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Taking steps towards electrical safety in the private rented sector

Trade association NAPIT has produced safety record documentation to help inspectors and customers improve electrical safety in the private rented sector, its chairman Frank Bertie explains how and why it matters

 

WITH the Government facing increasing pressure to improve electrical safety in the private rented sector, there is an expectation that Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICR) will become mandatory in the not too distance future.

Because of this, it is wise to assume that the demand for electrical inspections will increase in the coming months and years. It is for this reason, alongside the desire to simplify the inspection process that NAPIT has decided to create the Electrical Installation Safety Record Summary (EISRS) document for our members and the industry to utilise.

In this blog post, I will provide context on the EISRS and detail how members can make the most out of its potential. To start with, it is worth explaining the status of EICRs and how their prevalence may change in the coming years.

The Housing & Planning Act, which received royal assent in May 2016, introduced a clause which gave the Government powers to introduce electrical safety standards in the private rented sector through secondary legislation. Since receiving royal assent, secondary legislation has come in the form of a ‘Renters’ Rights Bill’, which is currently being passed through the House of Lords.

In its present form, the bill requests that amendments are made to the Housing & Planning Act 2016 and that a requirement for mandatory electrical safety checks to be completed every five years is included. Based on this, we at NAPIT have been keeping a close eye on the progress of the bill as it passes through Parliament and we are hopeful that its proposals are realized.

The EISRS acts as a simple one-page document which allows the outcomes of an EICR to be clearly defined, whilst also detailing what further actions may need to be taken for specific installations.

At present, the findings of an EICR can be confusing for customers and electricians alike. Through the EISRS, a customer can clearly see the outcomes of an inspection and are also able to use the document as proof to demonstrate that an inspection has taken place, or if any rectification work has been conducted. Similarly, inspectors can benefit from using the EISRS as it allows them to instantly evaluate the results of an inspection and give greater clarity to their customers.

Given the clear benefits that the EISRS brings to both customers and inspectors, we hope that as many members as possible start to take advantage of its potential.

Completing the EISRS is relatively straightforward when compared to the completion of EICR documentation; nevertheless it is still worth explaining.

The document itself is split into two distinct parts. The first (sections one, two and three of the form) is always completed by the electrical inspector who undertook the EICR and it provides a summary of the electrical safety of an installation based on the relevant observation codes identified in the EICR.

The second (sections four and five) only needs to be completed if the result of an EICR was unsatisfactory and once rectification work has been completed. This second part should also only be completed by the registered competent electrical person who undertook the required rectification work.

Therefore it is entirely possible that two different people can complete the two parts of the summary. To accompany the latter, the correct electrical certification documentation needs to be provided as proof that the rectification work was carried out. Based on this, both parts of the EISRS should only ever be completed if an EICR was initially unsatisfactory.

NAPIT is hopeful that the EISRS will become widely used following the completion of EICRs and that our members realize its full potential. The document represents a step in the right direction in terms of resolving the current confusion around EICRs and further encouraging electrical safety.

Given the clear drive to improve electrical safety standards in the private rented sector, evidenced by the Housing & Planning Act 2016 and the Renters Rights Bill, there is no better time for members to begin preparations for any changes that may occur.

Looking ahead, NAPIT will be continuing to campaign on issues of electrical safety and look for further opportunities to raise awareness.

 

Frank Bertie is chairman of the NAPIT trade association

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