Regulations for Inspection and Testing of Electrical Installations

by Steve on July 21, 2011

This article gives an overview of the requirements for 17th Edition of BS7671 regarding inspecting and testing condition reports or EICRs for electrical installations.  Please refer to the actual wiring regs and Guidance Note 3 for more detail and specific information.

Warning

Carrying out electrical inspection reports and certification without sufficient experience and training can be very dangerous for the inspector and others. BS7671 recommends that a person undertaking electrical testing and inspecting are competent (see 621.5 below).

Chapter 62 gives the requirements for periodic inspection condition reports and testing.  Here is an overview of the regulations:

Safe Working & Safe Isolation

Regulation 611 requires that testing and inspection procedures should normally be carried out with the relevant circuits or that part of the installation disconnected from the supply.  Any work must be carried out with regard to the Electricity at Work Regulations which clearly refers to any work or activity near ‘live’ conductors.

Many inspections will involve the removal of accessory covers. Safe isolation procedures must be followed as recommended in the Electrical Safety Council’s Best Practice Guide 2.

621.1 Inspection and testing of every electrical installation shall be carried out in accordance with the regulations 621.2 to 5 in order to determine whether the installation is in a satisfactory condition for continued service. Existing documentation from previous inspections should be used and where there are none an investigation of the electrical installation should be carried out before starting any inspection and testing.

Dismantling

621.2 A detailed inspection should be carried out without dismantling, or with partial dismantling as required. Electrical tests should show that the requirements for disconnection times (Chapter 41) for protective devices to current regs amendments are complied with.  Chapter 61 gives details of the tests required and a sample Schedule of Inspections is given in Appendix 6.

Test Instruments & Equipment

621.3 Testing and inspection must not cause danger to people or livestock and must not cause damage to property and equipment. Measuring instruments and monitoring equipment should be chosen to comply with BS-EN 61557.

Documentation & Records

621.4 The extent and results of the testing and inspection of an installation must be recorded.

The IEE Wiring Regulations require that documentation and records of all inspections and tests are kept of any testing and inspection work. Certificates for Electrical Installation, Condition Reports and Minor works should be issued to record test results and comments about installations. 

Competent Persons

621.5  Testing and inspection should only be carried by a competent person.  It is highly recommended that electricians (even those experienced in electrical work) undertake training and qualifications specific to testing and inspection.

A competent person is defined in Part 2 of BS7671 and would be reasonably need to meet all of the following requirements:

  • Possess enough experience and technical knowledge to avoid danger to themselves and others ie. safe isolation and safe testing procedures (see below)
  • Be skilled and familiar with the testing procedures and safe operation of appropriate test instruments
  • Have a knowledge of the current requirements of BS7671 relevant to the type of electrical installation for inspection and testing
  • Be in possession of enough information about the installation to enable them to carry out the work safely. This would include being able to re-instate the installation in a completely safe and serviceable state after the inspection and testing is completed.

Frequency

622.1 The frequency of Periodic Inspections and Testing are decided by the Inspector and should be determined by taking into account:

1  The installation or building type- domestic, commercial or industrial

2  Use and operation

3  Quality and frequency of maintenance

4 External influences on the installation

More info about frequency of testing.

Maintenance & Skilled Persons

622.2 In the case of an installation under an effective management system for preventive maintenance in normal use, periodic inspection and testing may be replaced by an adequate regime of continuous monitoring and maintenance of the installation and all its constituent equipment by skilled persons, competent in such work. Appropriate documentation of works, testing and inspection should be held for future reference.

Recommended Reading

Guidance Note 3 is an indispensable reference source for anyone carrying out the inspection and testing of electrical installations. Sections include: General requirements, Testing Procedures for Initial Verification and Periodic Inspecting, Test Instruments and Sample Forms. References include Maximum Permissible Earth Fault Impedences and Tables of R1+R2 values for cables (similar to the On-Site Guide).



Electrician’s Blog.co.uk

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

dennis robbins December 2, 2011 at 21:01

Thank you for a clearer insite on regs and testing probably like yourself I endeavour to
follow the regs and logical steps to achieve a safe installation and walk away feeling secure
in the knowledget that I have done the best I can. …cheers buddy

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