The extent and limitations of the inspection and testing
For the benefit of both the client and the contractor responsible for the inspection, it is essential that the full extent of the periodic inspection and testing is recorded, as required by Regulation 621.4 of BS 7671. Where the full extent has not been correctly identified, the contractor issuing the report is likely to have assumed responsibility for areas or parts of the installation not covered by the periodic inspection, and as a consequence may be deemed responsible should, at a later date, an electrical defect in that part of the installation result in danger or damage.
It should be appreciated, that the greater the number of limitations applying to the inspection the less the report’s value to the client in terms of feedback on the safety of the electrical installation. Only limitations that can be technically justified and have been agreed with the client prior to the inspection, including the reasons, should be recorded on the report (Regulation 634.2 refers).
Inspection should cover all accessible areas within the agreed extent and limitations, including lofts and roof spaces where electrical equipment such as pumps, motors or inverters are housed.
Each recorded observation should describe a specific defect or omission in the electrical installation. The observation should detail what the situation is, and not what is considered necessary to put it right. Observations are intended to provide the client with a factual report on the condition of an installation, not a proposal for remedial work. For example, ‘excessive damage to the enclosure of the consumer unit’ would be appropriate, whereas ‘consumer unit to be replaced’ would not.
Only observations that can be supported by one or more regulations in the current issue of BS 7671 should be recorded, those based solely on personal preference or ‘custom and practice’ should not be included.
Only one Classification code should be attributed to each observation, and where more than one code is applicable to an observation, only the most onerous Classification code should be recorded. Should any observation be attributed a Classification code C1 or code C2, or require further investigation FI, the overall outcome of the assessment must be recorded as ‘unsatisfactory’.
Further guidance on the application of the Classification codes is given in the NICEIC and ELECSA publication: A guide to Domestic Periodic Inspection, Testing and Reporting, 3rd Edition, and the Best Practice Guide No 4, issued by Electrical Safety First – Electrical installation condition reporting: Classification Codes for domestic and similar electrical installations.
Further investigation should not be called for unless the inspector has reason to believe that further investigation is likely to reveal danger or potential danger that, due to the agreed extent of the inspection and/or testing, could not be fully identified at the time. Therefore, if further investigation is required, the overall assessment of the condition of the installation must be recorded as being ‘unsatisfactory’. The person ordering the inspection should be advised that any observations for which further investigation is considered necessary should be investigated as a matter of urgency after the inspection.
Supply intake equipment
The supply intake equipment including the distributor’s and consumer’s meter tails and cables should, where readily accessible, be inspected for signs of damage or overheating. Whilst, the general condition of the cut-out assembly should be assessed during the inspection, under no circumstances should the inspector attempt to withdraw the fuse.
Where signs of significant damage are observed these should be recorded on the report and the person ordering the inspection should be advised to inform the distributor and/or meter operator, as appropriate.
Issuing the report
Regulation 631.4 requires Electrical Installation Condition Reports to be compiled, signed and authenticated by skilled persons competent to verify compliance with BS 7671. For NICEIC report forms, the registered Qualified Supervisor (QS) is responsible for ensuring that the person used to carry out periodic inspection and testing has both the competence and skills necessary for the work. Furthermore, the QS is responsible for reviewing the report and signing to confirm that it is compiled accurately before being issued.
- For other guidance and publications please see the NICEIC website.
- For information about the NICEIC Approved Contractor or Domestic Installers schemes,visit www.niceic.com or call 0870 013 0382