What are the common electrical terms I should know

Whether your whole house is being rewired or you’re just having some new sockets fitted, it helps to know the difference between a consumer unit and a circuit breaker.  To help you understand what your electrician is talking about, we’ve put together a list of common industry terms.

BS 7671 - British Standard

Also known as the IEE (Institute of Electrical Engineering) wiring regulations and is the standard that all electrical installations must adhere to.

Building Compliance Certificate
Might also be referred to as a Part P certificate.  It is confirmation sent to the householder that the contractor has notified the work to the local authority via their competent person scheme.  It is an important document that states the work is compliant to the building regulations and will be needed when the property is due to be sold. 

Distribution Board

An assembly containing switching or protective devices (e.g. fuses, circuit-breakers, residual current operated devices) associated with one or more outgoing circuits fed from one or more incoming circuits, together with terminals for the neutral and protective circuit conductors. It may also include signalling and other control devices. Means of isolation may be included in the board or may be provided separately.

Electrical Installation Certificate

Any electrician installing a new electrical installation (including a single circuit), altering, extending or adapting an existing circuit should issue the homeowner with electrical installation certificate or minor electrical installation works certificate to confirm the work complies with the requirements of BS 7671.


Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)

Formerly called a Periodic Inspection Report (or PIR). A report to establish the overall condition of all the electrics in a building, stating whether it is satisfactory for continued use and detailing any work that might need to be done.

Electrical Installation

Any assembly of electrical equipment supplied by a common source to fulfil a specific purpose.

Part P

The specific section of the Building Regulations that provides minimum safety standards for domestic electrical installations.  The Building Regulations are a devolved power so the actual requirements may vary across the UK dependent on which country the work is being done in.

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)

Inspection and testing of electrical equipment including portable appliances, moveable equipment, hand held appliances, stationary equipment, fixed equipment/appliances, IT equipment and extension leads.

Periodic Inspection Report (PIR)

An electrical survey to reveal if electrical circuits are overloaded, find potential hazards in the installation, highlight any lack of earthing or bonding and carry out tests on the fixed wiring of the installation. The report is known as an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) and will establish the overall condition of all the electrics, state whether it is satisfactory for continued use and detail any work that might need to be done.

Platinum Promise

Platinum Promise is NICEIC’s commitment to making sure that all work undertaken by NICEIC registered contractors is to standard. If work is found to be sub-standard within six years of completion, the Platinum Promise will ensure the original contractor puts the work right or commission an alternative contractor up to the value of £25,000 per installation