Unless you plan on living by candlelight and mother nature, there’s a good chance that you’ll be using electricity to power your home. As such, it’s absolutely essential to not only ensure that your property has working electricity, but also that it is safe to use.
Over the course of this guide we will explain what an Electrical Inspection Condition Report is, why it’s important and how you can go about getting your property inspected.
What is an Electrical Inspection Condition Report?
As the name suggests, an Electrical Inspection Condition Report (EICR) is a report that inspects and grades the condition of the electrical system in your property.
Unlike gas which can be smelt, or fire which can be seen and felt, electricity cannot be seen. Hidden away from view in cables and wiring, (most of which is often behind walls), the only time we interact with electricity is when we touch a light switch or an outlet. Therefore, unlike other types of energy (or visual damage to the property), we often cannot see issues with electrical systems until it is already too late.
An EICR then seeks to thoroughly examine and inspect switches and sockets in your home, as well as the wiring that powers them. In most cases, faulty wiring and insufficient shielding are often the cause of many electrical-based housefires, and as such, if you wish to prevent an electrical fire in your home, it’s a good idea to consider an Electrical Inspection Condition Report.
When Should an EICR Be Done?
If you’re already a homeowner or landlord, then ideally an EICR should be undertaken on your property at least once every 10 years to ensure that all the wiring meets current standards and that there is no damage throughout the system. If you have a swimming pool then your system should be checked more regularly however. Also, if you have previously had a rodent infestation then it might also be worth asking an electrician to give your system a thorough inspection just in case pests have damaged the wiring during their unwanted stay in your property.
Most importantly however, an EICR should always be carried out when buying a property, regardless of whether it is a new build or a pre-loved home. Failing to conduct an EICR when buying a home leaves you at greater risk of suffering electrical fires or other electrical faults throughout your ownership, and can help safeguard your investment.
How are EICR’s Done?
Now that you know what an EICR is, why it’s important and often you should have one done, it’s a good idea to also understand just how it’s carried out in the first place.
There are two types of EICR that you can do to check the safety of the electrics in your home.
The first, and most basic is known as a ‘visual condition report’ – This level of reporting is made for newer homes or your own property that has only recently had its electricals installed or tested. Under a visual condition report an electrical engineer will inspect the property and ensure the basic tips such as ensuring that there are no damaged plugs or sockets in the property and that you have not overloaded any of the outlets.
The second type of report is known as a ‘periodic inspection report’ and it is this level of report that goes into much more detail about the true state of the electrical situation within the property. With a periodic inspection report the engineer will test outlets and examine wiring leading to and from your fusebox to ensure that all circuits (including those hidden behind walls) are safe, and do not pose a risk.
If you’re looking to sell your home, having an up-to-date (and positive) periodic inspection carried out on your property is a great way to reassure buyers and can also help to speed up the house buying process.
Regardless of whichever type you decide to go with however, all EICR’s must be done by a qualified and registered electrician. Click here to find a local electrician near you.
EICR’s are graded using a three-level code system to inform you of any issues that occurred during their inspection, these codes are:
Code C1 represents that there is a genuine danger to human life should the electrics in the property be used while in their current state. In order for the property to become hospitable, immediate action is required to repair the issues raised.
Code C2 refers to problems that are potentially dangerous and require urgent action to be resolved. However, unlike a Code C1, the property is deemed safe to live in until the required action is taken.
A Code C3 rating means that while improvement to the wiring is recommended, it is not essential that you undertake the task immediately. You can choose to make minor improvements straight away, or wait until a later date to carry out any required work.
How Much Does it Cost & How Long Does it Take?
Unfortunately, as the cost of an EICR can vary depending on a number of factors including the age of the property, the location, the size, the number of circuits that the electrician needs to check as well as which electrician you hire, it’s impossible to give an exact price on just how much a EICR is going to cost you.
Some online electrician companies claim to offer prices as low as £80, while reputable online trade website checkatrade gives the ballpark figure of approximately £125. Whether you go with the most expensive trader or the cheapest price available, the most important thing is to ensure that the person you hire is a qualified electrician. Click here to search for qualified electricians who are ready to conduct an EICR and work in your home.
In most cases, an EICR takes around 3-4 hours to complete but this again differs depending on the job itself and how many circuits, sockets and switches the electrician needs to look at.