Electrical Safety (EICR) in Communal Residential Areas

One of the cornerstones of providing a safe environment for the residents of a building is the management of electrical safety in shared spaces. Landowners, directors of residential management companies or resident associations, and property managers must ensure the community estate’s electrical installation is safe.

1. Communal Awareness

Tenants and leaseholders should be aware of communal safety and how to report any issues that may pose a health and safety issue. Once reported the reported issue should be checked, assessed and repaired if required.

Due to the potential for a fire to be started by faulty electrical installations, it is crucial that the property complies with all applicable fire risk assessment laws and has the necessary fire-fighting equipment, including fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and alarms.

2. Periodic Inspection

With time and usage, any electrical system degrades. Electrical systems must be maintained in a safe and functional state to prevent any danger to tenants or anybody using or visiting the property. A routine inspection verifies that an existing electrical system complies with UK Standards for electrical installation safety. A thorough Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) should be provided after each scheduled inspection. This report will explain any issues found and any necessary repairs. All Electrical Installation Condition Reports should include a detailed circuit diagram and a list of test findings.

It is recommended that no more than five years pass between a property’s initial examination and its first periodic inspection. After the initial assessment, further tests and reviews of the installation shouldn’t be spaced further apart than five years. To ensure the safety of the property for a new tenant, a landlord or an agent should always do a visual inspection during a change in tenancy. Make sure the RCD test button on any installed units works, no outlets or switches are missing, no live parts are exposed, no appliances have been damaged by fire, and all wiring is in good condition. The following are the objectives of periodic inspections:

  • To find out whether any appliances or circuits are overworked.
  • To spot possible sources of fire and electric shock.
  • To identify any electrical problems.
  • To draw attention to the presence of any bonding or earthing issues.

3. Electrical Installation Certification

Ensure you obtain and maintain the documentation for all finished electrical installation work and any recurring inspections and tests. Inspection and findings should be included in all documentation. The kind of electrical installation work, inspection, and testing you have done will determine the certification or report you obtain. As the person responsible for an electrical installation’s safety, EICs and MEIWCs declare that the upgrade, modification, or addition is safe to operate when it was placed into use. These certifications also serve as a foundation for further testing and inspection since they may save the need for potentially expensive exploratory work in the future.

Additionally, certifications prove that an electrical system was installed to a suitable degree of safety if a claim is made that it caused an accident or fire. The electrical installation certificate (EIC) will specify whether the work is “new,” “additional,” or “alternative.” “New“ refers to a whole new installation, a rewiring, or replacing an existing component like a fuse box. Any change to an existing installation that includes the addition of new circuits is considered an “addition.” When something like a new outlet is added to a current circuit or when a fuse box or other switching equipment is changed, this is “alteration.” If you need any work done on your electrical system, you are highly advised to use a licensed electrician.

4. Electrical Appliances

The safety of electronic devices depends, in part, on the state of the permanent wiring in the home. Improper use of electrical equipment increases the danger of fire and electric shock. You and your renter are responsible for minimizing electrical hazards by following proper procedures for using, storing, and inspecting portable electrical equipment. Regularly performing these simple safety checks will help guarantee that your electrical appliances are always safe to use:

  • The outside casing of the cables has no tears or abrasions.
  • To prevent coloured cable cores from being seen from outside the plug, the cord grasp in the plug top grips the outside covering of the cable.
  • There are no breaks in the plug’s housing, and none of the pins are misaligned.
  • Neither the plug nor the socket show any symptoms of overheating or burning.
  • No screws are missing, and there are no other unsecured components.
  • The appliance is whole and complete; there are no broken or missing components.

5. Working Fire Alarm Systems

It is your responsibility to install and maintain a working fire detection and alarm system for the safety of your tenants. The early detection provided by a well-maintained fire alarm system gives residents valuable time to evacuate before smoke and flames completely block exits. In addition, the system has to be set up such that those sleeping in locations where fire may start awake before the fire spreads to the exits.

Smoke alarms are the sole safety device needed in a single-family home. At the same time, multi-family buildings require a more complex system that includes smoke and heat detectors connected to alarm sounders and control panels.

To ensure they are functioning correctly, every fire alarm system must undergo regular testing. Typically, you or your renter can do basic, standard tests as they don’t require specialized knowledge. Testing at least one detector or call point every week is common practice. Also, keeping a log book for results from increasingly complicated systems is necessary.


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