Whether you’re a landlord or you’re simply interested in the electrical safety of your own home, having a regular electrical safety certificate inspection visit carried out provides you with the peace of mind that your tenants or your family are safe. Electricians also undertake a lot of other types of work around residential properties – we’ll be covering some of the more popular jobs later on in this article together with providing you with guideline quotes for each type of job.
In this article, we consider:
- why landlords should take note of the new law on electrical installation condition reports (previously called Periodic Inspection Reports)
- why the law came into force
- what an electrical installation condition report is
- how much an electrical safety certificate costs
- whether you can legally perform electrical installation condition reports yourself
- other type of work done on behalf of landlords and homeowners by electricians
- what qualifications and memberships you should insist on with an electrician
- how to go about getting the lowest quotes for electrical safety certificates and other domestic electrical work
Did you know that, by shopping around, you could reduce the price you pay for any electrical work carried out to your primary property or your rental properties by up to 40%? If you’re a landlord with multiple properties and an electrician knows this, they may drop the price even further in an attempt to persuade them to use them across all of your properties.
The best way to get the price down on any electrical safety certificate work or any type of electrical work is to get 3 to 4 quotes. HouseholdQuotes works with hundreds of reputable and established companies employing only the most experienced and knowledgeable electricians.
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Landlords – take note of new electrical safety certificate requirements
Almost half of all UK house fires accidental in nature are caused by faulty wiring (source: Electrical Safety Council). 70 people a year are killed as a result of electrical faults and just over a third of million people are injured because of them (source: Housing and Planning Bill, UK Parliament). The figures are staggering and worrying.
In Scotland from the 1st December 2015, private landlords were made legally responsible for ensuring electrical safety for their tenants in their properties. Every five years, landlords were required to book an electrical installation condition report for each home and apartment they owned. England will follow Scotland’s lead as the government is currently preparing legislation for presentation to the Houses of Parliament (source: BBC News). This brings in all residential let property in line with the current laws on electrical safety certificate requirements for Houses in Multiple Occupation (source: Electrical Safety First).
These new laws are in addition to the existing laws covering your common law duty of care to your tenants, including the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985, the Housing Health and Safety Rating System as enforced by the Housing Act of 2004, the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005, the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, and the Consumer Protection Act 1987 (source: Landlord Zone)
Although there is currently no start date for the introduction of mandatory electrical installation condition reports in England, the Government has long been put under pressure to bring this legislation forward by various different campaigning organisations.
Following the Dame Judith Hackitt review into the Grenfell Tower tragedy, James Brokenshire, the Secretary of State for Housing, stated that “there is nothing more important than ensuring people are safe in their own homes.
“That is why I am announcing a package of measures focused on improving building safety, having listened carefully to the concerns which have been raised.” (source: Property Industry Eye).
The impetus behind the campaign, which has been running for much of the decade, was a family who suffered a bereavement as a result of faulty wiring. Thirza Whittall and her family moved into a rented home in Portscatho in Cornwall. Mrs Whittall ran herself a bath six days into moving into the property however, according to the Daily Mail, “a faulty electric-powered, oil-filled heater and a lack of earth bonding under the enamel bath combined to turn the metal bath taps into a live electrical conductor.” She died after receiving a 175 volt shock.
At Mrs Whittall’s inquest, it came to light that the cottage they were renting had not had an electrical installation condition test carried out since 2011. The family turned this tragedy into a positive and influential campaign with the hope of protecting families in the future from such a thing happening to them.
An electrical installation condition report provides you and your tenants with the peace of mind that the electrical equipment (including accessories, sockets, switches, and cables) in your property functions correctly and does not present an elevated risk of fire.
The electrical installation condition report also contains information on the work required to get a property to the required standard, to identify electrical installations not in compliance with IET Wiring Regs, and to check for any part of the electrics in a home which present a risk of high temperatures or electric shocks.
The Electrical Safety Council recommends that electrical installation condition reports are performed at least once every ten years meaning that the new legal requirement now placed on landlords is even more precautionary than the standard accepted professional advice.
Your electrician will test the following for their electrical installation condition report:
- fuse board or consumer unit
- switches, sockets, and fixtures including light fittings (a sample section thereof)
- installation polarity checks
- protective device testing to ensure that they still work
Electrical installation condition report cost
Electrical safety certificate cost varies according to the size of the home whose electrical installations you’re having verified for compliance. There is no separate part p electrical certificate cost – this should form part of your overall quote from your electrician of choice.
To budget for the cost of an electrical inspection on a home you let out to others, you should set aside the following guide amounts:
- 1 bedroom flat – £100 to £150
- 2 bedroom flat – £120 to £170
- 3 bedroom flat – £180 to £230
- 1 to 2 bedroom house – £150 to £200
- 3 to 4 bedroom house – £200 to £250
- 5 bedroom house and larger – £300 and higher
The prices quoted to us are based on a 10-circuit-or-less fuse board – most residential properties have fuse boards of this type. The prices quoted above exclude VAT.
You generally will receive your certificate of compliance within a few days of the test being carried out by email – paper copies may be a chargeable extra.
Can I do electrical safety inspections myself?
Landlords are required to ensure, with the force of law, the following:
- when rented, all electrical installations in that property are safe
- any appliance provide in the property meets CE marking standards and is safe
Registered charity Electrical Safety First recommends that you carry out visual inspections of your property between tenancy agreements and that all electrical work done inside your properties is carried out by a registered electrician.
Whether your rental property is a standard type of property or a Home In Multiple Occupation, all checks must be carried out by a “competent person” (someone with the necessary qualifications to carry out the work) and you must keep the report given to you by that competent person. Your local authority has a right to request this documentation from you and you must provide it to them within seven days (source: Residential Landlords Association).
Other work offer by electricians
There are many other types of job offered by electricians to landlords and to residential home owners, the most popular of which we list below with price guidelines to help you with budgeting. All quotes given below assume a like for like replacement, the use of white plastic finishes on a job (not decorative finishes), and that no repairs to carpets and flooring are carried out as well as any decorating or painting.
Possibly the biggest home improvement job that can be carried out by an electrician, re-wiring your home replaces all the out-of-date or faulty wiring which is responsible for 12,500 house fires a year and 750 serious injuries (source: Electrician Courses 4 U). Most electricians recommend that you get your home rewired once every 20 to 25 years.
Re-wiring a property with 3 bedrooms costs between £2,500 and £4,500 – it generally takes around 6 days for your electrician and his or her colleagues to complete the work. Prices are higher for landlords and homeowners in the South of England than they are in other parts of England or the rest of the UK.
Your electrician will renew all the wiring in your home including wiring to the consumer unit and the electricity meter. In nearly all cases, the consumer unit will be replaced as will all the switches, sockets, and outlets in your property. Prior to sign-off, your electrician will perform a thorough circuit test and then, when passed, issue a final installation certificate.
There is more information here on home re-wirings on HouseholdQuotes.
Fuse box replacement
You may find that, following an electrical safety inspection, that you are recommended to install a new fuse box in order to be compliant with your duty of care and with health and safety laws.
To replace a fuse box, otherwise known as a consumer unit, you should budget for a charge of between £325 and £600 depending on where you are in the country.
Bathroom extractor fan installations
Extractor fans are ideal for removing the damp air which causes mould in bathrooms, especially those bathrooms which have no windows. The prevention of mould in a property is important for both residents and landlords, landlords in particular who may struggle to rent out a poorly ventilated property at risk of the development of mould.
If you want to replace an existing extractor fan, you should expect to pay between £125 and £225. To install a new extractor fan, you should expect to pay double. These prices do not include the provision of the extractor fan itself – you’ll have to buy that.
Moving switches or sockets
Moving switches or socket is one of the simplest jobs an electrician can do and it takes the least amount of time out of your day while they’re doing the work.
For like-for-like changing of a power socket, like-for-like replacement of a light switch, or relocating a light switch, you should expect to pay between £75 and £145 depending on the location of your home and the time needed to do the job.
To relocate a switch or a socket, you should expect to pay between £175 and £300 and to add an additional socket, quotes will likely range between £150 and £275.
What should I look for in an electrician?
Given the inherent dangers of electrical devices and the certainty needed that anyone installing or inspecting them should be competent and aware of all dangers, electricians undergo years of examination and on-the-job experienced before they are recognised as “competent persons” able to carry out the work with an assured level of public and personal safety.
Most electricians break into the industry via an apprenticeship lasting two to four years and they need to pass an industry recognised level 3 qualification before they are fully qualified.
The company or individual you employ to carry out an electrical safety certificate inspection or any other electrical work may also be members of the:
- Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA)
- National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC)
Getting the best quote on electrical safety certificates and other domestic electrical work
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