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      • Published 17 Jan 2023
      • Last Modified 29 Aug 2023
    • 7 min

    Electrical Installation Certificates Overview

    In this guide, we will examine the importance of electrical installation certificates, also referred to as ‘I-certs’, the different types of electrical installation certificates, and who can authorise the completion of the certificates.

    Disclaimer: Due to the regular revision of electrical standards to maintain the highest levels of safety, this article is for guidance purposes only. To ensure you are working to the latest edition of regulations standards, please refer to the IET’s Wiring Regulations for BS-7671 here.

    What is an Electrical Installation Certificate & Why Do I Need One?

    Electrical installation certificates, or I-certs, are test certificates produced by a registered electrician to confirm that they’ve tested and approved that the wiring work in an installation is safe and complies with the BS 7671 standards. This electrical testing and certification category is legally required on any type of building in which electrical installations have been fitted.

    Not only are the electrical installation certificates required, but I-certs go hand in hand with the Building Regulations Approval Document: Part P. Part P was introduced to the Building Regulations to ensure the safety of electrical installations, preventing the risk of fires and/or deaths caused by unfit electrical workmanship in domestic dwellings. Electricians must pass exams and assessments to become qualified Part P installers.

    All ‘notifiable’ electrical work undertaken must be reported using one of the Government’s Self-Certified Schemes. These schemes allow registered, competent persons to self-certify that their work complies with Part P regulations. Unregistered persons – including DIYers – will need to submit their plans or notify a Building Control Body (BCB) for any notifiable work.

    ‘Notifiable’ work includes the following circumstances:

    • When a new installation is installed
    • When a new single circuit or multiple circuits are being added to an already existing installation
    • When any alteration is carried out on a circuit in a special location, which includes a room with a shower or bath, a swimming pool, or a sauna heater. The full conditions of this regulation can be found in Section 2 (2.5) of Part P
    Electrician at work

    All other work outside of these regulations counts as ‘not notifiable’ and does not need to be reported, namely additions and alterations to existing installations outside of special locations and repairs, replacements, and maintenance anywhere. For a full list of the types of works included under the classification of ‘not notifiable’, please refer back to the full Part P document.

    If a claim is filed citing an electrical installation as a cause of fire or personal injury, certificates are documented evidence that shows the installation had been installed to a satisfactory standard of safety. These certificates can also provide a basis for any further inspection or testing, preventing further exploratory work that may otherwise be required in the future, which can be costly.

    There are two main classifications of electrical certificates: Electrical Installation Certificates (EICs) and Minor Electrical Installation Works Certificates (MEIWCs).

    The EIC will demonstrate whether the electrical installation is in a 'satisfactory' or 'unsatisfactory' condition at the time of installation and should include a detailed list of observations affecting the installation's safety or any improvements required to obtain a satisfactory grade.

    Codes will support these observations.

    Unsatisfactory Codes are:

    • C1 – Danger present, risk of injury, immediate remedial action required
    • C2 – Potentially Dangerous, urgent remedial action required
    • FI – Further investigation required

    A Satisfactory Code is:

    • C3 – Improvement recommended

    Action is required if the EIC issued is unsatisfactory. If an EIC contains a C1, C2, or FI code, it is unsatisfactory. If a C1 is discovered, the electrician will often employ temporary measures to make the dangerous installation safe. Then, as is also the case with a C2 or FI code, it is the owner’s responsibility to organise a repair, replacement, or further investigation within 28 days.

    When Do I Need an Electrical Installation Certificate?

    The testing of electrical installations must be carried out at several key points.

    The initial inspection is carried out at the time of installation to ensure it has been safely fitted and meets all the required standards. Testing then must be carried out periodically thereafter to ensure the electric components within the system have not degraded over time, been damaged, or are in a condition that may cause risk of fire or injury.

    How to Get an Electrical Installation Certificate

    A registered electrician or other accredited, competent person must carry out the inspection and complete the electrical certificate for a new installation or any modifications to electrical work that alters the circuit, otherwise, the certificates will not be accepted by most local councils, Housing Associations, estate agents, or your insurance provider.

    What are the Different Types of Electrical Certifications?

    The type of certificate you require will depend on the type of electrical installation and/or the extent of the inspection or testing that has been carried out.

    Electrical Certificates for Landlords

    The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 came into force on 1 June 2020. These regulations apply to all tenancies created on or after that date in England from 1 July 2020 and can be viewed in full here.

    These new regulations require landlords to have all electrical installations in their properties inspected and tested at least every 5 years by a qualified and competent electrician. If requested, landlords will also have to provide a copy of the electrical safety report to their tenants and the local authority.

    To ensure every landlord can comply with these regulations, NAPIT has produced comprehensive guidance on the requirements.

    Following the inspection and testing, a private landlord must:

    • Obtain a report from the person conducting that inspection and test, which gives the results of the inspection and test and the date of the next inspection and test
    • Supply a copy of that report to each existing tenant of the residential premises within 28 days of the inspection and test
    • Supply a copy of that report to the local housing authority within 7 days of receiving a request in writing for it from that authority
    • Retain a copy of that report until the next inspection and test is due and supply a copy to the person carrying out the next inspection and test
    • Supply a copy of the most recent report to any new tenant of the specified tenancy to which the report relates before that tenant occupies those premises; and any prospective tenant within 28 days of receiving a request in writing for it from that prospective tenant

    Action Needed in the Event of an Unsatisfactory Report

    Where an Electrical Installation Safety Report identifies urgent remedial work or requires 'further investigation', the private landlord must ensure that the necessary work is carried out by a qualified and competent person within 28 days (or the period specified in the report if it is less than 28 days), starting with the date of the inspection and testing.

    The landlord must then:

    • Obtain written confirmation from a qualified person that further investigative or remedial work has been carried out and that the electrical safety standards are met, or that further investigative or remedial work is required
    • Supply that written confirmation, together with a copy of the report which required the further investigative or remedial work to each existing tenant of the residential premises within 28 days of completion of the further investigative or remedial work, and also to the local housing authority within 28 days of completion of the further investigative or remedial work

    Local authorities will be responsible for enforcing the new regulations and can impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000 if they find a landlord is in breach of their duty. Local authorities have the power to serve remedial notices on the private landlord and can arrange remedial work to be carried out, with consent from the tenant, if the remedial notice is ignored and action is not taken with 28 days. The local authority will then seek to recover the costs from the landlord.

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