Compliance spelt out in scrabble titles

How should we code an issue on an EICR and why is it so difficult?

So I had a chat with someone recently about coding issues on an EICR, it’s not the first time I have had the conversation and I am sure it won’t be the last. The truth is I don’t understand why we question it; why would we belittle electricians who code something based on their opinion. If someone disagreed with my interpretation and wanted me to change it to suit their budget requirements, I’d just walk away and tell them they need to specify personalities instead of competence next time. I mean I have in the past challenged this but I’ve come to realise what I state below…. we really should question the competence of someone if we’ve already employed them!!!


I know individuals who check EICRs for a living and spend more time telling electricians they’ve coded things wrong than educating and checking the actual principles of electricity. The truth is a C2 to one electrician may be a C1 to another. Its all down to interpretation and experience. One electrician might put a C1 for a hairline crack in a socket whereas the other would put a C2 (me included). However, the spark who put a C1 might have personally plugged something into a socket which once had a hairline crack and received an electric shock as it collapsed. EXPERIENCE remember. You have to respect that.


Let’s look at it another way.


Every single night before I climb into bed, I walk around my house and shut every door apart from mine and my two daughters. Why? Because in my head I think if something happens on a night that warrants me running to get them I want signs to tell me they’ve left their room and have gone into another.


To you, that might seem mad, but to me, it’s a necessity derived from worry. Above is my C1 but you might live next door to a fire station and therefore yours is a C2!! If that makes sense.


This is exactly the same with coding an installation. Yes, sometimes you can challenge it but you’re not challenging the code, you’re challenging the engineer’s judgement. You’re telling a qualified person that they’re wrong because you say they are. How sad is that?


The solution here is to classify certain things yourself and then agree to these with the team before commissioning a testing contract. I mean NAPIT have developed a fantastic Code Breakers book with a couple of hundred codes which are common to the industry. Their codes and Electrical Safety Firsts don’t necessarily mean they’re right for YOU, they’re guidance to help you along the way.


Here’s some guidance that might help you challenge a sparky when you receive an EICR from them:


General comments – does it sound like an engineer has written this or a small child?


Estimated Age – cross reference with cable types and reference/install methods


Next inspection date – if it’s just the same old same like everyone else!!! Tick.


If Domestic see where they’ve written 230V (Uo or U)


Have they written ADS or EEBADS (id probably trust EEBADS these days)


Main switch – does it exist? Have they written 60439/61439 or 60394 or some other weird combination?


Type of wiring


Wiring methods


Size of conductors – adiabatic


Disconnection times


Protective device and its rating against the circuit


Ring checks r1 =rn, r1 = calculated 1.67 (1.5mm) and 2.5 (1mm) for r2, (r1+r2) / 4 = R1+R2 etc etc


Insulation resistance


Zs  – check assumed lengths and fault currents etc – is the cooker circuit 100 metres long and the kitchen ring 25????


RCD tripping times


Checking the above to validate competence is far more important than challenging a spark on C2 or a C3. All you do by challenging this is make the person your challenging walk away saying not so nice things about you under their breath. A poor leader and auditor challenges codes when everything else is spot on.


We need to start focusing on competence and educating people as opposed to putting them down. Be ethical in your approach to people and organisations, believe me, it’s very very important.




Ryan Dempsey - CEO
Ryan Dempsey

Over the last few years I have found myself in a very fortunate position where I can implement and promote change in the Social Housing sector. My passion and drive to improve Electrical Safety continually fuels my motivation to implement slight changes to engineer and industry work patterns in the hope the mentality currently sitting in the engineering industry can change. We need to ensure the right people with the right skills and experience are working in and around the properties we provide. Not only that, we need to ensure the workforce are the people talking and helping develop the standards we work towards. Improved quality assurance and the avoidance of the 'status quo' should be a starting point in any organisations route to complete compliance. Improved compliance at all levels will improve the safety and sustainability of the properties we provide and manage. The key to improve risk management is to pinpoint the areas of risk and manage these individually. Don't over complicate a simple process. We also need to ensure those with a similar passion speak up and be counted for. It's time for change and that means moving out the old and replacing with the new. All the views and opinions on here are my own and not that of any company I am associated with.

  • Avatar
    Carl Traynor MIET
    Posted at 11:47 am, 5th December 2017

    I used to be a regional manager and had audits with different NICEIC area engineers only weeks apart. I always used the same code sheet at the different contracts but often got different interpretations of certain observations. Always valued and encouraged the opinions, occasionally I’d change the sheet but often we’d agree to disagree. I do the same with our sub-contractors now, use my sheet on our jobs but feel free to query anything and plagiarise it for any other clients. One thing I did add to it was Reg numbers, always some smart a**e who says “Show it me in the regs then”. Well here’s the reg number so look it up yourself 😏

  • Avatar
    Gary Cowan
    Posted at 11:47 am, 5th December 2017

    How many test off peak supplies as most think this is not part of the eicr

  • Avatar
    Martin Simmonds MIET
    Posted at 11:48 am, 5th December 2017

    Whilst I agree in principle we do need consistency with coding as what we get is frankly laughable at times !
    I personally specify they use guidance by the ESC (or whatever they’re called this week) as a guide & put the responsibility of maintaining standards and consistency on the contractors QS (edited)

  • Avatar
    Robert Preston MIET
    Posted at 11:48 am, 5th December 2017

    Thank you Ryan Dempsey FIET I needed to read this after the day I’ve had.

  • Avatar
    Andrew Kidd B.Eng (Hons) MIET
    Posted at 11:49 am, 5th December 2017

    Some people are easily impressed ….. 😉

  • Avatar
    Dan Jackson MIET
    Posted at 11:50 am, 5th December 2017

    I agree. I cannot wait until it is released!

  • Avatar
    Paul Meenan
    Posted at 11:51 am, 5th December 2017

    I have to say I am blown away by the NAPIT . Code breakers book! Really good stuff I saw yesterday ! Essential read!

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