Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)
An EICR is an official document that is produced following an assessment an electrical installation, either domestic, commercial or industrial premises require inspection with varying degrees of frequency depending on the premises. It must be carried out by a suitably qualified electrician or electrical contractor who has a good working knowledge and experience of electrical installations.
When an EICR is performed on the property the contractor will need to disconnect the installation from the mains electrical power supply. The contractor needs to switch off and disconnect the power for reasons of safety and also for the purpose of being able to apply the correct test to the relevant electrical circuit. The disconnection of the power supply is of course an inconvenience, especially if the disconnection of the power impacts on the running of a business or other critical operation.
The frequency of domestic EICR’s is 10 years or change of occupancy to inspect the condition of the electrical system and ensure there is no deterioration, although there may be reasons why an EICR would need to be carried more frequently. These may include the age of the installation or the type of property. The majority of commercial premises require an assessment annually.
It is important to request an EICR on a property that is being purchased as it is the best way to find out if work needs to be carried out on the electrical system and address any concerns the occupier may encounter with regard to the electrical installation.
The test includes a visual inspection where the electrician will survey the electrical installation before they commence with the electrical testing. The visual inspection will highlight broken or cracked items and those that may have been installed incorrectly or in the wrong location. It will also show if there have been overloading or over heating problems.
The isolation examination will use electrical test meters, and will include continuity testing to check if there are any badly connected conductors, insulation resistance testing to make sure that the electrical insulation material surrounding the conductors is intact and polarity tests to check that the connections are connected in the right sequence
Further tests on the live system will include earth fault loop impedance testing to check that if a fault did occur, the system meets the requirements to cause a disconnection of the supply within the time limit specified. In addition the residual current device testing will ensure that, on modern electrical systems these are fitted and that these devices react to electricity missing from the circuit or installation such as when a person is receiving an electric shock as the electricity passes through his body to the earth source.
During an EICR, the inspector will make a number of electrical observations and will give each recommendation a code – C1 C2 or C3. The observations describe a defect or omission within the electrical installation as follows:
- C1 – Danger present and immediate remedial action required to remove a risk of injury from a dangerous condition
- C2 – Potential danger and urgent remedial action required to avoid a potentially dangerous situation.
- C3 – Improvement recommended where the installation may not comply with the current set of regulations but complies with previous ones and so is deemed to be safe although this safety can be improved upon.
On larger installations it is possible to carry out a 20% test every year for 5 years as long as the system is shown to be in a good state of repair. This is a particularly useful where a large building such as a factory, where it might not be feasible to carry out the inspection in one visit, shutdown is very disruptive to the organisation and there is a good track record of the sound electrical maintenance.
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