To carry out electrical work and meet all the Industry, HSE and Liability Insurance requirements, electricians must demonstrate “Competency”
All the guidelines, specifications and requirements documented in the practice of testing and inspecting electrical installations all include the criteria of: –
Periodically measuring and recording instrument ongoing accuracy.
As the fundamental instrument parameters in testing installations is that of continuity and installation measurements, the CalCard addresses this requirement verifying the ongoing accuracy of the continuity and installation instrument.
The Legal Bit!
DISCLAIMER – This is intended for information only and correct at the time of writing. It is not to be taken as legal advice or authoritative in any respect. For legal or authoritative advice and information please contact one of the regulatory bodies.
The minimum requirements to be met by electrical workers to be recognised as technically “Competent“. Are stated by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) in the Electrotechnical Assessment Specification EAS 15-362
Organisations such as HSE, BSi, Building Regulations and appointed certification bodies such as NAPIT, Certsure, APHC, STROMA; all refer to this IET specification. In particular; Section 9.2; Describes:-
That the “competent” person responsible shall be required to have records demonstrating the accuracy and consistency of test instruments.
What is “Ongoing Calibration Verification (OCV)?”
Ongoing Calibration Verification (OCV) is the monitoring and recording of the accuracy and consistency of test instruments from the point of formal calibrations.
It is important to check an instruments ability to make the same accurate readings throughout the time between any formal calibrations period. A yearly calibration certificate of an instrument will state that the instrument was within calibration parameters at that time only; it certainly could not guarantee that the instrument would still be fit for purpose at any time after that.
Why Testing and Inspection?
Even the most experienced of electricians can make mistakes, for this reason, all electrical installations, alterations and additions should be tested, inspected and a certificate issued to the client for use.
The results of the testing must be a true representation of the installation; therefore, the test instrument must be accurate, and the obtained results must be consistent.
Hence the need for measurement verification.
Continuity and Installation
Continuity and Installation testing are the two prime sections involved in testing and inspecting installations.
Designated reference circuits or devices such as the CalCard, are used to verify an instruments ongoing accuracy of these measurement’s characteristics.
These verification readings should be recorded at least monthly and be compared against the base readings registered following formal calibration.
Impact on Your Liability Insurance.
With the introduction of the Insurance Act 2015 , insurance companies are placed under a greater pressure to analyse the risks they are being asked to accept. The insurers will access the tradesman based on numerous risk assessments and require a minimum standard by which the contracts must be carried out.
Failure to work to these declared standards could result in the insurer using this as a reason to void the policy and avoid the claim completely. Therefore, achieving the industry recognised acknowledgement of a “competent trades-persons” is becoming a major factor on underwriting the contractor’s business.
In the electrical world there are regulations, guidelines, procedures and policies to name a few titles. To administer these there are numerous regulatory bodies that in turn rely upon issued standards such as the IET, HSE, building and wiring regulations. This section details a few of these areas and directions for further reading.
These are the standards by which electrical work is governed by and are referred to by all the regulatory bodies. Currently the wiring regulations are in their 18th Edition and are adopted by BSI as BS 7671.
The European standard IEC 60364 is an attempt to harmonize national wiring standards in an IEC standard. BS 7671 follows the section structure of IEC 60364 very closely.
In the UK in 2004 building regulations legally enforced Part P “Requirements for Electrical Installations” which enabled electrical work to be regulated by law.
For more information please click on links below: –
Electrotechnical Assessment Specification for use by Certification and Registration Bodies.
For those undertaking the role of Qualified Supervisor or responsible person, this Specification is intended for use by persons undertaking the Assessment of Enterprises carrying out Electrical installation work. EAS 15-362 Rev A Appendix 3
EAS 15-362 Rev A Appendix 3
Test instruments – Calibration requirements The Enterprise shall be required to have a suitable system in place to ensure that the accuracy and consistency of all test instruments used for certification and reporting purposes is being maintained.
Guidance Note GS38
Electrical test equipment for use on low voltage electrical systems
This general series guidance note is aimed at people (including electricians, electrical contractors, test supervisors, technicians, managers, tradespeople and/ or appliance retailers/repairers etc) who use electrical test equipment on low voltage electrical systems and equipment.
Best Practice Guide 7
Test instruments for electrical installations: Accuracy and consistency.
Electrical Safety First produces, in association with other industry bodies, a range of Best Practice Guides which provide definitive information and guidance on a range of technical subjects.
Guide 7 covers the Ongoing Accuracy requirements
Ongoing Accuracy of Test Instruments
The IET in the autumn 2005 issue 16 contained the second article of a series covering testing and inspection.
Important information for NICEIC Contractors
Safety through accuracy of test instruments
NICEIC contractors have a responsibility to ensure the accuracy and consistency of their test instruments used to carry out the range of measurements required by BS 7671 for certification purposes. You should therefore already have in place an effective system, which enables you to confirm the continuing accuracy and consistency of all your test instruments used for certification and reporting purposes.