code of practice for in-service inspection and testing of electrical equipment

What is the Code of Practice for In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment?

We’re presently up to the 4th Edition of the Code of Practice for In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment, published by the IET.

The most recent version was released in 2014 by The Institute of Engineering and Technology, which is an institution created by the formation of the Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE) and the Institute of Incorporated Engineers (IIE).

The Code of Practice for In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment was first published in 1994, with a second edition in 2001, a third in 2007 and the 4th in 2012.

What is the Code of Practice for In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment?code of practice for in-service inspection and testing of electrical equipment

It is a guidance book, written by the IET in association with other parties including the Association for Professional Appliance Testing (no longer exists), City & Guilds, Electrical Safety Council and the HSE. Interestingly a certain manufacturer who launched their new product range at roadshows at the same time as the Code of Practice for In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment was launched, apparently had no input into the book.

I emphasise the point, it is a guidance book, just like any other guidance book designed to assist any body who is doing any kind of inspection and testing work on electrical appliances, be they an engineer, electrician or appliance testing person (we don’t really have a name so insert yours in here).

My reason for this article is a niggle that I have when reading posts on social media, internet forums etc. The niggle that comes from many people suggestion the Code of Practice for In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment is a rule book that must be followed strictly to the letter and was written purely for people who do Portable Appliance Testing. It wasn’t and it isn’t.

The Code of Practice for In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment was not written:

  • As a rule book
  • Only for “PAT testers”

Anyone that has to do any form of inspection and testing on an electrical appliance should refer to this book for guidance if they need it, even those highly skilled and well qualified engineers in nuclear power stations, sub stations, etc. etc.

If you require PAT testing rather than wanting to read the book or do it yourself then you need to get a PAT testing quote from us.

Furthermore the book is designed as a guide of how things should be done, not as a rule book of how things must be done. With inspection and testing of electrical equipment the ultimate goal is to ensure the appliance is safe, and there are many methods to achieve this; some are not in the book.

It is important that any reader of the book understands that it is not just for them, some parts of it will not apply to them, so when they read it and it says things like “you must test fixed appliances” it doesn’t mean everyone should test fixed appliances, but people who are competent to do so should test fixed appliances – this doesn’t apply to a person who has done a 1-day PAT testing course.

On its first page the book provides this very important piece of information, seemingly not read by the majority of the books’ readers… “while the author, publisher and contributors believe that the information and guidance given in this work are correct, all parties must rely upon their own skill and judgement when making use of them.” 

Another purpose of the book is as an exam guide; if you want to do PAT testing as a profession you will probably sit a City and Guilds exam course, and if you are then you need to learn to read the Code of Practice for In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment for it is the only book you can use for the ‘open book’ exam. You will be taught on a course how to relate the questions to the index to find the answers nice and quick.

Arguably the main aim of this book is to make money; a synic would suggest that a new book accompanies a launch of clever new machinery that just happens to be able to do what new methods the book suggests, so you do ask yourself, “who decides a new edition is necessary, the IET or the manufacture?”. Whichever it is, it’s a clever business initiative – the IET will make a lot of money out of the Code of Practice for In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment which to them is a bit of a cash cow, and in turn it helps to sell new PAT testers.

If you require PAT testing rather than wanting to read the book or do it yourself then you need to get a PAT testing quote from us.

If you want to obtain your own copy of the Code of Practice for In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment you can do so at the Institution of Engineering and Technology website.