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

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9th October 2019

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

An Electrical Safety Certificate, or Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) is a necessary document that ensures the safety and proper maintenance of electrical systems within your property.

Within the UK, electrical safety certificates are a legally required document. In accordance with Part P of the Building Regulations laid out by the UK authorities, any electrical installations must be subject to inspection and testing.

There are certain expectations and national standards that are referred to within Part P as well as the EICR.

BS 7671 is an additional non-statutory document that is part of the 18th edition of the Wiring Regulations. It is referenced within Part P building regulations but isn’t an obligatory document. The standards set out within the BS 7671 are considered the minimum for electrical safety. This is why they only make up a small part of the higher authority Part P regulations which instruct the property owner to arrange inspection and testing in order to receive their electrical installation condition report.

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The electrical safety certificate which can only be issued by an electrician who is registered for electrical inspections, 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 electrical testing of 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.

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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 Certification 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

For Landlords, the requirements are even stricter regarding electrical safety certificates. Prior to 2020 electrical test certificates were not legally required for rented properties. However, these regulations were changed for all new tenancies commencing after the 1st July 2020 and any existing tenancies from 1 April 2021.

Electrical installations should be subject to periodic inspection and electrical testing to ensure the safety of tenants. The testing should be carried out no more than every 5 years and results must immediately be presented to existing tenants and the local housing authority. Tenants should also be made aware of the consumer unit or distribution board, fuses and isolator switch and should have access.

If an electrical installation condition report suggests poor conditions of existing installations its is the responsibility of the landlord to arrange for immediate remedial work to be performed within the next 28 days, starting from the day of the inspection. Any breach of regulation terms could land you a £30,000 fine.

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.

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