Initial verification Before being put into service, all new installations should be confirmed, through inspection and testing during construction and on completion, as compliant with The IET Wiring Regulations BS 7671.
BS 7671 and Guidance Note 3 explain the extent and expectations of this initial verification and ultimately this should result in the issuing of an Electrical Installation Certificate. Any significant changes to the electrical installation should result in the certification being reissued in respect of the modification works, although minor modifications can be captured through a Minor Electrical Installation works certification. The initial verification forms the baseline of future periodic inspection and testing.
Periodic inspection and testing The purpose of periodic inspection and testing is to provide ‘an engineering view’ on whether the installation is in a satisfactory condition so as to continue to be used safely. It addresses four specific concerns. Three of these quite correctly relate to the ongoing and assured safety of personnel; one specifically refers to ‘protection against damage to property by fire and heat arising from an installation defect’.
Routine checks vs formal inspections Formal inspections are discussed later but electrical installations should receive attention during the time between these inspections. Just because a car might only be professionally serviced once per year, it doesn’t mean that it is not checked in between for general condition and wear and tear. The same applies to an electrical installation. These checks need not necessarily be carried out by an electrically skilled person, but do need to be carried out by someone who can safely use the installation and recognise defects