“EICRs? c1s? c2s? What does this all mean?” you may ask. Having attended nearly 1,000 properties to carry out these dreaded EICRs, and then carry out the relevant remedial works, I’m hoping to be in the position to help you out with this topic.
New laws dictate that landlords have a duty of care toward their tenants. This is a multifaceted approach that deals with issues that cause harm such as damp, leaks, rodents, and of course, unsafe conditions of the electrical installation.
This is nothing new of course, all landlords are expected to be doing this anyway. However, new regulations, set out by the government, now stipulate to landlords that they must actively conform with a minimum standard of maintenance that is about to come into force.
All electrical installations that we find in rented domestic accommodation (and most other properties), generally known as ‘mains’ comes under the jurisdiction of The Requirements for Electrical Installations. IET Wiring Regulations. Set out in these regulations are all what you may need in order to design, install, and monitor and maintain an electrical installation to a good standard, with high importance placed on safety.
EICRs are of the interest of the monitor & maintain part. The wiring regulations stipulate minimum recommended intervals of these maintenance programs (you’d have seen 5 years bandied about a lot recently) for rented domestic accommodation.
So, generally speaking, an EICR will be conducted every 5 years, or with every new tenancy. What is an EICR and what goes into this maintenance program?
The EICR (Existing Installation Condition Report) is a report that is filled out, and encompasses various matters, mostly looking at the safety aspect. It looks at the age and condition of sockets and lights, the fuse box and what is working inside it, the integrity of the wiring connections throughout the building, the design of the wiring, and the extra protections that are to be provided in the bathroom (apparently water and electricity doesn’t mix!)
If the installation meets the minimum requirements for safety, the report gets lots of ticks and a few comments on possible improvements on ‘nice to haves’ (C3s)
If the installation doesn’t meet the minimum requirements for safety, and the inspector believes there is immediate danger (C1s), or there is good likelihood of danger developing if it is left as is (C2s), then the particular inspection item fails the report, and should have a reason why.
C1s and C2s are the big worry for landlords, and there’s good reason for that. Existence of C1s and C2s open landlords up to potential penalties, which can rise to £30,000
By ensuring the maintenance schedule is kept on top of, and relevent EICRs and remedial work certificates are kept, landlords have a better case of proving the existence of these dangerous situations were purely bad luck in the face of good landlordship, following the correct guidelines by ensuring their properties are regularly monitored and maintained, or whether it was a poor effort on the landlord’s part to make sure their property is correctly monitored and maintained.
C1s found: These are generally fairly obvious to find. If wires are hanging out somewhere, or there’s holes in electrical enclosures somewhere, it’s fairly obvious to find.
It is worth noting, approximately 90% of C1s found were broken sockets, light switches or lights. Of these, approximately 70% were broken sockets and backboxes, caused by accidental impact from moving furniture. Approximately 10% was tenant mistreatment of accessories. The other 20% is accountable from a myriad of miscellaneous issues. lights missing lids, plasterers/tilers/painters forgetting to screw back to wall, etc etc, and wear and tear of the building
C2s found: C2s aren’t usually immediately obvious, and generally require a little bit of experience, knowledge, and science to find.
signs of thermal damage due to bad connections, broken rings, missing / chopped bonding, undersized conductors, SWA poorly terminated, IP rating failures, discontinuity of earths in circuits, etc etc mostly require opening up electrical installations and test equipment. with that in mind it makes sense that approximately 70% of C2s found were down to the tenant carrying out their own works, such as adding more sockets or changing light fittings, or the tenant hiring a 3rd party to carry out renovations on their kitchens and bathrooms.
It can be easy to see why electrical installations should be well monitored and maintained. The best way of showing your due diligence as a landlord is finding a trusted electrician to ensure you are following the guidance of the wiring regs, BS7671. Please see some of the installations we’ve found faults on, nicknamed ‘the wall of blame’.
If you need an EICR carried out, or a second opinion on an EICR that you have had undertaken, please ring 07478159026 or fill out our quick and convenient help me! form.