Commercial property owners can have responsibility for a complex mix of premises types including offices and retail properties. This complexity brings a wide range of electrical safety considerations and legal responsibilities.
The law requires periodic inspection of
Commercial property owners are duty bound by the requirements of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 (EAW) made under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The EAW Regulations require all systems and apparatus to be maintained and require proof that steps have been taken to avoid offence. Installations which conform with BS7671: Requirements for Electrical Installations are regarded by the Health & Safety Executive as likely to achieve conformity with the EAW Regulations and this includes periodic inspection.
Landlords have further legal obligations under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 (CPA). As a ‘supplier of goods’, the landlord must ensure that goods are checked before the tenant takes them over and inspected routinely so they are fit for purpose. This includes the electrical installation and like EAW, the CPA also make reference to retaining documentary proof.
In the absence of electrical inspection, insurance policies for buildings, contents, property, public liability as well as other insurance policies, may be rendered invalid.
Irrespective of listed status, special architecture, or use, the installation must conform with BS7671.
Frequency of inspection
The recommended maximum period between inspection and testing in this type of property is every five years. Our Engineer Surveyor will provide bespoke guidance and a recommendation on the periodicity during their first inspection.
Why choose HSB?
HSB Engineering Insurance Services, part of Munich Re, can help you reduce electrical fire risks through our extensive inspection expertise. As a leading specialist provider of inspection services in the UK, Ireland and Europe, our inspection services are formally accredited by UKAS to the international standards for inspection bodies (ISO/IEC 17020).
Drawing on our vast experience, our network of competent, technically-experienced Engineer Surveyors are ‘Competent Persons’ under BS7671. They operate independently of installation and maintenance parties and can, therefore, provide impartial reports to help you identify any electrical risks; whilst also highlighting any necessary repairs in priority order.
Specific concerns with electrical installations in commercial properties
- inadequate design for new occupancy type
- accessibility to extraneous conductive parts
- unsecured accessories
- unreported damage to accessible parts of the installation
- ineffective emergency lighting
- overloading of socket outlets in residential areas
- temporary repairs that become permanent
- bridged fuses
- unauthorised amateur additions or repairs
- inappropriate cables routing
- insufficient socket outlets overcome by misuse of adaptors and extension leads
- risk to lone workers and staff
- overheated lighting connections
- VIR (vulcanised rubber) cables
- bakelite switches
- overheated concealed cables in the building insulation
- unsupported cabling causing termination strain and arcing
- original lead-sheathed wiring
- defunct accessories
- ancient cast-steel or iron switch-fuses
- two wire wound stage dimmers
- porcelain fuses
- failure of voltage operated circuit breakers through corrosion or loosening of the earth circuit
- older cable sheaths can be more prone to attack by rodents
- rarely accessed, including by maintenance staff
- not upgraded for increased power usage
- not modernised for improved protection
- system damage from cold starts
- earth rod disconnected or damaged by gardening machinery or vehicles
HSB's inspection services: additional plant and equipment
Electrical wiring inspections form part of a suite of inspection services we offer. We can inspect a wide range of additional plant and equipment in commercial properties; from portable appliances to boilers, pipework and radiators to winches, and air conditioning to lifts.