All you need to know about the PAT testing for your own appliances, including the types of certificate, the steps involved to test, costs of testing, equipment, labour and time frames.
Portable appliance testing (PAT) is the examination of electrical appliances and equipment to ensure their safety. This is mostly a visual electrical safety check, but some testing is also carried out. A basic user safety check using a checklist can be useful but a formal visual inspection and testing carried out by a competent person at appropriate intervals is the preferred solution. All electrical appliances can cause electrical shock or be a fire hazard and over 500 people are injured in the UK every year due to faulty electrical installations. Electrical appliance testing ensures that any electrical faults are identified, so potential hazards can be removed. This electrical appliance testing is often referred to as "portable appliance testing" or PAT, which is completely different from electrical installation testing, which checks the fixed electrics in your home which would require an Electrical Safety Certificate instead, whereas portable appliance testing, as the name suggests, is concerned with the safety of individual, movable items of electrical equipment. A portable appliance is defined as an appliance which can be moved between periods of use and is connected via a power cable the electrical supply.
It is at the discretion of the homeowner whether or not to carry out electrical appliance testing, but in commercial premises, it is a legal requirement of the Health and Safety At Work Regulations that all electrical appliances in the workplace comply. The frequency and type of testing depend upon the appliance and the working environment, but there is currently no legally defined schedule for portable appliance testing. If you are a landlord, you should test appliances every time the tenants change and when the property is first being let out. If you are a tenant, you should be aware that your landlord is responsible for portable appliance testing.
The National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting acts as the regulatory body in the UK for electrical safety matters with over 10,500 approved contractors. Employing a professional to carry out electrical appliance testing is far quicker than doing it yourself plus should anything go wrong, there will be a formal complaints procedure. Approved contractors will also offer a guarantee with proof that you have carried out electrical testing and have complied with current Health and Safety regulations. The costs of portable appliance testing will vary but typically professional PAT firms will charge around £1 and £2 per tested appliance. Some firms offer pricing a bit less than £1 per item, but these companies will usually operate on a minimum amount of appliances, typically 100 or more portable appliances.
Pricing does involve quite a bit of work beyond just PAT Testing. Many professional testing companies will include a few extra benefits beyond just testing each appliance. Such pricing many times will include things like plug rewiring, visual inspections throughout, and fuse replacements. Pail and Fail labels will also be included in the pricing. PAT firms will also provide a PAT Testing Certificate along with all test results and a list of all portable appliances with serial numbers for tracking in the future. Portable appliance testing entails a careful visual inspection of the equipment along with electrical testing following IEE guidelines. The results are a Pass or Fail and all items will be clearly labeled as such. Additional services are also offered such as fuse replacement (usually around 25p per item), the re-wire of existing plugs at around £1.50 and the fitting of a replacement plug for around £4.50.
Below are some estimated costs of PAT testing appliances.
|Job Description||Avg. Cost||Duration|
|Portable appliance testing - up to 50 appliances||£2 per item||1-2 Hours|
|Portable appliance testing - 50 to 100 appliances||£1 per item||2-4 Hours|
|Portable appliance testing - 100+ appliances||80p per item||3+ Hours - depending on no. of appliances|
The typical costs of PAT testing - Total Cost: £2 per item