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Not RIP for PIRs

Release Date: 26/09/2011

ELECSA advises contractors to wait for definitive coding for new Electrical Installation Condition Reports.

Periodic Inspection Reports may now have a new title, but ELECSA is arguing that it is far from RIP for PIRs despite delays to industry advice on the definitive coding that should be used.  Amendment No.1 of the 17th Edition Wiring Regulations came into force on 1st July 2011 which has renamed Periodic Inspection Reports (PIRs) to Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICRs).

ELECSA, which is one of the UK’s leading competent person schemes run by electricians for electricians, is urging contractors not to be concerned by rumours in the industry on the new reports and coding.

PIRs have long been the means to regularly check electrical installations for defective wiring, accessories or poor workmanship that does not comply with the standards and could impair safety.  The rationale behind changing the name to Electrical Installation Condition Reports is because it ‘does what it says on the tin’ by describing the series of inspections and tests carried out on existing electrical installations to establish their condition and confirm if they meet safety standards for continued  use.

These reports are also used by places of work to demonstrate compliance with the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.  The types of properties that typically fall within the EICR guidelines are properties owned by local authorities, private landlords or housing associations as well as commercial and industrial properties.  The typical guidelines on intervals between EICRs in a domestic property are on change of occupancy or every ten years.  For a commercial business it should be every five years, three years for caravans and every year for swimming pools.

EICRs should be carried out by competent electrical contractors who have experience of the installation under inspection.  The extent of the inspection and test must be agreed with the person ordering the work, and any agreed limitations noted on the report given to the person ordering the work.

Senior industry representatives are looking at numerous examples of departures and their appropriate codes and this guidance will be issued shortly.

Under the existing arrangements, a numbering system of one to four indicates the seriousness of any departures.  Now under the amendment, the codes will have a letter’ ‘C’ (for code) in front of them.
“It may take a long time for contractors to start referring to the inspections by their new name, but for the outside world it can easily be argued that the wording is less ambiguous and more user-friendly,” said Connor Flynn, lead assessor for ELECSA.

“What is causing more concern is the delay over the guidance on coding, but electrical contractors should not worry because industry guidance will be issued shortly  It is better to see the white smoke of consensus than the black smoke of a fire caused by any confusion surrounding the coding,” he said.

ELECSA advises all contractors undertaking periodic inspections to clearly clarify with their client before commencing work which edition of BS7671:2008 they require them to work to during the six month transition period.  From the 30th June up to the 31st December 2011 there are two choices: work to BS7671:2008 or BS7671:2008 incorporating Amd No 1:2011.