Whether you’ve had a complete home rewire, an extension, or other significant electrical work, it’s important to understand the importance of the Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC). But what happens if you don’t have a copy when it’s time to apply for your completion certificate with the council?
Understanding the Electrical Installation Certificate
The electrical installation certificate is a formal document issued by a qualified Edinburgh electrician or electrical contractor upon the completion of electrical installation work in your home.
It confirms that the work has been carried out, inspected, and tested in accordance with the British standard for electrical safety, BS 7671 (requirements for electrical installations).
This certificate is not just a piece of paper; it’s a declaration of safety, compliance, and peace of mind.
The importance of the electrical installation certificate for your councils completion certificate
When electrical work is completed in your home, especially significant projects like rewiring or extensions, the local council requires proof that the work complies with building regulations and safety standards.
This is where the EIC becomes indispensable. Without it, obtaining a completion certificate from the council – an official acknowledgment that your project meets all legal and safety requirements—becomes a complex challenge.
The risks of not having an EIC
Should you find yourself applying for a completion certificate without an EIC, you’re likely to hit a snag. The council will request this document as evidence of compliant electrical work. If years have passed since the work was done, tracking down the original contractor might not be straightforward.
They might no longer be in business, or they may be unable to issue the certificate retrospectively.
The alternative: Electrical installation condition report (EICR)
In scenarios where the original electrical installation certificate (EIC) is missing or otherwise unobtainable, and the initial contractor is beyond reach or incapable of issuing a replacement certificate, homeowners have an alternative route, an electrical installation condition report (EICR) from a SELECT registered company like Ideal Electrical Solutions.
Although the EICR is not the council’s document of choice for completion certificates, it offers an evaluation of the current state of your electrical system. This detailed inspection is conducted by certified electricians and is designed to scrutinise every aspect of your electrical installation to ensure it aligns with the standards of electrical safety and compliance.
An EICR may disclose various compliance discrepancies or departures from the latest regulations, reflecting changes in safety standards since the original installation. Such revelations highlight potential safety risks within your installation that could necessitate immediate attention.
Moreover, the process of rectifying these identified issues could entail significant financial outlay. Upgrades or repairs required to bring the installation up to current standards are often extensive and costly and the most common upgrades we see in this situation if your fuse board does not meet the current standards and will require to be upgraded. The necessity for such work underscores the critical importance of maintaining an up-to-date and compliant electrical system, not only for the sake of regulatory approval but for the safety and well-being of the home’s occupants.
Therefore, while an EICR can indeed serve as a stopgap measure in the absence of an original EIC, it should also be viewed as MOT for homes. It provides invaluable insights into the electrical installation’s current standard, offering homeowners the opportunity to address potential issues proactively.
This can ultimately contribute to ensuring the electrical systems are not only compliant but are also as safe and efficient as possible, safeguarding your home and those within it against electrical hazards.
Our expert suggestion for home owners
To avoid complications, we strongly advise homeowners to ensure they receive and retain their electrical installation certificate immediately after any electrical work is completed. This proactive approach guarantees that you have the necessary documentation to present to the council when applying for a completion certificate. Additionally, should you consider selling your property in the future, possessing an up-to-date EIC can significantly speed up the process.
In summary, obtaining an EIC may seem like just another step in the already complex process of home renovation, its importance cannot be overstated. Always ensure that any electrical work is appropriately documented with an EIC, and safeguard this certificate as a vital component of your home’s renovation records.
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This article was originally published on April 17th 2015. Updated February 2024.