Keeping up with all of the rules and regulations is a potential minefield for any landlord; when this problem involves potentially dangerous electricity, this issue can become even more difficult.
Landlords Electrical Responsibilities
First it is the Landlords responsibility to ensure that the electrical installation and wiring is maintained, not the tenants. Landlords who are found to be negligent can be fined or face imprisonment.
Most properties that are rented out contain both fixed wire and portable appliances, anything with a plug: kettle, washing machine, toaster etc. Ensuring that both of these do not cause damage to the property or endanger any tenants’ health and well-being is definitely a moral responsibility.
Fixed Wiring is any wiring or electrical equipment that is a permanent fixture of the house and cannot be moved. Tests take place not only to meet the legal requirements of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and BS 7671: 2008 (IEE Wiring Regulations 17th Edition as amended), but also provide you with evidence that your electrical system is safe and that complete, thorough tests have been carried out by fully trained and proficient staff. It also satisfies insurance company’s requirements and gives you peace of mind.
Portable Appliances are any electrical equipment that can be moved around a property and are usually plugged into the electrical sockets. This can also include appliances that have been hard wired or fixed such as washing machines and extractor fans.
Fixed Wire Testing
A Fixed Wire inspection or an Electrical Installation Condition Survey, is the examination and testing of the circuits contained within the fabric of a client’s building and an average house/flat has between 4 and 14 circuits. This survey can cost in the region of £200 – £300 per property depending on specification and requirements. Additional costs can arise if the work is required to be done out of hours (evenings or weekends).
Guidance Note 3 (BS7671: 2008 as amended) recommends a “Routine Check” at: Change of occupancy/1 year, whichever is less. And full inspection and test every 5 years. The routine check would, in most cases, take no more than 15-20 minutes and cause little or no disruption. The problem with only testing every 5 years is that over this length of time a lot can change and problems can drastically escalate into an issue that can endanger both the property and tenants.
Who Can Test?
Testing fixed wire systems involves dealing with mains voltage and can be very dangerous; because of this, the work must be carried out by a qualified electrical inspector. The inspector performing the work should be a time served and qualified electrician, with additional “Inspection & Testing” qualifications and experience.
What Does The Survey Involve?
A typical fixed wire test will involve a detailed visual inspection of the whole installation and parts of the property being turned off for short periods of time while the engineer tests the integrity of the wiring. There will also be some minor dismantling of equipment and accessories. This work can be carried out on an evening or weekend but typically this will incur extra charges.
What You Will Get?
Once the testing has been completed you will be provided with an “Electrical Installation Condition Report”. This is a document detailing all the installation characteristics, test results and any observations the inspector has noted, where the installation does not conform to current regulations. This paper work is of vital importance as it shows which parts of the building are considered safe and which will require further work to bring them up to regulation standards.
If you have any concerns about either the fixed wire or portable electrical appliances in your property portfolio then get in touch, at FTS Safety Solutions we can manage all aspects of these electrical inspections, call us on 0330 660 0264 or email