There never has been a specific legal obligation to test portable items i.e PAT Testing, except the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 say you have to make sure that all mains electrical equipment in residential accommodation is “safe”.
If there’s no actual legal requirement to PAT test you may wonder why you need to do it?
Equipment does wear out and people tend to use items long after they’ve noticed its leaking water near a cable or a loose wire. Should there be an incident in your accommodation which is the result of defective wiring (portable or otherwise) there will be an investigation and an “accident” can soon become viewed as an offence. You then have to deal with the law and you’ll soon find that most insurers are reluctant to pay out if they can possibly infer any culpability on your part.
HSE guidelines are actually simple and sensible, though having claimed that yearly PAT Testing in low-level environments is something of a myth, they actually intimate that in practice it’s wise to carry on with your tests if you really want to be sure that your insurers are going to look favourably on your policy conditions.
Suggested initial intervals for checking portable electrical equipment (Copyright HSE)
How often should I PAT test?
The HSE’s “Suggested Initial Intervals for Checking Portable Electrical Equipment” table above provides a useful guide to what should be tested and when. However, while a PAT tester doesn’t need to be an electrician they certainly need far more knowledge of electrical equipment than this article suggests and they need to know enough to run PAT tests correctly. Do you know the difference between an earth continuity test and an earth leakage test?
You can find the HSE’s guide to “Maintaining portable electric equipment in low-risk environments” at this link and it’s a free download too, so you can keep a copy handy.
If in doubt, have the testing done, you have a social duty to your tenants if nothing else. In monetary terms it makes sense to look after your investment, why put your money into bricks and mortar if you’re not going to look after it?
If you want an honest opinion about whether you need PAT testing then contact me using the form below – I’m more than happy to visit your property and advise what needs testing and how often free of charge. I am based in Coventry too unlike some companies that just have a Coventry phone number.
You can also see examples of the certifcation we can provide here