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There are two main types of electrical certificate for your home:
An Electrical Installation Certificate is a safety certificate issued to the homeowner or landlord by a qualified electrician when they complete any new electrical work, or changes to existing electrics. The certificate confirms that the work has been designed, built, inspected and tested to the UK national standard BS 7671. You should be provided with one of these every time you employ an electrician to carry out major jobs such as fixing a faulty fuseboard or circuit board, replacing old equipment with new but similar models – e.g. fitting a new electrical oven or power shower or providing completely new electrical wiring and systems for your home.
This certificate is important in the incident of a fire or injury caused by a faulty electrical system and they also come in handy as additional proof for cases where you have hired an electrician to fix a problem and they haven’t completed the job to an adequate standard.
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If you would like to discuss any aspect of electrical installation certificates or reports please either call me or drop us a line.
There are two main types of report you will receive from a qualified electrician for your home:
Formerly known as a Periodic Inspection Report, an Electrical Installation Condition Report is a detailed inspection and report on the condition of your electrical wiring, which assesses the safety of the wiring and offers recommendations for any actions required to restore the wiring to a satisfactory condition for continued safe use. These are usually required if you are buying or selling a property, if you wish to find out the condition of an installation after a flood or fire, or if you have reached the end of the period recommended in a previous electrical certificate or report. Landlords renting through Housing Associations and Councils will need this as a mandatory document.
A Visual Condition Report is the cheaper option and will include the results of the inspection of the electrical installation report but does not include testing, so won’t find any hidden damage (ie to cables) This type of report is only really suitable if the installation has been tested in the last couple of years, and the results were reported (on an electrical installation certificate or an electrical installation condition report) as being satisfactory.
How old is your wiring?
You can usually guess the age of the wiring in your home just by looking at the fittings.
If you find:
fixed cables coated in black rubber, lead or fabric;
a fuseboard with a wooden back, cast iron switches;
older round pin sockets;
braided flex hanging from ceiling roses;
brown (or black) switches;
sockets mounted in or on skirting boards;
then your installation has probably been there since the 1960s or even before and you will probably need a complete rewire. However old your electrical installation is, it may get damaged and will suffer from wear and tear so you should get a qualified electrician to check its condition. At S W Bishop Electrical we recommend you do this at least every 10 years or when you move into a new property.
Although there is no legal obligation to carry out regular checks on the electrics in private rental properties, landlords do have an obligation to ensure that the property is safe. At S W Bishop Electrical, we recommend that a check of the electrical installation in rented properties is carried out every five years. We would also recommend that interim checks are carried out annually. Electrical Safety First (formerly The Electrical Safety Council) have issued a checklist to highlight potential hazards which you can download here.
Electrical Safety First have also issued a Landlords' Guide to Electrical Safety which sets out your legal obligations and their recommendations for keeping your tenants and properties safe which you can download here
A Minor Works Certificate is a safety certificate used when an addition or alteration is made to your electrics and no new circuits have been added. This is used for small works like additional sockets or lights that are not in special locations.
Example of pre-1960s and modern day fuseboards