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What is PAT testing?

Portable appliance testing (PAT) is a test to ensure that all electrical equipment is safe. UK Health & Safety regulations state that regular PAT testing is strongly advised: “a requirement of maintenance of safety, and evidence of routine maintenance of all hand-held, portable and plug-in equipment”. The technical term for the PAT testing process is In-service Inspection & Testing of Electrical Equipment.

How often is a PAT test required?

The frequency of PAT testing depends on the environment of the appliance and the general condition of the electrical appliance. On average, businesses and landlords require annual PAT testing. Annual PAT testing for landlords and businesses is essential because it is imperative for landlords and businesses to ensure the safety of tenants and employees, thus, a PAT test certificate helps with insurance liabilities. An electrical appliance which is used on a construction site requires more frequent testing than a household appliance.

What are the PAT testing regulations?

PAT testing in schools is crucial in ensuring student safety because there are large amounts of lives at risk. PAT testing in schools is usually seasonal and has to be performed during holiday periods when the students are not on school premises. The procedure of PAT testing in schools is straight forward because most of the appliances which require testing in modern schools is IT equipment (PCs, monitors, printers etc) either class I or II.

Other appliances that require testing:

pat test IT equipment
pat test Kitchen equipment
pat test Lab equipment
pat test Power leads

How long does the PAT testing procedure take?

On average, it will take an hour to complete the testing of twenty appliances. The duration of the PAT testing procedure depends on the type of appliances, their current condition and the environment that the appliance is kept/used in.

Do landlords require PAT testing?

According to regulations it is strongly recommended that a landlord carries out a PAT test on all appliances because they are a “supplier of goods”:

The Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994 Part II 12. – “covers the supply of equipment in let property. All appliances are required to have pre-fitted plugs which are undamaged, with insulated sleeves, the correct fuse and a working cord grip. It is recommended that electrical equipment be thoroughly tested at the start of each new let and retested on an annual basis to ensure compliance with this regulation.”

The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 states “that no electrical appliances supplied as part of a tenancy agreement, or with let accommodation (i.e. ‘supply in the course of a business’ – The Consumer Protection Act 1987) should jeopardise the safety of people, domestic animals or property. Each item should be safe and if it requires instructions to be operated safely, they must be supplied. This applies to both new and second-hand appliances and covers all electrical items supplied for the intended use of the tenant. PAT testing is the recommended method of ensuring that these appliances are safe and that the landlord and letting agent has shown ‘due care’.”

What does a PAT test consist of?

A PAT test begins with a visual inspection to identify:

pat test Loose wires/screws
pat test Damaged plugs and equipment (overheating etc.)
pat test Correctly wired plugs
pat test Visible earth wire

Followed by a series of tests

pat test Earth continuity testing
pat test Insulation resistance
pat test Polarity test
pat test Earth leakage test

What is the price of PAT testing?

Landlords and Small businesses:

£45 (Up to 20 appliances)
(Additional items are charged at £1.25 per test)

Medium Businesses and HMOs:

£79 (Up to 40 appliances)
(Additional items are charged at £0.85 per test)

Large Businesses:

£499 (Up to 500 appliances)
(Additional items are charged at £0.80 per test)

Warehouses and workshops:

£999 (Up to 1500 appliances)
(Additional items are charged at £0.75 per test)

For 2000+ appliances please call for a quote.
All PAT testing charges exclude VAT at the current rate of 20%.

Who does the PAT testing?

Only a qualified, or “competent person” can perform PAT testing. A “competent person” is defined in The Electricity at Work Regulations as an individual who obtains the “necessary skills, qualifications, knowledge and experience to carry out inspection and testing”. The recognised qualification is City and Guilds 2377 – Portable Appliance Testing Inspection and Testing Certificate.

How do I know if the electrical appliances have passed the PAT test?

During a PAT test the qualified PAT tester will apply labels onto each appliance, these stickers will signify whether the appliance has passed or failed the PAT test. At the end of the PAT test a certificate will be presented, this is regarded as proof indicating that a PAT test has been completed and all electrical appliances are safe.

What happens if an item fails?

Many PAT testers will recognise any appliances which may appear faulty (for example, loose wiring) and will try to correct the faults before testing. However, if a failure is more serious the engineer would give the best advice on what procedures to follow to increase safety.

What is a “portable appliance”?

A portable appliances is an electrical equipment that can me moved whilst connected to an electrical supply, for example, PCs, kettles, televisions, microwaves, kettles, vacuum cleaners etc.

What are the different types of appliances?

Hand – Held Appliances

– these which are appointed to be held during normal use, e.g. a hair dryer.

Stationary Appliances

– these are appliances which weigh over 18kg and are not provided with a carrier handle, e.g. a refrigerator.

Fixed appliances

– equipment which is fastened or secured to a specific location, e.g. a bathroom heater.

An appliance for Building in

– this is equipment which is to be installed in a prepared area, such as a cupboard.

I.T Appliances

– such as computers and mains powered photocopiers.

Will PAT testing damage my equipment?

PAT testing does not damage equipment if the procedure is completed correctly. During PAT testing low-voltage tests are used for appliances that contain delicate electronic components, for example, PCs. This is why it is important that the PAT tester is fully qualified to ensure that no appliances are damaged.

Is insurance cover affected by PAT testing?

If a PAT test certificate is not valid or presented in the event of a claim the insurance company may not cover the costs because the responsible person has not complied with Health & Safety regulations, and are therefore liable for any accidents. An insurance company may refuse to pay for a claim/damage if it is suspected that the cause of the claim or damage is a result of a faulty appliance that has not been PAT tested.