Spot the cynic: Call to extend electrical safety checks

What do people think of this: 

The charity Electrical Safety First (ESF) said the checks had found 7,000 faults including exposed live wiring.

Back in 2012, the ESF partnered with the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) to create Certsure, which operates ECA Certification and NICEIC competent person scheme.

Do you think this figure is likely to be higher in reality given what we know about the price war and race to the bottom which affects how inspections are done? We have all heard stories of EICRs deemed satisfactory when they shouldn't have been, of qualified supervisors not properly checking the work carried out by their subcontractors. 

Is it cynical of ESF to release these figures and lobby for more properties to be covered when it is the NICEIC competent person scheme that has been criticised for allowing for subpar checks to be carried out in the first place?

I'd be really interested to get your views....


  • well, at the moment the folk installing the bad wiring are working faster than the folk tidying it up.. Joking aside we do not seem able to manage enough truly competent people to test and maintain rented sector accommodation, so to add to that workload right now seems unwise.

    While photos of smashed socket fronts make a good headline that scarcely needs inspections by a fully qualified sparks to put right. Trickier perhaps would be things with reverse polarity or earth off issues, but even then a plug in tester would find the most obvious dangers quite quickly. Some countries do almost no inspect and test, and work instead to a recipe approach (USA that means you.)  There may a sobering lesson there for those that advocate generating loads of inspection work, rather than encouraging better workmanship - if the socket had not been put there, would it have even got smashed .. that kind of  thing.

    I'm shocked they have only found 7000 faults to be honest.  There are supposed to be about 2,5million rented flats and houses out there if it's only 7000, that's pretty good going. I'd have expected at least 2 million non-compliances of one sort or another, given inspections are to the 2018 regs.

    ~If they have only found 7000 it is easy to show it is not worth it.


  • 7000 faults has to be a made up number, that is only 1 fault per 100 or more rental properties. This is ridiculous, my experience is 1 or more per 2! This number may come from "drive bys" of course, supported by the NICEIC QS system, as many non-qualified persons carry out this work. I wonder who made up that number, clearly no one from the electrical industry!

  • "7,000 faults including exposed live wiring"

    I wonder if they meant 7,000 C1s - even so it feels a little on the low side.

      - Andy.

  • it probably means the reporting process is not really right, and a lot is either being missed, or we can hope, silently fixed.


  • I used to do EICRs for a Housing Association, they were obsessed with EICRs and would get one on every change of tenancy even if the previous tenancy had only actually last for three days.

    There isn’t a problem in general with electrical installations Housing Association homes, the main exception being spotting and fixing tenants DIY work, though the one estate which was built in the 1970’s was at the point where really many homes needed rewiring, they had had replacement consumer units but everything else was on the point of being past it.


    Do you realise that Housing Associations don’t have to fit smoke alarms in their properties, unlike private landlords?

    That is a topic worthy of discussion.

  • Reading the press release from ESF it looks like they only received granular data from 98 councils. Therefore they say faults across the whole of England could have been as high as 24,000. These are just C1 and C2 faults - as these are the only ones that have to be reported to councils.

    There is a lot more info in the press release than in the BBC article:

  • I could have reported C1 and C2 issues whilst undertaking Housing Association EICRs, but we were instructed to resolve all issues as we went along because the HA only wanted satisfactory EICRs otherwise they could not rent the house or flat out, so an unsatisfactory EICR was of no use to them at all.

    So reading the EICRs I submitted would not give you any indication whatsoever of what condition the electrical installation was actually in prior to me attending to do the inspection and testing, so I can tell you that completed EICRs do not give a true representation of the prior state of electrical installations in Housing Association properties.

    For example on several occasions I found bare copper exposed on the meter tails where they entered the suppliers meter in the meter cabinet within the communal area outside the flat, an issue that was made worse because the suppliers meters were prepayment meters that needed to be topped up using a payment key. On each occasion I had Western Power attend as an emergency callout, WPD weren’t very happy about having to attend because they were actually having to correct Metering Services work, when I tried to get them to come to a similar issue in a private home I was told to report it through the customers supplier to get Metering Services to sort it out and ended up binding the tails in tape as a temporary measure.

    Anyway, no C1 issues were ever recorded on the Housing Association EICRs because they were dealt with, not merely recorded for someone else to deal with.

  • That was until Nov last year, but still pretty incredible it took that long!

  • The PRS EICR legislation does not need extending to social housing because HAs have systems in place and generally repairs get done because the tenants can get an electrician to attend at no additional cost to themselves.

    It does not mean that HA electrical installations are completely free of issues, there are issues relating to poor workmanship by the installers, DIY work by tenants, damage, wear and tear.

    But the issues with electrical installations in Housing Association properties are not significant  when compared with the huge problems in the Private Rented Sector, which is still an ongoing problem.