Jump to content

DONT STAY LURKING AS A GUEST,

JOIN TEF AND BENEFIT FROM MEMBERSHIP:

CLICK HERE TO JOIN.
GM at CA UK

EICR for an installation that cannot be switched off

Recommended Posts

GM at CA UK

Hi all,

 

Here is a question we got asked today.

 

We know the HASWA is in place to cover all aspects of safety at work, and can be viewed as the statutory document. And the EAWR 1989 are specific to electrical installations used in the work place.

And we know a way of ensuring conformance with the statutory regulations is to follow the requirements of BS 7671.

 

But what do you do when your customer tells you he needs an EICR but cannot switch of the power. Not ever. Not even pre-planned, out of hours, etc.?

 

Is there a know accepted alternative to the standard testing regime? What do you do in this situation?

 

TIA for your help with this.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Andy™

ask what their plans are in case of power failure

 

but apart form that, you can use the limitations box and do what you can

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Murdoch

It strikes me a bit pointless asking for an EICR if you can't do ANY dead tests ....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Adrian

Are you going to be happy to sign the certificate satisfactory without doing any dead test .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
binky

no alternative that I can think of. LIM on everything :slap

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Doc Hudson
5 hours ago, GM at CA UK said:

But what do you do when your customer tells you he needs an EICR but cannot switch of the power. Not ever. Not even pre-planned, out of hours, etc.?

Is there a know accepted alternative to the standard testing regime? What do you do in this situation?

TIA for your help with this.

 

 

Well in my opinion that is about as logical as asking a garage to do an MOT and service on my car, but tell them they have got to do it whilst I am driving to see a client 150 miles away and I must not be held up or delayed.

 

You need to tell your customer you cannot do an EICR without disconnecting all or part of the installation. You could offer to do a few circuits at a time over a period of a few weeks or months to minimise some of the inconvenience. But If they flatly refuse to allow any disconnection of power the only thing you could offer is a visual check to look for any obvious physical damage or missing labels or notices or inappropriate installation methods hanging lose cables etc..  But you cannot verify or sign to say the integrity of the circuits are electrically satisfactory or safe for continual use, or if any protective RCD's are operating correctly, without removing some power.

 

If they cannot provide a means to allow appropriate tests and inspections of the electrical installation to be undertaken I would think they are in breach of H&SAW etc.

 

Doc H.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sharpend

Irrespective of their interpretation of the requirements, why would you even contemplate an EICR under such circumstances? 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Evans Electric

I'm guessing they don't want to shut their servers down  ?    Perhaps you could test everything  EXCEPT  the servers ...I used to do that at two different printers.    

Limitations on the server circuits  , nobody seemed bovvered. TBH 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sidewinder

Note carefully that an EICR is an INSPECTION & test of the electrical installation to ensure that it is safe for continued use.

 

“621.2  Periodic inspection comprising a detailed examination of the installation shall be carried out without dismantling, or with partial dismantling as required, supplemented by appropriate tests…”

GN3 reinforces this with the addition of: “The tests are mainly to confirm that the disconnection times stated in Chapter 41 are met.”

 

Well let's look at what can, be done.

 

Check and verify previous documentation for correctness against BS7671.

Check and verify labelling against the current version of BS7671.

Visual inspection of complete installation.

Recording of any evidence of overheating or damage from the visual inspection.

In fact, apart from internal inspections of accessories or current consuming devices the whole installation can be visually inspected externally and internally.

Loop impedances on all circuits, and with suitable live working precautions at every distribution board.

Visual inspection of the internals of all distribution boards with suitable live working precautions at every distribution board.

Thermal imaging of the internals of all distribution boards with suitable live working precautions (OK this is not part of the official BS7671 procedure, however, IF the installation cannot be de-energised under any circumstances does offer a useful solution).

Earth leakage measurement at every distribution board, and potentially every final circuit, with suitable live working precautions (OK this is not part of the official BS7671 procedure, however, IF the installation cannot be de-energised under any circumstances does offer a useful solution).

Earth fault loop impedance at every socket outlet that does not have anything connected, and where devices can be disconnected those socket outlets too.

Likely it would be feasible with suitable precautions to undertake Zs testing at all luminaires

R2 wander lead testing across the whole installation to accessible metallic parts.

Any circuits that can be isolated can have dead tests undertaken with suitable live working precautions if working internally in live distribution boards to undertake disconnections and re-connections.

Now that’s quite a lot, OK, no IR testing, if there are 30mA RCD’s on the circuits, they are verifying that the combined leakage and IR does not equate to much more than 24mA, so that would suggest that these circuits are probably OK, combined with the visual inspections.

Remember that an R2 is a valid option as opposed to an R1+R2 measurement, even on initial verification.

 

 

So what can’t we do, IR testing on sub-mains, and final circuits unless they can be isolated.

RCD testing, but, the client must do this 3 monthly anyway to prove compliance with HASAWA74, S2 & S3, therefore doing this on an EICR will not be a problem.

Not essential to prove ADS, which is one of the main aims.

R1+R2 testing on circuits, not, really, needed on a periodic anyway.

 

So, all of a sudden with some thought and some creativity almost all, if not all of the schedule of inspections can be completed.

Also, almost all of the test results can be completed.

 

If they cannot isolate any of the installation at any time, under any situations, what their business continuity arrangements are in the event of a power outage from the DNO.

Do they have their servers on active UPS’s?

In the event of an extended outage, do they have on site generation with suitable change over?

If not do they have an arrangement for generators to be delivered and connected before their UPS’s die?

If they have an ACB on their installation, how do they comply with the maintenance requirements of this without disconnection and removal.

 

I have only ever heard of one site that has refused total black building, and I have a friend who does a lot of I&T in the city, and even the banks, data centres, trading floors & Whitehall buildings, can be, and are shut down with suitable arrangement.

They are also working on options for this site to be shut down, but that will mean use of data centres outside the UK to take up the capacity and that will require some planning.

Most of the high-profile institutions and organisations realise how much they rely on their electrical infrastructure and therefore realise that it requires adequate maintenance.

 

@GM at CA UK, perhaps this will help your thoughts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sharpend

Having done some testing at the DWP I can confirm that they are able to shut down if prior planning is implemented. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ProDave

One issue if they allow some circuits to be turned off, is circuit identification.

 

e.g I wanted to change a hand dryer.  I Switched off the circuit labelled "gents toilet hand dryer" then had loads of people running about like headless chickens because an office full of pc's had been shut down while they were working.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sidewinder
16 minutes ago, ProDave said:

One issue if they allow some circuits to be turned off, is circuit identification.

 

e.g I wanted to change a hand dryer.  I Switched off the circuit labelled "gents toilet hand dryer" then had loads of people running about like headless chickens because an office full of pc's had been shut down while they were working.

 

That I would include against my first two observations, i.e. does the documentation seem to meet the labelling and does that meet the installation layout.


At the end of the day you can do a visual inspection only and it would be a valid EICR, as long it was described as such and agreed by both parties.

It may not be suitable and sufficient, but as long as that is made clear to the client, and the terms agreed in writing, then I would have no issue with it.

Ultimately you can legitimately do an EICR on a single circuit as long as it is all documented as such.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Phoenix

Agree with the above from sidewinder, also wish to add that with some prior planning you can request a shutdown thats more likely to be given the go ahead by the client...

 

Rather than "I'll need to be turning circuits off as I test them", If beforehand you have identfiied circuits (fuse finder helps), Done earth loop tests and visual inspections on them all, R2 to ECPS, then how long does it take to do everything else required on say an average 8 WAY TPN board*? Less time than you might otherwise think!. If you were to ask them for a hour when you can switch it off, even if that means working out out hours... Nip round unplug everything, switch off isolators for fixed equipment, quick global IR, end to end on 8 rings. 8 RCBO tests, back on, plug everything back in.

 

Now granted you might not get a favorable response everywhere, but most places can manage an hours downtime given enough notice** even if it requires the IT team having to do overtime! (that seems to be tricky bit a lot of the time - they often don't like anything that disrupts their little world!)

 

*Assuming 24 SP circuits, 8 ring circuits, 8 lighting cirucits and 8 fixed equipment radials

 

** Once this ended up being the best part of two years!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GM at CA UK

Gents, thanks so much for your detailed answers, I really appreciate the time and effort you have put into this. So it looks like there is quite a lot of fairly comprehensive testing and inspection that can be done live.

 

The idea of measuring earth leakage as an alternative to insulation testing where a circuit cannot be disconnected interests me.

 

I'm thinking that if one were to isolate an installation and perform an insulation test between all of the phases (and neutral) connected together and the main earthing point, the test current would take the same route as any leakage current that would flow when the system is energised.

 

Accordingly, if one then didn't isolate an installation, but rather measured total earth leakage at the incoming supply (by clamping round all phases and neutral) and, using ohms law, divided that into the phase-earth voltage, you would get a resistance value made up of all of the parallel leakage paths to ground.

 

So lets say there was 0.4mA of measure leakage current and a 230v live/earth potential difference, then 230/0.0004 = 575000 ohms or 0.575M ohms.

 

I guess expanding on the above, one could measure the earth leakage on each circuit and come up with individual values of resistance for the leakage paths of those circuits, aka insulation resistance.

 

I appreciate that this is not a 500v DC insulation test, but rather a 230v AC test, but in the scenario above I believe both test currents would take the same path. For sure 500V DC stresses the insulation more, and so may show other issues that would not manifest themselves at the lower mains supply voltage, but maybe a considered alternative, particularly if those leakage values are constantly monitored over time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kerching

And remember that it is just as important ( if not more so) to list what you HAVE NOT tested)... otherwise some bewigged nonce from our esteemed legal ambulance chasing profession will want your clock-weights as a rear view mirror embellishment 

 

 

 

"well,Mr Sparky, you say you performed an EICR. At no point does it say you did NOT test the circuit that resulted in my money grabbing clients injury. Did you" .I rest my case m'Lud 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now



FORUM SPONSORS


Electrical Test Equipment
Test Meter Calibration
Test Equipment Manufacturers
Electrical & Tool Suppliers
Tool Manufacturers
Electrical Software
Green & Renewables
Label Supplies
Accounting Software
Education & Training
Motoring


To Advertise and become a Forum Sponsor of

talk.electricianforum.co.uk, please

contact the Administrator

Here Thank You.




×