Dear reader, hoping you're good and the gradual releasing of lockdown restrictions is making things a little easier.
I wrote a few weeks ago about the Government's proposal for enforcing mandatory 5-year electrical safety checks in the private rented sector from July this year - namely, an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) - if you haven't already read our first article, please follow this link to provide you with a better context and understanding of the sections within this article before continuing.
As mentioned in my previous correspondence, currently there is no legal requirement to do so - however the guidance due to be issued will most certainly make it mandatory for all new Tenancies from 1st July 2020. Note: if your Tenancy commenced prior to this date, the deadline for providing an EICR is 1st April 2021 - we will be in touch with each of you directly about when yours will be due.
In this newsletter, I'll run through: the purpose of the EICR, what works are actually done at the property, the type of remedials that may be needed and the overall cost to get everything in place.
As always, updates on other areas will be sent out in due course.
Okay so remind me, what purpose does the EICR serve?
The main purpose of periodic inspection and testing is to detect so far as is reasonably practicable, and to report on, any factors impairing or likely to impair the safety of an electrical installation.
The procedures should also identify any deficiencies for which remedial action would contribute to a significant improvement in the safety of the electrical installation.
It is essential to provide a clear summary of the condition of the installation having considered, for example:
- The adequacy of the earthing and bonding arrangements
- The suitability of the consumer unit and other control equipment
- The type(s) of wiring system, and its condition
- The serviceability of equipment, including accessories
- The extent of any wear and tear, damage or other deterioration
What does the electrician actually do at the property?
Time at the property can vary between 2-4 hours, so what's done in that time?:
- The electrician will run a test off the fusebox on each circuit using a machine
- Inspect a percentage of the items throughout the property attached to each circuit (e.g light switches, plug sockets, heaters, smoke alarms etc).
- Compile the report with all finding and categorise in terms of the things that need immediate attention and items that are advisories
- Compile the report with all findings
70% of EICR reports so far have indicated a potential breach - will I incur further costs?
As mentioned in my previous newsletter... If the EICR report comes back with recommendations on works necessary to adhere to the standards, you will be required to:
- Either perform the works required there and then if possible, or investigate within 28 days
- Time limit can be shorter if breach is considered serious and will clearly be marked on the report
- Provide Tenant and Local Authority with new report to confirm safety standards are met
Where, during the course of inspection or testing, an immediate danger is found to be present in an installation (from an accessible exposed live part, for example), immediate action will be necessary to make it safe before continuing.
We have found that the average cost of remedial works is approximately £150 - a summary of the type of items are:
- Consumer unit/fuse board has a blank missing (meaning access to live parts)
- Socket outlet damaged or not working
- Light switch damaged or not working
- Pendant light damaged or deteriorating
- Bathroom light/ lights have no means of ingress protection
- Loose connections on the installation
How much will EICR cost in total?
The cost of us organising and getting the 5-year report completed is £144 including VAT (a 10% share of this payment is received by us - this does not affect the amount you pay or your ability to choose a different service provider).
In addition to this, I think it's a good idea for us to be able to authorise immediate safety repairs up to a value of £150 - we will be on-site, will have the common parts ready in the van so my idea is - it needs doing guys, let's save LOTS of time, get it done there and then to save additional call-out charges.
Property EICRs are like car MOTs...
So there it is, more legislation but we've done our homework and are definitely well positioned to do something about it - and as always, will do everything we can to protect your investment whilst ensuring all 't's are crossed and 'i's dotted.
Having read pages and pages on electrical testing over the last four weeks, I think it's my brain that's getting hot and is going to need testing for sure! You're more than welcome to put your brain at risk of meltdown too, here's the best article I found (click for PDF download).
If however, you'd like a summary version - here's a quick analogy that will save you from getting into the technical jargon and nitty gritty:
In this case, I'm thinking of property EICRs like car MOTs... Fixed cost for the test, inspection and report PLUS necessary works to pass and advisories to keep an eye on for the future.
Maybe we've all felt that sense of, "Can I really trust that this work definitely needs to be done?" My role in EICRs is to prevent you thinking this.
It's why we have very carefully selected David and Phil as electricians to get the job done. We know and trust them, they are meticulous and thorough and above all else they believe in leaving a property SAFE as opposed to just rushing the job for a quick buck.
There are cheap versions of this report, if you search Google you'll see it for yourselves. My opinion on this: a) cheap doesn't = safe and b) cheap certainly doesn't mean cheaper in the long-run - I'm certainly concerned that the remedials bill will be a strategy for income with these types of suppliers.
In terms of safety, here's a tangible example: cheap suppliers will more than likely have to cut corners - one way to do that... inspect less circuits, in some instances as low as 10%. Is it really safe to leave a property when you've only examined 1 in 10 light switches, or 1 in 10 sockets knowing that 100% of these items are being used by PEOPLE every single day?
We are committing to inspect AT LEAST 50%... at this level we leave the property satisfied that it's safe, we have enough data to determine a trend to therefore make an informed interpolation about the rest.
As always, we work with you in partnership and do our level best by you where we can. And it's with this, that we always prioritise safety for your Tenants whilst maximising your income and keeping you strictly compliant to all legalities.
Sincerest regards, Ali.