Condition Of Supply Cable

EIC: 1.0 External Condition of Intake Equipment (Visual Inspection Only)
EICR: 1.0 External Condition of Intake Equipment (Visual Inspection Only)

1.1: Condition Of Service Cable

The very first inspections undertaken at the beginning of an EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) is that of checking the condition of the incoming service cable.

Similarly, the first inspection to be recorded on an EIC (Electrical Installation Certificate) when completing more complex installation works is also that of checking the incoming service cable.

This inspection is visual only and will involve no dismantling of any of the supply intake equipment in order to check the “condition of service cable”

Have you been looking for a bit of a guide to checking the condition of the service cable when completing electrical inspections? Want to be sure that you are keeping current with 18th edition updates? Read on for the step by step guide

Condition Of Supply Cable
Condition Of Service Cable

Safety First! – ALWAYS Ensure These Items Before Starting

Specific risks which can be encountered inspecting the condition of the service cable include:

  • If the incoming service cable is particularly damaged, or has any pieces of insulation missing then there is a risk of serious electric shock. A number of examples of fabric braided cables, or lead and paper sheathed incoming supplies where the cable has deteriorated do exist By stating VISUAL INSPECTION only, it really does mean no need to touch.
  • When working encountering different supply cables in homes and businesses, it is vital to be aware of hidden damage to older cables which could be extremely dangerous You are only inspecting what you can see. In some meter cupboards you can see a small amount of cable, whilst in certain properties with cellars there can be many metres of supply cable available for visual inspection.
  • If there are external runs of supply cable, particularly frequent with overhead low voltage supplies, these should be checked by looking from ground level ONLY. Do not climb up to inspect the cable.
  • If there is any doubt over damage, or the cable is verified visually to be in a particularly poor state, you should always report your concerns to the DNO. This is simple and you only need to save 1 number to your phone (105)
  • This website is intended as a study/work aid to assist qualified/working electricians in order to keep current with changes in fields such as inspection & testing. It is also something of a repository for those studying in the field to gain general knowledge. It is in no way intended to be taken as DIY Electrical Advice and should never replace the services of a qualified & insured electrician.
  • electrical-assistance.co.uk assume no liability for any accident or injury, howsoever caused, whilst attempting electrical works. If you are working with electricity please ensure that you follow all local regulations in force in your particular area.

For further information on this please visit our regulations pages to learn more.

What Am I Looking For When I Inspect This?

When checking the condition of the service cable, you need to quickly be able to determine if there is any risk created by the incoming supply cables.

The most serious faults are of course, damaged insulation and potentially exposed live parts. However there are some slightly less obvious signs of damage to supply cables which are worth keeping an eye out for:

  • Fabric Or Other Braided Cable – As mentioned in the safety section, fabric braided supply cables can often deteriorate rapidly when touched/moved. If these cables are encountered and are found in a poor state then the DNO must be informed and the information entered onto the particular section on the inspection form.
  • Inadequate Support On Supply Cable – Supply cables which have long visible runs (for example, through cellars) yet have inadequate support. The severity of this matter would depend on the state of the cable and also just how badly supported the cable actually was. If the condition of service cable is good and the support present (although could do with improvement) then recommendation for upgrade may be ok) If so, enter as such on the inspection schedule. However if the service cable is particularly badly damaged or unsupported over significant length then the DNO may need to be notified.
Condition Of Service Cable in Cellar - EICR
Condition Of Service Cable in Cellar
  • Weathering, Moisture Ingress – Any exterior cables will suffer from weathering over time to some extent. Older cables which are on the southern facing wall wear quicker as the cable has to contend with both UV and moisture exposure. Cables which run through cellars and the under drawings of buildings are often exposed to levels of damp and moisture ingress. This can deteriorate certain types of older DNO supply cable with metallic braiding. The picture below shows an example of this affecting a TNS supply earthing arrangement.
  • Check Condition Of Service Cables Outdoors – Examples of external supply cables will need visually checking from ground level ONLY! These are most common in areas with overhead low voltage power supplies. Without getting up close, visually assess the cable along the length that you can see for any signs of damage. This type of cable often suffers from poor supports and this can place strain on joints. As you can see below, the weight of the tangle of overhead cables literally pulls the supports out of the walls over the years. Anything like this should be noted on the inspections and also reported to the DNO.
  • General Physical Damage or Bulges In The Service Cable – If when checking the condition of service cable, you come across any example of physical damage to the cable this will need reporting to the DNO. Any cases where the cable has been twisted and has bulges may also be a sign of internal damage of the cable itself. Large bulges in particular can indicate the conductors inside have split their individual insulation. To find an example of this when checking the condition of service cable would be rare, however it is worth mentioning as an item to visual assess for.
Poor Condition Of Service Cable - Electrical Inspection
Poor Condition Of Service Cable – Yes that really is a DNO Service cable!

How Do I Record These Inspections?

It can be of upmost use to have a modern certification software that enables you to attach photos of anything untoward you find.

In the instance of EICRs, these issues may not get reported to the DNO or actioned immediately (f they are not of immediate danger) and as such it is vital to leave some kind of explanation what the problem is.

Adding photos to an EICR also allows you to have a visual record, easily stored within the PDF file of that EICR. As such, you can easily revisit the exact issues and check the photos for yourself.

This can be useful when preparing quotes for remedial works and the like. You already know that we recommend Tysoft Easycert Mobile for the best electronic certification. We are all about time saving for professional electricians here at electrical-assistance.co.uk and as such you need a solid and expandable certification software that you can depend on.

See more information about how we recommend you record these types of inspections here: Best 18th Edition Certification Software for 2019

Further Resources & Information on ‘Condition of Service Cable’

Here are some further resources relating to checking the condition of service cable:

  • Northern Powergrid – Distribution Network Owner for much of the North of England. This includes Yorkshire, Humberside, and upto Newcastle, Sunderland, etc…
  • 105 Phone Number Scheme – A government scheme to enable people to be able to get in touch with their local DNO during power cuts, etc.. without having to remember different numbers. Useful to save to your phone in case you need to report any faults to the DNO

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