Periodic Inspections

ELECTRICAL CERTIFICATES

BS 7671 requires an Electrical Installation Certificate to be issued for all new electrical installation work - such safety certification is not an optional extra for electrical work conforming to BS 7671.On an NICEIC Electrical Installation Certificate the Approved Contractor’s full enrolment number should be shown within the “construction” box on page 2 of the certificate.
 
The Electrical Installation Certificate is used only for the initial certification of a new installation, or new work associated with an alteration or addition to an existing installation.
The Minor Works Certificate is used for an alteration, addition or extension to one existing circuit only.
Neither certificate is used for an inspection and report on the condition of an existing installation, for which a Periodic Inspection Report form should be used.
Periodic Inspection Report (PIR)

The Periodic Inspection Report is used to report on the safety condition of an existing installation, and should not be used to certify new work or work carried out by others.

  • It is important to appreciate that a PIR in itself is not a safety certificate. It is a report on the condition of the installation and Box E on page 1 should describe the overall condition as either “satisfactory”, in which case no immediate remedial works are required, or “unsatisfactory” which means urgent remedial works are needed to make the installation safe to use.
     
  • If a PIR describes the installation as “unsatisfactory” the next thing to look at is Box F on page 2 “Observations and recommendations for actions to be taken”. This is where any departures from BS 7671 are recorded, and a code to indicate the urgency of the action needed is given. Code 1 indicates a dangerous, or potentially dangerous, condition that requires immediate and urgent attention to make the installation safe, and should be corrected without delay, and the appropriate certificate issued confirming that the work has been carried out in accordance with BS 7671

What is a periodic inspection?

A Periodic Inspection is an inspection on the condition of an existing electrical installation to identify (in order of priority) any deficiencies against the national safety standard for electrical installations.
A periodic inspection will:

  • Reveal if any of your electrical circuits or equipment that is currently overloaded
  • Find any potential electric shock risks and fire hazards in your electrical installation
  • Identify any defective DIY electrical work that has been carried out
  • Highlight any lack of earthing and bonding you may have

Tests are also carried out on wiring and associated fixed electrical equipment to check that it is safe. A schedule of circuits will also be detailed on the certificate, which is invaluable information for a property. 

Why is a periodic inspection needed?
Every electrical installation deteriorates with use and age. It is important for the person responsible for the maintenance of the installation to be sure that the safety of users is not put at risk, and that the installation continues to be in a safe and serviceable condition. 

According to Government statistics, each year on average 10 people die and about 750 are seriously injured in accidents involving unsafe electrical installations in the home.

When is a periodic inspection needed?
It is recommended that periodic inspection and testing is carried out at least every:

  • 10 years for a domestic installation
  • 5 years for a commercial installation
  • 3 years for an Industrial installation and for caravans
  • 1 year for swimming pools

Other instances when a periodic inspection should be carried out are:

  • Prior to selling a property or when buying a previously occupied property yourself
  • When a property is being prepared to be let

Who should undertake a periodic inspection?

Periodic inspections are best left to an NICEIC Approved Contractor. 

Why is it best to use an NICEIC Approved Contractor?
Since the NICEIC have assessed that the Approved Contractors electrical work complies with the national standard for electrical safety. Click for more information on why to use an Approved Contractor. 

What happens during a periodic inspection?
The Approved Contractor will check the electrical installation against the requirements of BS7671 - Requirements for Electrical Installations ( IEE Wiring Regulations) - as amended, which is the national safety standard for electrical installations, and contains around 850 Regulations. 

The Periodic Inspection will take into account all relevant circumstances including the following factors:

  • adequacy of earthing and bonding
  • suitability of the switchgear and controlgear e.g. consumer unit e.g. an old fusebox with a wooden back, cast iron switches, a haphazard mixture of such equipment is likely to need replacing
  • serviceability of equipment e.g. switches, socket-outlets and light fittings e.g. older round pin sockets, round light switches and braided flex hanging from ceiling roses to light fittings, black switches, sockets mounted in skirting boards may require replacing.
  • type of wiring system and its condition e.g. cables coated in black- rubber, black-rubber was phased out in the 1960s or cables coated in lead or fabric are even older and may need replacing (modern cables use pvc insulation)
  • provision of residual current devices for socket-outlets that may be used to plug in electrical equipment used outdoors 
  • presence of adequate identification and notices
  • extent of any wear and tear, damage or other deterioration
  • changes in use of the premises which have led to, or might lead to, deficiencies in the installation.

The Approved Contractor will provide a periodic inspection report (PIR) as part of the periodic inspection. 

What is a periodic inspection report?

A period inspection report (PIR) is a formal method of recording the findings of the periodic inspection, on at least six pages.

The main purpose of a PIR is to report on the safety condition of an existing installation. Box E on page 1 should describe the overall condition as either 'satisfactory', in which case no immediate remedial work is required, or 'unsatisfactory' which means remedial work is required to make the installation safe to use.
Where a PIR describes the installation as 'unsatisfactory', the next thing to look at is Box F on page 2 `Observations and Recommendations for Actions to be Taken'. This is where any departures from BS 7671 are recorded, and a code to indicate the urgency of the action needed is given. 

  • Code 1 requires urgent attention
  • Code 2 requires improvement
  • Code 3 requires further investigation
  • Code 4 Does not comply with BS 7671

Code 1 indicates a dangerous, or potentially dangerous, condition that requires urgent attention to make the installation safe. Once the necessary remedial work has been completed, an appropriate certificate should be issued to confirm that the remedial work has been carried out in accordance with BS 7671. 

The Approved Contractor will give a summary of the inspection in the report, which will give a clear indication of the condition of the electrical installation, taking into account all relevant circumstances.


What happens after a periodic Inspection?
If the report recommends improvements to the installation, ask for a fixed price quotation for the remedial work.

. Portable Appliance Testing
. Certification

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