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Electrical Installation Condition Reports

This statutory guidance is part of the Scottish Government Advice Pack for Private Landlords.

 

It is issued under sections 13(4A) and 19B(4) of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006. Regard must be had to this guidance in determining whether a house meets the repairing standard in relation to installations for the supply of electricity and in relation to electrical fixtures, fittings and appliances.

 

Regard must also be had to it in determining who is competent to carry out an electrical safety inspection. This guidance takes effect from 1 December 2015.

 

Landlord’s Responsibilities

Private landlords in Scotland are required by law to ensure that a rented house meets the repairing standard at the start of a tenancy and throughout a tenancy. One part of the repairing standard is that;

  • The installations in the house for the supply of electricity,

  • Electrical fixtures and fittings, and

  • Any appliances provided by the landlord under the tenancy are in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order.

 

More information about the repairing standard and the other elements that need to be met is available in the Advice Pack for Private Landlords. The Advice Pack is available online at https://www.housingandpropertychamber.scot/ www.scotcourtstribunals.gov.uk.

 

3 “Reasonable state of repair” is not defined in the legislation. But broadly it reflects that the condition of the equipment is what a reasonable person would expect taking the circumstances into account. Equipment that is not safe for use would not be in a reasonable state of repair.

 

The Repairing Standard also requires:

  • That a house should have satisfactory provision for detecting fires and for giving warning in the event of fire or suspected fire. From March 2019, smoke alarms can be either mains-operated or tamper proof longlife lithium battery alarms.

  • Mains operated alarms should be included in a check of electrical safety.

  • That a house should have provision for giving warning if carbon monoxide is present in a concentration that is hazardous to health.

 

Landlords should bear in mind that there are other standards that may need to be met in addition to the repairing standard:

  • The Tolerable Standard (statutory minimum standard for all housing) requires that the electrical wiring and associated components and fittings in a house are adequate and safe to use

  • Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) must meet physical standards set by the licensing local authority. Electrical safety is covered in sections 4.10.5-21 of the Scottish Government guidance for local authorities on licensing of HMOs

  • Any new electrical installation work should meet Scottish building regulations and may require a building warrant.

The risk of fire and shock can be reduced by ensuring the electrical installations and appliances are safe.

 

According to Scottish Government statistics, 69% of all accidental fires in Scottish homes (more than 3,400 annually) are caused by electricity. Independent research carried out by Electrical Safety First also indicates that private tenants are more likely to be at risk of electric shock or fire than owner occupiers.

 

This is a current requirement under building regulations if a new carbon-fuelled is installed and will be required for all private rented homes with such an appliance, or a flue from such an appliance, from 1 December 2015.

 

See statutory guidance at https://www.housingandpropertychamber.scot/. Statutory guidance on this part of the tolerable standard is available online at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2009/03/25154751/15. Statutory Guidance for Scottish Local Authorities on Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation is available online at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/BuiltEnvironment/Housing/privaterent/government/laguidancepdf.

 

Guidance on whether domestic electrical work requires a building warrant is available online at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Built-Environment/Building/Building-standards/publications/glf2

 

Landlords are required to;

  • Ensure that regular electrical safety inspections are carried out by a competent person.

  • Have regard to this guidance issued by Scottish Ministers on electrical safety standards and competent persons

The landlord’s duty includes any common parts of the building that the landlord has a responsibility for maintaining (solely or with others), and if the disrepair to the common part adversely affects the tenant. This could include, for example, common lighting in a tenement close. The landlord should take reasonable steps to ensure that any facilities in common areas are safe. It may not be possible for the landlord to inspect or carry out work on these facilities where they are maintained or controlled by another owner, a factor or the local authority. In these circumstances the landlord should contact that person and ask for assurance that the common facility is safe. 7.

 

The First-tier Tribunal for Scotland Housing and Property Chamber can enforce the duty to carry out electrical safety inspections. Purpose of Electrical Safety Inspection.

 

The purpose of an electrical safety inspection is to:

  • Confirm, so far as reasonably practicable that the electrical installation, fixtures, fittings or appliances are in a satisfactory condition for continued service.

  • Identify any work which relates to electrical installations, fixtures, fittings or appliances which needs to be done to ensure that they are in a satisfactory condition for continued service, a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order.

The electrical safety inspection has two separate elements;

  • An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) on the safety of the electrical installations, including a visual inspection of fixtures and fittings, plus a fixed electrical equipment test.

  • A Portable Appliance Test (PAT) on portable appliances.

Electrical Installation Condition Report

 

An EICR must be completed by a suitably competent person. “Competent person” means a skilled person (electrically) as defined in amendment 3 of BS7671.

 

This means that they must be;

  • Employed by a firm that is a member of an accredited registration scheme operated by a recognised body.

  • A self-employed member of an accredited registration scheme operated by a recognised body.

  • Able to complete the checklist at Annex A of this guidance.

In Scotland, this will usually mean that they are a registered with NICEIC, a member firm of the Electrical Contractors' Association of Scotland (SELECT), or a member of the National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers (NAPIT). For additional guidance see Annex A.

 

BS7671 provides forms for recording an EICR (see Annex B). 12.

 

The EICR must cover; 

  • Installations for the supply of electricity

  • Electrical fittings, including –

​                 o The consumer unit(s)

                 o Switches o Socket outlets

                 o Light fittings

                 o Any visible wiring

                 o Any areas where electrical equipment may be installed, for example lofts with supplies to renewable energy sources.

  • Visual inspection of fixed electrical equipment, including;

​                o Fixed electrical heating equipment e.g. storage or panel heaters

                 o Electric showers and over/under-sink water heaters

                 o Boilers and other heat producing equipment

                 o Hard-wired smoke and fire detectors.

 

The person carrying out the inspection must complete the EICR which must be legible and clearly set out;

  • The date of the inspection

  • The full address of the house inspected

  •  The name and address of the landlord or their agent 

  • The name and address of the person carrying out the inspection

  •  Evidence that person completing the inspection report is a suitably competent person (see Annex A)

  • A description of each installation, fixture and fitting inspected, and its location in the house 

  • Any defect identified

 

Any electrical installation, fixtures, fittings or equipment which fails to pass electrical safety inspection must be replaced or repaired to comply with the repairing standard.

 

Any element of the electrical installations, fixtures, fittings or equipment which is classified in an EICR under code C1 (danger present) or C2 (potentially dangerous) must be rectified to comply with the repairing standard. 

 

Note that the EICR includes details of the location of the consumer unit and main switch, but not that of other switches or socket-outlets, light fittings etc. which are likely to be present in every room, but this is sufficient detail to meet the requirement of the legislation.

 

Code C1 means that anyone using the installation is at risk and remedial work should be carried out by a competent person immediately. If it is practical to do so, the competent person should make the installation safe on discovery of the dangerous condition.

 

Wherever practicable, items classified as C1 should be made safe on discovery. Where this is not practical the owner or user should be given written notification as a matter of urgency.

 

Where an item is classified as C2 this is a potentially dangerous situation and urgent remedial action is required.

 

Any element of the electrical installation classified in an Electrical Installation Condition Report as FI (further investigation required) should be investigated as soon as practically possible as such investigation may reveal a dangerous or potentially dangerous condition.

 

An EICR will recommend any remedial action required in order to ensure that the electrical installation is in a satisfactory condition for continued service, but any work which is undertaken must be recorded separately. This can be done by recording the work completed on a Minor Electrical Installation Works Certificate and providing a copy of that to the person ordering the work, which is recommended for all actions to remedy a defect. If remedial work includes replacement of a fuse box (known in the electrical industry as a consumer unit) an Electrical Installation Certificate should be provided.

 

For more information about electrical installation testing and the classification codes, see Electrical Safety First’s Best Practice Guide.7 Electrical Installation Certificate.

 

In some cases a landlord may have a copy of an Electrical Installation Certificate rather than an EICR. For example New build properties should be provided with an Electrical Installation Certificate,  An Electrical Installation Certificate should be provided when a house is fully rewired.

 

An Electrical Installation Certificate includes a recommendation for the next periodic inspection. For a private rented property, IET guidance is that the recommended period is five years.

 

A landlord who has an Electrical Installation Certificate for a property can provide this in place of an EICR to comply with this guidance, provided that the date of next inspection indicated on the certificate has not elapsed.

 

The EICR covers installations and visual inspection of fixed electrical equipment, a PAT covers appliances. For the purpose of the PAT, “appliances” means movable electrical equipment. 

 

A PAT test must be completed by a suitably competent person. For the purpose of the PAT test this means either ;

  • A skilled person (electrically) as set out in paragraph 10 above

  • A person (including the landlord) who has completed appropriate training as a PAT tester (see Annex C).

The PAT test can be completed with a PAT tester device. Electricians may not hold one of these, but they will have a set of test equipment that allows them to undertake the full range of testing required by BS7671 which is capable of carrying out electrical safety tests on appliances that would verify no danger exists in the event of an appliance fault. 

 

A PAT test requires a label for each appliance tested. IET provide forms for providing a record of appliances that have been tested (see Annex D). An appliance that was purchased new less than one year before the date of the test does not require to be included in that PAT test.

 

An untested new appliance does not alter (i.e. reduce) the required minimum inspection frequency outlined in paragraph 30 below.

 

An appliance that was purchased second hand should be included in that PAT test. If there is any doubt about the condition or age of an appliance or the date of purchase it should be included in the test. If an appliance is new it should be included in the record of the PAT test record and the date that its first test is due clearly recorded.

 

Appliances include;

  • Electrical white goods (such as refrigerators and washing machines)

  • Electrical brown goods (such as televisions and DVD players)

  • Electric fires that are not fixed in place

  • Kitchen appliances, such as toasters and kettles

  • Hand held electrical equipment, such as hairdryers

  • Any other appliances provided by the landlord that are not permanently connected to the electrical installation.

Portable appliances generally have a cable and a plug. There is often uncertainty about whether certain items of equipment should fall within the remit of inspection and testing of the fixed wiring or that of the portable appliance testing. For the avoidance of doubt, all portable appliances and fixed equipment provided by the landlord should be inspected and, if required, tested. If any fixtures are not specifically included in the remit of the EICR they should be included in the PAT.

 

Any appliance which fails to pass a Portable Appliance Test must be replaced or repaired immediately to comply with the repairing standard.

 

The duty to carry out electrical safety inspections does not apply to appliances that belong to tenants, only to appliances provided by the landlord.

 

Frequency of Inspection

Landlords should ensure that electrical safety inspection are carried out; 

  • Before a tenancy starts

  • During the tenancy, at intervals of no more than 5 years from the date of the previous inspection.

The electrical safety inspection does not have to be completed immediately before a new tenancy begins or every time a new tenancy starts, as long as an inspection has been carried out in the period of 5 years before the tenancy starts.

 

The electrical safety inspection must be recorded in an EICR and a PAT report.

 

The minimum standard to comply with the legislation is that an inspection must be carried out at least every 5 years, but this does not preclude more frequent testing where appropriate.

 

Tenants cannot be required to pay for or contribute towards the cost of an electrical inspection, unless ordered to do so by the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland.

 

If a landlord cannot carry out an inspection because they do not have right of access to all or part of the property, or lack any other necessary right, they are not in breach of their duties in relation to the repairing standard, provided that they have taken reasonable steps to acquire that right.

 

Combining a separate PAT test with the EICR

The date for retesting appliances is usually set during the PAT test and will usually be more frequent than five years. If the PAT test is not carried out by the electrician at the same time as the EICR, the electrician should confirm that the appliance testing report is complete and up to date. The electrician does not have to re-perform the PAT test if the re-test date has not passed/expired and there is a record of the appliances and having been tested and stickers confirm. If there are any appliances that need tested this can be done at the time of the inspection but it is not necessary to retest appliances that have an up-to-date test.

 

Inspection Records.

 

The landlord must receive and keep a copy of the EICR and PAT report for six years. A copy of the most recent EICR and PAT report must be given to a person who is to become a tenant before a tenancy starts. If an inspection is carried out during a tenancy a copy relating to that inspection must be given to the tenant.

 

Any tenant under a new tenancy commencing on or after 1 December 2015 must be provided with a copy of an EICR before the tenancy commences.

 

Any tenant under an existing tenancy at 30 November 2015 must be provided with a copy of an EICR by 1 December 2016 unless their tenancy ends before that date.

 

An EICR completed by a competent person between 1 January 2012 and 30 November 2015 is acceptable, whether or not it is accompanied by a PAT test record.

 

However, to be acceptable all EICRs completed on or after 1 December 2015 must have a PAT record attached to it that shows their description and location and a certificate for any remedial work that has been done.

 

Good Practice

 

The following guidance is not part of a landlord’s statutory duty but is recommended as good practice.

 

Fitting one or more RCDs (Residual Current Devices) into the consumer unit can protect a tenant against electric shock and reduce the risk of electrical fires. An RCD is a sensitive safety device that switches off electricity automatically if there is a fault. RCDs offer a level of personal protection that ordinary fuses and circuit-breakers cannot provide. For some properties the absence of an RCD may result in a C1 or C2 classification and if so must be remedied to comply with the repairing standard.

 

Before providing portable appliances to tenants, a landlord should check that each appliance has at least the CE Mark, which is the product manufacturer's claim that it meets all the requirements of European Union legislation. Appliances with additional safety marks, such as the British Standard Kitemark or the BEAB Approved Mark tend to provide greater assurance of electrical safety. The landlord must verify that any secondhand equipment is safe. This will require relevant inspection and testing to be carried out. Or an Electrical Installation Certificate – see paragraphs 21-22 of the guidance. 9 The EICR forms were introduced by Amendment 1 to BS 7671:2008 (IET Wiring Regulations 17th Edition), which came into effect on 1 January 2012. 10 Or an Electrical Installation Certificate – see paragraphs 21-22 of the guidance.

 

Care should also be taken to avoid counterfeit electrical products. Counterfeit electrical goods almost always contain incorrect or faulty parts that can overheat or break just days after purchase, increasing the risk of fire or electric shock. If electrical products are purchased online follow the advice given by Electrical Safety First at http://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/guides-andadvice/electrical-items/safe-shopping/.

 

Where electrical equipment is provided, tenants should always be told to read and follow the equipment manufacturer's instructions. Copies of the instructions should be left in the property so the tenants can refer to them as and when required.

 

If a tenancy lasts more than a year, it is good practice to carry out annual visual inspections to detect any damage, deterioration, wear and tear, signs of overheating, loose fixings, or missing parts that may lead to danger.

 

Landlords’ visual checks should include checks on;

  • Fuse boxes (consumer units) for signs of damage

  • Light switches and electrical sockets for any signs of damage or overloading

  • Cables to make sure that they are safe and are not damaged

  • Electrical appliances for signs of damage and deterioration and to confirm that plugs and cables are secure

Additionally, landlords should test that the following devices operate when their integral test button is pressed at time intervals as specified by the manufacturer of the equipment;

  • Residual Current Devices (quarterly check)

  • Smoke or heat detectors

  • Carbon monoxide detectors Electrical Safety First provides a Landlord’s Interim

Checklist which can be used to record a visual inspection. This is available free online at http://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/guides-and-advice/for-landlords/.

 

Landlords and tenants should also regularly check that any electrical appliances in the house are not subject to any current product recall notices or safety alerts. A significant number of recalls for electrical appliances occur because the items are at risk of catching fire or causing electrocution. It is good practice to register products at the address of the landlord or the letting agent to ensure that recall paperwork is actioned. Alternatively, landlords can check a free list of products that have recently been recalled by manufacturers which is provided by Electrical Safety First and is available free online at: http://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/product-recalls/

Electrical Circuit
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