Ideally to carry out an Electrical Installation Condition Report successfully, complete access to all electrical points are required. This is never the case in a property with tenants/homeowners.
There may be furniture, appliances etc. restricting access to some electrical points throughout the property.
The EICR does not literally mean that every electrical point, termination switch or socket is inspected. There are clearly laid out limitations to the inspections with regards to the percentage of electrical points inspected and tested.
We at IDV electrical inspect 20-30% of each circuit, that means if there are 10 socket outlets on a particular circuit, 2-3 sockets will be visually inspected for damage/ loose connections etc.
The engineer will need clear access to;
- – the electrical intake cupboard (if applicable) and that there is power to the installation
- The consumer unit – Most important that this area is clear, the inspection cannot take place if the engineer cannot see or work on the consumer unit.
- Access to all rooms within the property – We do not expect every room to be empty, but we need to inspect the electrical points within each room. If we cannot gain access it will be marked on the report that there are limitations within certain rooms
- The power to the property will be isolated – If there is a tenant/homeowner present during the inspection they must be advised that, in order the inspection to be carried out safely, the electrical installation will need to be switched off for long periods. This is to protect the tenants and the engineer carrying out the inspection. If the tenant/homeowner expects to be able to work from home without interruption to power and/or internet there is obviously a problem. It is better the tenant/homeowner is fully aware of what is required during the inspection before the engineer arrives
- Tenants/home owner’s safety – During the inspection electrical points will be removed from the wall e.g. a light switch will be removed to inspect electrical terminations and carry out earth and polarity checks. There are a series of “dead” and “live” tests carried out during the inspection. The engineer will be testing each circuit one at a time, inspecting and testing electrical points one at a time, removing points, testing then putting back the electrical points before moving on to another point. Dead tests are completely safe as there is no power at the electrical point. Live tests are potentially dangerous as there will be exposure to live terminals. The engineer is fully trained at working safely with live electrical points and will always inspect and test in a safe manner. Risk assessments are carried out for each property to assess the risks during the inspection.
- If there are lots of people within the property, children or pets the engineer will assess the situation as to whether the inspection can be carried out safely. It is vital that everyone involved – engineer and tenant/home owner is aware of what needs to happen to carry out a safe inspection. If the engineer feels that there is an increased risk of injury the inspection will be stopped and will be re-booked at a time when the inspection can be carried out safely (this will result in additional charges)
- Limitations furniture – The inspection allows for limitations during the inspection. It is obvious that not every single electrical point is available to be inspected e.g. electrical junction boxes under the floor. It is also not expected that the engineer will move furniture such as wardrobes/kitchen appliances such as washing machines to gain access to a socket outlet.
- Limitations testing – as with furniture, due to limited access it may limit certain electrical testing such as insulation resistance testing, which sends a test voltage through the conductors to determine the state of the conductor insulation. If certain loads (electrical points) are connected to the circuit they may affect the reading or be damaged during the test. If there are electrical loads on a particular circuit that cannot be isolated the engineer will not carry out that part of the test and make a note on the report.
- Clocks – As the power has been disconnected the electrical clocks on appliances such as ovens, timers on central heating systems and alarm clocks will need resetting.
Any previous inspection reports – ideally to get a history of the electrical instalation.