Social Housing Management: Electrical Certificates

There are a few different types of electrical certificates that you will come across when working within the social housing sector. Its important to know the differences between these different certificates and what role they play. In this blog I will explain the main electrical certificates you will likely see.

I have provided some sample certificate types within this blog. It must be stressed that all certificates will vary in layout and format but they will all generally contain the same information. I have removed any identifiable information from the certificates.

Electrical Installation Condition Report

An EICR is an Electrical Installation Condition Report. An EICR is a report not a certificate, it is a formal document that is produced following an assessment of the electrical installation within a property against the requirements of BS 7671. A schedule of circuit details and test results should always be provided as part of the EICR to check if the wiring and fixed electrical equipment are safe. A periodic inspection should:

  • Reveal if any of your electrical circuits or equipment are 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.

The Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 sets out a duty for ensuring regular electrical safety inspections for private rented properties. It states that an EICR should be carried out before the tenancy starts and no more than 5 years during the tenancy. This does not apply to social rented properties so the frequency may differ depending on the management strategy in place.

BS 7671 states that the frequency of inspections and testing of an installation shall be determined having regard to the type of installation and equipment, its use and operation, the frequency and quality of maintenance and the external influences to which it is subjected. The date by which the next EICR is recommended by the electrician completing the report should be given in Section F of the certificate. An EICR is the most common certificate type you will see.

Below is an example of the first two pages of an EICR. The templates will differ depending on the company providing the certificate but all of the information provided on the certificates will generally be the same.

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Electrical Installation Certificate – schedule of inspections and results

An Electrical Installation Certificate is to be used for the initial certification of a new installation or for an addition or alteration to an existing installation where new circuits have been introduced.

The changing of a consumer unit or the installation of an RCD would require this type of certificate to be used. The form for an EIC should not be used for a periodic inspection for which an Electrical Installation Condition Report form should be used.

The electrical installation certificate must be accompanied by a schedule of test results and a schedule of inspections, without these two documents the EIC is not valid. When a new installation has been completed, it must be inspected and tested to ensure that it is safe to use. This process is known as the initial verification.

This is the second most common electrical certificate type you are likely to see within the social housing sector. You will see these after allot of planned maintenance works.

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Minor Electrical Installation Works Certificate

Where an alteration or addition is carried out but does not include a new circuit, a MEIWC or an EIC may be used. A Minor Electrical Installation Works Certificate is a single sided A4 document which reflects the lesser nature of work done compared to that done if an EIC is required.

A MEIWC is required for alterations made to an existing circuit (without the change of the protective device) and additions made to an existing circuit (such as a new socket outlet). A typical use of this certificate would be when a new lighting point is added to an existing circuit.

These certificates are not quite as common as the other two above. I always urge tenants to provide a minor works certificate for any minor electrical works they request to carry out. Many times in social housing tenants will carry out unauthorised alterations without obtaining a minor works certificate. This is where things can get dangerous especially if the individual who carried out the work is not competent to do so.

minor works

Hopefully this bog gave you a better idea of what to look out for when it comes to electrical certificates within the social housing sector. If you enjoyed this blog feel free to subscribe via email to get updated of the most recent posts.

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