Annex D3 - Installations for the supply of electricity
D.52 Private landlords in Scotland are required by sections 19A and 19B of the Hosuing (Scotland) Act 2006 to ensure that:
- The installations in the house for the supply of electricity;
- Electrical fixtures and fittings; and
- Any appliances provided by the landlord under the tenancy are in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order.
D.53 Electrical installations cover all aspects of the supply, distribution and use of electrical power in the house from the consumer unit (where the electric supply connects to the wiring in the house) to the point of use at the switch or socket-outlet.
D.54 In order protect a tenant against electric shock and reduce the risk of electrical fires, there must be one or more Residual Current Devices (RCD) fitted in the consumer unit (fuse box). An RCD is a sensitive safety device that switches off electricity automatically if there is a fault. RCDs offer a level of personal protection that ordinary fuses and circuit-breakers cannot provide. The absence of an RCD means that the house does not comply with the Repairing Standard.
D.55 Landlords are required to ensure an electrical safety inspection is carried out by a competent person before the tenancy commences, and then at intervals of no more than five years. The electrical safety inspection does not have to be completed immediately before a new tenancy begins or every time a new tenancy starts, as long as an inspection has been carried out in the period of 5 years before the tenancy starts.
D.56 The purpose of an electrical safety inspection is to confirm, so far as reasonably practicable, that the electrical installation, fixtures, fittings or appliances are in a satisfactory condition for continued service, and to identify any work which relates to electrical installations, fixtures, fittings or appliances which needs to be done to ensure that they are in a satisfactory condition for continued service, a reasonable state of repair, and in proper working order.
D.57 The electrical safety inspection has two separate elements:
(1) An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) on the safety of the electrical installations, and
(2) A Portable Appliance Test (PAT) on portable appliances.
D.58 Tenants cannot be required to pay for or contribute towards the cost of an electrical inspection, unless ordered to do so by the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland.
D.59 If a landlord cannot carry out an inspection because they do not have right of access to all or part of the property, or lack any other necessary right, they are not in breach of their duties in relation to the Repairing Standard, provided that they have taken reasonable steps to acquire that right.
Electrical Installation Condition Report
D.60 An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), set out in Appendix 6 of BS 7671 and completed by a competent person, will meet the requirement for a record of the electrical safety inspection of an installation.
D.61 An EICR must be completed by a suitably competent person. "Competent person" means a skilled person (electrically) as defined in amendment 3 of BS7671. Regulation 16 of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 requires persons to be competent to prevent danger and injury. This means that they must be:
- Employed by a firm that is a member of an accredited registration scheme operated by a recognised body,
- A self-employed member of an accredited registration scheme operated by a recognised body, or
- Able to complete the checklist on the following page of this guidance.
D.62 In this part of the guidance (annex D3), recognised body means the Electrical Contractors' Association of Scotland (SELECT), NICEIC, or the National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers (NAPIT). Landlords can take membership of these organisations as evidence of competence. Alternatively, a competent person (other than a member of NICEIC, SELECT or NAPIT) should be able to confirm all of the points listed in the checklist form provided on the following page. The Scottish Government operates a register of electricians under its Approved Certifier of Construction Scheme, which can be searched online at Building Standards Division - Certification Register.
Scottish Government statutory guidance on electrical installations and appliances in private rented property
Evidence of competence to carry out an Electrical Installation Condition Report for the purposes of assessing the safety of electrical installations, fittings and fixtures in private rented property.
Checklist for Electrician / Check*
I am a member of a professional body
I have public liability insurance (£2 million minimum is recommended)
I have employers' liability insurance (£2 million minimum is recommended), unless the business has no employees
I have professional indemnity insurance (£0.25 million is recommended for contractors undertaking electrical installation condition reporting)
I have completed appropriate assessed training on current version of BS7671 within the past 5 years
I can provide:
- copies of wholesaler bills made out to entity trading, or
- a company registration number, or
- a Unique Tax Reference (UTR)
I can provide copies of trade qualification or equivalent
I can provide a copy of a written health and safety policy statement for the business
I have completed Electrotechnical Certification Scheme (ECS) Health & Safety Assessment within the past 3 years
I have been granted, or am eligible to be granted at least Approved Electrician grade.
*The electrician should tick each item in this list to confirm that it applies.
I certify that I can provide the above listed evidence of competence.
D.63 The EICR must cover –
- Installations for the supply of electricity,
- Electrical fittings, including –
- The consumer unit(s)
- Socket outlets
- Light fittings,
- Any visible wiring, and
- Any areas where electrical equipment may be installed, for example lofts with supplies to renewable energy sources,
- Visual inspection of fixed electrical equipment, including –
- Fixed electrical heating equipment e.g. storage or panel heaters,
- Electric showers and over/under-sink water heaters,
- Boilers and other heat producing equipment, and
- Hard-wired smoke and fire detectors.
D.64 The person carrying out the inspection must complete the EICR which must be legible and clearly set out –
- The date of the inspection
- The full address of the house inspected
- The name and address of the landlord or their agent
- The name and address of the person carrying out the inspection
- Evidence that person completing the inspection report is a suitably competent person (see Annex A)
- A description of each installation, fixture and fitting inspected, and its location in the house, and
- Any defect identified
D.65 Note that the EICR includes details of the location of the consumer unit and main switch, but not that of other switches or socket-outlets, light fittings etc which are likely to be present in every room, but this is sufficient detail to meet the requirement of the legislation.
D.66 Any electrical installation, fixtures, fittings or equipment which fails to pass electrical safety inspection must be replaced or repaired immediately to comply with the Repairing Standard.
D.67 Any element of the electrical installations, fixtures, fittings or equipment which is classified in an EICR under code C1 (danger present) or C2 (potentially dangerous) must be rectified to comply with the Repairing Standard.
D.68 Code C1 means that anyone using the installation is at risk and remedial work should be carried out by a competent person immediately. If it is practical to do so, the competent person should make the installation safe on discovery of the dangerous condition.
D.69 Wherever practicable, items classified as C1 should be made safe on discovery. Where this is not practical the owner or user should be given written notification as a matter of urgency. Where an item is classified as C2 this is a potentially dangerous situation and urgent remedial action is required.
D.70 Any element of the electrical installation classified in an Electrical Installation Condition Report as FI (further investigation required) should be investigated as soon as practically possible as such investigation may reveal a dangerous or potentially dangerous condition.
D.71 An EICR will recommend any remedial action required in order to ensure that the electrical installation is in a satisfactory condition for continued service, but any work which is undertaken must be recorded separately. This can be done by recording the work completed on a Minor Electrical Installation Works Certificate and providing a copy of that to the person ordering the work, which is recommended for all actions to remedy a defect. If remedial work includes replacement of a fuse box (known in the electrical industry as a consumer unit) an Electrical Installation Certificate should be provided.
D.72 For more information about electrical installation testing and the classification codes, see Electrical Safety First's Best Practice Guide.
D.73 In some cases a landlord may have a copy of an Electrical Installation Certificate rather than an EICR. For example, new build properties should be provided with an Electrical Installation Certificate, and an Electrical Installation Certificate should be provided when a house is fully rewired. A landlord who has an Electrical Installation Certificate for a property can provide this in place of an EICR to comply with this guidance, provided that the date of next inspection indicated on the certificate has not elapsed, and the certificate was issued no more than five years ago.
Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)
D.74 The EICR covers installations and visual inspection of fixed electrical equipment, a PAT covers appliances. For the purpose of the PAT, "appliances" means movable electrical equipment.
D.75 Appliances include:
- Electrical white goods (such as refrigerators and washing machines),
- Electrical brown goods (such as televisions and DVD players),
- Electric fires that are not fixed in place,
- Kitchen appliances, such as toasters and kettles,
- Hand held electrical equipment, such as hairdryers, and
- Any other appliances provided by the landlord that are not permanently connected to the electrical installation.
D.76 Portable appliances generally have a cable and a plug. There is often uncertainty about whether certain items of equipment should fall within the remit of inspection and testing of the fixed wiring or that of the portable appliance testing. For the avoidance of doubt, all portable appliances and fixed equipment provided by the landlord should be inspected and, if required, tested. If any fixtures are not specifically included in the remit of the EICR they should be included in the PAT.
D.77 Any appliance which fails to pass a Portable Appliance Test must be replaced or repaired immediately to comply with the Repairing Standard.
D.78 A PAT test must be completed by a suitably competent person. For the purpose of the PAT test this means either:
- A skilled person (electrically) as set out in paragraph D.61 above, or
- A person (including the landlord) who has completed appropriate training as a PAT tester.
D.79 A landlord, or other person, is considered competent to carry out a PAT test if they have successfully completed relevant training. Organisations offering training courses include -
- The Scottish Association of Landlords provide training through their sister organisation, Landlord Accreditation Scotland. The course is run by Quick Test (PAT Testing Training - Courses run by Quick Test).
- The Electrical Contractors' Association of Scotland (SELECT) (iMIS - Welcome to the World of iMIS, select 'All Courses and Dates', and search for 'portable appliance testing')
- NICEIC (NICEIC - Practical training courses to enhance your industry knowledge
- EAL (EAL Awards) offer the following course: EAL Level 3 Award in the In Service Inspection and Testing Of Electrical Equipment (PAT) (QCF).
D.80 The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) publishes a Code of Practice for In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment (4th Edition, 2012). This publication provides useful guidance on all aspects of portable appliance testing including the classification of equipment types; inspection and testing procedures; training requirements for those overseeing and/or carrying out the inspection and testing and record keeping. The Code also contains the following model forms for in-service inspection and testing:
V.1 Equipment register – where all portable appliances in a property are listed
V.2 Equipment formal visual and combined inspection and test record
V.3 Equipment labels – to show clearly whether an item of equipment has passed or failed the inspection and testing to which it was subjected
V.4 Repair register
V.5 Test instrument record.
Copies of forms V.1 and V.2 should be attached to the EICR.
D.81 An appliance that was purchased new less than one year before the date of the test does not require to be included in that PAT test. An appliance that was purchased second hand should be included in that PAT test. If there is any doubt about the condition or age of an appliance or the date of purchase it should be included in the test. If an appliance is new it should be included in the record of the PAT test record and the date that its first test is due should be clearly recorded.
D.82 The duty to carry out electrical safety inspections does not apply to appliances that belong to tenants, only to appliances provided by the landlord.
D.83 The date for retesting appliances is usually set during the PAT test and will usually be more frequent than five years. If the electrician/PAT tester recommends more frequent checks then the landlord should follow their advice on frequency. If the PAT test is not carried out by the electrician at the same time as the EICR, the electrician should confirm that the appliance testing report is complete and up to date. The electrician does not have to re‑perform the PAT test if the re-test date has not passed/expired and there is a record of the appliances and having been tested and stickers confirm. If there are any appliances that need tested this can be done at the time of the inspection but it is not necessary to retest appliances that have an up-to-date test.
D.84 The landlord must receive and keep a copy of the EICR and PAT report for six years. A copy of the most recent EICR and PAT report must be given to a person who is to become a tenant before a tenancy starts. If an inspection is carried out during a tenancy a copy relating to that inspection must be given to the tenant.
Electrical Safety: Periodic Tests and inspections
D.85 Landlords should ensure that electrical safety inspection are carried out:
- Before a tenancy starts, and
- During the tenancy, at intervals of no more than 5 years from the date of the previous inspection.
D.86 The minimum standard to comply with the legislation is that an inspection must be carried out at least every 5 years, but this does not preclude more frequent testing where appropriate.
D.87 If a tenancy lasts more than a year, it is good practice to carry out annual visual inspections to detect any damage, deterioration, wear and tear, signs of overheating, loose fixings, or missing parts that may lead to danger. Landlords' visual checks should include checks on:
- Fuse boxes (consumer units) for signs of damage;
- Light switches and electrical sockets for any signs of damage or overloading;
- Cables to make sure that they are safe and are not damaged; and
- Electrical appliances for signs of damage and deterioration and to confirm that plugs and cables are secure.
D.88 Additionally, landlords should advise tenants to test that the following devices operate when their integral test button is pressed at time intervals as specified:
- Residual Current Devices (quarterly check)
- Smoke or heat detectors (weekly check)
- Carbon monoxide detectors (monthly check)
D.89 Electrical Safety First provides a Landlord's Interim Checklist which can be used to record a visual inspection. This is available free online at Landlords interim checklist - Electrical Safety First.
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