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What is an electrical safety check?

The two most common types of electrical safety check in the UK are the Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) and Portable Appliance Testing (PAT). These tests are carried out periodically by a qualified electrician to ensure that wiring and appliances are safe. Both types of electrical safety check can be done for homeowners and businesses.

PAT testing and EICR reports are both intended to check for faults and damage on electrical systems and to find electrical systems which are out of date and don’t meet modern standards.


Home Electrical Safety Checks

The EICR is the most common type of home electrical safety check. It basically tests whether the electrical systems in your home meet the British Standard for electrical safety (BS 7671). EICR safety checks are normally carried out by a qualified electrician and will involve visual inspections of wiring as well as more detailed testing. They will then issue a report to let you know if any work needs to be done to bring your home up to standard. It is recommended that homeowners have an EIR report done every 10 years or when buying a new property (especially if it is an older property). Landlords are also expected to have safety checks such as the EICR carried out regularly and on HMOs they should be done every 5 years.

If you are doing works on your home, such as adding an extension, or doing a loft conversion it is important to ensure your electrical system can cope. Any substantial alterations to the electrical system will normally need to be signed off by a qualified electrician under the Part P building regulations. This will satisfy your local building control that any electrical work has been done to the correct standard and had the appropriate safety checks made.


Business Electrical Safety Checks

There is a legal requirement for businesses owners to ensure electrical systems in workplaces are safe and it is recommended that they are checked regularly. This is sometimes referred to as a ‘periodic inspection report’ but most commonly the report that is done is an EICR, the same type of electrical safety check done for homeowners. As with a report done for a homeowner the EICR will include visual inspection of wiring and sockets and then testing of the system to make sure it is working as expected.

Most businesses will also have PAT testing done as well. Where and EICR report checks the wiring in the walls, PAT testing checks things that are plugged in such as computers, printers of the office kettle. The Health and Safety Executive recommend that PAT testing is done on a risk based approach, so a drill used on a construction site should be checked regularly while a scanner used every now and then in an office will need checking less regularly.

The risk based approach to testing is something that carries through most the guidance of electrical safety checks for businesses. Industrial settings, construction sites and leisure facilities may need more regular, and thorough, testing than an office as there is more likelihood of electrical systems becoming damaged and unsafe. If you are unsure how regularly your safety checks need to be done a qualified electrician will be able to do an initial inspection and give you some advice.


GW Electrical Services SW carry out both EICR and PAT testing for homeowners, businesses and landlords. We are based in Bristol and work across the South West. To find out more give us a call on 01275 331742 or 07970 885647