Electrical safety inspection and certification
If electrical systems and equipment are not maintained properly, there is a serious risk of injury, burns or fatality from electrical shocks. There is also a substantial risk of electrical fire if electrical systems and equipment are not safe to use.
Electrical safety covers two distinct areas: the electrical supply (fixed system) and the safe use of electrical equipment (including portable electrical equipment).
Fixed wire testing involves testing and inspecting the electrical systems and installations within your associated buildings.
Regular testing of a building's wiring structure and maintenance is mandatory by law under the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and IET Wiring Regulations BS 7671:2008. The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 apply wherever the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 applies. These regulations set out, in general terms, the safety requirements for installations and the safety of people working with or near electrical systems. They also impose duties of compliance and, in most cases, these include a duty on the occupier of the premises and a duty on those using the premises.
The Charity Trustees have other legal obligations to consider under the Occupiers Liability Scotland Act 1960 and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to ensure the safety of the general public, congregation and visitors to the church.
Fixed electrical systems must be assessed and tested at least once every five years. Some electrical contractors will allow staggering of testing over the five years so that certain parts of systems are tested annually, adding up to the full assessment over five years. This can be a cost-effective method of ensuring that fixed electrical supplies are safe to use and to ensure that any faults are dealt with as soon as possible.
The five-year electrical testing rule applies to churches and associated buildings, including the manses and any privately leased or tenanted properties.
It is a stipulation of most insurance providers, including COSIS, that the five-yearly inspections are carried out due to the associated risk of fire from untested electrical wiring and installations, especially in churches and other historic buildings.
The Charity Trustees must ensure that the five-yearly inspections are carried out and that the electrical systems are deemed safe for use in order to demonstrate ongoing statutory compliance and ensure that the church insurance stipulations have been suitably met.
The Charity Trustees should ensure that they employ a suitably trained and competent electrical engineer who can demonstrate certified competency and relevant public liability and professional indemnity insurance for the works undertaken. The General Trustees and COSIS insurance recommend that the engineers are sourced from a relative industry body that can certify competency and compliance of its members such as SELECT or NIC/EIC.
The General Trustees strongly recommend that the Charity Trustees ensure that any congregational members or friends of the church carrying out these duties are suitably registered with a membership body, professionally insured and can demonstrate the competency required to safely and suitably carry out the inspections and provide the safety certification required. Further advice and guidance is available from the General Trustees, presbytery and COSIS insurance.
Following testing, you will be issued with an Electrical Inspection Condition Report (EICR), certifying the condition of the entire electrical system within your premises, including electrical wiring, circuits, accessories and connections.
Any C1 OR C2 faults identified on the EICR must be rectified to demonstrate compliance with the Electricity at Work Regulations 1998.