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A Guide to Fixed Wire Testing Intervals

Posted in
Date
17/06/2021
a guide to fixed wire testing intervals

Fixed wire testing intervals are a key consideration for any business owner or facilities manager that wants to keep their site safe, efficient and compliant. In this post, we’ll take a look at how fixed wires are tested, how to determine the right intervals between tests, and why it matters for your business.

Fixed wire testing: the basics

Before discussing the right intervals for fixed wire testing, it’s worth clarifying what exactly the tests are and why they’re so important. Fixed wire testing is covered by an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), which comprises a thorough visual and physical inspection of your electrical system, including:

  • Defective work
  • Unsafe wiring
  • Shock risks
  • Fire hazards
  • Overloaded circuits

In short, fixed wire tests make sure your electrical installation is safe and efficient in line with BS 7671 standards. They should be carried out by someone who is qualified and competent. But it’s also important that they’re carried out periodically with the right fixed wire testing intervals.

Quite simply, that’s because of safety and compliance. Fixed wire testing is not a one-off task. As your electrical system is used, there’s a chance of components deteriorating and new risks emerging and developing.

Setting the right fixed wire testing intervals

When it comes to fixed wire testing intervals, the advice you’ll find online is quite limited. It’s well documented that landlords are now required to have an EICR completed at least every five years, which is often seen as a rule of thumb for commercial sites too.

In truth, fixed wire testing intervals should be determined on a case-by-case basis, with a maximum fixed wire testing interval included on your EICR report. Generally, they are required every one to five years, depending on a number of factors:

  • The type of electrical installation
  • How frequently it’s used
  • The environment within which it’s installed

Electrical installations that require shorter fixed wire testing intervals are usually those exposed to moisture, dust or especially high or low temperatures, including industrial units and leisure centres. However, places which are open to the public also carry a higher risk – such as fuel stations, cinemas and hospitals – calling for more frequent testing.

Check your EICR certificate

The good news is, there’s no need for guesswork when it comes to fixed wire testing intervals. As part of your EICR report, a qualified electrician will specify the maximum amount of time you should wait before your next inspection.

They will base their recommendation on the factors discussed above along with the condition of your electrical system. Your EICR report will also outline any issues identified with your installation, so you can make sure it is safe, compliant and running smoothly in the meantime.

Why do fixed wire testing intervals matter?

It’s all well and good knowing the right intervals for fixed wire testing. But even with that knowledge, not everyone will book their tests at the right time. You might put it off to avoid the expense for the time being or just forget to organise testing because you have more pressing matters to take care of.

Here’s why it’s vital to follow the recommended fixed wire testing intervals:

They keep you safe

Safety is paramount for any business. Above all else, it’s your responsibility to provide a safe environment for your staff and any other visitors on site. Fixed wire testing intervals are in place to ensure your installation doesn’t go unchecked for too long, which minimises the risk of serious problems developing and going unnoticed.

And maintain your compliance

A safe site is a compliant site. There are two main laws relating to fixed wire testing – namely, the Electricity at Work Regulations (1989) and the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974).

While they don’t reference fixed wire testing or specific intervals, they clearly state that electrical systems and the place of work as a whole should be maintained to keep it safe and prevent danger or risks to health.

Regular fixed wire tests are a reasonable expectation that employers should meet to keep their site safe. Failure to do so when an interval has been recommended by a contractor is enough to suggest you’ve not taken action to meet your legal obligations.

They help you minimise disruption

Testing fixed wire installations regularly will keep them working at their best and stop major problems developing. Instead, contractors will be able to nip small issues in the bud. More often than not, this means making minor repairs, which could even be completed out of business hours.

The alternative is to neglect your electrical installation and wait until a major problem occurs. That typically means losing business hours or even days while your system is repaired or replaced. The result is lost time, lost customers and a loss of revenue.

You could even save money

A proactive approach to electrical maintenance can save you money. How? Instead of forking out for major repairs, you make affordable repairs with manageable costs. You’ll also avoid penalties for non-compliance, which can range from thousands to hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Who can test my fixed wires?

The final thing to check is who can test fixed wires and recommend the right intervals. Guidance simply states that they should be qualified and competent. Here are three simple criteria to check for:

  • Experience – They should have experience inspecting, repairing and even installing fixed wiring. Reviews and testimonials are a good way to verify their claims.
  • Accreditation – Accreditations like NICEIC show that a person or company is approved to work on fixed wire installations.
  • Knowledge – They should be familiar with BS 7671 standards and relevant regulations, as well as having electrical installations qualifications.

Book your fixed wire tests

The best way to keep to your electrical installation safe and compliant is with a professional EICR report. Based in Leeds, the team at Volta is fully qualified to complete comprehensive fixed wire tests for your commercial or industrial premises, as well as recommending the maximum fixed wire testing interval.

To find out more or get a free quote, simply contact us on 0113 397 1361 or email [email protected].

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Richard Carr Volta Compliance
Richard Carr
Managing Director
Richard is the Director of Volta Compliance. He is a fully qualified approved electrician graded with the JIB. Richard has over 20 years electrical experience working on commercial and industrial installations.
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