Differences Between Fixed Wiring Testing and PAT Testing

Understanding the difference between fixed wiring testing and Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is crucial when it comes to maintaining safety in the workplace and at home. These are two fundamental aspects of electrical safety, helping to prevent electrical accidents and ensure a safe environment.

This blog discusses what fixed wiring and PAT testing are and how they differ from each other.

What is Fixed Wiring Testing?

Fixed wiring testing, also known as Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), is a thorough inspection of the permanent electrical systems within a building. This includes the wiring, sockets, light fittings, and power supplies. The primary goal of fixed wiring testing is to check the safety of these electrical installations, ensuring they meet the latest standards and regulations.

A qualified electrician or electrical engineer can conduct a fixed wiring test to examine the electrical systems and identify any damage, wear and tear or deviations from the wiring regulations. They must be able to look for potential hazards like overloading, risks of electric shocks or fire hazards. After the inspection, they must provide a detailed report outlining any defects or areas needing attention.

It is important for those performing these tests to ensure their safety and that of others. Electrical safety training equips them with the knowledge and skills to identify potential electrical hazards and take appropriate safety measures to help them minimize the risk of injuries or accidents.

What is PAT Testing?

PAT testing examines the safety of portable electrical appliances and equipment like computers, kettles, and extension cords. The testing involves visual inspections and electrical tests to check for damage, wear, and electrical faults.

A competent person, either an electrician or any staff member trained by a qualified instructor can perform PAT testing. These individuals must have adequate knowledge of electrical safety, prior working experience, and a good understanding of electric hazards and regulations. They must be able to determine whether the appliance is safe to use and record the findings as part of the safety documentation.

For effective PAT testing procedures, individuals need to undergo comprehensive training, including courses such as the PAT test course which equips them with knowledge of the different classes of appliances, testing and inspection procedures, and the pass/fail criteria.

What is The Difference Between Fixed Wiring Testing and PAT Testing?

The distinction between fixed wiring and PAT testing is significant, primarily due to their focus areas. Understanding these differences is crucial for maintaining proper electrical safety standards.

Scope of Testing:

Fixed wiring testing is dedicated to inspecting the permanent electrical setups in a facility, such as wiring, socket outlets, and light fixtures. In contrast, PAT testing targets the safety and functionality of movable electrical equipment like laptops, kitchen appliances, and power tools.

Testing Frequency:

The interval between fixed wiring tests is considerably longer, typically every five years for businesses and up to ten years for homes, reflecting the lower risk of rapid degradation in fixed installations. Conversely, PAT testing is suggested to be done more regularly, often annually, due to the higher likelihood of damage and wear to portable appliances from frequent use and movement.

Risk Assessment:

Fixed wiring testing involves a comprehensive assessment of electrical risks associated with a building’s infrastructure. PAT testing, meanwhile, focuses on immediate risks presented by individual appliances.

Professional Requirements:

Fixed wiring testing can only be conducted by qualified technicians or electrical engineers. PAT testing, on the other hand, can be performed by competent personnel or trained technicians with practical knowledge and experience of electrical and appliance safety.

Choosing the Right Testing for Your Needs

Deciding whether to use a fixed wiring test, PAT testing or both depends on factors such as the premise, equipment type, and risk level.

For business owners and landlords, complying with legal requirements for electrical safety is necessary, which means regular fixed wiring and PAT tests are necessary.

For homeowners, while there is no legal obligation for PAT testing, it is still advisable to have electrical appliances checked regularly. As for fixed wiring testing, it’s a good practice to check electrical installation if you are moving into a new home or the property is over 25 years old.


Both fixed wiring and PAT testing play critical roles in maintaining electrical safety. By understanding the differences and ensuring that appropriate testing is carried out, workers can help protect themselves, others, and the property from electrical hazards.

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