A property’s electrical system is one of those necessities in life that is not visible and often forgotten until suddenly it ceases to work, with the possibility of causing untold damage or inconvenience and potentially expensive emergency electrical repairs. Suddenly something that was invisible becomes an urgent problem as you must decide “Who do you call to fix it? What is a reasonable price to pay? How do you fund the unexpected cost?”
Such emergency measures can be avoided if the property’s electrical installation is periodically tested and inspected by a qualified electrician. In the UK, the requirements for testing and inspection of electrical installations are detailed under British Standard BS7671. Electrical Contractors registered with the NICEIC are audited to ensure they comply with these requirements. Many commercial properties and properties open to the public require regular electrical testing and certification in order to satisfy local authority regulations and to obtain insurance cover. However, domestic installations are often neglected, and are more likely not to be maintained or upgraded until a fault occurs.
An electrical maintenance contract with an NICEIC certified electrician or electrical contractor ensures a property receives the recommended or required periodic inspection & testing each year. In many cases a visual inspection by a qualified electrical engineer will identify potential problems that can be rectified before an incident occurs, e.g., hidden problems such as poor earthing or high resistance connections that are potentially dangerous. In addition, a valid NICEIC test certificate will be issued to the property owner documenting the results of the tests carried out by the NICEIC contractor.
The maintenance contract may also include 24/7 call-out service at a set price in the event of an emergency, so you won’t have to a) wait longer than expected for an electrician, and b) wonder if you’re being overcharged by a rogue call-out electrician. These services may also be offered for a fixed monthly price thus spreading the costs out over the year.
Damage to a property from not maintaining its electrical system can occur from many causes, the most direct cause being fire. This is particularly so with older properties and buildings which were constructed to what is now an outdated specification. Like most products, wiring has a shelf life and old wiring is often an accident waiting to happen unless it has been inspected and tested by a qualified electrician. When buying a home the purchaser will often obtain a valuation survey for mortgage purposes and save money by not purchasing a full survey and thus never realize the true condition of the wiring. Modern electrical systems have protective devices that will automatically trip the circuit and make it safe in the event of a fault. This protects against electric shock and also helps to avoid dangerous conditions which may cause a fire. Older properties may not have such protection.
Care Home facilities and other buildings with 24/7 operations find an electrical maintenance contract is crucial to have in place. Having contractually agreed a fixed cost for maintenance, means that the basic electrical safety checks of a property is provided within a budget and payments spread over the year. Of course if regular testing shows a problem in the property, the costs to remedy the problem are normally not covered within the maintenance contract. But, it’s easier and cheaper to fix problems before they escalate than to wait until they’re completely broken. Preventative checks to your property will reveal problems before they escalate allowing for cheaper repairs, and avoiding emergency call-out charges.
As with most important purchases, three different quotes should be obtained from qualified NICEIC Electricians for the competitive pricing of an electrical maintenance contract. You can find a list of Approved Contractors in your area at www.niceic.com. Whether faulty electrical systems create an awkward inconvenience or a potential disaster, the risks of this happening can be greatly reduced by having an electrical maintenance contract in place for your property.