Electrical Inspections for home buyers/sellers
Buying or selling a property is a stressful enough experience without the potential delays that could be forced upon you by the other side demanding checks are carried out to the electrical installation. All electrical installations deteriorate with age and use and although legally a Domestic Electrical Installation Condition Report is not required prior to selling a property, more and more potential buyers are insisting upon it before they complete.
If any Part P notifiable work has been carried out since 2005 a record of this work should be available from the local authority, that is of course if the homeowner was aware that this work should have been certified to them in the first place, and of course, if the electrician that carried out the work issued the required certification.
Although these regulations were introduced in 2005 they were not heavily advertised at the time and the consequences of not having a properly registered electrician carrying out notifiable work was hardly mentioned. The majority of householders simply carried on doing their own electrical work or having a friend of a friend do it for them. Only now that they are trying to sell the property does this uncertified work come to light.
The consequences of uncertified work can be quite serious, should an electrical fire happen within the property, the local fire investigation officer will file a report with the homeowners insurance company as a standard part of the claim, the first thing the insurance company will do is check with the local authority that any notifiable works carried out since 2005 were properly certified, if the relevant certificates are not filed with the local authority the insurance company could claim the works were unsafe and not carried out by a properly competent person and refuse to pay out on the claim. This of course is a worst case scenario; there can be much more likely problems that can occur when the electrical installation within a home has been worked on by an unregistered or incompetent person.
Badly installed or extended circuits can be a fire hazard, cables installed that are not fit for purpose can burn through or melt causing damage to the property as well as the electrical installation. The most common situation however, are faults occurring through the property that could initially be intermittent and almost impossible to find, the constant inconvenience of the electrics tripping could indicate a much larger problem just around the corner.
As a homeowner that's selling, or as a potential buyer the only way to be sure is to have an electrical inspection carried out, although it's impossible to examine in detail every inch of cable installed within the property it will certainly ascertain whether the installation has been changed from its original design or circuits have been added or extended. Testing of the circuits within the property will also indicate if they have been installed safely and are still in a condition for continued use.
Once the inspection and testing procedure has been completed a comprehensive report is then issued to the person ordering the inspection, should any deviations to the current wiring regulations be found a covering letter explaining these deviations is included together with a complete written quotation for any remedial works that may be required in order to bring the installation up to a safe standard.
A Domestic Electrical Installation Condition Report from ElectriciansOnCall will:
- Reveal if any of your electrical circuits or equipment is overloaded.
- Find any potential electric shock risks and fire hazards.
- Identify any defective electrical work.
- Highlight any lack of earthing or bonding.
- The adequacy of earthing and bonding.
- The suitability of the switchgear and control gear. For example, an old fusebox with wooden back, cast-iron switches, or a mixture of both will need replacing.
- The serviceability of switches, sockets and lighting fittings. Items that may need replacing include: older round-pin sockets, round light switches, cables with fabric coating hanging from ceiling roses to light fittings, black switches and sockets mounted in skirting boards.
- The type of wiring system and its condition. For example, cables coated in black rubber were phased out in the 1960s. Likewise cables coated in lead or fabric is even older and may well need replacing (modern cables use longer-lasting PVC insulation).
- Sockets that may be used to supply portable electrical equipment for use outdoors, making sure they are protected by a suitable residual current device (RCD).
- The presence of adequate identification and notices.
- The extent of any wear and tear, damage or other deterioration.
- Any changes in the use of the premises that have led to, or may lead to, unsafe conditions.
All periodic inspection and testing should be carried out by experienced and competent electricians. They will check the condition of the electrics against the UK standard for the safety of electrical installations, BS 7671:2015 – IEE Wiring Regulations
The person ordering the inspection will then be issued with an Electrical Installation Condition Report detailing any observed damage, deterioration, defects, dangerous conditions and any non-compliance with the current safety standard that might give rise to danger. If anything dangerous or potentially dangerous is found, the overall condition of the electrical installation will be declared to be 'unsatisfactory', meaning that remedial action is required without delay to remove the risks to those in the premises.
ElectriciansOnCall have been carrying out these inspections for sellers, buyers and landlords since 1997, we have the relevant experience and professional qualifications to make sure that your purchase or sale is not held up unnecessarily. Should you require further information regarding the inspection of an electrical installation please feel free to contact your local office.