Electrical inspections and testing - What are the differences?

By Katie Anderson on December 22nd, 2010

Electrical inspections and testingElectrical inspections and testing needs to be carried out by a qualified electrician.

Electrical testing may be completed for a number of reasons, including
quality assurance tests on electrical components, diagnostic testing, and routine safety checks.

While carrying out this type of work it is the electricians job to also help to prevent or reduce electrical danger.

A periodic inspection is generally recommended to take place at least every 10 years for a domestic installation. The purpose of this is to reveal if any electrical circuits or equipment is overloaded,  find any potential electrical risks and hazards and spot any defective DIY electrical work.

What electrical tests are performed

An electrical test will usually incorporate the following:

  • The installation will be visually inspected
  • Continuity of protective and bonding conductors
  • Continuity of ring final circuit conductors
  • Earth fault loop impedance test to check quality of the earthing
  • Polarity
  • Installation resistance of conductors
  • Earth electrode resistance
  • RCD test check to ensure RCD’s trip at the right time
  • Functional testing to check switches work properly

Since January 1, 2005, under Part P of the Building Regulations Electrical Safety rule, whoever undertakes electrical installation work in the home must ensure that the work carried out does so to protect people from the risk of fire and electric shocks. Part P applies to new homes as well as to changes made to existing installations, but the legislation is not applicable in Scotland.

The difference between electrical inspections and testing

An electrical test is performed by a skilled qualified electrician using test equipment, including digital volt meters, which will determine the safety of electrical installations.

An electrical inspection is exactly that; a visual inspection undertaken by a skilled qualified electrician.

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