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Mandate electrical checks in social housing, urges ECA

24 September 2020

Regular electrical safety checks by competent businesses should be mandated at least every five years across the social housing sector, according to leading engineering services body ECA.

In addition, ECA is calling for both mandatory electrical checks and portable appliance testing in all higher risk buildings – which include high rise tower blocks – regardless of the type of tenancy or ownership.

ECA adds that only competent enterprises should do electrical or fire systems installation work in higher risk premises and this means “competent enterprises, employing fully qualified and competent individuals”.

The proposals are part of ECA’s response to a consultation on the new draft Building Safety Bill, and they expand on recently introduced requirements for five-yearly electrical checks in the private rented sector.

ECA director of technical Mike Smith commented:

“ECA and the Fire & Security Association welcome the Draft Building Safety Bill, including new regulatory powers for the Health and Safety Executive and greater accountability for ensuring building safety.

“Regular electrical safety checks are essential for ensuring that residential buildings are safe for tenants and homeowners. This includes preventing the risk of electrical fires from any source.

“Any new regulatory regime, including the need for electrical installation and portable appliance checks, also needs to be backed by effective enforcement.”

ECA has responded to the HCLG parliamentary committee, which is conducting a review of the Government’s Draft Building Safety Bill. The Building Safety Bill, alongside the Fire Safety Bill, aims to substantially improve building safety standards in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy of 2017.

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