Visual inspection is perhaps the most vital operation of an Electrical Installation Condition Report. A thorough inspection of the equipment, containment and wiring generally gives the inspector a clear indication of the general condition of the installation and can often highlight the need for urgent repairs.
It is important that the inspection results (list of defects and observations) and any subsequent recommendations are recorded in the report. Each observation will be given a code by the inspector to indicate to the person(s) responsible for the installation the degree of urgency for remedial action.
- Code 1 C1 ‘Danger Present’ Risk of injury. Immediate remedial action required.
- Code 2 C2 ‘Potentially Dangerous’ Urgent remedial action required.
- Code 3 C3 ‘Improvement Recommended’ Should be improved as soon as practicable.
Each observation may also need further investigation to ascertain the extent of the defect. This should take place with the same degree of urgency given to the observation.
Any corrective action taken as a result of the recommendations must also be inspected, verified and certified as complete. It is also important that records are kept of the inspection results (and associated certification) for future reference.
Testing subsequently carried out after the visual inspection will confirm that the condition of the conductors and their suitability to continue in service. It is important that all test results are recorded and checked against the original electrical test certification if these are available. This check will confirm the rate of deterioration of the wiring over time and could highlight a particular part of the wiring which has been subjected to a greater level of deterioration due to unforeseen external influences.
For safety, it is necessary to carry out a visual inspections of the installation before beginning any tests or opening enclosures, removing any covers, etc. So far as is reasonably practicable the visual inspection should verify that the safety of persons and property is not endangered.
A thorough visual inspection should be made of all electrical equipment which is not concealed and should include the accessible internal condition of a sample of the equipment. The external condition should be noted and if visibly damaged or if the degree of protection has been impaired, the matter should be recorded and included in a report. This inspection should be carried out without power supplied to the installation wherever possible, and always in accordance with the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. The inspection should include a check on the condition of all electrical equipment and material taking into account any available manufacturer’s information with regard to the following: –
- Wear and tear
- Excessive loading (overloading)
- External influences