Marchwood Maintenance Company have been undertaking Test and Inspections on Commercial, Industrial and Domestic properties for nearly 20 Years.

I am qualified to City and Guilds 2391 Test and Inspection level and adhere to the strict guidelines set out by the NICEIC and IEE Wiring Regulations BS7671 and Guidance Note 3.

I always issue certificates where required, these are now in the form of a paper copy, email PDF version or both if required.

i offer a full and concise fault finding service. Using the latest test equipment from Megger.

call us if you require this service.

What is Fixed Wire Testing?

You may hear Fixed Testing referred to as the following:

  • Electrical Installation Condition Reporting
  • EICR
  • Periodic Inspection and Testing
  • Fixed Wire Testing
  • Hard Wire Testing
  • Test & Inspection
  • Fixed Testing
  • Periodic Testing
  • Electrical Testing

What is Fixed Wire Inspection & Testing?

Fixed Testing involves testing the electrical installations and systems that conduct electricity around the building. It covers all of the electrical wiring in a building and includes main panels, distribution boards, lighting, socket outlets, air conditioning and other fixed plant. Once the electrical installation has been tested and verified as safe, an EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) is issued.


What is involved in testing a Fixed Electrical Installation?

Specialist fixed wire testing engineers employed to complete the fixed wire testing should initially aim to correctly identify all circuits in an installation by looking at a combination of circuit labelling and previous test information and by carrying out circuit tracing where necessary, prior to commencing testing.

The engineer will then conduct a visual and physical assessment of the electrical installation using specially designed testing equipment. In order to complete fixed wire testing safely and effectively, electrical circuits will need to be disconnected briefly during testing.

Guidance Note 3 of the IEE Wiring Regulations states:

"Where diagrams, charts or tables are not available, a degree of exploratory work may be necessary so that inspection and testing can be carried out safely and effectively. A survey may be necessary to identify switchgear, controlgear, and the circuits they control."


Minimising workplace disruption

Fixed Electrical Testing inevitably causes some disruption on the site due to the requirements for disconnecting electrical circuits at various times during the testing. For this reason, careful planning and time management is essential in order to identify potential challenges and ways to minimise these. In practice, fixed wire testing is often best performed outside of normal working hours.

Guidance Note 3 states:

"Periodic tests should be made in such a way as to minimise disturbance of the installation and inconvenience to the user. Where it is necessary to disconnect part or whole of the installation in order to carry out a test, the disconnection should be made at a time agreed with the user and for the minimum period needed to carry out the test. Where more than one test necessitates a disconnection where possible they should be made during one disconnection period.

A careful check should be made of the type of equipment on site so that the necessary precautions can be taken, where conditions require, to disconnect or short-out electronic and other equipment which may be damaged by testing."


EICR Report

The results and extent of fixed testing should be recorded on an Electrical Installation Condition Report and provided to the person who ordered the inspection, usually the Duty Holder. The report must include the extent of the work, limitations, details of defects and dangerous conditions, and schedules of inspections and test results.

Immediately dangerous conditions should be rectified or reported without delay to the relevant duty holder. Other recommendations and observations should be reported using standard observation codes to indicate the severity of each observation.

EICR and observation reports can be provided and stored in any format (printed or digital) and many contractors now offer online document access as part of the service, providing easy access to the client.


Testing Intervals

The frequency of periodic inspection and testing must be determined taking into account:

  • the type of installation
  • its use and operation
  • the frequency and quality of maintenance
  • the external influences to which it is subjected

The table below provides guidance on the frequency of formal inspections of electrical installations as well as routine checks. (Table extracted from BS7671 IET Wiring Regulations 18th Edition: 2018).

Type of Installation            Routine check      Maximum period between
inspections and testing
as necessary

General Installation

Domestic accommodation -
general
Domestic accommodation -
rented houses and flats
-

1 year
change of occupancy/10 years
change of occupancy/5 years
Residential accommodation (Houses of
Multiple Occupation) - halls of residence,
nurses accommodation, etc.
1 yearchange of occupancy/5 years
Educational establishments6 months5 years
Industrial1 year3 years
Commercial1 yearChange of occupancy/5 years
Offices1 year5 years
Shops1 year5 years
Laboratories1 year5 years

Hospitals and Clinics

Hospitals and medical clinics -
general areas
Hospitals and medical clinics -
medical locations
1 year

6 months
5 years

1 year

Buildings open to the public

Cinemas1 year1-3 years
Church installations1 year5 years
Leisure complexes
(excluding swimming pools)
1 year3 years
Places of public entertainment1 year3 years
Restaurants and hotels1 year5 years
Theatres1 year3 years
Public houses1 year5 years
Village halls/Community centres1 year5 years

Special and specific installations
(for medical locations see above)

Agricultural and horticultural1 year3 years
Swimming pools4 months1 year
Caravans
Caravan parks
1 year
6 months
3 years
1 year
Highway power suppliesas convenient6-8 years
Marinas4 months1 year
Fish farms4 months1 year
Emergency lightingdaily/monthly3 years
Fire alarmsdaily/weekly1 year
Launderettesmonthly1 year
Petrol filling stations1 year1 year
Construction site installations3 months3 months

Fixed Wire Testing - Legal Requirements

Fixed wire testing involves testing the electrical installations within a building to ensure they are safe. Employers are legally required to comply with a number of workplace safety regulations which are designed to protect the health and safety of employees and visitors.

These laws, detailed below, are enforced by the Heath & Safety Executive (HSE).

  • Health & Safety at Work Act 1974
  • Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999
  • Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
  • Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) is a government department which aims to prevent electrical injuries by enforcing health and safety law and by promoting good practice in the design, use and maintenance of electrical systems.


The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974

The Health & Safety at Work Act puts the duty of care upon both the employer and the employee "to ensure the health, safety and wellfare of all persons at work and in protecting persons other than persons at work against risks to health or safety arising out of or in connection with the activities of persons at work". This includes the self employed.

The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999: Risk Assessment

"(1) Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of:

(a) the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work; and

(b) the risks to the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him of his undertaking."

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989: Regulation systems, work activities and protective equipment

"(1) All systems shall at all times be of such construction as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, danger.

(2) As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, such danger.

(3) Every work activity, including operation, use and maintenance of a system and work near a system, shall be carried out in such a manner as not to give rise, so far as is reasonably practicable, to danger.

(4) Any equipment provided under these Regulations for the purpose of protecting persons at work on or near electrical equipment shall be suitable for the use for which it is provided, be maintained in a condition suitable for that use, and be properly used."

The Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare Regulations) 1992

The Workplace Regulations are broad and Regulation 5 also places an emphasis on maintenance of systems and equipment

"5 (1) The workplace and the equipment, devices and systems to which this regulation applies shall be maintained (including cleaned as appropriate) in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.

(2) Where appropriate, the equipment, devices and systems to which this regulation applies shall be subject to a suitable system of maintenance."

Scope of the legislation

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Electricity At Work Regulations 1989 apply to all electrical equipment used in, or associated with, places of work. The scope extends from distribution systems down to the smallest piece of electrical equipment.

It is clear that there is a requirement to inspect and test all types of electrical equipment in all work situations in order to keep the employer and employee safe.

In addition to the above legislative requirements some or all of the following types of organisations may also require that an electrical inspection and test programme is implemented:

  • Insurance Companies
  • Mortgage Lenders
  • Licensing Authorities
  • Public Bodies
  • Landlords

Inspection Reports (EICR)

Following the completion of any periodic electrical inspection and test programme the client should be provided with a full and detailed Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) for the works carried out.

The report should include details of the following aspects on the inspection and test:

  • Details of the client and installation
  • Extent and limitations of the inspection
  • Supply characteristics and particulars of the installation
  • Schedule of items inspected and tested
  • Schedules of circuit details and test results
  • Summary of the inspection and test
  • Observations and recommendations for actions to be taken
  • Signed declaration by the contractor

In practice reports are usually provided using official numbered NICEIC certificates or in a similar format using one of the bespoke software packages available. The NICEIC format is the most widely recognised and may be a requirement for certain insurance companies or legislative organisations.

Electrical Installation Condition Reports should be retained for the lifetime of the installation and should be made available by the client to any contractor who carries out the inspection and test in the future.

Learn more about Fixed Wire Test Reports and understanding observation codes.