PAT Testing is the process of checking electrical appliances for safety through a series of visual inspections and electronic tests. For the purpose of the PAT, “appliances” means movable electrical equipment.
Appliance examples include –
- Electrical white goods (such as refrigerators and washing machines),
- Electrical brown goods (such as televisions and DVD players),
- Electric fires that are not fixed in place,
- Kitchen appliances, such as toasters and kettles,
- Hand held electrical equipment, such as hairdryers, and
- Any other appliances provided by the landlord that are not permanently connected to the electrical installation.
Portable appliances generally have a cable and a plug. There is often uncertainty about whether certain items of equipment should fall within the remit of inspection and testing of the fixed wiring or that of the portable appliance testing. For the avoidance of doubt, all portable appliances and fixed equipment provided by the landlord should be inspected and, if required, tested. If any fixtures are not specifically included in the remit of the EICR they should be included in the PAT.
Who can carry out the work?
Electrical work must only be carried out by people who have the necessary knowledge, skill and experience needed to avoid danger to themselves and others.
Using a firm that is a member of an accredited registration scheme operated by a recognised body will give some degree of confidence that this has been achieved. In Scotland, this will usually mean that they are registered with NICEIC, a member firm of the Electrical Contractors’ Association of Scotland (SELECT), or a member of the National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers (NAPIT).
How much will it cost?
The average cost of PAT is around £50 – £90, dependant on where you live in the UK and the number of appliances involved.
Frequency of inspection
Landlords should ensure that electrical safety inspection are carried out:
- Before a tenancy starts, and
- During the tenancy, at intervals of no more than 5 years from the date of the previous inspection.
The electrical safety inspection does not have to be completed immediately before a new tenancy begins or every time a new tenancy starts, as long as an inspection has been carried out in the period of 5 years before the tenancy starts. Although landlords should take the advice of a qualified electrician, if a recommendation is given to test appliances more regularly.
An appliance that was purchased new less than one year before the date of the test does not require to be included in that PAT test. An untested new appliance does not alter (i.e. reduce) the required minimum inspection frequency outlined in paragraph 30 below. An appliance that was purchased second hand should be included in that PAT test. If there is any doubt about the condition or age of an appliance or the date of purchase it should be included in the test. If an appliance is new it should be included in the record of the PAT test record and the date that its first test is due clearly recorded.
What will I receive?
Upon completion of the portable appliance inspection and testing you should receive a report that details the following as a minimum:
- An inventory containing each appliance type, name, location and description
- A full set of test results for each appliance tested
- A full list of any failed items with an explanation of their failure
- A visible pass or fail label on each appliance detailing the inspection date, next test due and the inspector’s signature.
If you are not technically aware, then the contractor / competent person who carried out the inspection and testing should be happy to talk through your report with you and advise you of any further action required.
What is an appliance fails an inspection?
Any appliance which fails to pass a Portable Appliance Test must be replaced or repaired immediately to comply with the repairing standard. The duty to carry out electrical safety inspections does not apply to appliances that belong to tenants, only to appliances provided by the landlord.