Fixed wire testing: your complete guide

Fixed wire testing: your complete guide

Fixed wire testing - your complete guide

It’s essential to keep the electrical installation and circuits in your building safe. Fixed wire testing is one of the best ways to protect your property, as well as the people who live and work in it.

Join us as we look at what fixed wire testing is, why it’s so important, and how often you need to get it done.

What is fixed wire testing?

Electrical fixed wire testing is when a ‘competent person’ tests the electrical installation in a building – this includes elements like light fittings, sockets, wiring, and the consumer unit (fuse board).

By a ‘competent person,’ we mean someone with the knowledge and experience to carry out the testing safely and avoid danger. In the case of fixed wire testing this needs to be a qualified electrician or electrical engineer.

You may hear fixed wire testing referred to as an ‘Electrical Installation Condition Report’ (EICR), hard wire testing, five-year electrical testing, fixed electrical testing, or periodic inspection.

Why is fixed wire testing so important?

Electrical fixed wire testing can reduce the risk of fire and electric shock in your building.

If you own a business, you’re legally responsible for the health and safety of your employees, while landlords must keep properties safe and free from health risks.

Fixed wire testing is a legal requirement for landlords – we’ll talk about this in more detail later.

If a fire causes damage to your building and you don’t have proof that you’ve done all you can to ensure safety, your insurance company may refuse to pay out.

Fixed wire testing also reduces the risk of downtime in your property. A failed electrical installation can take time and money to put right, meaning your building is temporarily out of action.

What is checked during fixed wire testing?

During electrical fixed wire testing, an electrical engineer will inspect your electrical installation for faults. The electrical engineer will carry this out in two parts:

  • A visual inspection. The electrical engineer will examine your electrical components for damage and wear, making sure nothing is loose or is used in the wrong way
  • Electrical testing. The electrical engineer will test the polarity, insulation resistance, and continuity of your wires and circuits. They will also ensure voltage levels are at an acceptable range and that your residual current devices (RCDs) trip correctly

Not all the elements in a building are tested. While the consumer unit is fully tested, a small sample of electrical elements get tested – about 20%. However, if the electrical engineer finds any issues, they may test additional elements.

Some of these tests are carried out when the electrical circuit is switched on (live testing), and some are when the electrical circuit is switched off (dead testing).

After the fixed wire testing is complete, you’ll receive a report. This report will detail:

  • Any limitations – for example, if the electrical engineer was unable to access certain parts of the installation
  • A breakdown of what was tested and the results of each test
  • Whether the inspection was satisfactory or unsatisfactory, in line with the 18th edition IET wiring regulations (BS 7671)

If your inspection was unsatisfactory (i.e., the electrical engineer found potential issues), the engineer will advise you on what work you need to do to make your installation safe. You can then arrange remedial works to fix any issues.

Find out more about the codes used in a fixed wire testing report

Is it a legal requirement to have fixed wire testing?

It is not a legal requirement to carry out electrical fixed wire testing in a commercial building. However we recommend it to ensure your building stays safe.

The legislation around fixed electrical testing in residential properties is different.

Landlords in England, Wales, and Scotland must have a valid fixed wire testing certificate for every property they own. They need to renew this certificate every five years – it’s also recommended after every change of tenancy.

More information about fixed wire testing for landlords

How often do you need to carry out fixed wire testing?

The fixed wire testing frequency for landlords is set at every five years.

The testing frequency for commercial buildings and other properties can vary. For example, it’s recommended that petrol stations carry out fixed wire testing every year, while offices, shops, schools, and community centres get tested every five years.

Fixed fire testing frequency depends on how high-risk the building is. Wet, dusty and densely populated buildings, as well as environments that use flammable chemicals and gases, will need checking more often.

More information about fixed electrical testing frequency

How is fixed wire testing used with PAT testing?

Fixed electrical testing and PAT testing (also known as electrical equipment testing) test two different parts of a building.

While fixed electrical testing checks the electrical installation, PAT testing checks the electrical equipment that runs off the mains. For example, laptops, kettles, and computer monitors.

Fixed wire and PAT testing ensure complete safety in your building – that your electrical equipment and the electrical installation you plug your equipment into are both safe.

Looking for fixed electrical testing near you?

Regular fixed wire testing keeps your building safe and gives your occupants peace of mind.

If you’re looking for a reliable and trusted fixed wire testing specialist, we can help.

With a national network of qualified and accredited electrical engineers, we’ll check your electrical installation to ensure it works as it should.

Our team has several years of experience providing electrical fixed wire testing to schools, landlords, offices, and factories, and will ensure you stay safe and compliant.

Contact us today to find out more about our competitive fixed wire testing rates.

We’re the UKs Number 1  trusted voice of experience in the industry, who are regularly consulted to give our expert opinions with industry governing bodies.

Through our national network of fully certified engineers, Hawkesworth provide a range of technical compliance and testing services to ensure you’re not at risk – we’ve got you covered!

From your Electrical Installation and Portable Appliances with EICRPAT and Thermographic surveys to Fire Safety with Fire Risk Assessments, Fire Alarm Testing and Emergency Lighting.

Get in touch and see how we can help you