The term Installation testing refers to testing the electrical installation in domestic, commercial or industrial premises. The electrical installation is usually taken to mean the distribution boards, fixed wiring and includes accessories like socket outlets or light switches. To confirm that new electrical installations have been installed correctly and that older installations are still safe for continuing use, visual inspection and electrical tests must be carried out using specialist test equipment. The results obtained can then be checked by a competent electrician to ensure that they meet the required standards. In the UK the standard for this type of electrical installation is BS7671:2018, commonly know as the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations, or simply as the ‘Regs’. The electrician performing the Inspection and Testing will issue a certificate on completion recording their findings and the test results.
Inspection and testing has now become an integral part of the work carried out by all electricians. A test meter and a pad of certificates are now as important to an electrician's daily work, as are their screwdrivers, wire cutters and SDS drills. While inspection and testing has long been a requirement of the Wiring Regulations (BS7671), widespread adoption of inspection and testing throughout the industry has only occurred due to the hard work of trade organisations such as NICEIC and others. The addition of electrical safety into the Building Regulations (Part P) in 2005 made a huge difference to the amount inspection and testing performed within domestic installations, which had long been a part of the industry dominated by DIY and cowboy electricians. There are however sectors of the industry still slow to fully embrace inspection and testing, one notable example being maintenance electricians in production or factory environments, where it is common to see electrical repairs carried out without any inspection, testing or certification. It is key to improving safety within the electrical industry, that the practices of inspection and testing are adopted by all sectors across the industry and that the importance of inspection and testing is understood by all.