Periodic Electrical Testing & Electrical Safety Inspections
Mike Roberts Electrical Services are Shrewsbury electricians that specialise in electrical testing and electric safety inspections.
Every electrical installation needs to be periodically inspected and tested, to ensure that it is in a good and safe working order, all electrical installations deteriorate over time due to general wear and tear. An inspection and test of an electrical installation whether it be domestic or commercial is known as a Periodic Inspection Report or PIR for short.
In March 2006 the Electrical Safety Council published the results of their National Consumer Survey and found that:
- 42% of consumers surveyed stated they had never had an electrician to check their wiring
- 32% of DIY electricians stated they had experienced one or more electric shocks while carrying out DIY
- 59% of people do not use qualified electricians when carrying out electrical work
- 35% of consumers surveyed said their electrics are over 15 years old and a further 21% stated they had no idea how old they were
- 48% of those surveyed did not know that their electrics should be checked at least every 10 years
Periodic Inspection Report. PIR
A periodic inspection report is a report on the condition of an electrical installation, it is not as sometimes mistakenly known a safety certificate but a report on how safe the electrics are. It is essentially an MOT for your properties electrics. The report is usually a three plus page document (depending on the size and type of the property to be inspected & tested) and consists of;
- Details of the electrical installation.
- Items inspected and tested
- Test results
If you are considering buying a property then it would be wise to invest in a PIR before making your final descision, or if you are letting it then you want to know it’s safe for your tennants, you want to know that the property you are buying or letting is electrically safe.
A surveyors report will not tell you if a property is electrically sound, although they may recommend having a PIR.
Why Have a Periodic Inspection Report?
As with cars the electrics within a property degrade due to general wear and tear and age or what was safe working practice 40 years ago is not today, therefore it is advisable to have a PIR completed on a property to check to make sure it’s ‘road worthy’. There are many things that are either are not seen or known about the general state of an electrical installation and these should not be overlooked, Just because a light comes on when a switch is flicked does not mean that it is 100% safe. A wire may be loose, a fuse or MCB (Miniture Circuit Breaker) may be over rated and not protect the cable which may overheat (this especially happens when too many adaptors are used in one socket) or it could be a DIY attempt gone wrong, all of these could start a fire.
What is involved in a Periodic Inspection?
Firstly and most importantly an inspection of the electrics is carried out. Are there signs of damage, wear and tear or ageing components? The consumer unit or fuse board, main supply, earthing, sockets, switches and light fittings are checked to make sure the cables supplying them are installed properly and are suitable for the intended purpose and continued use. Cables that are concealed in walls under floors or in conduit or trunking however are not inspected, as this would not be practical. Any observations that are made during the inspection are noted and given a code, listed below:
- Code 1 Requires urgent attention
- Code 2 Requires improvement
- Code 3 Requires further investigation
- Code 4 Does not comply with British Standard 7671 this does not mean it is dangerous
When Should I have a Periodic Inspection Report?
If you don’t have a PIR for your property then it would be advisable to have one done sooner rather than later. But generally a Domestic property should have a PIR every 10 years or change of occupancy. The frequency that a PIR should be carried out on other types of properties varies dependant on use and can be anything from 1 –5 years.