Published in 2004
"Improved safety levels can save lives, improve lifestyle and increase property value."
While standards of safety in most areas of life are constantly improving, the safety of domestic electrical installations is not keeping pace. People expect to be at their safest when in their own homes and tend not be aware of the risks that face them there. Incidents resulting from unsafe installations - deaths and injuries from fire and electrical shock - are preventable. As the population and housing stock age, the need to introduce regulation to preserve and enhance their safety becomes an increasing priority.
The current completion rate for new build dwellings implies the average lifetime of a European dwelling is 200 years and the majority of European housing stock (60%) is already over 30 years old. Unless these buildings are properly adapted, maintained and renovated, their technical installations become progressively less suited to the higher standards of functionality, security and safety1 required by today's society. Although the cost of renovation is one of the main barriers to overcome, this report concludes that it is not insurmountable. Appropriate measures to overcome the cost barrier include careful segmentation of the market, scheduling implementation according to levels of risk and fiscal incentives to share costs between government, owners and tenants. Proactive maintenance, through periodic inspection, will help to manage the housing stock - one of society's biggest capital items.
To reach these functional, social and economic goals the following actions are proposed:
- Introduce periodic inspections which:
- require a recent inspection certificate when changing the meter or supply contract, or at change of owner or tenant.
- are carried out by a professional inspector such as a certified installer, municipal inspector, utility representative or an independent certified body.
- are optimised by inspecting all technical installations (electricity, gas, water and central heating) together.
- ensure that any necessary renovation work identified is carried out in a reasonable time scale.
- Raise awareness of electrical safety among residents, landlords, building managers and owners
These actions would primarily take place at national level and their implementation would bring the following benefits to occupants and owners:
- Improved safety and sense of security
- Increased property value
- Enhanced lifestyle through greater comfort
- Reduced overall cost of ownership/maintenance
and the following benefits to society:
- Reduced healthcare costs
- Energy saving
- The creation of employment, with its double dividend of reduced unemployment benefits and increased tax income.
This report demonstrates that improving electrical safety in the home justifies the regulatory effort required.
Checked March 28, 2023