Commercial electrical certification is a step towards cleaner, safer, and more sustainable electricity, here's how to obtain one!
If you’re a business owner in the UK, obtaining a commercial electrical certificate offers a host of benefits. Commercial electrical certification is a step towards cleaner, safer, and more sustainable electricity, but how can you go about obtaining one and why do you need it?
In this article, you’ll learn more about what a commercial electrical certificate entails and the types of certifications available.
UK law requires businesses to meet specific codes and standards regarding electricity in the workplace. Many of these regulations were set by the Landlords and Tenants Act of 1985 to protect tenants of rented buildings. Typically, the building owner is responsible for ensuring that the unit is compliant with all UK laws.
A commercial electrical certificate demonstrates compliance with these regulations which are in place to help ensure that a building is safe for tenants and employees. Once you obtain your certificate, you’ll need to make sure that you renew it every few years.
You can renew your certificate with periodic inspections. An electrician who is NICEIC, ELECSA, and NAPIT registered (click here to see ours) will conduct these inspections to confirm that your electrical system and wiring is in satisfactory condition.
An inspector’s report will also detail anything that you may need to correct with your electrical system, including:
○ Damage to the electrical systems
○ Defects and deterioration in your electrical equipment
○ Dangerous situations or equipment on the verge of malfunction
○ Outdated features that are no longer compliant with safety regulations
Failure to obtain the proper certification could put building owners at risk of a lawsuit. For instance, if a tenant or employee injures themselves due to a faulty electrical system and the building owner cannot demonstrate proof of certification, the injured party is likely to hold the owner liable for damages.
So, not only are certificates necessary by law, but they are also a smart business decision. The cost of obtaining a commercial electrical certificate and updating your electrical system is far less than the cost of potential damages for which owners would be liable.
The frequency with which you conduct these inspections depends on the nature of the building. If you own a commercial business, such as an office building, you should hire an electrician to conduct an inspection at least every five years.
If you rent a property to tenants, you may need to hire an inspector more frequently than other business owners.
Government officials recommend that the owners of tenant properties renew their electrical certificate at each change of occupancy. If long-term tenants occupy the units, building owners will want to wait no longer than five years to conduct the inspection.
There other some other specific regulations in place as well. For instance, those with a swimming pool should have the electrical wiring certified every year.
As a business owner, if you are unsure about what type of building you operate, your electrician or inspector can provide them with more information (or we can, contact us here).
When obtaining your initial commercial electrical certificate, you’ll find that there are a few options available. The most common licences are Electrical Installation Certificates and Minor Electrical Installation Works Certificates.
These certificates demonstrate that any work performed is safe for tenant use and meet local standards: they will specify whether the work that you’ve had done is new, such as the installation of an entirely different system or a complete rewiring of your current system. The certificate would also indicate if you’ve made any additions to your existing setup, such as adding new circuits.
Finally, the licences would note any alterations that your contractor made, such as adding a socket or consumer unit.
If you’re interested in obtaining a commercial electrical certificate for your business, the first thing you must do is contact a company (like ours) who performs certifications.
Next comes a three-part assessment which includes:
○ Technical questions
○ An assessment of your office
○ An on-site assessment
These questions will allow your electrician to determine the type of work you’ve had done on the building and whether your current policies are up to standard.
Your electrician is likely to ask you to provide proof of any electrical work that you’ve had performed over the past year. Other things that you may need to offer during this assessment include:
○ Insurance certificates
○ Commissioning records
○ Risk assessments
○ Complaint logs
○ Calibration certificates
If your electrician informs you that you need significant electrical work, it could be in your best interest to obtain another quote. Doing so could be especially useful if you conduct frequent inspections and have not had any issues in the past. You should also make sure that you work with electricians who can provide licensing and registration.
Finally, once you’ve had work completed, make sure that you receive paperwork demonstrating the work you’ve had done. Doing so will help streamline the inspection process in the future. Furthermore, ask your inspector to include the results of tests and the schedule for future inspections.
If you are the tenant of a building and are concerned about the electric system, you must first contact your landlord. Tenants cannot obtain a commercial electrical certificate for an entire building. The building owner is required under law to provide you with proof of certification.
It’s a good idea to get your requests in writing so that you have evidence of such claims.
For help or advice about commercial electrical certificates, speak to our friendly team on 01530 249752, or get in touch by clicking here.