What is Fixed Wire Inspection & Testing?
Fixed Testing involves testing the electrical installations and systems that conduct electricity around the building. It covers all of the electrical wiring in a building and includes main panels, distribution boards, lighting, socket outlets, air conditioning and other fixed plant. Once the electrical installation has been tested and verified as safe, an EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) is issued.
What is involved in testing a Fixed Electrical Installation?
Specialist fixed wire testing engineers employed to complete the fixed wire 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, prior to commencing testing.
The engineer will then conduct a visual and physical assessment of the electrical installation using specially designed testing equipment. In order to complete fixed wire testing safely and effectively, electrical circuits will need to be disconnected briefly during testing.
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."
Minimising workplace disruption
Fixed Electrical 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 essential in order to identify potential challenges and ways to minimise these. In practice, fixed wire testing is often best performed outside of normal working hours.
Guidance Note 3 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."
The results and extent of fixed testing should be recorded on an Electrical Installation Condition Report and provided to the person who ordered the inspection, usually the Duty Holder. 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 standard observation codes to indicate the severity of each observation.
EICR and observation reports can be provided and stored in any format (printed or digital) and many contractors now offer online document access as part of the service, providing easy access to the client.