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Electrical certificates at work

Most workplaces, places of worship or premises allowing public access will need to demonstrate that the fixed wiring of the property meets current British safety standards.

If your organisation owns its property outright, the responsibility for obtaining the certification to show it will be yours. If you lease your premises, the terms of the lease should specify whether you or your landlord is responsible for the safety of the fixed wiring. Most businesses with premises will need to show valid safety certificates when obtaining or renewing insurance. Some will need certificates for local or regulatory authority permissions to carry on their business.   

The safety certificate you’ll need to produce is called the EICR: Electrical installation Condition Report. Fixed wiring has to be checked at five-year intervals because all electrical installations deteriorate over time. 

The process of achieving an EICR for the property starts off with an electrical safety check; a detailed test of the fixed wiring to ensure that consumer unit and the cabling serving sockets, lighting points and other power outlets are still safe and fit for purpose. The test can uncover issues including the risk of electric shock or fire, cable damage or overloaded circuits. 

If any faults (known as “departures from safety”) are noted they will be given one of three codes:

  • C1 – the fault poses an immediate risk to safety and must be rectified straight away.
  • C2 – the fault poses a potential risk to safety and should be rectified as soon as possible.
  • C3 – the fault has arisen because of a technicality. For example, due to regulatory changes, issues that would be considered safe at the time of installation may now be deemed unsafe. Correcting C3 items is recommended but it is not obligatory.

If any C1 or C2 items are found during the test they will need to be put right before a “satisfactory” certificate can be issued

Another thing that electricians won’t always tell you is that once you have a “satisfactory” certificate, you can renew it five years later with just a sample test of the installation, making the whole process much cheaper second (or subsequent) time around. So instead of testing all the circuits, renewal can be done by investigating just 25-30% of them. Harland & Voss customers are offered a sample re-test automatically: we keep all our testing records so that online renewal reminders are generated in good time.

If we can help you with your electrical needs, please call us on 020 8451 0345.