The 2020 electrical testing roundup

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Image: The 2020 electrical testing roundup

Our 2020 review of the year – what has been happening in the world of electrical testing?

You may think 2020 has been a comparatively quiet year in the world of electrical testing and compliance… however, you would be surprised!

Join us as we look at what has happened this year and make our predictions for the year ahead.

March 2020 – the launch of the Fire Safety Bill

March saw many of us working from home during the first lockdown, as well as the introduction of the Fire Safety Bill to Parliament.

The Fire Safety Bill will replace the Fire Safety Order 2005, bringing in legislation that will help improve fire safety in buildings that contain more than one home.

The Government brought the bill in to ensure tragedies like Grenfell will never happen again, holding building owners to account and making sure they take steps to reduce the risk of fire.

Update: The bill has now been passed into law and is now the Fire Safety Act 2021

June 2020 – changes in legislation for landlords

In June, the laws changed for landlords across England and Wales; with any new or renewed tenancies requiring a valid EICR inspection.

This change was brought in to protect tenants and give landlords peace of mind.

18% of electrical fires are due to faulty wiring or plugs, so it’s essential to ensure any electrical installations are as safe as possible.

The law will be changing again in 2021, with landlords needing to carry out an EICR even if there are tenants currently in the property.

June 2020 – new counterfeit crime unit for Amazon

Amazon launched its counterfeit crime unit in June, to protect customers from fake and counterfeit electrical goods.

10% of people have experienced an electrical fire or shock caused by a fake electrical product, and counterfeit products are increasingly more difficult to tell apart from the real thing.

It will be interesting to see if this move makes a difference, and if other online retailers will follow suit.

How to stay safe when buying electrical equipment online

July 2020 – the introduction of the draft Building Safety Bill

Similarly to the Fire Safety Bill, the Building Safety Bill was introduced to improve building safety and protect people living in multi-occupied residential buildings.

The act aims to bring in an ‘accountable person’ who will be responsible for keeping people living in high-rise buildings safe, as well as a new national regulator for building safety.

The draft bill was open to feedback until October, and a report was published in November. The draft bill will then be introduced to Parliament, where it will be discussed and potentially become law.

Update: Find out more about the updated Bill

September 2020 – the launch of the IET 5th edition

In September 2020, the 5th edition of the code of practice for the in-service inspection and testing of electrical equipment was launched by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

Hawkesworth was part of the committee that developed the guidelines, meaning we can say with confidence that we are at the forefront of electrical safety issues.

Find out more about the guidance

December 2020 - changes to PAS 79

At the end of the year, the BSI launched the new Fire Risk Assessment Standard, which is also known as PAS 79. 

The code of practice was last updated in 2012, and included new changes to clarify how fire risk assessments needed to be carried out in residential buildings.

Update: The new version of PAS 79 was withdrawn in April 2021, in order to take new information into account. It was republished in June 2021.

What will 2021 hold?

There are two key issues we will be looking at with interest in 2021.

Firstly, the Fire Safety Bill replacing the Fire Safety Order. We’re not sure when this will become an official act of Parliament, but when it does, we will be reporting on the changes and how it will impact landlords as well as those in the construction industry,

Secondly, the changes impacting landlords in April. This legislative change means all landlords will need to have EICR certificates in place for their tenants.

We will be reporting on other issues and changes when we are made aware of them.

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