Mains Wiring Inspections

John Knowlden, Director, KTIB

Electricity presents two significant risks to all businesses: 

Property
Electrical faults are the main cause of fires. Many property insurance policies contain a warranty or condition that requires policyholders to have their mains wiring inspected once every 5 years. Failure to comply with this can invalidate your insurance cover and claims may not be paid.

Liability
The Health & Safety at Work Act requires that all businesses must safeguard the health and safety of all people - employees and members of the public alike. In the UK, it is a criminal offence to fail in this duty of care. Consequently, if a person is injured due to your failure of this duty of care your insurance company could reserve the right to deal with an injury claim.

You are required to assess the risks associated with your business and manage these at a tolerably low level. Specifically, businesses are required to comply with applicable regulations; often a large number of them. For fixed wiring, the specific regulations are the Electricity at Work Regulations, 1989 (EAW).

The guidance is non-prescriptive, in keeping with the goal-setting format of the regulations, which means that whilst maintenance is a statutory requirement, the scope and frequency of the maintenance and inspection should be risk-based: i.e. suitable and sufficient.

How often should these by undertaken?
The common frequency of inspections are:

  • Every 5 years for most businesses
  • Every 3 years for businesses where electricity is used for trade processes

Who can carry out the Inspection?
Many organisations can undertake this service provided they are deemed competent (usually by qualification and experience) but the Health & Safety Executive states that the person who carries out equipment maintenance should not then act as the ‘competent person’ who inspects the equipment. So they need to be unrelated.

What’s included?
Most inspections will include:

  • IEE 17th Edition 5yr Fixed Wire Inspection and Testing undertaken over a period of 5 years
  • Testing of all electrical and lighting circuits
  • Testing of all distribution boards, ramps and roller shutter doors
  • Documentation for all circuits
  • Full certification of your building to IEE 17th Edition
  • Notification of all faults found in system
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