EICR for home owner

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I would like to get the electrics in our flat checked out by a professional. Mainly just to have piece of mind that they are safe and not going to cause a fire in our building.

I asked an electrician for a quote over the phone and he recommended an EICR. Having googled what this is, it appears to be something that you get if your property is tenanted. Is there a more informal check that I can get done which doesn't require the report etc? Or is EICR the best way to go? Thanks
 
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It's a report on the condition of the electrical installation of your property. Why would you want someone to check out your electrics and not give you a report? It's up to you how you act on that report. They will list any items which do not confirm to BS7671 18th Edition and issue a code as to whether they are urgent, a recommendation or non compliance. Bear in mind regulations are not retrospective. Go for it but make sure the person doing the report has the relevant qualifications for testing.
 
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As said the EICR (electrical installation condition report) replaced the PIR (periodic inspection report) but when it did the code 4 which was does not comply with current edition of BS7671 was dropped as being unhelpful, also since the current edition has a date to which installations designed after that date must comply, if an installation was designed in 1993 then it is complying with current edition if it complies with the 1992 edition of BS7671. So we have these codes.
  • C1 = Danger Present (FAIL)
  • C2 = Potentially Dangerous (FAIL)
  • C3 = Improvement Recommended.
  • FI = Further Investigation Required (FAIL)
  • N/V = Not Verified (Unable to verify)
  • N/A = Not Applicable.
  • LIM = Limitation (Not tested or inspected)
The (FAIL) only applies to rented property, owner occupied there is no fail, the C1 to C3 is designed to tell you how urgent the repairs are. The system has been hijacked by the government as a cheap MOT for homes in rented sector, and has caused problems as there is no fixed criteria for code C2. And to be frank it did not need it as designed, it was just to tell the home owner the condition of the installation, it was never intended as an MOT.

However the problem is it has been seen by some as a money earner, and this well before it was ever law for rented property, and I have been asked to price work as a result of a EICR and have realised most the faults do not need correcting.

Basic fact is if it was OK when installed and has not degraded, then still OK now. Well not quite, although the new law includes fixed appliances, and appliances not normally used, that is not part of the installation, so it would not have been included in previous EICR, so if you use some appliance which needs some thing the old one did not, then it may need upgrading to suit the new appliance.

So for example electric car charging may mean the old RCD is no longer good enough, same with some boilers, so there are one or two items which may need upgrading without it having degraded, and of course any item added which never complied in the first place as well.

There is a problem however, BS7671 has has amendments and upgrades through the years, and no electrician will have every edition, also he is unlikely to have the installation instructions for every appliance, so if you installation designed in 1993 it is likely a bit of guess work as to what was in the regulations then, and in some cases requirements have been dropped, so inspectors tend to use the current edition as a guide.

What should happen is they forget BS7671 and actually look for "Potentially Dangerous" etc, however if you look at the roads, you will see some thing as OK and others will see it as potentially dangerous and the same applies to the electrics. And some of the regulations can be seen as OTT, for example a ceiling rose should be able to support 5 kg but I have seen many fitted to plaster board, which would not take that weight, but in real terms it never will, so does not really matter.

So all down to the inspector, he has to use common sense, and of course know what he is doing, the City & Guilds 2391 exam was the recognised qualification for an inspector, think there was also a cut down version think C&G 2392? But clearly the older the electrician/inspector the more likely he is to know what is safe and what is not. The new law before it was passed said 10 years experience, professional indemnity insurance, and a few more requirements, but it was then not written into the law, not that is worries you as the law is only for rented property.

But the problem is selecting an inspector you can trust, the local authority building control (LABC) use to have a list of inspectors who's report they would accept, however again they were using the report for a job it was not intended for, only the person who designs, installs and inspect and tests an installation can sign the installation certificate, but it is nearly the same as an EICR, so the LABC used the forms when some one is doing their own electrics which are notifiable to check if up to standard. Clearly in that case they want the inspector to work to current regulations.

So you can instruct the inspector as to what you want, i.e. forget the garage that is going to be replaced. Or only interested in likely danger, this property is not to be rented. Where I do the odd EICR we have a safety officer, and I am not interested as to if smoke alarms are fitted, but some people do include the lack of smoke alarms on their report. So you tell the inspector what you want.


 
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Bear in mind that if any work is required as a result of the EICR, you are under no obligation to award that work to the electrician who carried out the EICR. In fact, probably better to tell them up front that you will be obtaining competitive quotes for any work that may be needed.

The EICR and any subsequent remedial works are completely separate.
 
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Bear in mind that if any work is required as a result of the EICR, you are under no obligation to award that work to the electrician who carried out the EICR. In fact, probably better to tell them up front that you will be obtaining competitive quotes for any work that may be needed.

The EICR and any subsequent remedial works are completely separate.
This was in my mind when I said:-
However the problem is it has been seen by some as a money earner, and this well before it was ever law for rented property, and I have been asked to price work as a result of a EICR and have realised most the faults do not need correcting.
In house the EICR was required to comply with health and safety at work act, and that is what it was designed to do. Pre-war we had knife switches where you could touch live parts, clearly they are not allowed today, so a blanket if it passed when built then it passes now does not work. But post war we have had changes in earthing requirements and the introduction of the earth leakage circuit breaker (ELCB) originally voltage operated then current, the latter also known as RCCD and RCD among other names.

There are two basic reasons for the RCD, one when the earthing arrangement will not draw enough current to safely disconnect the supply in the event of a fault, and the other to disconnect the supply when it is likely parts could be leaking current to earth and so cause danger. With first it is the primary protection and no if or buts it is required, and must work, the second is secondary protection and not being there or being or a type which may not work in some conditions is less of an issue.

The provision of an RCD and type, or lack of it has as a result been debated many times. This seems to be the main argument when an EICR is done. The old ELCB-v was not fit for purpose, and even if it was fitted in the original design and complied with the regulations in force at that time, I don't think anyone would say it can remain as the main protection device, it would need changing, but where the earth is good enough or a 100 mA current trip protects the installation then if it needs upgrading becomes debatable.

Still not cut and dried as the RCD comes in 4 types, and the inspector has to decide if there is a potential danger, but where the earth system is good enough it seem an RCD is a desirable item, but not a necessary item, but where the earth is not good enough then not only necessary but also needs to be the correct type.

However with a new installation we always have RCD protection and metal consumer units, and other safety features which some inspectors seem to think must be fitted as the current regulations ask for them, most don't think the must be fitted, but they are desirable to ensure a safe home. However with older property the natural leakage can result in nuisance tripping, specially when a group of circuits are put on the same 30 mA RCD, so although in my own house I have had 30 mA RCD protection on all circuits for some 25 plus years, that does not mean I should insist others should fit them. But sorry to say some inspectors see them as money earners and try to bully people into fitting them when not required, only desirable. But having a RCD trip so the food goes off is potentially dangerous if reset without realising the freezer had defrosted, and even if you do realise it is expensive. Also having lights go out when you get a shock from a socket supply is also no fun, and in my case having to go outside down a set of steps to reset it is no fun either, since I have 14 RCBO's that does not tend to happen (RCBO is a MCB and RCD combined) but it is not always best to fit RCD's pros and cons need considering.

But this is the problem, it is what your inspector thinks is required, not what some guide says, so selecting the right inspector is important.
 
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I asked an electrician for a quote over the phone and he recommended an EICR. Having googled what this is, it appears to be something that you get if your property is tenanted.

Get an EICR.

But as you note, most EICRs are commissioned by people who are legally required to get one for some reason, e.g. landlords. Make sure that the person you employ knows that you intend to actually study the report and not just file it away, and that you want an honest and thorough inspection, not just the required minimum.
 
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But surely you are talking about a foreign country. Like the one that you don't live in?
Plenty of Wiring Regulations are "retrospective" as in will be failed for being unsafe during periodic inspection and testing. They are not retrospective as in someone holding an Uzi submachine gun to your head to have it rectified immediately.
 
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Plenty of Wiring Regulations are "retrospective" as in will be failed for being unsafe during periodic inspection and testing.
Whilst that is literally true, what is totally unsatisfactory is that those undertaking EICRs are totally free to 'use their discretion' to decide whether "danger is present" (C1) and, in particular, whether something is "potentially dangerous" (C2), and can theoretically even give such codings when there are no specific regulations (other than vague 'catch all' ones) that they can cite as being violated.

As a consequence, it is impossible to know whether any particular 'inspector' will, or will not, 'fail' an installation on the basis of 'retrospectively considering/applying' a regulation which didn't exist when something was installed. As I said, I regard that as totally unsatisfactory.
 
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As a consequence, it is impossible to know whether any particular 'inspector' will, or will not, 'fail' an installation on the basis of 'retrospectively considering/applying' a regulation which didn't exist when something was installed. As I said, I regard that as totally unsatisfactory.
An inspector must not excuse an installation because a Regulation didn't exist when it was erected, if they would otherwise have issue with that non-compliance. It is irrelevant whether it was permissible or impermissible at the time of construction. We assess against the Wiring Regulations as they stand.
 
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An inspector must not excuse an installation because a Regulation didn't exist when it was erected, if they would otherwise have issue with that non-compliance.
Agreed, and the crucial thing is that "if" I have highlighted - or, rather, (in "18th edition-speak") it's a matter of whether, in the inspector's judgment a particular non-conformity represents a non-compliance' (i.e. "may give rise to danger")....
It is irrelevant whether it was permissible or impermissible at the time of construction. We assess against the Wiring Regulations as they stand.
The inspector assesses whether a non-conformity with current regulations is a non-compliance (i.e. whether or not he/she judges that it represents a danger, or potential danger). In making that judgement, they may consider what previous editions of the regulations said - since something regarded as 'non-dangerous' does not suddenly become 'dangerous' because a new book of regulations has been published.

An inspector needs to be competent enough to judge what is, and is not, 'potentially dangerous', not just whether or not it conforms with current regulations - after all, the mere absence of a sticker from a CU can represent a 'non-conformity'.
 
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Plenty of Wiring Regulations are "retrospective" as in will be failed for being unsafe during periodic inspection and testing. They are not retrospective as in someone holding an Uzi submachine gun to your head to have it rectified immediately.
I have to agree, some building and health and safety regulations are retrospective, the problem is knowing which are, but there are not many, and normally one would also consider the item to also be potentially dangerous so it really does not matter that much. And to be frank I can't think of a regulations off hand which would come up in an EICR that would be retrospective.

And many are not as hard and fast as one thinks, having a daughter who worked for the Royal commission I was surprised at number of times she stopped some upgrade requested by the council for disabled access etc, and I questioned her, and she said the council could tell the owner the building can't be used for the purpose it had been used for in extreme cases, but in the main the council say OK carry on without the upgrade, and this is for building with public assess.

It seems many of the "must because regulations say so" really are it is desirable.

So would like to throw down the gauntlet and say name them. But may be better if another thread? We hear so often "you can't do that" but when you look it's really you can only do that if xyz, one that comes to mind is non reset-able over temperature cut out on an immersion heater, heard so many plumbers telling me they must be now fitted, but where there is alternative water heating one does not want to fit them, as it may not be the immersion heater at fault, and the cut-out is really only important when a thermal plastic tank is used, metal tanks not required.

As to if an immersion heater is part of the installation is also a big question, switches, cables, overloads, fuses, and anything found in a distribution board is part of the installation, but boilers, immersion heaters, hand driers, washing machines etc I would have called equipment, and should be tested as part of the inspection and testing of in-service electrical equipment (PAT testing) not part of the EICR, however the landlord law says the EICR should cover any equipment not normally moved, so washing machine, etc comes under the EICR.

But what is really part of the electrical inspectors remit? An extractor fan in an area with open flue? We are looking at building regulations not electrical testing, an extractor fan in bathroom with non opening window, when using open flues, an electrical inspector does not walk around with a gas detector or smoke generator, maybe a surveyor doing a home buyers report would report an extractor in a area with open flue or not being fitted in a bathroom with no opening window, I don't know their remit, but we have heating engineers saying you can't remove that panel unless gas safe registered and the landlord laws saying fixed equipment should be tested, yes it could be coded FI but really fixed equipment should not be part of the EICR, if you look at commercial premises you often have maintenance contracts on drinks machines, alarms, etc. And although it would be listed on the equipment register there would be no in house PAT test just a note maintained by XYZ.

So removing from the EICR any items which would be tested with the inspection and testing of in-service electrical equipment, or likely on a maintenance contract like the central heating, not part of a fire inspection, can you think of a single item where since WW2 has been required to be upgraded in a domestic owner occupied premises, not the shared areas of flats etc, when the law has changed.

The only one I can think of is the ELCB-v.
 
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I have to agree, some building and health and safety regulations are retrospective, the problem is knowing which are, but there are not many, and normally one would also consider the item to also be potentially dangerous so it really does not matter that much. And to be frank I can't think of a regulations off hand which would come up in an EICR that would be retrospective.

And many are not as hard and fast as one thinks, having a daughter who worked for the Royal commission I was surprised at number of times she stopped some upgrade requested by the council for disabled access etc, and I questioned her, and she said the council could tell the owner the building can't be used for the purpose it had been used for in extreme cases, but in the main the council say OK carry on without the upgrade, and this is for building with public assess.

It seems many of the "must because regulations say so" really are it is desirable.

So would like to throw down the gauntlet and say name them. But may be better if another thread? We hear so often "you can't do that" but when you look it's really you can only do that if xyz, one that comes to mind is non reset-able over temperature cut out on an immersion heater, heard so many plumbers telling me they must be now fitted, but where there is alternative water heating one does not want to fit them, as it may not be the immersion heater at fault, and the cut-out is really only important when a thermal plastic tank is used, metal tanks not required.

As to if an immersion heater is part of the installation is also a big question, switches, cables, overloads, fuses, and anything found in a distribution board is part of the installation, but boilers, immersion heaters, hand driers, washing machines etc I would have called equipment, and should be tested as part of the inspection and testing of in-service electrical equipment (PAT testing) not part of the EICR, however the landlord law says the EICR should cover any equipment not normally moved, so washing machine, etc comes under the EICR.

But what is really part of the electrical inspectors remit? An extractor fan in an area with open flue? We are looking at building regulations not electrical testing, an extractor fan in bathroom with non opening window, when using open flues, an electrical inspector does not walk around with a gas detector or smoke generator, maybe a surveyor doing a home buyers report would report an extractor in a area with open flue or not being fitted in a bathroom with no opening window, I don't know their remit, but we have heating engineers saying you can't remove that panel unless gas safe registered and the landlord laws saying fixed equipment should be tested, yes it could be coded FI but really fixed equipment should not be part of the EICR, if you look at commercial premises you often have maintenance contracts on drinks machines, alarms, etc. And although it would be listed on the equipment register there would be no in house PAT test just a note maintained by XYZ.

So removing from the EICR any items which would be tested with the inspection and testing of in-service electrical equipment, or likely on a maintenance contract like the central heating, not part of a fire inspection, can you think of a single item where since WW2 has been required to be upgraded in a domestic owner occupied premises, not the shared areas of flats etc, when the law has changed.

The only one I can think of is the ELCB-v.
Fused neutrals are one example. Another potential one would be wiring systems not protected against premature collapse in the event of a fire.
 
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Fused neutrals are one example. Another potential one would be wiring systems not protected against premature collapse in the event of a fire.
The first of those is rather extreme, since goodness know how far back in time one has to go for that to have been in conformity with the prevailing regs (and, as I write before, one would hope that that competent inspector would make a sensible/correct judgment about that being at least 'potentially dangerous'!).

In any event, where is it in BS7671 that there is something which over-rides its general statement that:
BS7671 said:
The Regulations apply to the design, erection and verification of electrical installations, also additions and alterations to existing installations. Existing installations that have been installed in accordance with earlier editions of the Regulations may not comply with this edition in every respect. This does not necessarily mean that they are unsafe for continued use or require upgrading.
:?:

As above, although the non-conformity of something with current regs "does not necessarily" mean that it is unsafe for continued use, one would hope that a competent inspector's judgement would be that a fused neutral was (unsafe for continued use).
 
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