All electrical installations, including wiring, distribution boards, switches, sockets and appliances, are susceptible to wear and tear over time. Conducting periodic electrical inspections and testing isn’t just a legal obligation, it’s a proactive step towards reducing the likelihood of both damage and injury. Based on the Home Office’s fire statistics, a significant portion of primary fires in buildings resulting in fatalities, casualties or rescues stem from ‘faulty appliances and leads’, alongside ‘misuse of equipment or appliances’.

Whether you’re a homeowner seeking peace of mind, a landlord ensuring tenant safety, or an employer prioritising workplace wellbeing, this blog covers everything you need to know to make informed decisions and safeguard against potential electrical hazards.

What is a periodic electrical inspection?

A periodic electrical inspection is a thorough examination of the electrical systems and installations within a building or property. It’s conducted at regular intervals to ensure that the electrical infrastructure remains safe, functional and compliant with regulations, such as The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 and The Repairing Standard (Scotland) 2015. 

The inspection and testing will flag any issues or potential risks with fixed electrical equipment, including wiring, such as:

  • Electrical overloading
  • Electric shock risks and fire hazards
  • Defective electrical work
  • Earthing or bonding issues

Read more about common electrical dangers here.

As the homeowner, employers or landlord, you will be issued with an Electrical Condition Report (EICR). This report records the results of the periodic electrical inspection and testing, as well as ensuring that all electrical installations meet with BS 7671 – Requirements for Electrical Installations from the Institute of Engineering & Technology (IET) wiring regulations. If the EICR reveals any unsatisfactory results, i.e. any dangerous or potentially dangerous defects or non-compliance with safety regulations, remedial action is required. In the case of private landlords, this action must be taken within 28 days of receiving the unsatisfactory report.

Examples of when a electrical inspection is required

Periodic inspection of electrical installations should be performed in the following scenarios:

  • New construction or installation: to ensure that the electrical wiring, fixtures and systems have been installed correctly and meet all relevant safety regulations.
  • Renovations or additions: When significant renovations or additions are made to verify compliance with regulations and ensure safety.
  • Change of use or occupancy: If the intended use of a building changes or if there is a change in occupancy type, to ensure that the electrical systems are suitable for the new use and comply with relevant regulations.
  • Electrical faults or incidents: After electrical faults, incidents or emergencies to assess the damage, identify the cause of the problem and ensure that repairs are carried out correctly.
  • Routine maintenance and testing: Regular maintenance to assess the condition and performance of electrical installations over time.
  • Compliance requirements: Some industries or businesses are subject to specific regulations or standards governing electrical safety and are required to demonstrate compliance with regulatory requirements.
  • Insurance purposes: Insurance companies may require electrical inspections as a condition for coverage.
  • Certification or licensing: In certain industries or professions, obtaining certification or licensing may require documentation of recent electrical inspections.

How frequently do you need a periodic electrical inspection?

The type of building will dictate the periodic electrical inspection frequency.

  • Owner occupied homes should be inspected and tested every 10 years
  • Privately rented homes should be inspected and tested every 5 years.  (The interval may vary based on factors such as the age of the property, the type of wiring and any previous issues).
  • Commercial/office buildings should be tested every 3 to 5 years according to the The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, owing to the higher levels of electrical usage and general deterioration of electrical installations.
  • Schools, colleges and universities, as well as more public places such as retail space, should be tested every 5 years.
  • Higher risk public spaces, such as swimming pools with higher levels of humidity, should be tested every year.

Additionally, local authorities or insurance providers may have specific requirements regarding inspection intervals. Always consult with qualified electricians or regulatory authorities to determine the appropriate inspection schedule for your situation.

Who should carry out the periodic inspection?

Only a qualified professional, such as a registered electrician, is permitted to perform inspections and testing. This ensures that the electrician carries out the work in compliance with the relevant regulations and is responsible for any damage or accidental injury during the inspection and testing process. Homeowners, building managers, employers and landlords can find certified electricians via the Competent Person Electrical Register.

Paine Manwaring has extensive experience in performing periodic electrical inspections and testing.

Follow the links to find out more about our domestic and commercial electrical services. 

How much does a periodic electrical inspection cost?

The cost of a periodic electrical inspection and testing can vary depending on several factors such as the size of the property, the complexity of the electrical systems, and the specific requirements of the inspection. Additionally, prices may vary based on the location and the individual service provider.

For an accurate cost estimate, it’s best to reach out to a qualified electrical service provider like Paine Manwaring directly. They can assess your needs and provide you with a tailored quote based on your specific requirements.

Advice for Landlords, Homeowners and Employers

Finding a registered and experienced electrician to carry out your periodic electrical inspection and testing is key to ensuring the legal compliance and the safety of your home or building, and ultimately the wellbeing of your family, friends and co-workers.

Qualified electricians, such as our staff at Paine Manwaring, can go the extra step of advising you of any underlying issues and provide tailored recommendations to mitigate risks and optimise the performance of your electrical systems. With our commitment to excellence and dedication to safety, you can have peace of mind knowing that your home or building is in capable hands.

Paine Manwaring is an established, professional and highly experienced supplier of plumbing, heating and electrical services to domestic and commercial customers throughout Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire.

For more information about the heating, plumbing and electrical services which we provide for both homes and businesses get in touch with a member of our expert and friendly team today on 01903 237522 or (Worthing) or 01243 784711 or (Chichester).