A step-by-step guide to the Electrical Test Certificate

electrical test certificate

 If you are a property owner then it’s important to keep up to date with any changes in legislation and ensure that you are fully aware of your legal obligations. You may have already heard of and be fully aware of the most recent changes in legislation, which target electrical safety. However, if you haven’t, or if you still have questions over how the changes could affect you, then read our helpful step-by-step Electrical Test Certificate guide.

So let’s start with the new regulations and your legal obligations…. 

As of June 1st 2020, a number of changes surrounding electrical safety came into force. From this date on, every landlord renting in the private sector is legally obliged to produce a ‘satisfactory’ Electrical Test Certificate (or EICR for short) in order to begin a new tenancy, renew an existing one or action a change of occupancy to an existing tenancy. The new regulations state that the certification must be produced before you can action any of the above.

If you are a landlord with a property or portfolio already let, then the rules still apply but the timelines vary slightly. The deadline to obtain the EICR for let properties was April 1st 2021.

For private homes, the new electrical tests do not currently apply. However, given that electrical faults are estimated to lead to around 50% of all domestic fires in the United Kingdom, it is highly recommended that every property should have a thorough periodic electrical inspection. For many homeowners, the condition of their electrical system is something that is often overlooked as long as the system is not causing any obvious problems. Nonetheless, the system could still have potential defaults which testing can highlight before they lead to more serious faults or even electrical fires. Producing a valid Electrical Test Certificate will also help you in making a successful insurance claim in the event of an electrical fire in your property.

If you are thinking of selling your property, the current guidelines stipulate that you are not legally obliged to provide an EICR. However, do not be surprised if this is requested during the conveyancing progress (along with a Gas Safety Certificate/boiler maintenance history etc).

Who can carry out the test for me?

All Electrical Test Certificate inspections must be undertaken by a ‘fit and proper person’ which, in real terms, is a fully qualified electrical engineer who is actively registered with one of the Government backed scheme providers such as NICEIC, Stroma or Napit.

Appointing a scheme approved engineer guarantees they are fully compliant with the 18th Edition IET safety standards.

Your appointed engineer should always carry their ID credentials and it is recommended that you ask to see this before they start work. If you still have doubts, you can verify the validity of the ID by double checking it on the website of the accrediting body – Do not assume that if an engineer has official looking logos on their own website or van they are fully registered.

Can my property fail the EICR test? 

Health and Safety Regulations are regularly reviewed and updated in order to improve safety standards for everyone. If you have an older, period property, or one that has not had any ongoing maintenance to the electrics, then there is a chance that the electrical engineer may determine that the system does not meet the current Electrical Test Certificate standards. When this is the case, the installation will be marked as ‘unsatisfactory’ and the engineer will note which part of the system failed and why. The failing components are classified using the following coding;

C1 – ‘danger is present’ and risk of injury is likely – Immediate action needed.

C2 – potential danger – Remedial action needed urgently.

C3 – there are improvements to the system recommended. * A C3 code is regarded as a minor fault and the system can still be marked ‘satisfactory’.

If a system is ‘unsatisfactory’, you have a 28 day period to undertake the remedial works done or further investigation. When the works have been completed you will need to have the property re-tested and once a ‘satisfactory’ Electrical Test Certificate is obtained, you have a further 28 days to provide a copy to the tenants/agents and your local authority.

The penalty for failing to comply can result in your local authority applying a fine of up to £30,000 per breach.

If you want to find trusted and local electrical engineers for your Electrical Test Certificate then simply get in contact with the team at MyConstructor. They provide you with access to a nationwide network of fully qualified independent electrical contractors – View their fixed price quotes, read customer reviews and book online at the time and date that suits you!