PAT Testing

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Portable appliance testing is required by any Landlords, Agents and Businesses who need to comply with The Health & Safety Act (1974).


PAT Testing Explained


Portable appliance testing is a requirement for any landlords, agents and businesses who need to comply with The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. Without a PAT Test your property or business insurance may be deemed invalid. Local councils are also making it a standard practice to check if a valid PAT test is in place during their audits.

PAT testing is an inspection carried out by a qualified engineer who performs a number of tests to ensure that the portable electrical equipment meets the required safety standards.

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 require that any electrical equipment whose strength and capability may be exceeded in such a way as may give rise to danger should not be put into use and The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974  places such an obligation in the following circumstances:

  • where appliances are used by employees
  • where the public may use appliances in establishments such as hospitals, schools, colleges, hotels, shops etc.
  • where appliances are supplied or hired
  • where appliances are repaired

It is the landlord’s responsibility to make sure that the electrical appliances are safe at the outset of letting.

What is a PAT test and what to expect on the day of the PAT visit?
Portable appliance testing (commonly known as PAT, PAT Inspection or PAT Testing) is the term used to describe the examination of electrical appliances and equipment to ensure they are safe to use. The correct term for the whole process is In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment (PAT).

All electrical appliances supplied by a flexible cable with either a plug and socket or a spur box to connect it to the fixed electrical installation are considered portable (movable) appliances or portable electrical equipment (PEE) and need to be tested regardless of their size.

Typical examples of PEE include handheld power tools such as drills and sanders, office equipment such as computers, printers, scanners, and any kitchen equipment, including toasters, food mixers, kettles, refrigerators, microwave ovens and vacuum cleaners. Extension leads are also regarded as portable appliances.

The HSE excludes large electrical items, such as boilers that are wired in, from the list of portable appliances as they are not designed to be moved.

The accessibility of the appliance and its plug top will often determine the speed of the tests. Testing occurs one item at a time which results in very little down time for equipment and staff and minimal disruption to most working environments.

To properly test equipment, appliances need to be unplugged in order for the plug top to be opened and inspected.

On the day of the visit the electrical engineer will require:

  • all portable appliances which require testing to be in full working order
  • appliances to be turned off and unplugged to be tested
  • pay-as-you-go meters to have enough credit in order for the engineer to conduct the test
  • full access to the appliance plug in order to carry out the test
  • any large appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, fridges and freezers which require moving need to be pulled out before the engineer’s visit

Please be aware that limited tests will be conducted on built-in and fixed appliances.

The PAT testing includes visual checks for:

  • damages to the flexible cable such as cuts, abrasions, cable trapped under furniture, etc.
  • damages to the plug, such as cracked case or bent pins
  • illegal joints in the cable, such as. taped joint or ‘chocolate block’ connectors
  • any equipment being used in unsuitable conditions, such as wet or dusty environment
  • any signs of overheating, such as stains or burnmarks

As part of the PAT, the below tests are conducted:

  • for adequate earth protection
  • for adequate insulation
  • to ensure there is minimal leakage back to the earth terminal

What does a PAT certificate contain?
Our PAT test certificates come in an electronic format and record the appliance details and test results, including:

  • full inventory of appliances and locations
  • serial numbers
  • recommended re-test date
  • pass or fail status

 What is the difference between a PAT certificate and an EICR?
A PAT testing checks electrical appliances that are portable, for instance fridges, washing machines, kettles, toasters, fans, etc., whereas a periodic electrical inspection (EICR) checks the ‘fixed’ installation, for instance the wiring, switches and earth bonding.

Are PAT certificates legally required?
Although PAT certificates are not legally required they are the most important maintenance precaution and also one of the most effective ways to minimise electric risks from faulty appliances to any landlord’s rental properties or office premises.

It is vital that electrical equipment is regularly inspected and maintained as failure to comply could result in serious injury or prosecution.

As per data provided by the HSE, 25% of all reportable electrical accidents involve portable appliances making the need for regular inspections and maintenance a vital element in the prevention and control of accidents and hazards.

How long are Portable Appliance Test Reports valid for?
The HSE offers some indicative intervals for portable electrical equipment which can be seen in Table 1 below. The factors which affect the frequency of testing must be assessed by the duty holder who thereby makes the judgment.

Why choose Pyramid Solution for your PAT testing?
We offer professional and comprehensive approach to all of our customers and we strive to help landlords and businesses minimise the risk of injury and death.

We have all-round experience in electrical and gas systems and installations which has equipped us with the necessary knowledge and expertise to cope with complex situations and provide impartial and professional advice to our customers.

All of our engineers are fully qualified by City & Guilds 2377 and carry out the test to the highest standard to ensure that all landlords meet The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and all businesses adhere to The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) by assessing whether all portable electrical appliances are safe and fit for purpose.

Table 1  Suggested initial intervals for checking portable electrical equipment

Equipment/environment User checks Formal visual inspection Combined inspection and testing
Battery-operated: (less than 40 volts No No No
Extra low voltage: (less than 50 volts AC): Telephone equipment, low-voltage desk-lights No No No
Desktop computers, VDU screens No Yes, 2–4 years No if double insulated, otherwise up to 5 years
Photocopiers, fax machines: Not hand-held. Rarely moved No Yes, 2–4 years No if double insulated, otherwise up to 5 years
Double insulated     (Class II) equipment: Not hand-held. Moved occasionally, eg fans, table lamps No Yes, 2–4 years No
Double insulated     (Class II) equipment: Hand-held, eg some floor cleaners, some kitchen equipment Yes Yes, 6 months – 1 year No
Earthed equipment (Class I): Electric kettles, some floor cleaners, some kitchen equipment and irons Yes Yes, 6 months – 1 year Yes, 1–2 years
Cables (leads and plugs connected to the above) and mains voltage extension leads and battery-charging equipment Yes Yes, 6 months –

4 years depending on the type of equipment it is connected to

Yes, 1–5 years depending on the type of equipment it is connected to

 Source: Maintaining portable electric equipment in low-risk environments a web-friendly version of leaflet INDG236(rev3), published 09/13

NICEIC Approved Contractor

Please see PDF below for an example of a complete PAT testing certificate carried out by one of our certified engineers