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Heritage Buildings

Modern buildings have the luxury of cable voids and spaces for routing cabling, switchgear and accessories, and permit easy installation of horizontal and riser cabling, connecting hardware and electronic equipment. Heritage buildings, however, were not designed and constructed to accommodate these.

The law requires periodic inspection of
electrical systems

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.

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 heritage buildings

  • light fittings designed for candles, oil or gas converted to use electricity
  • bakelite switches
  • mineral-insulated cable chemically attacked by masonry salts
  • extended circuits and long cable runs causing voltage drop, cable overheating, switching power surges and restricting maintenance
  • inappropriate cables routed outside, under carpet, or even chimney
  • overheated concealed cables in the building insulation
  • unsupported cabling causing termination strain and arcing
  • risk to lone workers and staff
  • unreported damage to accessible parts of the installation
  • effective emergency lighting
  • VIR (vulcanised rubber) cables
  • original lead-sheathed wiring
  • unsecured accessories
  • ancient cast-steel or iron switch-fuses
  • two wire wound stage dimmers
  • porcelain fuses
  • unauthorised amateur additions or repairs
  • 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 lawn mower/strimmer

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 heritage buildings; from portable appliances to boilers, pipework and radiators to winches, and air conditioning to lifts.

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