Periodic Inspection Test Cost

8 Oct 2005
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United Kingdom
My local Church has been quoted £1500 (I assume plus VAT) for a periodic inspection from the company that carried out the last test (seven years ago -oops).

Is there a rule of thumb calculation for working out whether it's good value or not? Number of circuits multiplied by x or similar?

It's a Church and Church Centre and wooden outbuilding with approx. 10 dis-boards with varying circuits. Some single phase four way, others 3 phase 12 way (36 circuits in total), and other boards of sizes in between.

Any help welcomed.
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A lot would depend on what is included in the inspection, and this should have already been agreed between the two parties. e.g. Will the inspectors inspect & test 100% of all the electrical accessories, will they look behind every switch cover and socket cover, will they inspect and test every light fitting.

Are there lights at high level that will require access equipment? Are some of the termination points in difficult to reach places?

Will they be able to carry out the work during normal working hours?

Ask them what they are inspecting and testing, ask how many man days. You may then get a better idea on the cost then and determine if you are getting value for money.
Only received quote as a verbal at the moment, a written copy which I assume will have much more detail of what is included is to follow. I'll report back once that's been received.

I've always thought lightening conductors on Churches were unnecessary, particularly as for insurance purposes they can be classed as an act of God. Bit like p1ss1ng in your own pocket really isn't it?
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Your asking a professional to give his option as to the safety of the electric system in a place open to the public. This is all about trust and any tom dick or harry can sign the certificate but you want some one you can trust. Or do you?

Some people want a signature and are not really worried about safety all they want is a signature so their insurer will give them a certificate. In turn the insurer wants the inspectors insurer to take on part of the risk.

However as building manager it is still down to you to select some one not only with professional indemnity insurance but also one which if push comes to shove you can stand up in court and say you had every reason to believe he was doing a good job.

If you ask how much to fit 12 sockets you can select two companies and compare quotes. But with an inspection it's all down to trust. Unlike an MOT with a car no one checks this guys work until there is a major incidence.

Doing the check each year one can test a different socket every time and work on the idea if all sockets OK that are tested likely the rest are OK so a trusted contractor can likely keep down costs where they test every year but 7 years is stretching it some what.

So the only safe guard you have is to get a different contractor to do repairs to the one who inspects at least that way all faults are inspected twice so less chance of error.

I am sure others have had same as me and gone to a site to do repairs reported in an EICR only to find either faults are not really faults or faults have been missed.

My son worked for a national firm doing testing and he was simply not given enough time to do the job properly and most the guys skimmed on some aspects some more than others. If they were caught they were sacked and some one else taken on who would also soon start skimming on tests as simply not enough time.

A church has more chance than any normal person of selecting a good contractor. Either recommended by another church or one of the congregation.

So when I took my C&G2391 I had a 16 way board feeding a consumer unit and three phase socket. The consumer unit feed some lights and a ring with 6 sockets and it took an hour to test when all mounted on a board in front of me.

My comment at the time was if I tested a house to same degree it would take all day. From what you list it would take likely a week to test every thing you have and so normally some agreement is made when for example 10% sockets tested only if fault found are any more tested.

With a steel and concrete construction it is likely testing high bay lights will be combined with a re-bulb even if there is a fault it is not going to hurt anyone. But with timber frame building the situation is very different. Fire is a major hazard and so far more care needs to be taken.

At £250 a day for 6 days that would not be unreasonable.

I am sure firms like British Gas have a standard scale of charges. The question is would you trust British Gas? What you have to remember if an electrician for British Gas gets it wrong and as a result British Gas don't get return work it is unlikely to affect him too much. But if Joe up the road does the same very quickly he is without work he relies on the good repatriation he is generating specially with a church if the church uses him then why not all those using the church! He would not dare to do bad work for a church if would have to move to another area if something goes wrong.

It's all down to trust.

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