Observations are things which are wrong with your installation that need rectifying and they are coded based on their risk level.
Fixed Wire Testing ensures your electrical installations are safe and it is governed by the IET Wiring Regulations Seventeenth Edition also referred to as BS 7671
- N.B. - 18th Edition will apply from 1 January 2019
After completing fixed wire testing of your installation, the specialist electrical contractor will supply you with an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR).
This report will indicate any problems or 'observations' which are coded according to their risk factor.
Often codes are written in an ambiguous way, and hard to specifically identify what is being referred to, your contractor should explain these in details, despite each case being different below we have supplied details from the electrical guides to explain exactly what each code means overall in relation to a certificate.
Observations are recorded on page two of your Fixed Wiring Report, also known as as an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). They are things which are wrong with your installation that need rectifying and they are coded according to their danger level, using the codes C1, C2, C3 and FI.
A Code 1 (C1) specifically means:
- ' Danger present. Risk of injury. Immediate remedial action required.'
It represents an immediate threat to the safety anyone using this electrical installation be it your employees, customers or guests and should be rectified or made safe as soon as possible.
An example of a C1 defect would be accessible live conductors due to damage, poorly modified enclosures or removed maintenance panels.
Incorrect polarity would also attract a code C1 as it may allow conductive parts, not normally expected to be live, to become live.
Once a C1 threat is identified, it must be dealt with immediately access to the faulty circuit may be blocked, or the circuit itself turned off until the the defect is fixed.
A Code 2 (C2) is not as severe as a C1, but is still a potentially dangerous defect. They may not pose an immediate threat but are likely to become a danger in the future.
A C2 is described as:
- 'Potentially dangerous - urgent remedial action required.'
The phrase "potentially dangerous", in the C2 code is designed to point towards a risk of injury from contact with live parts after a sequence of events. A sequence of events could mean that an individual may gain access to live parts through a day to day task that would not be expected to give access to live parts.
Code 3 is described as:
- 'Improvement recommended.'
This means something has been identified which does not comply with the regulations but isn't actually dangerous.
For example, the installation may not comply with the current version of the regulations or may have damaged fittings that do not have exposed live parts.
A code C3, in itself, should not warrant an overall unsatisfactory report.
You will need to address C1, C2 and FI faults on your report in order to achieve compliance with electrical safety regulations. However it's always good practice and usually well worthwhile considering rectifying all faults on site.
An observation code FI is described as ' Further investigation required without delay.' This means that your electrical testing engineer has observed something whilst carrying out the testing, for instance if the emergency lights seem very dim. This might not have been covered in the report so they have noted it separately as code FI.
Unsatisfactory EICR Report
Codes C1 and C2 attract an unsatisfactory report rating and you must have these defects rectified in order to demonstrate compliance.
A report could also be classed as unsatisfactory if the only fault codes are FI.
For example if there are lots of circuits that are not verified at the time of testing, and each has an FI code, the inspector would not be able to categorically determine whether these circuits are safe or not.
Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)
Once faults have been rectified and your electrician has issued you with the relevant paperwork, Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC) or Minor Works Certificate (MW) these should be kept together with the Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) to prove all faults have been rectified in accordance with BS7671.
If the unthinkable happens and someone receives a shock from part of your installation or if there is an electrical fire in your building, then a court, inquest or insurance company will certainly want to see this EICR Fixed Wire Testing report which makes it very important document.
Specialist Electrical Contractors
AIM Engineering London Limited specialise in providing tailored electrical testing solutions in Fixed Wire Testing, PAT Testing, Emergency Light Testing and Thermal Imaging.