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Guide To Electrical Inspection And Testing Procedure

To comply with health and safety laws regular electrical inspection and testing carried out by qualified electricians needs to be done. This applies to both fixed electrical installations and portable appliances.

The type of installation determines the tests that are completed – consisting of both visual inspections and checks. These assessments can identify any wear and tear, defects, and faults prior to them becoming a serious hazard.

See a guide to electrical inspection and testing procedure here…

Routine Check Guide

To ensure continued compliance and safe operation of electrical systems and installations a routine check should be carried out as listed below:

  • General domestic and rented accommodation – one year with a maximum interval between testing of five to 10 years
  • Residential accommodation – one year with a change of occupancy every five years
  • Industrial – one year with a three-year interval
  • Shops and offices – one year with a five-year maximum interval

Electrical testing tool

Electrical Inspection and Testing Procedures

Testing procedures apply to both periodic inspection – and initial verification on new installations. Electrical testing regulation states that every installation during erection and on completion must be inspected and tested prior to being put into service.

Periodic inspection and testing have to be carried out in accordance with regulations to ensure that each installation is in a satisfactory condition for continued service. For both initial verification and testing, and periodic inspection and testing the sequence of tests is the same.

The tests are carried out in this order:

  • Continuity of productive conductors – verifying they’re electrically sound and correctly connected – an electrical test meter with a low resistance range will be used to carry out this check
    Continuity of ring final circuit conductors – establishing the ring is complete and hasn’t been interconnected
  • Insulation resistance testing – confirming insulation of conductors and electrical accessories and equipment is satisfactory without any short circuits, and showing no low insulation resistance – electrical testing equipment to conduct these checks include a multitester with a high resistance range
  • Polarity testing – all circuit polarity must be tested and verified at the origin of installation covering distribution boards and socket outlets, and extremity of the radial circuit. Lighting circuits, fuses, and single-pole switches must all be connected in the phase conductor
  • Earth fault loop impedance testing – this must be determined by either direct measurement or calculation based on readings obtained – and completed at specified points
  • Prospective fault current testing – this determines the value of overcurrent that would flow in the event of a short circuit or an earth fault occurring in the electrical installation
  • RCD testing – these are manual tests that prove that the devices will actually disconnect the electricity supply – and operated to ensure their effectiveness. They should be adequately and correctly labelled with easy access to avoid impairment
  • Phase sequence testing – a phase sequence meter will be used to detect the sequence of the supply in three-phase electrical circuits
  • Functional testing – every circuit will be tested to validate the products electrical safety and features including resistance to heat, grounding, and resistance to flow of current

Electrical outlet inspection

The Electrical Installation Condition Report

This important document will cover the condition of particular electrical installations within a specified location. The certificate can be issued after domestic electrical testing has been completed.

Any findings will be presented in an organised manner, and a declaration will be made at the end stating whether the overall electrical inspection and testing is satisfactory or not. The following codes will indicate if action needs to be taken:

  • C1 – indicates a present danger that requires immediate remedial action
  • C2 – a potentially dangerous situation that needs urgent attention
  • C3 – recommending improvement

The original certificate will need to be kept safely by the home or business owner, and a copy will be retained by the electrician carrying out the tests.

Maintaining Electrical Systems

Now you’re aware of how to do electrical testing it’s wise to know about electrical preventative maintenance too. See advice below:

  • In the workplace perform risk assessments to identify potential hazards and control measures to use
  • Check equipment is suitable for the work intended
  • Make sure equipment users are trained in safety techniques
  • In the home environment ensure electrical equipment is in good condition with plugs correctly wired and cables properly secured
  • Regularly check for burn marks or staining that suggests equipment is overheating
  • Ensure fuses are correctly rated for the appliances in use