Use Home Electrical Safety Inspection For Your Home Safety

What does an Electrical Safety Inspection Involve?

Similar to a vehicles MOT, an Electrical Installation Condition Report documents the condition of your electrical wiring and gives you a clear, concise, safety verdict (Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory) as well as a summary of the overall condition.  In addition, the  report also details any defects found and tells you how serious they may be.

For an average house the inspection and testing procedure takes 2-4 hours. The size of the property, any outbuildings, swimming pools, garden power & lighting etc. all affect the time and cost of an E.I.C.R.  Please call us to discuss your requirements and we will provide a fixed price quotation for an inspection specifically tailored to your needs.

The inspection & testing involves minimal disruption to the property. We do not need to lift floorboards, or make any mess. The procedure starts with walking around every room and outbuilding to make a visual inspection of the electrical installation. We then carry out a detailed set of tests at the fuse board / consumer unit and at sockets, light fittings, and other electrical outlets throughout the property. Once our on-site work is complete, we take our results back to the office to assess all the measurements and compile your report.

 

9 Tips for Passing an Electrical Inspection

If you are considering attempting your own electrical work on your next project, I implore you to apply for electrical permits from your local government.

Applying to do my own work was a simple process.  In this case, all I did was fill out a couple of simple forms where I stated my name, address, the scope of the work being performed (adding 4 recessed lights) and the estimated cost of the work related to the permit.  After about two weeks, the township called me and let me know my permit was approved and ready for pickup.  I paid a $61 fee to the township and got started on the rough-in work.  Once I complete the rough-in work, I schedule the inspector and he pays me a visit.

The most anxiety inducing part of this process is the rough-in inspection, but if you follow these general guidelines, you’ll be much more likely to pass the first time.

  1. Ask the Inspector First. When you schedule the inspector, try to actually have a conversation with him or her about what they expect to see and what pitfalls you can avoid.  All inspectors should be looking for the same checks, but some have additional requirements or pet-peeves that can fail you.  Checking with them first is a great way to establish a name to a face and get a sense of their general requirements.
  2. Don’t Add Any Devices. During the rough-in inspection, there can’t be any devices on the circuits you are adding. No outlets, no lights, no switches, nada, nunca.  If you are adding an outlet to an existing circuit, then the NEW outlet should also not be installed either.  The rest of the outlets on that circuit that were originally there are probably fine, but if you disturbed the wiring in any outlet, it shouldn’t have a device for the inspection.
  3. Tie Your Grounds Together. In each outlet or electrical box location, the ground wires should be tied together.  This is something my inspector noted today.  Don’t tie anything else together though.  The hot and neutral leads should remain separate.
  4. Fire Block. Any holes or penetrations from one floor to the next or from one wiring passage to the next needs to be blocked so as to prevent a fire using the hole as a breathing hole or chimney.  Typically, you can use fire block expanding foam (which is bright orange in color) or regular fiberglass insulation to fill or plug these kind of holes.
  5. Plug Holes in Boxes. This one was new to me and I’ll have to fix it.  The electrical box I used have these bendable tabs where the cable enters.  Well one of these tabs snapped off.  The inspector told me I need to plug it.  I’ll probably use insulation and jam it in the hole here.
  6. Use Correct Breaker. Another correction I’ll have to make is the circuit breaker I installed.  The breaker in this application needs to be an 15 amp Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) and I had installed a regular 15 amp breaker.  The AFCI’s prevent arcs and are required on all circuits that feed living spaces (I think).  You can buy AFCI’s in any hardware store and they are several times more expensive than regular breakers.
  7. Don’t Power the Circuit. Although the wires for the new circuit can be tied into the new breaker, the breaker needs to remain off or unpowered.  It shouldn’t be powered up until all the devices are installed.
  8. Cover the Wires with Wire Nuts. All the wire ends need to have wire nuts on them even if they don’t have any exposed conductor.  Same goes for the ground wires.
  9. Secure Cables with Staples. Cable runs need to be secured to framing every so many feet with cable staples.

That’s pretty much all I have for the rough-in inspection.  If you have any others, please leave them in the comments.  If you’ve never done your own electrical work, then I suggest you work with someone more experienced before you attempt it yourself.  Be safe and good luck.

 

The recommended frequency of Fixed Wire Testing varies between 1 and 5 years depending upon the business type, so how often do you need to test your workplace?

Fixed Wire Testing, also known as an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), checks that your electrical installations or circuits conform to the latest wiring regulations, in order to ensure you are compliant with relevant workplace safety legislation.

The frequency of testing is specified in the latest version of the IET Wiring Regulations (currently BS7671:2018) and is determined by;

  • The type of installation
  • How often it is used
  • The external influences or environment to which the electrical installation is exposed.

For many commercial businesses, an EICR, which used to be called a periodic testing report, will be required at the lowest frequency interval – every 5 Years. However, higher risk environments will require 3 Yearly or even more frequent testing.

It should be noted that all stated periods are maximum intervals. Deterioration of the installation may indicate a need to reduce the interval between testing.

5 Year Fixed Wire Testing

Most standard workplace environments need an Electrical Installation Condition Report to be produced at least every 5 years. However, there should be regular routine inspections conducted at least annually.

Typical workplaces which require 5 Yearly Fixed Wire Testing include:

  • Commercial spaces such as offices and retail outlets
  • Hotels and restaurants (excluding spa hotels)
  • Schools, colleges and universities
  • Laboratories
  • Community centres, churches and public houses
  • Care homes and hospitals (excluding medical locations)
  • Halls of residence, houses of multiple occupancy

3 Year or 1 Year Fixed Wire Testing

Environments which, for example, are exposed to moisture, dust, extreme temperatures or which are open to the general public constitute a higher risk and therefore require more frequent testing. These workplaces require testing every 1 -3 years, with more frequent routine inspections also required.

Typical workplaces or environments which require 3 or 1 year Fixed Wire Testing include:

  • Spa hotels and leisure centres – 3 years
  • Industrial Units – 3 years
  • Theatres and places of public entertainment – 3 years
  • Caravans – 3 years
  • Cinemas – 1 year (front of house), 3 years (back of house)
  • Agricultural or horticultural establishments – 3 years
  • Medical locations in hospitals or clinics – 1 year
  • Swimming pools and saunas – 1 year
  • Caravan Parks and Marinas – 1 year
  • Fish Farms, Laundrettes, Petrol Stations – 1 year

 

 

Getting electrical work done

When you hire an electrician to do work on your home, make sure they are licensed and issue a Certificate of Compliance for their work. While you can do a limited amount of electrical work on your own home, unless you are sufficiently skilled, it is much better to get an electrician to undertake the work.

The law allows homeowners to do a limited amount of electrical work in their home.

Any person other than a homeowner who carries out prescribed electrical work is required to be registered by the Electrical Workers Registration Board (EWRB). All electrical workers who carry out electrical work in return for payment or reward must hold an annual practising licence.

When you contract an electrical worker always ask to see their practising licence and check the expiry date. This is proof that the worker is qualified to do electrical work safely.

Note: the colour of the licence changes every two years.  If you are unsure if your electrical worker is licensed get in touch with the EWRB

Certificate of Compliance (CoC)

Electricians must issue a Certificate of Compliance (CoC) to customers when doing any fixed wiring work, including fitting new power points. CoCs are not issued for maintenance work, such as replacing sockets and light fittings or repairing appliances.

The CoC indicates that the work done is electrically safe and has been carried out in accordance with New Zealand’s electrical safety standards and codes. It also shows they have tested their work once completed.

Keep your CoC in a safe place as a record of the work done on your property. It is an important document and may be required for insurance claims or when you are selling your home.

A CoC guarantees that the work:

  • has been completed by a licensed electrician
  • meets safety standards set by law, and
  • has been tested.
  • Electrical safety inspections

The law also requires some electrical work to be inspected, particularly work on the main switchboard, the main cable, and the main earth. The electrician you employ is responsible for arranging for a licensed electrical inspector to carry out the inspection. Keep the inspection report with your CoCs, a copy of this guide and other important information.

 

Do an Electrical Inspection Before You Buy a Home

Before you buy a home, you—or a professional—should inspect the electrical installation and its components. You could have the county or city inspector take a look, or you could find an electrical contractor to help you with the task. However you do it, make sure that the home is up to date and safety standards as required by the National Electrical Code.

You should have an electrical service that is large enough to supply the home and have room for future expansion. The wiring should be grounded and in good working order. The switches and outlets should be inspected to ensure they are in good working order and of the right type. Here are some of the electrical components of the electrical system that should be inspected.

Receptacles

The receptacles, often called outlets, should be inspected to make sure that they have a ground, don’t have any cracks or physical defects, that they have the proper tension to hold in a cord that is plugged into them, and that they are the proper type for the area. Specific areas to watch are bathrooms, kitchens, basements, garages, and outdoor outlets. Any of these areas could be wet or damp and are required to have ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) installed. Kitchens require many special outlets and circuits to supply the vast number of kitchen appliances in them.

Common Mistakes

There are plenty of common electrical mistakes that people make, and you may be wondering if the old wiring is safe or whether your home has aluminum wiring. Check for incorrect electrical wiring and signs that a previous owner overloaded a circuit.

Service Panel

To examine the electrical system even further, you can perform a service panel checklist examination. It will take some time to do all of this, but it is well worth the effort. After all, you wouldn’t buy a sinking ship with holes in it, and you shouldn’t buy a faulty home either. If you know the defects ahead of time and negotiate the price to offset the faults, you may get the home of your dreams at a price that you can afford!

Wiring Lifespan

Electrical wiring has a certain safe lifespan, and standards have changed over the years—knob and tube wiring was state of the art in its day, but it’s now outdated. Just like the electrical switches and outlets wear out and need to be replaced from time to time, the wiring should be updated when necessary.

Future Expansion

The home’s electrical service should be large enough for the current size of the house, with room to spare. Even if you are not planning an addition now, it is safer to have some breathing room.

Be sure to check the lighting for safety as well. Look in areas like basements, hallways, staircases, and garages—these areas should have sufficient lighting to ensure safety while passing through each. Also check outdoor lighting to see if the lighting is sufficient to enter and enter your home.