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How often should I undertake an electrical audit?

All businesses have a responsibility to undertake a periodic electrical audit to ensure electrical safety. Part of this responsibility includes having an up-to-date commercial Periodic Inspection Report (PIR), also known as an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR).

Commercial properties should get an EICR every five years or whenever there is a change of occupancy. Industrial facilities – manufacturers, warehouses, and workshops, for example – should get an EICR every three years.

However, there are some instances where you may be required to carry out (or may want to consider) more frequent audits. These include:

Where regulatory requirements for your industry or local authorities require it – some industries have more rigid rules on electrical testing due to increased risk. As a manufacturer, you will need to ensure you are meeting local and industry requirements to remain compliant.

To meet equipment manufacturer recommendations – some equipment and installations require more regular testing and inspecting. Keep a log of all equipment with a note of how frequently it should be audited.

Following new installations or major upgrades – whenever there are significant changes in electrical systems, such as new installations or major upgrades, it is crucial to conduct an audit both before and after the changes to ensure compliance and safety.

If you have ageing equipment – if your manufacturing facility has older equipment or machinery, consider more frequent audits to monitor the condition of the electrical components and reduce the risk of failures.

In high-risk or hazardous areas – facilities with high-risk environments, such as those dealing with hazardous materials or high-temperature processes, will benefit from more frequent audits. If you have ATEX areas within your facility, ensure you work with an electrical contractor that is CompEx accredited (such as AES).

Post-incident – electrical incidents such as electrical fires, major surges or major outages can have a knock-on effect on installations and equipment. While there may be no obvious signs of trouble, it is a good idea to audit your electrical systems to ensure there are no underlying issues that could escalate.

Before and during a period of growth or expansion – if you are planning a factory expansion or are introducing additional equipment, you should undertake additional audits before and during the growth period to ensure the electrical infrastructure can support the new demands.

How to ensure electrical safety between inspections

As well as carrying out comprehensive audits of your systems, you should put measures in place to protect your systems between inspections.

Periodic Spot Checks

Periodic spot checks or visual inspections to identify obvious issues or potential hazards ensure fewer problems between audits. An electrical contractor can carry out these spot checks during their visits, but it is also good practice to train your teams to recognise potential hazards.

Look for signs of loose or faulty wiring, connections or insulation such as sparking, buzzing, burning smells or sooty marks around switches or sockets. Monitor machine performance – irregularities in performance could indicate an electrical issue.

Proactive maintenance

Replacing machinery and equipment is costly, so it makes sense to keep your assets in good working order. Plus, regular maintenance ensures your equipment runs efficiently, which is better for your bottom line.

Proactive maintenance can help you identify issues before they result in major problems and can also help you spot opportunities. It can get expensive if you frequently have to replace a particular component. Understanding what’s causing it to fail can help you identify an alternative solution, such as investing in an upgrade or adding a VSD to control speed and torque.

Continuous monitoring

Control and automation systems can provide real-time equipment monitoring, allowing you to quickly identify any issues and take corrective action before damage occurs.

Control and automation systems can monitor equipment and provide predictive maintenance information, allowing maintenance to be scheduled before equipment failure occurs. This proactive approach can help reduce downtime and increase equipment lifespan.

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Benefits of regular electrical testing and inspection

Although regular testing is required for compliance purposes, there are several other benefits to carrying out regular electrical audits.

Enhance safety – faulty equipment can lead to fire, electrical shock, or accidents and injury. Regular auditing will help you identify any defects or faults, reducing the risk.

Reduce downtimeunplanned downtime causes havoc to production schedules and can be extremely costly. Regular audits and proactive maintenance can reduce the chances of equipment failure.

Extend the lifespan of your equipment – by detecting and addressing electrical issues promptly, you can extend the lifespan of expensive machinery and equipment.

Mitigate risk – spot checks and audits help you spot any potential hazards early so you can take measures to mitigate or manage the risk.

Ensure up-to-date records – regular audits provide a detailed record of electrical systems, facilitating troubleshooting and maintenance planning.

Increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon footprint I– energy audits help you understand which equipment is consuming the most energy and identify opportunities to reduce energy consumption (and cost).

Electrical testing and energy audits from AES

At AES, we specialise in electrical contracting services for manufacturers. If you haven’t got a strategy in place for managing the maintenance of your electrical installations, we can help.

We can install, test, inspect, service and maintain your lighting and emergency lighting and any electrical installations, including plant equipment and machinery. AES personnel are also CompEx accredited to work in ATEX areas.

Not only do we offer proactive and reactive maintenance and emergency callouts, but we also offer a range of specialist services for manufacturers.

These include energy storage, voltage optimisation, variable speed drives, and control and automation systems.

To get you started, we offer a free energy reduction audit to help you understand where you can make the most significant impact and which energy-saving solutions are right for you.

After completing our assessment, we’ll provide you with a full report detailing energy consumption savings and the real cost savings to your business.

Our goal is to help you reduce energy consumption in the most effective way so you can generate a return on investment as quickly as possible. Contact us to find out more.

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