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Keeping up with the ever changing face of British safety standards can be a challenge so we always strive to deliver the information you need, just when you need it. This month the hot topic is electrical safety as the first amendment to BS7671 2008 (2011) is soon to come into force. Here we ask Paul Caddick of safety experts PHS Compliance to explain the essential facts and give guidance to all FM professionals on what is important to know.

complete change for the way in which electrical safety testing is reported.

The first amendment to the 17th Edition of the IET Wiring Regulations BS7671: 2008 (2011) has been published. Installations designed after 31st December 2011 are to comply with BS7671:2008 (2011), thus the new amended Standard comes into force on 1st January 2012.

It might only be an amendment, but the changes made in July 2011 to BS7671 are likely to have even greater impact than the introduction of the 17th Edition back in 2008. Some of the changes are about harmonising our Standard with European CENELEC. But new sections have also been added and there’s a


For clarity it should be said that BS7671:2008 (2011) has a non-statutory status. However it is referenced in The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and The Electricity Safety, Quality and Continuity Regulations 2002 as the standard to be met. Requirements of BS7671:2008 (2011) should not be applied retrospectively to installations that predate its enforcement (installations designed before 1st January 2012). However it is possible that periodic inspection could find issues necessitating improvement or remedial repair.

CHANGES TO THE STANDARD: PART 6 – INSPECTION & TESTING Probably the most dramatic change in this amendment is the introduction of the new Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), which replaces the Periodic Inspection Report (PIR). The aim of this new document is to make it explicit to the recipient exactly what it is and what it does; to be more

descriptive and to make it much easier for the Duty Holder to understand test reports and act upon them. It is the document that will now be issued following periodic inspection and testing.

Within the EICR will be observations or non- compliances. These detail the coded faults and the classification has been changed and simplified in the amendment. The new codes are:

• C1: Danger present. Risk of injury. Immediate remedial action required.

• C2: Potentially dangerous – urgent remedial action required.

• C3: Improvement recommended.

The recording of either a C1 or C2 observation in the EICR would result in an unsatisfactory outcome. In other words, the installation would not be deemed compliant to BS7671:2008 (2011). In this case the recipient of the report must take action, either immediately or urgently, in accordance with the observation made.

From a safety point of view the new EICR is a significant improvement. In the past many that commissioned testing and received a PIR found it difficult to assimilate and interpret. Indeed many people have mistaken the PIR for a ‘pass certificate’ and upon receipt wrongly thought that it automatically signalled compliance. In electrical safety there is currently no such thing as a testing certificate; the test report should be a thorough document that sets out details of the testing conducted and the results found. However, the technical style and language of the PIR (originally designed to be read by qualified electricians) made this


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