TMCnet Feature
July 30, 2020

Fixed wire testing matters. Here's how it works.

As the country opens back up, it’s a hopeful return to business as somewhat usual! Many production and retail buildings are set to fling their doors open for staff and visitors, making it an ideal time to address your fixed wire electrical testing. As any responsible property owner knows, it’s a wise and proactive step to take – and it can even save you money in the long-run.

Many property owners and managers, however, aren’t entirely clear about what’s involved in electrical testing in the UK. With that in mind, the team have taken the time out today to go over what you can expect as a service from a provider of this important process.

Why do fixed wire testing?

Commercial electrical installation condition reports (EICRs) are needed by law. They’re carried out by a certified engineer who appraises your wiring and systems and will produce a report and, in most cases, set of recommendations on what to optimise in addition to what must be changed or refitted outright.

You’re required to have an EICR done every five years at a minimum, but it’s generally accepted as practical to stick to a more frequent schedule. This helps you to avoid any mishaps with the machinery that is connected to your wiring, protecting your business from the risk of lost time, injury to staff and damage to your property.

Do all my circuits need to be tested?

A good provider of fixed wire inspections will usually tailor their approach to what the client prefers. This involves doing prudent pre-testing surveying prior to the main body of electrical testing. It’s often the case that clients want the full peace of mind that comes with having every one of their circuits tested, but it’s not the only way to do things.

If you’d rather spread costs or have a unique structure to your wiring and equipment use that benefits from a different testing cycle, it’s also possible to arrange rolling testing schedules wherein parts of your property’s wiring are tested in separate visits spread across a longer period. That’s a solid option to keep the initial cost down and to still benefit from full EICR compliance and safety.

Sounds good. What’s involved?

You may need more than one certified engineer for your EICR if you’re asking for a larger property to be tested. This is a call you and your EICR provider can agree on. As a rule, your engineer will suggest and perform a pre-testing survey before going through each distribution board in turn. Usually, this means each circuit needs to be briefly isolated so that it can be reliably tested.

It’s also important for your engineer to talk to you about where footfall and activity usually are, such as visitors, clients, contractors and employees. This is to help them understand your electrical usage better, but it’s also often the case that a schedule can be arranged that works around the people in the property, helping to minimise downtime and disruption.  

An EICR will involve an engineer testing your wiring in accordance with all current regulations. All or part of your circuits will be tested and a detailed EICR will be made available, usually in an electronic format. Many EICR providers also go a step further by giving diagrams of wiring and schedules electronically.

A worthy investment.

Taking care of compliance is a satisfying checkbox to tick. Better yet, you’ll often see your EICR finished and handed over along with a set of suggestions around improvements you can make to your property’s energy efficiency. That can save you real money in the long-run. Win-win.

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