster could make much of the fact that you may not have maintained the system adequately which could have led to the claim. Again, this could lead to an unsuccessful claim and a costly experience.

 

Q16. I run a small business; do I need to have my portable appliances tested?

A. The Electricity at Work Regulations applies to all businesses from multi-nationals to sole traders. So you still need to comply.

 

Q17. I am afraid that my electrical installation is quite old; won’t testing open a can of worms in terms of remedial work costs?

A. Because we accurately identify any faults found, the cost of remedy in most cases is not too great. The majority of problems found involve earthing deficiencies, which although potentially very dangerous are not usually hugely expensive to remedy.

Q18. How will I know when my next inspection and test is due?

A. A periodic test notice will be applied to your mains board indicating the next due test date. We hold records of all clients, together with re-test dates on our database and remind clients when re-tests are due. Electrical Test Midlands will notify you automatically 3 months prier your testing due date. All your reports will be on our portal which you can access 247 via our website

 

For more advice on Electrical Compliance/Electrical Safety call Electrical Test Midlands Ltd on 01922 710014 or email on admin@electricaltestmidlands.com

Periodic Electrical Inspection & Testing Frequencies

 

Why Do We Need To Test?

There are various factors that can lead to an electrical installation to degrade over time.

 

Electrical accessories such as light switches and socket outlets can sustain damage through use or even misuse, cables may deteriorate and if not installed correctly may sustain damage too also with connections possibly becoming loose.

 

The type of site, electrical installation and use of the premises all play a part in the deterioration of the electrical system. Along with issues like external influences (rain/snow/ice), extreme heat and possibly exposure to chemicals, one area that often effects the safety of electrical installations is the maintenance, or in many cases, the lack of maintenance.

 

Testing Provides Preventative Maintenance

 

As business continuity is an important factor for most businesses, finding a fault before it’s becomes a problem is key to business success.

 

This will to only save you time and money but may well also save lives too.

 

Electrical Test Midlands can help you, and your business comply with the many aspects of electrical compliance, from Fixed Wire and Portable Appliance Testing and thermal imaging.

 

Periodic Electrical Inspection & Testing Frequencies

Commercial Premises: 5 yrs (or at change of occupancy)

Offices: 5 Years

Shops: 5 Years

Cinemas: 1-3 Years (Licensing rules may determine the frequency)

Schools/Colleges: 5 Years

Churches: 5 Years

Marinas: 1 Year

Leisure Center (excluding Pools): 3 Years

Restaurants/Pubs: 5 Years

Hotels: 5 Years

Theaters: 3 Years

Community Centers: 5 Years

Swimming Pools: 1 Year

Caravans/ Caravan Parks: 1 Year

Electrical faults

Electrical faults – the most common cause of fire in the workplace. Electrical faults cause a large proportion of non-residential fires, often with serious consequences. Fires that start in this way can often begin suddenly and unexpectedly and can spread to their surroundings with alarming speed. A range of electrical appliances and machinery is needed for most jobs and it’s vital that all equipment is safe, checked regularly and in good working order. Poorly maintained electrics and wrongly used appliances can potentially cause a problem. Overloaded plug sockets, for example, can quickly overheat and become a fire hazard. Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is often an insurance requirement. Whilst not actually a legal requirement, these tests, undertaken every year, will ensure that your electrical goods stay in good working order and are fit for purpose. Fixed wiring installations must be checked by a competent electrician every 5 years.
For a full Compliance assessment of your workplace, contact us for a quote.