Expert Advice: How landlords & electricians can conduct EICR reports safely

Electrical fires at home are a growing problem in the UK with over 53% of accidental fires occurring from an electrical fault in 2019.

Supported by statistics from the Home Office, there was a total of 26 reported deaths in 2019 relating to domestic fires caused by electrical issues. A staggering 19,000 electrical fires were also reported in the UK which has had a significant effect on the government’s revised intentions to improve electrical safety in homes for tenants.

The Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) aims to improve electrical safety across UK homes. Subject to completion before the 1st July 2020 or from 1st April 2021 for existing tenancies, the report must be organised by a landlord, conducted by a qualified professional, and acquired before the commencement of any new tenancy to keep the standard of electrical safety in the private rented sector in England to the best they can be.

The report puts in place a national requirement for all electrical installations in the property such as lighting and electrical sockets, to be reviewed thoroughly. In order to pass this test, landlords must review and ensure all electrical components are in working order without any safety issues before the tenant moves in. If not, they will be required to inform professionals of this and rectify the issue before the stated deadline date.

However, gaining access to properties is not always easy due to the ongoing problem that is the coronavirus pandemic. It is stated in the guidelines that if the tenant is deemed high risk and particularly vulnerable to Covid – 19, a contractor will not be required to attend the property and will no longer go ahead with the physical EICR evaluation.

It is important to note that this will only be the case if written evidence of the tenant’s unavailability is provided. The evidence provided will then be subject to review and must include clear proof that an inspection has been discussed and attempted. However, if this isn’t the case, landlords with existing tenants will have to allow contractors to enter the property so the test can be conducted. All tests will however follow social distancing rules to ensure the safety of both the hired contractor and tenant.

As personal health and hygiene are both now constantly evaluated, professional electricians are limited to conduct electrical examinations of properties in person due to the risk of spreading infection from one household to another.

Alternative electrical test methods are now becoming increasingly more common, with experts opting to try new examination techniques to ensure the safety of landlords, tenants, and electricians from electrical hazards and coronavirus. London Electricians 24/7 explain the different ways in which professionals and landlords can conduct these tests safely at home.

Conducting a home electrical test

“Stereotypically, in-person checks are seemingly the most suitable method of conducting electrical tests. Examining a house in person ensures that electrical assessments are conducted thoroughly on a property without any issue been missed.”

“As a result of the test being essential to the safety of future tenants, EICR reports should also take into account any coronavirus safety precautions. With this in mind, it is important for landlords to understand how to conduct any home electric evaluations correctly. This includes an understanding of general safety precautions regarding electrical safety and coronavirus. Landlords must also inform tenants to obey any rules or government guidelines when conducting checks & inspections under the pandemic measurements. “

“A new way of ensuring the EICR test takes place is via a self-service check-in. This approach involves tenants completing daily checks on their property to maintain the condition of electrical appliances and hotspots on a regular basis.”

“Live inspections are now a common occurrence and a popular way for contractors to virtually evaluate electricals at a property. This consists of property inspectors conducting evaluations via video link. These new socially distanced methods of performing home electrical tests are safe ways to not breach any coronavirus guidelines, however, with this comes some consequences. One of which is the increased chance of human error, with possible hidden issues getting missed.”

“For landlords or existing tenants, there is an element of pressure when conducting home checkups. It is fundamental that you must have a good knowledge and understanding of the dangers of electricity and how to conduct safe and thorough examinations.”

“A general ability to follow clear instructions given by a professional is essential as this will guide you clearly and accurately through important stages, helping you become aware of any possible dangers before and during the test.”

“After listening to detailed instructions by a professional electrician prior to the EICR test, in order to ensure yours and the electrician’s safety, the electricity must be turned off for the test to take place. You will need to bear this in mind if there are already tenants in the property as failure to turn any electrical components off whilst conducting the test could prove fatal, so always double-check.”

“One main piece of equipment to have when conducting any electrical inspection at home is insulated and suitable clothing such as gloves and dielectric shoes. These will help prevent and absorb any electrical shocks from majorly harming you. For workers and tenants coming in contact with each other, wearing the correct PPE safety gear is crucial. Recommended items for maximum safety include PPE face coverings and safety glasses.”

“For electricians as well as landlords and tenants, when conducting an electrical test, despite any prior initial assessments, never assume that an electrical component you are handling in a residence is safe. Always run the necessary checks. To assess the safety of the property you should follow recommended steps of a visual test, earth test (for outdoor living), resistance test, and a leakage test. These can all help reduce the risk of electrical hazards occurring at home and in outdoor spaces.”

“Making sure you are 100% knowledgeable on the 18th edition of the Wiring Regulations is also vital for conducting the EICR report. Not only will this help you locate hazards and faults, but it is also a requirement for properties to ensure these regulations are met when conducting the report and final test.”

“We know that having accurate and up to date industry knowledge is key to identifying the warning signs of electrical safety, but let’s not forget it is also critical to know the best type of safety equipment for dealing with electrical faults.”

“It’s key to always have the most proven and advanced equipment for the job. An approved voltage indicator (AVI) is a key piece of equipment used for checking electrical currents within a property. This device is an absolute must as it determines the presence/absence of electricity in an area that you are unable to identify just by looking at it. Primarily used to detect AC voltages on sockets, switches, outlets, circuit breakers, when used correctly it could save your life.”

“Although the correct equipment which has been approved and verified by a professional is always a safety essential, the main advice is to always seek expert advice if you are unsure. A detailed review by a professional is always the safest option so if you are a tenant or a landlord, I would recommend maintaining a safe social distance from a contractor and allow them to conduct the test.”

Although sometimes seemingly obvious, understanding and actively following this guideline could prevent you from any future electrical house fires or injuries, and equally as important, it could stop you from suffering from any health-related problems relating to Covid-19. Acting as a guide to help you perform safe and in-depth electrical inspections of properties.

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