The Ultimate Fixed Wire Testing Guide

What is fixed wire testing?

Fixed wire testing inspects and assesses an electrical installation’s main electrical wiring system to ensure it is safe to use and complies with British Standard BS 7671.

What is an electrical installation?

An electrical installation includes all fixed electrical equipment that is supplied through an electricity meter. It comprises cables, accessories (like sockets, switches and light fittings), Distribution boards, circuit breakers and residual current devices (RCDs).

Is fixed wire testing known by any other terms?

Fixed wire testing is also known as:

-Electrical testing

-Periodic inspection and testing

-EICR testing

-EICR report

-Electrical Installation Condition Reporting

-Hard wire testing

What does fixed wire testing involve?

Fixed wire testing involves inspecting and testing electrical installations and circuits to ensure they are safe to use.

All electrical installations must meet the wiring regulations laid out by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and British Standard BS 7671.

The test includes a visual inspection, as well as a physical test using specially designed testing equipment.

It checks all low voltage electrical systems in a building, including main panels, distribution boards, lights and plug sockets, looking for overloads, defects and hazards that may cause harm or present a risk to life.

The results of the test are presented back to the person responsible (known as the ‘duty holder’) in the form of an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR).

Who can carry out a fixed wire test?

Always use an approved contractor to carry out any electrical testing. phs Compliance is fully accredited by the NICEIC as an approved contractor and all of our professional electrical remedial engineers are fully qualified, including:

-C&G 2360 Parts 1 & 2

-C&G 2391/2394 and 2395 combined

-BS 7671 18th edition

-IPAF

-PASMA

How often do I need a fixed wire test?

It is recommended that electrical checks are conducted on an annual basis to ensure compliance with the Electrical Work Regulations 1989.

Electrical installations require testing in accordance with BS7671 and the guidance laid out for this type of inspection, which is held within GN3 (guidance note 3) for testing and inspection. It is the assigned duty holders responsibility within an organisation to organise for these works to be undertaken.

Most electrical installations require testing every one to five years, depending on:

-The type of electrical installation

-How often it is used

-The environment it is in

For example, most offices, retail spaces, schools or care homes would require less frequent testing - once every five years.

However, a higher risk environment, like a swimming pool (exposed to high levels of moisture) or an industrial unit (with high dust levels), would require more frequent testing to ensure safety- every one to three years, depending on the risk levels.

If you are unsure how often your electrical installations need testing, please contact a member of the phs Compliance team, who will be happy to advise you.

Is fixed wire testing a legal requirement?

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 require those who are in control of an electrical system, or part of an electrical system, to ensure it is regularly maintained and safe to use.

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, it is also an employer’s duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all employees. This includes ensuring all electrical equipment and installations are safe to use.

Fixed wire testing is the best way to demonstrate compliance and ensure safety.

EICR reports and the required audit trail from identification of defects, to rectification, and EIC certificates are often a requirement for insurers, landlords and mortgage companies too.

What does an EICR report show?

An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) presents the results of the fixed wire testing. It is given to the duty holder by the company carrying out the testing to demonstrate compliance.

The report includes the extent of the work, limitations, details of defects and any dangerous conditions, schedules of inspections and the test results themselves, which will be either ‘satisfactory’ or ‘unsatisfactory’.

Any problems with the electrical installation will be listed as ‘observations’ on the report and coded according to their risk levels.

What do the EICR observation codes mean?

Code C1

This represents an immediate danger and risk of injury. The section of installation, or installation itself must be turned off and not used until the problem is fixed. It will result in an unsatisfactory report.

Code C2

C2 represents a potential danger that needs urgent remedial action. It usually points towards a risk of injury from contact with live parts. It will result in an unsatisfactory report.

Code F1

This refers to the need for immediate further investigation and can result in an unsatisfactory report.

Code C3

This represents ‘improvement recommended’ and usually identifies something that does not comply, but is not dangerous at this time. It will not usually result in an overall unsatisfactory report.

What to do if the EICR report is ‘unsatisfactory’

Any electrical defeats identified must be made safe by law.

Any areas of the installation needing repairs will have to be fixed and the relevant documents created to demonstrate these defects have been rectified, these documents can include a MEIWC (Minor works certificate), EIC (installation certificate), or by the way of standard documentation for anything that does not require test readings.

phs Compliance provides professional remedial and repair work for electrical installations, even if we haven’t carried out the testing. We repair and make safe over 5000 businesses every year.

Talk to our team about how we can help you fix any defects.

What is an EIC certificate or MEIWC Certificate?

If an electrical installation achieves an unsatisfactory status within an EICR report then there are defects that require rectifying. A minor works certificate or EIC certificate are used to demonstrate that these defects have been corrected in accordance with BS7671

The EICR report, associated MEIWC, or EIC and other documentation should be kept together in a safe place. These can be presented to demonstrate compliance – for example, to insurers or landlords.

Find out more about EIC and MEIWC certificates here

How long does a fixed wire test take?

This will vary depending on the scale and complexity of the electrical installation. phs Compliance engineers are fully qualified and experienced, working quickly and safely to minimise disruption to your business. Talk to our team for advice on your specific installation.

How much does a fixed wire test cost?

Again, this will vary depending on the electrical installation being tested. We will be happy to provide you with a quote.

Is fixed wire testing the same as PAT testing?

No. Portable Appliance Testing – also known as PAT testing – is the examination of portable electrical equipment and appliances, such as laptops, lamps, kettles and drills.

See phs Compliance’s Ultimate Guide to PAT Testing.

Enquire About Fixed Wire Testing

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