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Electrical Safety Certifications 

What is an electrical safety certificate?

An electrical certificate, or Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), is what you’ll be given after a qualified electrical engineer has checked all the wiring of a property.

They will make sure the electrics – including cables, switches and sockets – meet the required safety standards and provide you with an electrical test certificate to prove this.

Do I need an electrical safety certificate?

If you rent out a property, you’re legally required to have an electrical inspection every five years – or sooner if specified in your most recent report.

Having an electrical inspection certificate proves that you’ve taken the necessary steps to keep your tenants safe.

With almost 3,700 house fires caused by faulty electrics in 2021/22, the impact of not having electrical checks can be serious. So much so that if you don’t have a satisfactory EICR, you could face fines of up to £30,000 and your landlord insurance could be invalidated.


And don’t forget that as a landlord you’ll need to make sure any appliance you supply is safe and has the CE marking to show it meets legal standards.

If you’re a homeowner, you’re not required by law to get an EICR, but it is recommended you get one at least every 10 years to make sure your home is safe.

The inspection process

The inspection process for an electrical safety check includes the following steps:

1. Visual inspections

During a visual inspection, an electrician inspects an asset or component without the assistance of special equipment. They will search for flaws, defects, damages, or other issues.

To prepare for a visual inspection, landlords and homeowners should:

  • Ensure that all electrical outlets and switches are accessible and that any visible wiring is in a satisfactory condition

  • Verify that all electrical installations are functioning properly

  • Ensure that all outlets are covered and no wires are exposed

2. EICR testing procedures

Following the visual inspection, electricians will carry out tests using voltage testers, circuit testers, and other equipment.

These tests provide an in-depth assessment of the electrical system, allowing electricians to uncover hidden issues or potential hazards that won’t be evident during a visual inspection.

Dead tests check for potential problems in an electrical system. For this part of the inspection, the electrician will need to disconnect the electrical system from the mains power supply. Dead tests include:

  1. Ring circuit loop impedance: makes sure that the cables form a complete ring without interconnection between the wires, and that the polarity is correct on each outlet

  2. Insulation resistance: checks that the insulating materials around the conductors (wires) are intact

  3. Continuity testing: checks for any badly connected wires

Live tests ensure that the electrical system in the property can shut down in the case of a major emergency. Live tests include:

  1. Polarity testing: ensures that the connections are connected in the right sequence

  2. Earth fault loop impedance testing: this test will check that, if a fault occurs, the electrical system can disconnect within the necessary time frame

  3. RCD testing: in more modern electrical fixtures, the RCD (residual current device) will be tested to make sure it’s working correctly. An RCD is a safety device that ensures that anyone who touches something live does not receive an electric shock.

3. Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)

After all tests have been done, the electrician will issue an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). 

It indicates the condition of the various parts of the electrical installation as either ‘satisfactory’ or ‘unsatisfactory’, and details any observations that may affect safety or require improvements. Additionally, it ensures that the electrical installation is in accordance with the current British Standard for electrical safety (BS 7671).

4. Remedial repair work

On the EICR any faults will be listed. These are there to assess how much risk is present:

  • C1 fault code means that danger is present and immediate remedial action is required

  • C2 fault code indicates that there is potential danger present and remedial work needs to be done urgently

  • C3 fault code means that improvement is recommended

  • FI code means a potential issue has been identified, but further investigation is required to determine the severity of the problem

If remedial work or repairs are required on C1 or C2 faults, it’s crucial to address these to ensure the safety of the property’s occupants and also comply with electrical safety regulations.

How long does an electrical safety check take?

The amount of time an electrical safety check takes will depend on: 

  • the size of your property 

  • the number of circuits to be tested

  • the complexity of the installation

  • any potential issues that are found during the inspection

If you have a previous EICR, giving this to the electrician will help them understand how the installation has been wired, which will therefore save time.

Each circuit on a consumer unit needs to be tested. A percentage of outlets (e.g. switches, sockets, light fittings) on a circuit are tested. If no problems are found the next circuit will then be tested. If problems are found, more outlets might need to be tested, adding more time to the total procedure.

As a general rule, allow up to 30 minutes per circuit.

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