House of Horrors???

When it comes to buying a house, there are so many things that can potentially go wrong, especially when it comes down to structure and services. Things may appear fine on the surface but only when investigations are carried out can potential problems and dangers be spotted.

Home Sweet Home

Homebuyers reports are essential to:

–       Ensure you and your family are safe.

–       Avoid costly repairs and re-works. The average re-wire for a 3 bed semi-detached is approx £3,500+.

–       Highlight any lack of earthing or bonding.

–       Avoid over paying on the purchase price of your new home if works are needed.

–       Find any potential electric shock risks and fire hazards.

A Homebuyers Electrical Report will determine any costs that may be required in the future.  A survey from your mortgage surveyor does not go into investigative work and only spots obvious problems. They are purely there to give an overview on the property.

If the house is under 10 years old and hasn’t had many alterations then you may be lucky. Electrical work may not be up to current standards but would still be serviceable.  If you are buying a house that has been refurbished, altered or has been previously rented out, we would highly recommend a Homebuyers Electrical Report as it is quite frightening what you might find. Many developers, landlords and householders save money on things they cannot see. Unfortunately most electrics are hidden.

A survey from NICEIC shows 78% of homeowners would tamper with their electrics but only 8% would tamper with their gas installation. However 21% of all house fires and 3,872 deaths & injuries are caused by faulty electrics every year.

Who should carry out the Electrical Condition Report?

Only a registered electrician should carry out an Electrical Condition Report. They will check the condition of the electrics against the UK standard for the safety of electrical installations, BS 7671 – Requirements for Electrical Installations (IEE Wiring Regulations).

What sort of things do we find?

  • The adequacy of earthing and bonding.
  • The suitability of the switch gear and control gear. For example, an old fuse box with a wooden back, cast-iron switches, or a mixture of both will need replacing.
  • No earth cables anywhere in the installation
  • The serviceability of switches, sockets and lighting fittings. Items that may need replacing include: older round-pin sockets, round light switches, cables with fabric coating hanging from ceiling roses to light fittings, black switches and sockets mounted in skirting boards.
  • Use of lights suitable for indoor use only and sockets outside
  • The type of wiring system and its condition. For example, cables coated in black rubber were phased out in the 1960s. Likewise cables coated in lead or fabric are even older and may well need replacing (modern cables use longer-lasting PVC insulation).
  • Sockets that may be used to supply portable electrical equipment for use outdoors, making sure they are protected by a suitable Residual Current Device (RCD).
  • The presence of adequate identification and notices.
  • The extent of any wear and tear, damage or other deterioration possibly from animals.
  • Any changes in the use of the premises that have led to, or may lead to, unsafe conditions.
  • Old fuse boards with no earth connection or incorrect fuses installed.
  • Circuits burned out from over loading.
  • Fuses are replaced by nails or bits of metal.
  • Showers that have been installed using cables designed for sockets or lights.

The electrician will then issue an Electrical Installation Condition Report detailing any observed damage, deterioration, defects, dangerous conditions and any non-compliances with the present-day safety standard that might give rise to danger.

If any dangerous or potentially dangerous areas are found, the overall condition of the electrical installation will be declared to be ‘unsatisfactory’, meaning that remedial action is required without delay to remove the risks to those in the premises.

If you require an Electrical Survey or have been in your house over 10 years and wish to have your electrics tested, please do not hesitate to contact us at Select 1 on 0800 118 2568 or email us at:

Source: Electrical Safety Council.

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