DRA PAT Testing Newcastle logo with red triangle and yellow lightning strike

Specialist providers of Fixed Appliance Testing services

Providing a Fixed Appliance Testing service for North East businesses, to help you maintain compliance through safe electrical equipment.

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DRA PAT Testing team line up

What is Fixed Appliance Testing?

Fixed appliance testing has been around for a long time but most people have only really heard about it in the past year or two. This is because the PAT testing industry had raised concerns that these appliances were being forgotten about.

If you buy an electrical appliance fitted with a plug, but need to ‘hard wire’ it to the mains, you have to get an electrician to install it. For example, an integrated oven in your new kitchen, or a convection heater you want on the office wall. The electrician adds a ‘fused spur unit’ to the socket circuit and fits the appliance. The flexible cable wires are secured into the terminals of the spur.

The electrician ‘signs off’ his work, and provides you with a ‘minor works’ certificate to confirm the appliance has been fitted correctly.

You’d then expect that electrician to inspect the appliance again in the future; but he doesn’t.

As it’s secured to the mains perhaps we’d expect the electrician who does the periodic inspection of the wiring to check it – he doesn’t.

The appliance is hard wired, so the PAT tester, generally, can’t test it. He may visually inspect it.

Whichever of the above you consider, that appliance has been in use in your home or workplace, potentially for many years and never been formally checked by a competent person since it was installed. We are assuming it was installed correctly and at no point since has it incurred any damage or tampering. Can we assume forever or should we be checking it? The latter.

So what can you do?

You can ask your electrician to inspect it when he does the EICR, but it’s unlikely he will as it is out of scope, so your PAT tester needs to. However not many PAT testers are trained to do this. You’re in luck – we can.

Fused spur for fixed appliance testing

How can we test your fixed appliances?

There are two ways to inspect and test a fixed electrical appliance, and we can do both.

The first we do during the PAT test, the second we can do during it or as a stand alone service.

We do this alongside the PAT test – we visually check the appliance, flex and spur externally, then if class 1 we test for earth continuity using the ‘point to point’ system. This is done whilst it is ‘live’. We do this at the same price as the quoted per item PAT test price.

In addition to this you must get a full test done at least once every 5 years from installation. Chances are the appliance has been installed a while and never tested so you need to get it done asap. We will advise on this.

This includes a full visual inspection inside the spur, and tests for continuity and insulation. To do this however, means we need to disconnect the power to test; in other words turn it off. Fixed appliances are connected to the mains via a fused spur unit, and most spurs are on the ring or radial circuits of the sockets, so we need to turn off the full socket circuit which will cause disruption, so you may prefer this option done out of hours.

We will turn off the power, lock it off, then commence our work on the now dead circuit. We will carry out our tests on the appliance. This doesn’t need doing every year; once every 5 years is usually sufficient, assuming nobody else is doing things with it.

There are additional charges for this, speak to us about your options.

What appliances need fixed appliance testing?

Fixed appliance testing refers to any electrical appliance fitted to the mains directly, via a fused spur unit. As PAT Testers we will check all appliances that would be supplied with a plug and flex.

Appliances we check include (but not limited to):

Fitted hair driers in hotels

Towel rails

Hand driers in toilets

Water boilers in kitchens

Appliances that are integrated so the plug is not accessible

Some fixed equipment should only be checked by specialist engineers, such as escalators, lifts, air conditioning units, etc.

integrated fridge freezer will need fixed appliance testing

Why do you need Fixed Appliances Testing?

Whilst you don’t need to get appliance testing done by law, you are legally required to ensure your electrical equipment is safe to continue being used; and the only recognised way of doing this is to get it PAT tested.

The test will check your appliance is safe – any faults will be repaired; if it can’t be repaired it’ll fail and recommendations will be made for what to do next.

The PAT Testing Certificate Report you are provided with details the tests carried out and results obtained – you need that if there is ever an accident or fire. You’ll also need it if you get a visit from the fire officer or a risk assessor. You need it if you get inspected by a governing body such as the CQC or Ofsted, for example.

You must ensure all electrical equipment is safe, including appliances with a plug, and those that have been ‘hard wired’; although the rules are different. We’ll guide you if it applies.

You are responsible for ensuring electrical equipment you use at work or in another workplace is safe – so get it checked – Protect yourself.

Fixed Appliance Testing – what you need to know

Fixed appliances are often overlooked

The worst thing about fixed appliances is understanding who should be testing them – they are hard wired to mains electricity so should only ever be tested by someone competent to work on mains, ideally a qualified electrician. 

Testing of fixed appliances doesn’t get done as part of the PAT Test – we will check fixed appliances for earth continuity if available, and do a visual inspection, and recommend a full appliance test be carried out inline with the EICR by your electrician. 

Fixed Appliance Testing is something that doesn’t happen enough, mainly because business owners are not aware of it. This is because for a long time there has been confusion over who is responsible for carrying out the task – electricians say it’s the role of the PAT tester because they test appliances, whilst the PAT tester says it should be the electrician because its work on the wiring. Now, it has been recognised as an issue, so as long as you are a competent in safe isolation procedures, you are ok to test fixed appliances.

Fixed appliances are electrical appliances that have been secured to the building’s main wiring via connection unit in the wall (like a socket but without the bit for the plug); usually a white plastic box with a switch on, a fuse and perhaps a red light.

Fixed appliances such as cookers, hand driers and storage heaters are commonly used in businesses across the UK, and as a society we take their safety for granted, because since they are installed (unless they are maintained by a specialist company) they will have never been checked.

It is possible that these appliances deteriorate over time, although the risk is a lot lower than a portable appliance, as they are usually fixed to the wall or hard to move, but they do still require checking.

You are as much responsible for checking the electrical safety of a fixed appliance as you are a portable one.

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