Is it a legal requirement to provide an electrical safety certificate?

If you have made any changes to any electrical work in a dwelling in England and Wales since 2005 you must meet Part P of the Building Regulations.

Part P states that any person carrying out electrical work in a dwelling has to ensure that reasonable provision has been made in the design and installation of the electrical installations in order to protect any person who may use, maintain or alter the electrical installation of the dwelling from fire, injury and electric shock.

The electrical safety certificate which can only be issued by a registered electrician is now mandatory for home owners and landlords who have any new electrical work carried out and includes switches, sockets, fuse boxes and any new or altered wiring circuits.

An electrical safety certificate is a declarative document that an installation is safe to have in use from the moment that it was put into service. It can only be issued by a registered electrician. The law made it mandatory for home owners to acquire safety certificates due to reports of a series of cases of fires that were found to have started due to irresponsible electrical installations. The safety of tenants in a residential building became the responsibility of the landlord.

The certificate recognises the inspection on the switches, fuse boxes and sockets. It also outlines the amount of work that ought to be put in when installing an electrical system in a residential area or even a private home.

Types of Electrical Safety Certificates

Electrical safety certificates come in two forms. Electrical Installation Certificates (EICs) and Minor Electrical Installation Works Certificates (MEIWCs), which provide you, the person responsible for the safety of an electrical installation, with a written declaration that the new electoral installation or alteration is safe to use at the time it was installed and put into service.

An Electrical Safety Certificate must be issued for all new electrical Installations. If no new circuit has been used then a Minor Electrical Installation Works Certificate (MEIWC) may be issued.

Electrical Safety in Rental Properties

If you are a landlord, unlike gas, there is no statutory requirement to have an annual safety check on electrical equipment, however it is advisable to do so to ensure safety, as you can still be held liable if things go wrong.

As a minimum you should carry out visual checks of all electrical appliances before a new tenant takes residence to ensure all cable and plugs are safe.

You should also ensure power circuits have a circuit breaker (RCD) fitted.

How to Acquire the Electrical Safety Certificate

The certificate is a requirement regardless of the size of an installation work; this means that even though the installation is for an oven, the law requires that there is an inspection on the condition of the oven and even the switches in which it is plugged. If the installation is up to code, then the registered electrician who carries out the installation recommends that an Electrical Safety Certificate is issued.

The Electrical Safety Certificate is issued to landlords or private home owners only after a certified electrical carries out he inspection on the electrical wiring of a building. Ensuring that the electrician who is taking care of your installation is licenced as per the UK law is also one of the requirements to meet in order to receive a certificate.

Contents of the Document

The registered electrician should also include a signature and date of completion of the installation job. In the new law, the Electrical Safety Council gave its input and recommended that the electrical safety inspections be conducted once in very ten years. However, since it revision, the new law will recommend that a thorough inspection be conducted twice within that time.

Cost of the Electrical Safety Certificate

Electrical Safety Certificates come at a price. The price is actually a fee for the inspection fee. It all depends on the type of home where the wiring is to be done. The cost goes from about £100 to £150 for a one bed room flat, a two bed room flat will cost you about £120 to £170 and a three bedroom flat will cost you about £180-£230. For a one or two bed room house the cost of inspection is about £150-£200 and for 3 or 4 bedroom house it will cost you £200-£250.A 5 bedroom house may cost you £300 or more. Issuance of the certificate is after a number of days and is often delivered by email. If you want it in document form, it will cost you an extra fee. All these charges are inclusive of tax.

Conclusion

Failure to comply with the law that requires one to ensure that their home is safe from electricity hazards leave them liable to a fine of £5000 or at risk of serving a six month sentence in prison. When accidents related to electricity occur, a landlord or home owner may be charged as a criminal.