Safety checks on commercial electrical installations: What you need to know
All commercial electrical installations should be subject to regular inspection and testing to comply with current regulations.
Electrical installations of any kind inevitably deteriorate with age and use. They should therefore be inspected and tested at regular intervals to check whether they are in a satisfactory condition for continued use.
These safety checks are commonly referred to as ‘periodic inspection and testing’. Once completed, an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) will be issued.
It is recommended that the electrical inspection and testing is carried out at least every five years for commercial properties. This can either consist of a 100 per cent inspection every five years, or be broken down to a rolling programme of 20 per cent inspections every year. Using the latter method ensures that the installation is checked once a year for faults. Installations at industrial premises should be tested at least every three years.
A periodic inspection will:
- Reveal if any electrical circuits or equipment are overloaded
- Find any potential electric shock risks and fire hazards
- Identify any defective electrical work
- Highlight any lack of earthing or bonding
Tests are also carried out on wiring and fixed electrical equipment to check that they are safe. A schedule of circuits is also provided, which is invaluable for a property.
Periodic inspection and testing should only be carried out by electrically competent persons, such as registered electricians. They will check the condition of the electrics against the UK standard for the safety of electrical installations, BS7671 – Requirements for Electrical Installations (IET Wiring Regulations).
The inspection takes into account all the relevant circumstances and checks on:
- The adequacy of earthing and bonding
- The suitability of the switchgear and controlgear
- The serviceability of switches, sockets and lighting fittings
- The type of wiring system and its condition
- Sockets that may be used to supply portable electrical equipment for outdoors, making sure they are protected by a suitable residual current device (RCD)
- The presence of adequate identification and notices
- The extent of any wear and tear, damage or other deterioration
- Any changes in the use of the premises that have led to, or may lead to, unsafe conditions
The competent person will then issue an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) detailing any observed damage, deterioration, defects, dangerous conditions and any non-compliance with the present day safety standard that might give rise to danger.
Typically a commercial EICR is a lot more in-depth than a standard domestic report.
If anything dangerous or potentially dangerous is found, the overall condition of the electrical installation will then be declared ‘unsatisfactory’, meaning that remedial action is required without delay to remove the risks to those in the premises.
If you need advice on inspection and testing of your commercial electrical installation, contact one of our team on 0113 257 8212.