Changes in legislation in England and Wales mean landlords are now required to have the electrical installations of their rented properties inspected and tested. Not every electrician is approved for electrical inspection work however.... but we are and have been for years. Here's how to check your preferred provider...
I've had a good old moan before about electrical installers who offer inspection services both in (relatively polite) blog form on this very site, and in a much swearier guise over on that YouTube. We're often called out to provide a second opinion when someone has been stung for an electrical report that is plain nonsense, or one that led to unnecessary work. Often, poor reports are because they're authored by an electrical installer, that is to say someone who may well make a good job of putting up lights and adding new socket outlets, but who has not been specifically trained and assessed for the job of inspection and testing and lack the requisite understaning to undertake it properly.
It's like asking the guy who changes your car tyres to provide an MOT certificate. He may be great at putting on the round rubbery things, but does he have the tools and expertise to be testing your emissions or passing judgement on the effectiveness of your brakes, and will the piece of paper he gives you really pass muster with your insurance company?
To perform electrical inspection and testing work requires an investment in the tools, training and the insurance that goes with it. That chap who made a good job of your garden lighting, at least on the face of it, may well not have the specialist calibrated equipment, the passed exams or the pesky insurance overhead to be professing an educated opinion, so the report you get for your money may not be valid for insurance or letting purposes. Should your tenant get injured or killed through a shock or fire event caused by something being missed, then that's bad news for them... but also for you as a landlord, as you will have failed in your due diligence in the hiring of someone suitable for that work.
So, how are you supposed to know who is and isn't suitable? Well, the Registered Competent Persons database has your back. Any sparkie who has been assessed by their Competent Persons Scheme as being fit and equipped for undertaking inspections is now listed here.
The RCP homepage always had a search function where an accredited electrician could be found in your area, and now that box allows landlords to search for those rubber-stamped specifically for inspection work.
David Savery Electrical Services Ltd. is accredited through the NICEIC Approved Contractor scheme for inspection and testing. We hold current professional indemnity insurance, David and Nigel are both qualified for the task and we have calibrated test equipment. But hey, you know we know our bananas; you only have to take a look at the Cowboy Competition blog entries on this site to see the kind of thing we've come across in the past.
Don't hire someone who offers a 'visual inspection' only as that leaves out all the testing which leads to a false sense of security that all is well when serious underlying issues may be present. Do expect an inspection to take some time; with two of us on the job, your average older three-bedroom semi takes us about half a day. Do also expect to pay for that time - anyone offering to do it at a fixed rate that is well below what others are quoting will be looking to either do a quick job with so much corner cutting that the resultant report is useless, or they'll make up a shopping list of remedials you'll be held to ransom to fork out for to get it ticked-off.
At the end of the day, a dead tenant or a fire damaged property isn't going to do you any favours. It pays to get the job done properly. Don't get stuck like the homeowner in the following video who forked out £85 for a load of absolute rubbish (contains strong language).