• Breckon & Breckon, Oxford

    Breckon & Breckon is one of Oxford’s leading independent estate and letting agents. Given its academic and commercial importance, Oxford has a dynamic rental market which means that Breckon & Breckon’s lettings team is responsible for hundreds of rentals every month. Darke & Taylor was engaged by Beckon & Breckon to undertake a review of the electrical condition reports (EICR) for outstanding properties, complete remedials and ensure full compliance to relevant electrical safety standards.

    Breckon & Breckon, Oxford

Challenges

Headache: EICRs are a legal requirement for landlords, needing to be renewed on a five-year cycle or upon every change in tenancy. Previously, Breckon & Breckon (B&B) booked in EICRs on a just-in-time basis with whichever electrical contractor happened to be available at the time. However, this cost management time and led to dissatisfied customers if EICRs could not be fulfilled.

Legislative change: Given the legalities and penalties for non-compliance, it is vital for any lettings agent to keep on top of ongoing changes in EICR legislation – this can often be a job in itself. If the electricals in a property are found to be unsatisfactory, the landlord’s insurance could be invalid should anything untoward occur.

Response times: A written and certified EICR is required for every property in order to satisfy insurance requirements. Owing to the constant turnover in letting properties, B&B needs these EICRs promptly to ensure that it remains on top of ongoing administration.

COVID: Although lockdown impacted freedom of movement, this was no excuse for any timetable slippage when it came to EICRs, given the paramount need for safety around electrical installations.

Solutions

Programme of Works: Darke & Taylor (D&T) has a established a rolling three-month plan with B&B to schedule testing for any properties where EICRs will become due. Furthermore, given the dynamic nature of the lettings market, D&T has built in an allowance for reactive EICR maintenance, when tenants have to move in/out at short notice. This helps to remove the ongoing EICR management headache for B&B.

Consultancy: As an electrical professional, D&T is upto- date with any legislative changes. For example, it is now best practise to have Residual Circuit Devices (RCDs) fitted to mains boards, so D&T upgrade these as a matter of course if there happens to be an issue during the EICR inspection.

Five-day turnaround: D&T aims to always deliver a written EICR within five working days of each inspection. Every report is typed up, checked and signed off by a Qualifying Manager as part of D&T’s quality assurance process.

Safe working: D&T continued to work through lockdown, with no disruption to the EICR Programme of Works. Having an independent Health & Safety officer, who accompanied D&T’s electricians on random site visits, meant that D&T could be confident all the relevant legislation and social distancing requirements were observed at all times.

“Given the legalities and penalties for non-compliance, it is vital for any lettings agent to keep on top of ongoing changes in EICR legislation, this can often be a job in itself.”

Technical overview

D&T is responsible for a programme of works that entails undertaking electrical safety testing and planned and reactive maintenance to ensure that properties comply with legal and insurance requirements, thereby enabling properties to be safely let.

All the testing is carried out in accordance with the relevant regulations and is checked for compliance by one of our highly trained and experienced NICEIC Qualified Supervisors, who ensure both testing and installation works not only comply with the regulations, but meet D&T’s own ‘Connected Excellence’ quality standards.

Project details

CLIENTBreckon & Breckon, Oxford
PROJECT DURATIONNovember 2019 – present

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