Electrical Installation Condition Report

What Does EICR Stand For?

EICR stands for Electrical Installation Condition Report, this is the same as what used to be called a Periodic Inspection Report. 

What Is An EICR?

An EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) is the name of the certificate that is issued after a suitable, competent person, usually a qualified electrician, has carried out a test of a property to assess its electrical safety. 

When undertaking an EICR, the electrician will visually inspect a varied selection of accessories (sockets/ lights/ switches) to verify that the electrical installation is in satisfactory condition. The visual inspection determines that the connections are tight and termination of cables are good with no signs of heat damage. They will also perform a series of tests to find out if there are any defects in the fixed wiring of an installation.

EICR Codes

Upon completion of the testing, an EICR certificate will be issued detailing any defects within the electrical installation. For this, we have a coding system for the severity of any defects. 

These are classified as Code 1, Code 2, Code 3 and FI. which means there is immediate danger. 

A code 1 issue should be either disconnected from the installation at the time of test to make it safe or rectified immediately. A Code 1 will result in an unsatisfactory certificate. 

A Code 2 issue means that there is a potential that the issue can become dangerous and if left, will become a code 1 over time. A code 2 issue should be highlighted on the report and a quote to rectify should be given by the electrician. If there are any code 2 issues on a certificate, this will also result in an unsatisfactory certificate.

A code 3 issue will be less serious and means that improvement is recommended. It will sometimes be because the electrical regulations change over time and, despite being done correctly when installed, it is now out of date. A common example currently is the use of plastic consumer units in a domestic property which would be coded as a C3, although it doesn’t mean that the installation is unsafe. A C3 could also be small defects for example a lack of sleeving on cables to identify them or lack of RCD (residual current device) protection. 

FI stands for further investigation. This could be because the test results that are obtained when carrying out the tests using a test-meter do not give the results we expect to find. It could also be because access was restricted for a number of reasons. 

For even more information on the coding system see this helpful piece here.

How long does an EICR last? 

An EICR can be compared to an MOT on a car. It is valid from the day it has been tested and it should be valid for 5 years for commercial installation and tenanted properties but 10 years for privately owned homes, although this is just a guideline and the frequency will be determined by a number of factors like: wear and tear on the installation, how high risk the area is, the age of the installation and the condition at the time of testing. 

Some business owners and facilities companies prefer a sample of 20% carried out each year to spread the cost over a 5 year period, this also means that any defects that can occur over time are highlighted sooner. This helps to avoid any minor issues turning into major issues if the testing is only done once every 5 years.

Who is responsible for EICR on a commercial property?

It is the responsibility of the landlord of a commercial property to ensure the safety of the electrical installation. This also includes rectifying any defects that would be classed as Code 1 or Code 2 issues. 

Any new tenant should ask the landlord for a copy of the up to date Electrical Installation Condition Report and ensure it has been identified as Satisfactory in the section labelled “Summary of the Condition of the Installation”. If you lease the property, you should always check your lease agreement to find out what responsibilities land with you and what the landlord is responsible for.

Do I need a new EICR for a new tenant?

It is not a legal requirement to have a new EICR when there is a change of tenant, although you may want to have the property inspected to ensure the previous tenants haven’t tampered with the electrical installation and no undue wear and tear has occurred during their tenancy. The legal requirement is for it to be renewed every 5 years.

How long does an EICR take?

This all depends on how many circuits are coming from your Distribution Board or Consumer Unit. Most domestic properties can be tested in a morning where a larger factory or office will take a number of days. They may also be required to be undertaken outside of normal working hours due to the power outages required for the testing to take place. 

How much does an EICR cost?

The way an EICR is priced is usually based on a cost per circuit, so for smaller installations, for example, a small flat or house it could be as little as £150-£200. A small to medium sized premises it would be between £1000-£2000, and then for very large factories and offices it would be substantially more.

There will most likely be limitations on the circuits that we are able to test. In larger premises we will mark as a limitation to test any circuits over 3 metres in height, so this would rule out testing high level lighting circuits in most factories, unless the client specifies this is a requirement. In which case, high level powered access equipment would need to be considered which would then increase costs and time. 

Is an EICR a legal requirement?

From April 2021 it became a legal requirement for all domestic landlords to have their property tested and to have a satisfactory certificate to prove the electrical safety of their properties. This should be carried out at a minimum every 5 years. 

For commercial landlords, there is no legal requirement to have a valid EICR, although it is the responsibility of commercial landlords and business owners to comply with the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and the Health and Safety at Work act 1974. Having a valid EICR is proving adherence to these regulations and shows a business’ commitment to keeping their staff and the public safe. Additionally, it would most likely invalidate any insurance claims if a commercial building is not being maintained properly.  

Who can carry out an EICR?

It is important for anyone requesting a person or business to complete an EICR to establish whether the person or business is competent to carry out the work requested. A sign of this could be that they are part of a certificating body, for example NICEIC or Napit. Also, for domestic properties this could be that they are part of the Competent Person Scheme. This will mean that the person or business has been audited, usually annually by the accreditation bodies who will inspect their processes and quality of their work. This ensures it is being carried out to the correct standard in line with the most up to date version of the British Standard, electrical wiring regulation BS7671 and the business is operating as it should.  

Can I get a copy of my EICR certificate?

After the EICR has been carried out, the certificate should be issued to you for your records. If this is misplaced or destroyed for any reason, you should be able to request a new copy from the person or business that carried out the testing. 

Where can I find my EICR certificate?

You should have been issued the certificate upon completion of the testing from the person or company carrying out the report. An example of a completed EICR certificate can be found here.

What does an EICR involve?

This involves a series of tests using a calibrated test meter and visual inspection of the electrical accessories (sockets, switches and lights). The tests will be performed mainly on de-energised circuits, this means that the power will be off for short periods whilst some of the testing is carried out. For this reason, a lot of commercial buildings prefer the testing to be carried out outside of normal working hours. 

When the testing is completed the person or business that has carried out the work will issue an Electrical Installation Condition Report Certificate which is broken down into sections and will have all of the details and notes that have been obtained during the testing procedure. Any defects and recommendations that are recorded will be on the observations page and their relevant coding will be there to indicate the severity of the defect.