Prepare for electrical inspection


It is, says Lanice Steward, MD of Anne Porter Knight Frank, possible to reduce the cost of getting an electrical certificate if you know what to look for before calling in the inspector.

As a first step, she says, the seller should check that the light bulbs in all the light fittings are working and replace any that may be faulty.

“Just one dysfunctional light in the whole home will result in the inspector refusing the seller a certificate. He will then have to rectify the matter and make another appointment with the inspector – at his cost,” says Steward.

It is important to make sure that all fluorescent lights are earthed – and to note that the brass light fittings so beloved by former generations have now to make way for the plastic fittings which are non-conductors.

To qualify for a certificate today it is also essential also to fit safety shutters onto all plugs (these prevent children and ignorant people from inserting fingers and other items into the plugs and possibly electrocuting themselves).

All satellite dishes, TV aerials and hot water cylinders have to be correctly earthed. If they are giving problems the installer should be called as soon as possible as this remains his responsibility.

After any visit by an electrician, the homeowner, said Steward, should insist on getting a certificate for the work here – and all such certificates should be shown to the inspector.

If the home has a ceiling or extractor fan these need to have an isolation switch, the object of which is to protect anyone working on them in the event of another person inadvertently turning on the electricity.

A particularly important provision is that every switch on the distribution board has to be labelled.

It is essential that the inspector has access to every room in the house, even those which are said to have no electrical fittings – and to wine cellars, sacrosanct though these may be to some.

“All these points,” says Steward, “have been set out by DOSS (Deed of Sale Services), who have urged home sellers to take action as soon as possible, rather than delay.”

A certificate is essential to secure a bond, added Steward.

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