What is a periodic inspection?
A Periodic Inspection is an inspection on the condition of an existing electrical installation, to identify (in order of priority) any deficiencies against the national safety standard for electrical installations.
A periodic inspection will:
- reveal if any of your electrical circuits or equipment is overloaded
- find any potential electrical shock risks and fire hazards in your electrical installation
- identify any defective DIY electrical work
- highlight any lack of earthing or bonding
Tests are also carried out on wiring and associated fixed electrical equipment to check that it is safe. A schedule of circuits will also be provided, which is invaluable for a property.
Why is a periodic inspection needed?
Every electrical installation deteriorates with use and age. It is important for the person responsible for the maintenance of the installation to be sure that the safety of users is not put at risk, and that the installation continues to be in a safe and serviceable condition.
When is a periodic inspection needed?
It is recommended that periodic inspection and testing is carried out at least every:
- 10 years for a domestic installation
- 5 years for a commercial installation, Includes HMO's (Houses in Multi Occupation)
- 3 years for caravans
- 1 year for swimming pools
Other instances when a periodic inspection should be carried out are:
- when a property is being prepared to be let
- prior to selling a property or when buying a previously occupied property
Who should undertake a periodic inspection?
Periodic inspections should be carried out by a competent electrician.
What happens during a periodic inspection?
The electrician will check the electrical installation against the requirements of BS7671 - Requirements for Electrical Installations ( IEE Wiring Regulations) - as amended, which is the national safety standard for electrical installations, and contains around 850 Regulations.
The periodic inspection will take into account all relevant circumstances including the following factors:
a) adequacy of earthing and bonding
b) suitability of the switchgear and controlgear e.g. consumer unit e.g. an old fusebox with a wooden back, cast iron switches, a haphazard mixture of such equipment is likely to need replacing
c) serviceability of equipment e.g. switches, socket-outlets and light fittings e.g. older round pin sockets, round light switches and braided flex hanging from ceiling roses to light fittings, black switches, sockets mounted in skirting boards may require replacing.
d) type of wiring system and its condition e.g. cables coated in black- rubber, black-rubber was phased out in the 1960s or cables coated in lead or fabric are even older and may need replacing (modern cables use pvc insulation)
e) provision of residual current devices for socket-outlets that may be used to plug in electrical equipment used outdoors
f) presence of adequate identification and notices
g)extent of any wear and tear, damage or other deterioration
h) changes in use of the premises which have led to, or might lead to, deficiencies in the installation.
The electrician will provide a periodic inspection report (PIR) as part of the periodic inspection.
What is a periodic inspection report?
A periodic inspection report (PIR) is a formal method of recording the findings of the periodic inspection, on at least three pages for domestic installations and six pages for larger installations.
The main purpose of a PIR is to report on the safety condition of an existing installation. Box E on page 1 should describe the overall condition as either 'satisfactory', in which case no immediate remedial work is required, or 'unsatisfactory' which means remedial work is required to make the installation safe to use.
Where a PIR describes the installation as 'unsatisfactory', the next thing to look at is Box F on page 2 `Observations and Recommendations for Actions to be Taken'.
This is where any departures from BS 7671 are recorded, and a code to indicate the urgency of the action needed is given.
• Code 1 Requires urgent attention
• Code 2 Requires improvement
• Code 3 Requires further investigation
• Code 4 Does not comply with BS 7671
Code 1 indicates a dangerous, or potentially dangerous, condition that requires urgent attention to make the installation safe. Once the necessary remedial work has been completed, an appropriate certificate should be issued to confirm that the remedial work has been carried out in accordance with BS 7671.
The electrician will give a summary of the inspection in the report, which will give a clear indication of the condition of the electrical installation, taking into account all relevant circumstances.
Please contact us to arrange an inspection of your electrical installation.