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Posted By Topic: Practitioner 3 – October 2018 - Inspector

Mar 22 2019 11:37

Is it general practice that inspectors don't test?

The ones I use do.

An electrical inspector was engaged to carry out an inspection of a new residential power connection. The inspector did not carry out the independent earth test or earth continuity test prior to livening the installation. Rather he relied on tests completed by the electrician. The inspector considered it was the electrician’s job to test and certify. He also believed he did not have to provide an electrical safety certificate for the connection of the consumer mains to the electricity supply within a pillar and that it was up to the electrician to request documentation.

The Board was concerned that the inspector was not aware of his duties and the role he plays in the risk-based certification system. An electrical inspector is not there to rubber stamp an electrical workers high risk prescribed electrical work. It is necessary that an inspector tests and verifies the safety of the prescribed electrical work they are engaged to inspect.

Mar 22 2019 12:14

Hard to know what's general practice; there's a lot of Inspectors and none of us will have direct experience of how more than a few operate.

One hopes this isn't typical, and that only a minority do their own testing. But there's reason to believe such ignorance isn't as rare as it should be.

Which will be why EWRB tagged this case as 'significant" and gave more details; so that others might pull their socks up.

Mar 22 2019 12:27

I am fairly sure that this particular Inspector is now aware of his responsibilities under Reg 70.

I personally always test everything that is covered in the scope of a high risk inspection and also cast an eye over anything that is visible in the installation.

If I see nothing that does not look right I will raise my concerns with the electrician and leave it with him. (Unless it fits into the Reg 19 area. Then we might have a more serious conversation).

Mar 22 2019 13:42

Interesting that the Board considers that an Inspector should check that whoever certified the high risk work being inspected has a current PL that authorises them to do the work.
Which appears to fit under the heading of ESR 70(3)(a); that the work was done in accordance with ESRs.

Except that who certified PEW is not necessarily same as who carried it out; and "the work" is the high risk PEW (whatever that happens to be). So part of ensuring that "work was done i.a.w these regulations" could include that who did it held a valid PL/. But since that info is not required to be on the CoC; it's not practicable to check it.

On the other hand, we CAN check that who certified has a valid PL. But while certifying is PEW, it's NOT high risk PEW. Since only high risk PEW has to be inspected; it can't be part of an inspector's function to check certifier's PLs.

In official circles, pointing out glitches & grey areas in "the system" is seen as unhelpful. Yet the same people are quick to condemn us, and punish us, when we get something wrong. Or even if we don't, but they think we do.