When was the last time you had an electrical installation condition report done?
Do you own and run a commercial property - i.e. somewhere where the general public might find themselves? Somewhere like a shop, cafe, cinema, or in this case church? It is vitally important that records of inspection, testing and maintenance of your electrical installation are kept up-to-date; not only for insurance purposes but also for general peace of mind.
In this video you can take a look at some of our findings from a commercial condition report carried out in Stockport, and the remedial work carried out to rectify the faults found during our visit. You can find a full description below the video.
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How often should your electrical installation be checked?
The IET provide guidance on how frequently your electrical install should be inspected and tested by a competent person. This interval will vary depending on the type of use the premises might expect. For example, the maximum period between inspections for home owners is 10 years, caravan parks however should be inspected annually.
With commercial properties, it can often be a condition of your insurance that these records are maintained; they might even stipulate more frequent inspections.
Note that this is guidance for the bare minimum: it might be that if you are licensing a venue, then the frequency of inspection will be decided by your licensing contract; or you are a landlord letting a domestic property, the frequency required is written into law, and will be required much more frequently than for regular home owners.
Please get in touch if you are unsure how often your property should be tested.
How much does an electrical installation report cost?
The cost of an electrical installation condition report will vary depending on the size of installation, number of circuits, number of accessories (lighting points, power sockets etc), and on the availability of any existing circuit schedules and test records for your inspection engineer.
In the case above, we didn’t unfortunately have access to any existing records which therefore increased the amount of time required to identify what each circuit does, and how many accessories were found on each circuit.
In the picture on the left you can also see that there were numerous undocumented additions to the original installation making the task of testing even more difficult.
A robust schedule of testing and inspection allows you to foresee any potential repairs required and tackle/budget for these as they arise.
As above, if there are large amounts of time elapsing between inspections, there might be a number of issues building up, resulting in a single large outlay required for remedial works - harder to budget for.
Does an electrical condition report fix all the faults?
In short, no. An electrical installation condition report will not fix all the faults found (if any) with your installation.. unless that’s something you would like us to do!
In this example, the Church required a clean certificate - a “Satisfactory” on a condition report - in order to satisfy the requirements of their insurance. The report we produced recommended that a consumer unit upgrade would essentially clear all the faults we found in during our inspections.
An upgraded consumer unit allowed us to provide each circuit with its own RCBO protective device. In the original 3 phase board, multiple circuits had been crammed into the same breaker: if one circuit causes the breaker to trip, multiple circuits are lost. More segregation equals less inconvenience if a fault does occur.
Not every circuit in this installation required additional protection from an RCD according to the wiring regulations, however it provides that extra peace of mind - especially with the general public in the building.
We provided a comprehensive circuit schedule as part of our works which will make the operation and navigation of the board easier for both the church staff, and for any future testing engineer who carries out inspections, additions or remedial works. Future testing costs will be less because there won’t be the need for extra time spent on identifying circuits.
Please get in touch if you would like to discuss commercial electrical inspection, testing or maintenance of your commercial property. Heritage cover electrical testing in a wide area including Stockport, Greater Manchester, and Cheshire.