If you are responsible for a building or rental property, you may have heard the word ‘EICR’ mentioned, and are not entirely sure what it means.
We’ve put together this guide to help you find out more about what EICR is, and why it is essential to help keep you safe.
(Updated in January 2021 to reflect the changes to EICR for landlords)
- What is the meaning of EICR?
- What do you mean by 'electrical installations'?
- Why do I need to get an EICR done?
- How often do I have to get an EICR?
- I own a rental property, and I've been told I need to get an EICR carried out. Why?
- What happens during an inspection?
- Does the power have to be turned off when carrying out an EICR?
- What does the report contain?
- What do the EICR codes mean?
- How long does an EICR take?
- How much does an EICR cost?
What is the meaning of an EICR?
EICR is short for ‘Electrical Installation Condition Report’. It was previously known as ‘Fixed Wire Testing’, and is sometimes referred to as an ‘Electrical Safety Certificate’.
An EICR is when your electrical installations are tested by a ‘competent’ person to ensure they are safe and they will not cause any fire risks or electric shocks.
What do you mean by ‘electrical installations’?
An electrical installation is a fixed element of your electrical circuit, which provides electricity to your office, factory, shop or home.
Electrical installations include:
- Light fittings
- Fuse boxes / circuit breakers / distribution boards
- Trunking and conduits
- Plug sockets
Why do I need to get an EICR done?
If you own a business or a rental property, you have a legal responsibility to ensure employees, customers and tenants are kept safe.
Old, faulty and malfunctioning electrical installations not only cause electric shocks but also pose a fire risk.
18% of domestic fires in England are caused by faulty wiring and cabling, so it is vital to make sure all electrical installations are safe to use.
An EICR is the most comprehensive way of keeping your installations safe.
How often do I have to get an EICR?
It depends on the building. As some buildings are more prone to risk than others, they may need an EICR more frequently.
For example, hospitals need an EICR every year while offices and schools only need one every five years.
I own a rental property, and I’ve been told I need to get an EICR carried out. Why?
The laws regarding electrical checks for landlords changed in 2020.
If you are based in England, any tenancy you create or renew after 1 July 2020 has to have a valid EICR certificate, which must be renewed every five years.
There are further changes to EICR for landlords in 2021. If you have tenants in your property, you must get a valid certificate by 1 April 2021.
You can find out more about the law and what you need to do to stay compliant in 2021 in our EICR guide for landlords.
What happens during an inspection?
During an EICR inspection, a qualified electrician will inspect the electrical installations in your building.
The engineer will carry out a visual inspection, checking for cracks, breaks and signs of overheating. Electrical testing will then be carried out where voltages and currents are used to check the safety of the different circuits.
If issues are found, the engineer will try and make them as safe as possible as part of the inspection.
Does the power have to be turned off when carrying out an EICR?
Yes. The engineer will be able to isolate the mains supply room by room though, meaning less inconvenience for you and the building occupants.
If you work in an industry where it is imperative that the power stays on (for example, a hospital or a factory) then thermal imaging may be a good option.
What does the report contain?
After the inspection, you will be provided with a report. This report will contain:
- Details about the premises that were tested and who they were tested by
- Any limitations (for example, if only a proportion of the installations were tested or if some circuits were not able to be turned off)
- Whether the inspection was satisfactory or unsatisfactory (i.e. ‘pass’ or ‘fail’)
- A breakdown of all the issues identified and the classification codes. This will be broken down by individual room or area
- An inspection schedule showing what has been tested and the results of each test
The engineer will talk you through the report and advise what work needs to be done to bring any installations back into a safe condition. You can then organise remedial works.
Keep the report safe – you may need to provide a copy to your local authority or insurance provider.
What do the EICR codes mean?
There are four codes used in an EICR inspection. These are:
- Code 1 (C1): Danger present. Risk of injury. Immediate remedial action required. These installations must be made safe as soon as possible
- Code 2 (C2): Potentially dangerous - urgent remedial action required. These installations must also be made safe as soon as possible
- Further Investigation (FI): Further investigation required without delay. This usually means that the inspector will need to return to investigate the issue further, and will determine whether it is safe or unsafe
- Code 3 (C3): Improvement recommended. You do not need to get this fixed, but it is recommended you do. Think of this as like an 'advisory note' on an MOT
An EICR inspection will be marked as 'unsatisfactory' if you get any C1, C2 or FI codes.
How long does an EICR take?
It depends on the size of the property, the age of the electrical installations and how many electrical installations need testing. A good electrician will work with you to make sure disruption is kept to a minimum.
It may be quicker and more convenient to have your testing done at weekends or outside working hours.
If you have a lot of installations to test, you can often stagger testing. For example, if you have a factory that needs to be tested every three years, you can opt to have a third of the installations checked every year. This helps save time and reduce downtime on site
How much does an EICR cost?
It depends on how many electrical installations you have in the building (often referred to as ‘circuits’).
If you request a quote from us, we will provide you with a bespoke quote unique to you and your circumstances.