Cardiff PAT Test - Portable Appliance Testing Specialists Call us today 029 2062 6739, NICEIC Registered, ECA Registered Member, CHAS Accredited Contractor, City & Guilds Qualified
High quality PAT testing at an affordable price

Frequently Asked Questions

Cardiff PAT testing

What is PAT Testing

Portable Appliance Testing or PAT Testing, is the systematic and comprehensive electrical safety testing and recording of portable appliances.

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How can I work out how many items I have?

If you have been PAT Tested before, your previous report should tell you how many items were tested.

If not then it will have to be done the old fashioned way by having a walk around a count them. Before you start counting up how many items you have, you will need to know what should and shouldn’t be tested.

It is not just the obvious appliances that will need to be PAT Tested, all appliances or items that mains voltage passes through to get to its final destination must have their own individual test.

For Example, a computer does not count as just one appliance, often it can be ten or more individual appliances. Starting at the wall socket, an average computer can consist of:

This average computer set up would now count as 15 items, when you add in a desk fan, lamp or mobile phone charger the appliance total can soon add up.

Other examples include portable stereos and kettles, most portable stereos have a detachable mains lead so they would count as being two appliances, one test for the lead and one test for the stereo. Some Sony and Aiwa stereos also have a detachable 2 pin adapter instead of a moulded plug, this also requires a test so one Sony portable stereo would count as three appliances.

Kettles with a detachable lead or base are also classed as being two items, one item being the lead or base and the other item being the kettle itself.

Our suggestion is that once you have counted up all of the appliances, add an extra 10% to allow for hidden cables and extension leads or appliances that may be in cupboards, this should then give you a good idea as to just how many appliances you have.

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Who should have PAT Testing carried out?

The Electricity at Work Regulations (1989) requires "All electrical systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, any danger". This is interpreted as covering the fixed electrical installation as well as portable and transportable equipment connected to it. The Regulations also state "It is the duty of every employer and self employed person to comply with the provision of these Regulations."

"All Employers have a legal obligation to establish and maintain reasonable measures to ensure the safety of staff and visitors to their premises. If an accident occurred due to faulty electrical equipment the employer is duty bound to prove sufficient measures have been taken."

Electricity at Work Regulations place a legal responsibility on employers, employees and self-employed persons to comply with the provisions of the regulations and take reasonably practicable steps to ensure that no danger results from the use of such equipment. This in effect requires the implementation of a systematic and regular program of maintenance, inspection and testing.

The Health & Safety at Work Act (1974) places such an obligation in the following circumstances:

This pretty much covers just about every type of business or self employed person there is. We are regularly testing companies from large engineering firms to your local plumber, theatres and night clubs to mobile discos, large call centres to the local nail bar or tanning salon. And just about everything in between.

We would advise that to comply with your insurance requirements, that portable appliance testing must be carried out by a suitably qualified and competent portable appliance technician.

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How often should testing be carried out?

The guidelines on how often you will need PAT Testing vary greatly depending on the appliance, its location, its usage and previous test results. We offer the following purely as a recommendation;

We would also recommend contacting your insurance company to see if they have any requirements for the testing frequency.

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Can I do my own PAT Testing or have it done in house?

The IEE / IET Code of Practice states that:
"If you are a competent person and have a basic knowledge of electricity then you can be perfectly capable of testing appliances for electrical safety. It is, however, recommended that an individual wanting to PAT Test attends a course related to the subject matter. There can be much confusion on what needs PAT Testing, what class an appliance is (and therefore which areas to test), and how often appliances legally need to be tested.

Proof of a company’s competence in PAT Testing is usually found in the form of a course certificate or qualification. A formal examination process for the topic is operated in collaboration with City and Guilds (the awarding body) under the authority of the QCA (The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority) who validate and authorize the qualification.

When electrical testing is required it should be performed by a person who is competent in the safe use of the test equipment and who knows how to interpret the results obtained. This person should be capable of inspecting and, where necessary, dismantling it to check the cable connections. Care should always be exercised when conducting tests. Inappropriate tests can damage equipment."

By the time you purchase the test equipment, have it calibrated, purchase the software, realise just how much paperwork is involved and how much it is all going to cost, not forgetting you will effectively be losing a member of staff for several days, if not weeks while they attend the City & Guilds 2377-200 course, go on another course to find out how to setup and use the test equipment and software, then eventually carry out the testing. From our experience the vast majority of companies that considered doing their own PAT Testing eventually decided that it just simply wasn’t worth the inconvenience and expense.

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Are you able to test file servers and network equipment and will they need to be turned off?

Where possible files servers etc. should always be fully tested. We usually arrange to test server rooms over weekends, bank holidays, during the evening or during a lunch break when they can be safely shut down without causing disruption or inconvenience.

However if you choose not to shut down, due to file servers and telephone systems being considered as low risk items, we are able to carry out a visual only inspection on them whilst they are running. This will be a very limited inspection as we would be unable to check the fuse rating, plug wiring, earth resistance and insulation level.

We would strongly advise that if you do choose to have a visual only inspection on your server room, we return to carry out a full inspection at the earliest opportunity, for example, when they are scheduled to be switched off for upgrade or maintenance.

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I brought this in from home, does it have to be tested?

Yes, all appliances that are used within the business that could put the user or building at risk must be tested to ensure they are safe.

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What items will you test?

Following our onsite survey with you, we will test all electrical appliances as identified and agreed, except for:

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What are your normal working hours and how long does the testing take?

Our normal hours would be Monday to Friday 8.30 am to 4.00pm, however, for customer convenience we can also offer an early morning, evening and Saturday service if required.

In a normal office type environment or school we would expect to test in the region of 150 items per engineer per day. At other locations such as factories, workshops and construction sites, due to the conditions and the equipment itself, this rate can be reduced to as little as 20 items per day.

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I have 1000’s of items, am I going to end up with a report thicker than a phone book?

Cardiff PAT Test are doing their very best to be green and only use recycled paper for our reports. We have also invested in duplexing printers that allows us to print on both sides of the paper, effectively halving the thickness of your paper report.

However as mentioned on our services page, wherever possible we prefer to provide your complete report on Compact Disk which has the added benefit of providing a database viewer software package which allows you to view all assets and create your own reports as required.

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