You may hear Fixed Testing referred to as the following:
Electrical Installation Condition Reporting
Periodic Inspection and Testing
Fixed Wire Testing
Hard Wire Testing
Test & Inspection
Fixed Testing
Periodic Testing
Electrical Testing
Fixed Testing involves the testing of electrical services and systems that conduct electricity around a building. It covers all of the hard wiring in a building and includes items such as main panels, distribution boards, lighting, socket outlets, air conditioning and other fixed plant.
The testing involves performing a sequence of rigorous visual inspections and electrical tests on all systems in the building.
Guidance Note 3 of the IEE Wiring Regulations states:
"Where diagrams, charts or tables are not available, a degree of exploratory work may be necessary so that inspection and testing can be carried out safely and effectively. A survey may be necessary to identify switchgear, controlgear, and the circuits they control."
In practice this means that engineers carrying out the testing should initially aim to correctly identify all circuits in an installation by looking at a combination of circuit labelling and previous test information and by carrying out circuit tracing where necessary
Guidance Note 3 also states:
"Periodic tests should be made in such a way as to minimise disturbance of the installation and inconvenience to the user. Where it is necessary to disconnect part or whole of the installation in order to carry out a test, the disconnection should be made at a time agreed with the user and for the minimum period needed to carry out the test. Where more than one test necessitates a disconnection where possible they should be made during one disconnection period.
A careful check should be made of the type of equipment on site so that the necessary precautions can be taken, where conditions require, to disconnect or short-out electronic and other equipment which may be damaged by testing."
Fixed Testing inevitably causes some disruption on the site due to the requirements for disconnecting electrical circuits at various times during the testing. For this reason careful planning and time management is a necessity, and in practice testing is often best performed outside of normal working hours.
The results and extent of fixed testing should be recorded on an Electrical Installation Condition Report and provided to the person ordering the inspection. The report must include the extent of the work, limitations, details of defects and dangerous conditions, and schedules of inspections and test results.
Immediately dangerous conditions should be rectified or reported without delay to the relevant duty holder. Other recommendations and observations should be reported using a numbering system to indicate the severity of each observation.

Employers are responsible for ensuring the health and safety of employees and members of the public on their site and to ensure that they are not at risk from their work activities.

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 states "It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees."

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 are made under The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Regulation 3 of the Electricity at Work Regulations recognises a responsibility that employers and employees have for electrical systems.

Regulation 3 from The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989: Persons on whom duties are imposed by these Regulations.

(1) Except where otherwise expressly provided in these Regulations, it shall be the duty of every–

(a) employer and self-employed person to comply with the provisions of these Regulations in so far as they relate to matters which are within his control; and

(b) manager of a mine or quarry (within in either case the meaning of section 180 of the Mines and Quarries Act 1954) to ensure that all requirements or prohibitions imposed by or under these Regulations are complied with in so far as they relate to the mine or quarry or part of a quarry of which he is the manager and to matters which are within his control.

(2) It shall be the duty of every employee while at work–

(a) to co-operate with his employer so far as is necessary to enable any duty placed on that employer by the provisions of these Regulations to be complied with; and

(b) to comply with the provisions of these Regulations in so far as they relate to matters which are within his control.

The legislation of specific relevance to electrical maintenance and fixed wire installation testing is the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.

The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974
The Health & Safety at Work Act puts the duty of care upon both the employer and the employee to ensure the safety of all persons using the work premises. This includes the self employed.
The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999: Risk Assessment
"(1) Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of—
(a) the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work; and
(b) the risks to the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him of his undertaking."
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989: Regulation systems, work activities and protective equipment
"(1) All systems shall at all times be of such construction as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, danger.
(2) As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, such danger.
(3) Every work activity, including operation, use and maintenance of a system and work near a system, shall be carried out in such a manner as not to give rise, so far as is reasonably practicable, to danger.
(4) Any equipment provided under these Regulations for the purpose of protecting persons at work on or near electrical equipment shall be suitable for the use for which it is provided, be maintained in a condition suitable for that use, and be properly used."
Scope of the legislation
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Electricity At Work Regulations 1989 apply to all electrical equipment used in, or associated with, places of work. The scope extends from distribution systems down to the smallest piece of electrical equipment.
It is clear that there is a requirement to inspect and test all types of electrical equipment in all work situations in order to keep the employer and employee safe.
In addition to the above legislative requirements some or all of the following types of organisations may also require that an electrical inspection and test programme is implemented:
  • Insurance Companies
  • Mortgage Lenders
  • Licensing Authorities
  • Public Bodies
  • Landlords

The frequency of periodic inspection and testing must be determined taking into account:

  • the type of installation
  • its use and operation
  • the frequency and quality of maintenance
  • the external influences to which it is subjected

The table below provides guidance on the frequency of formal inspections of electrical installations as well as routine checks.

Type of Installation Routine Check Maximum period between inspections and testing as necessary
 General Installation
Domestic accommodation - general - Change of occupancy/10 years
Domestic accommodation - rented houses and flats - Change of occupancy/5 years
Commercial 1 year Change of occupancy/5 years
Educationsal establishments 6 months 5 years
Hospitals and medical clinics - general areas 1 year 5 years
Hospitals and medical clinics - medical locations 6 months 1 year
Industrial 1 year 3 years
Residential Accommodation (HMO etc) 1 year Change of occupancy/5 years
Offices 1 year 5 years
Shops 1 year 5 years
Laboratories 1 year 5 years
Buildings open to the public
Cinemas 1 year 1-3 years
Church Installations 1 year 5 years
Leisure complexes (excluding swimming pools) 1 year 3 years
Places of public entertainment 1 year 3 years
Restaurants and hotels 1 year 5 years
Theatres 1 year 3 years
Public houses 1 year 5 years


Any Fixed Wire Testing Report (also known as EICR) will include an 'Observations' section, sometimes referred to as remedial actions.

The NICEIC format for reporting observations and recommendations is as follows:

Where observations are made the inspector will have entered one of the following codes against each observation to indicate the action (if any) recommended:

C1 - 'Danger present. Risk of injury. Immediate remedial action required.'
C2 - 'Potentially dangerous – urgent remedial action required.'
C3 - 'Improvement recommended.'
FI - 'Further investigation required without delay.'
You will need to address C1, C2 and FI faults on your report in order to achieve compliance. However it's always good practice and usually well worthwhile considering rectifying all faults on site. Remember you aren't obliged to use the same electrical contractor to test and to carry out repairs. For greater piece of mind you can also use someone else to fix the defects, also bear in mind that you don't need to have the whole installation re tested after the repairs have been completed.

We will normally provide a no obligation quotation to repair C1, C2 & FI observations. Once addressed, we can issue Minor Works Certificates in order to remain compliant.

Following the completion of any periodic electrical inspection and test programme the client should be provided with a full and detailed Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) for the works carried out.

The report should include details of the following aspects on the inspection and test:

  • Details of the client and installation
  • Extent and limitations of the inspection
  • Supply characteristics and particulars of the installation
  • Schedule of items inspected and tested
  • Schedules of circuit details and test results
  • Summary of the inspection and test
  • Observations and recommendations for actions to be taken
  • Signed declaration by the contractor

Electrical Installation Condition Reports should be retained for the lifetime of the installation and should be made available by the client to any contractor who carries out the inspection and test in the future.

Fixed Wire Testing requires the isolation of the electrical supply at various times during the inspection. This will cause disruption to the people in a building and for this reason is something that requires careful planning.

A full survey of an installation prior to the commencement of any inspection and testing programme will enable discussions between the client and the contractor and will help to ensure that any disruption will be kept to a minimum.

In practice it is often advisable to arrange for inspection and testing to take place outside of normal working hours, either overnight or at weekends. This will allow more or less free access to the installation without concern for the productivity or the Health & Safety of the users in the building.

There may still be concerns regarding IT Systems, Servers, Telephony Systems and Building Management Systems which will not react well to sudden power downs. These issues are best dealt with by careful planning of the timing of testing in critical areas and working in conjunction with IT Departments and any other interested parties.

Contact us now to discuss your fixed wire electrical testing requirements. If a site survey is required we will arrange for a call out to your premises to discuss all elements of the testing and agree a date and time to suit your business needs.

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