C1 – Danger Present
If you are completing an EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report), then this category of fault C1 – Danger Present is reserved for the most serious electrical defects.
These, as the name suggests, present danger when tested and could very easily lead to either serious injury or else property damage (for example, due to fire).
It is important to be sure that the item tested is actually a “C1 – Danger Present” issue. All too often we have seen examples of issues which should really only be considered a C2 actually being written down as a C1 fault with the installation.
Due to the fact that a ‘proper’ C1 Danger Present issue is so serious, the EAWR (Electricity At Work Regulations) 1989 place certain duties upon the electrical tester.
Although there is no requirement to ‘repair’ the issue, the danger must be removed and made safe. If the customer does not want to pay for any repair necessary then this means you must isolate the supply to the affected part/circuit.
At this point you should also issue a DANGER NOTICE to the customer and ensure that they sign it to say they have received it.
What Different Faults Are Considered C1 – Danger Present ?
The often repeated mantra amongst seasoned inspectors & testers is that a C1 fault will ‘kill you now‘
This is really reserved for any fault which could cause immediate injury and or serious property damage.
A brief run down of the sorts of things which could cause immediate danger to users of the installation are:
- Bare Live Conductors – Whether these are from a loose cable, or just simply a live wire hanging from the wall or ceiling (as unbelievable as it sounds, this is seriously what you can be up against sometimes). Any other normally live part which can be touched would immediately be serious enough to be considered a Danger Present coding
- Deteriorated Insulation – Basically the same as above, although most normally seen on old VIR (Vulcanised India Rubber) cable installations from the 1960s. These are very old now and the rubber has gone brittle. Usually when an accessory is changed large chunks of the insulation will just deteriorate away. If you are testing an installation of this age it is wise to be wary of the danger this can pose to yourself if touched when live (the insulation simply falls away leaving the live conductor)
- Incorrect Polarity – Incorrect polarity is serious and can lead to seemingly ‘dead’ parts being live. This is particularly serious where single pole switches or protective devices have been used. Whether the switch is off or the protective device has tripped, the apparent neutral cable is then still live.
- Large Holes in Front Of Consumer Unit / Fuse Board – Whilst this may seem like a very minor fault on the installation to a lay person, the large open gaps left from missing blanking pieces can be fatal if someone inadvertently slips and touches the dangerously live parts within. If you are doing a lot of inspection & testing it can pay dividends to carry a stock of blanks and such like to easily rectify this problem.
- Badly Damaged Accessories – Broken light switches exposing the live switching mechanism within. Sockets can end up with large cracks or pieces missing from them, again exposing the live parts within. Another common issue is broken plastic surface mount boxes (pattress box) which have pieces missing allowing access to the dangerous parts within.
- Conductive Parts Have Become Live Due to a Fault – This could emcompass a number of different issues, however think of screws through cables that haven’t caused the protective device to trip (for whatever reason). Possibly unearthed Class 1 fixtures which have a L-PE fault. We have once seen live pipework on a towel radiator, again due to fault in the installation that has not being picked up by a protective device, for whatever reason
Electrical Danger Notification – Dangerous Condition Notice
A number of pieces of software (you know our favourite is Tysoft Easycert) now have model forms for a Danger Notice.
This is a short form with appropriate boxes to include a summary of the immediately dangerous issue with the electrical installation. The forms include another section on what action you have taken and what nessecary remedial action should be taken.
They also allow you to capture a signature from the customer to say that they have received a copy of the form. Now this is why the “C1 Danger Present” classification code should only be used for the most serious and immediate threats to safety.
For those of you who like to write your testing results down on paper pads, model dangerous condition notification pads are available, both from wholesalers and also from the various registration bodies. I will include links to these in the resources at the bottom of the page.
On a side note, whilst I appreciate some prefer the feel of paper, if you are going to be doing anything more than very occasional testing, and on a limited amount of installations (otherwise you need different pads for every type of form). This approach is both costly, and a massive time drag.
Tools exist to make our lives easier and if you are serious about growing your electrical business and making time savings (remember, time is money) then getting digital is definitely the way forward.
Inspection Schedule Tick Sheet Entries
If you are wondering what particular electrical inspections apply to C1 Danger Present faults mainly, then take a look at the list below. This is from an updated 18th edition inspection schedule. This particular schedule is for a domestic EICR:
- 1.1 – Service Cable – Possible damaged insulation on the incoming service cable? This would require reporting to the local DNO straight away by calling 105
- 1.2 – Service Head – Service heads can sometimes have pieces missing, physical damage such as cracks or else loose parts allowing easy access. Again this would require reporting to the DNO without delay on 105
- 1.4 – Meter Tails – Possible damaged insulation or loose conductor exposing live part
- 1.5 – Metering Equipment – Possible damage to electric meter or timeswitch/teleswitch which exposes live parts
- 4.3 – Condition of Enclosure (IP rating) – Consumer units with missing blank pieces fall under this item.
- 4.5 – Enclosure not Damaged/Deteriorated – Cracks, pieces missing from the sides of the consumer unit or other ‘damage’
- 4.15 – Single Pole Switching or Protective Devices in Live Conductor – This relates to incorrect polarity. No switched or fused neutral conductors
- 5.3 – Condition of Insulation of Live Parts – Damaged insulation on final circuit cables. Perished VIR insulation.
- 5.17.3 – Connections of Live Conductors Adequately Enclosed – This would be the inspection code associated with uncovered ‘chock block’ screw connections. Easy access to live conductor in normal use
- 5.18 – Condition Of Accessories – No damage to sockets, switches or other items such as joint/junction boxes which expose live connections or conductors
- There is much more information on what each exact inspection from the schedule entails by clicking on the links to each page.
Where possible there are pictures and diagrams, together with photos of things which might be encountered on that particular inspection.
Further Reading & Resources
There is further information available throughout the industry on what exactly a C1 – Danger Present fault is and what it means to both electricians and end users of installations.
As our site is still in its infancy, this section is pretty limited at present. We endeavour to keep this section fresh and up to date (last updated July 2019)
- Electrical Safety First : Best Practice Guide 4 EICR – This document contains some good information for free on the best classification codes to assign to a wide variety of issues. We base much of our inspection & testing ethos on the that found within this guide
- NAPIT : Codebreakers – This is a printed book from the registration body NAPIT. It includes a very detailed set of tables containing lists of potential faults and classification code they recommend to assign. There has been a lot of debate throughout the electrical industry as of late with regards the somewhat more strict guidelines which the latest updated version of the book seem to offer.