A Detailed Guide for PAT Certificate
Faults in electrical wiring and devices cause most of the fires in London. These fires cause extensive damage to property and result in physical harm to humans.
To prevent this from happening, landlords must check their electrical appliances and wiring every five years for defects. If any faults are found, they must get them rectified so that the property becomes safe for the tenants to live.
Every landlord must conduct a PAT (Portable Appliance Testing), which is an inspection of some of the electrical appliances to ensure they are safe to use. All appliances that are provided to tenants for use, such as washing machines, cookers, etc. need to be tested.
A PAT test certificate for landlords is the document given after the testing of appliances is conducted. It displays which devices are in good working condition and which need repairs.
The certificate is proof that the landlord has taken his responsibility seriously, has checked the appliances and that they are being maintained well. PAT testing involves both visually checking devices, as well as conducting electrical checks.
PAT testing enables the landlord to find out any possible defects in the equipment that can then be repaired. The testing is done using equipment known as a PAT tester.
What is Displayed on a PAT certificate?
The tested appliances will bear a sticker that will show whether they have passed or failed the inspection. Any device that has passed is considered to be safe until the next testing is done at a future date. These are the details shown on a PAT certificate:
- The date scheduled for the next testing
- The site where the testing took place
- Information regarding which devices failed or passed the inspection
- Details of the person or company which has conducted the checking
Is the PAT test certificate compulsory?
PAT test certificate for landlords is a legal obligation, but as per the UK legislations, landlords need to ensure that all electrical devices in their property are free from causing danger.
All businesses need to ensure the safety of their electrical appliances for employees, as well as the public. For potentially high-risk environments, PAT testing is a reliable method to ensure safety.
If landlords or businesspeople fail to ensure the safety of their electrical appliances, they may have to face imprisonment or a stiff penalty as per the seriousness of the situation.
What appliances need to be tested?
The PAT test certificate for landlords is obtained following the inspection of portable appliances.
A portable device is meant to denote any appliance that has a plug that can be connected to a wall outlet. Electrical appliances are divided into three classes based on the level of risk attached to them. These are the three classes of devices:
- Class 1: These devices consist of only essential insulation, and they are connected to the earth for protection. Some of the appliances that fall into this category are photocopiers, personal computers, refrigerators, washing machines, industrial machinery, etc.
- Class 2: They have more insulation and are dependent on the earth for protection. That makes them safer for use. Examples of this category are food mixers, lawn movers, drills, and desktop printers
- Class 3: These are the most reliable devices since they use only low voltage, but their charging leads may require testing. Smartphone chargers and laptops are examples of this type
New appliances need not undergo PAT testing by they can be visually inspected to ensure their safety.
How frequently should appliances be PAT tested?
There are no guidelines set up for the frequency of testing, but the testing should be done based on the level of risk in the working environment and the category to which the appliance belongs.
Some other factors that are needed to be considered are the frequency of usage of the equipment, its age, and any alterations or repairs are done to the appliance. Devices that are constantly used, such as those applied in construction need to be tested regularly.
Assessing the risk level of an appliance in an environment:
- In places like shops or offices, there is no special equipment which in use, and most of the appliances are fixed and barely moved. So chances of damage to these devices are less, and so these environments are low-risk.
- In industrial environments, such as factories, various types of equipment are moved constantly and used. Thus, there is more risk of these appliances causing harm.
- In places where the public uses equipment frequently, such as gyms, it is not easy to monitor the appliances. These items are likely to get damaged and are therefore classified as high-risk.
- Environments, such as construction sites where equipment is used and constantly moved, are classified as extremely high-risk.
- In places like hospitals where diagnostic and other equipment are frequently used and also moved from place to place, there is a risk of damage by misuse or wear and tear.
Who can conduct a PAT testing?
A person who can conduct a PAT testing needs to possess the relevant skills and experience required for such checking. For environments where the risk is low, just doing a visual check of the devices by a competent person is sufficient.
For high-risk environments, such as construction sites or industrial buildings, only a qualified electrical engineer should conduct the inspection.
He will need proper equipment and skills to carry the testing, and he should also be able to understand and analyze the results of the testing done. The person should be aware of the risks involved while conducting an inspection.
He should know how to conduct visual checking, as well as in-depth electrical testing. A suitably qualified person should be able to finish the inspection quicker than an incompetent one.
The time taken to conduct a test will depend on the number of rooms to be checked and the number of devices to be tested. If someone wants to conduct his own PAT testing, he can take a PAT testing course to get the necessary skills and also buy PAT testing equipment.
The qualified person who conducts the testing will first inspect the devices visually for signs of any damage. He will check the earthing for the devices and also inspect them to find out if any of them are using up more voltage than required.
He will find out what repairs are needed to rectify the faults found and what parts are needed to be replaced.
PAT Certificate Cost
The PAT certificate cost is not fixed and varies according to the type of devices tested and the quantity involved.
The usual pricing for PAT testing is 1 to 2 pounds per device tested. All PAT testing companies follow their pricing system, and the PAT certificate cost is not the same for all of them.
Some firms may charge lesser per appliance tested if they are testing a large number of equipment at a single time. Another company may charge more per appliance if it is providing some extra services.
Such firms may not only conduct the test and point out the faults of the devices but may also offer to carry repairs to rectify the problems.
It is an essential document that must be obtained since it ensures peace of mind to both the tenants, as well as the landlord.
They get an assurance that the property is safe to be moved in and there is no possibility of danger from fires caused by faulty appliances or electrical wiring. It is like conducting an audit that will help in the analysis if something goes wrong.
It is the responsibility of a landlord to ensure all appliances are safe at the beginning of the tenancy period and also throughout the entire tenancy.
The landlord also gets a proof in the form of the PAT certificate that shows he has not been negligent and has maintained his electrical devices properly.
The PAT test certificate for landlords will also help to reduce the number of accidents caused by fires in properties where the equipment have been faulty or not suitably maintained. It will also help to maintain the reputation of the landlord.
The landlord is also protected from insurance or other damage claims made by tenants in the event of a mishap and can produce his PAT certificate as proof that he has complied with the regulations.