"How Much Does Fixed Wire Testing Cost"
It's a question I get asked most from customers and prospects alike. The answer is well; it depends.
The main factors which contribute to the price you will pay are dependent on three areas. The cost of the engineer carrying out the test, the productivity of the testing process and lastly the price per circuit you're being asked to pay, which of course is dependent on the first two elements.
Let's take each element one by one.
- Electricians Costs
Arguably the easiest one to answer. An engineer's costs are of course subjective in how you calculate it but for argument's sake and to make this article a little easier to digest I'm going to go out on a limb and say approximately £220.00 a day. Of course, this can vary company to company as you need to factor in items such as VAN costs, petrol, holidays etc.
Therefore, to cover an engineer's wages, if it's just himself, he needs to be charging at least £220.00 a day before he/she makes any profit. For a company that employs staff, it will be higher due to fixed overheads while also trying to make a profit.
That equates on average to £27.50 an hour for an eight hour day.
The hourly rate is the significant bit so keep this in mind when reading the rest of this article.
- The Testing Process
The Testing process in my experience is the least understood element if the person buying the service is not of an electrician. It is also the area where we see the most fluctuations in engineers productivity.
I should, at this stage, make a statement on what I mean by "Productivity "I have defined this - "as the number of circuits that an engineer can test within one day."
The goal of the testing company is to test the most amount of circuits it can per hour per man while at the same time providing the client with a detailed enough picture of the condition of their electrical infrastructure.
Now I should hold my hands up regarding the above statement. I have been quite vocal about some of the more questionable testing practices in this industry and where a testing company can find itself in somewhat of a conflict of interests between looking for increased productivity at the expense of diminishing the quality of the report provided to the customer.
You can read it here.
As an aside, the Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE) guides how customer premises are to be tested. The testing process goes into more details in what's termed IEE Guidance Notes 3, which forms part of the 18th edition electrical installation regulations.
So, how many tests should you expect from an electrician in a day?
The testing regimes employed by different companies means the daily circuit testing capacity can fluctuate quite a bit and this will be a significant driver in the price per circuit you'll be charged.
Again for the sake of this article, I am going to say it takes around twelve to fifteen minutes to carry out the prescribed number of tests required to meet the regulations if no previous testing has been carried out.
Based on the numerous testing reports we've carried out over the years, we would argue that an experienced testing engineer can carry out around forty circuits a day in a commercial building.
- What price will you pay
Now let's put it all together! This is the most crucial part of this piece!
If you were to google the term "fixed Wire Testing prices" on any particular working day, you'd see a significant swing in prices from as little in some cases of £4.00 a circuit up to £15.00 to £20.00 a circuit in some cases.
Just think about it for a second!
Two different companies offer the same service, but one company is 70% to 80% cheaper in price.
How is this possible? When engineers who tend to be on similar wages (see above), across different companies can you get such large deviations in price.
The only variable that is left, of course, is the testing companies testing process.
At the lower end of the market, we tend to see companies offer what we call "Risk Assessed based testing". This is a highly reduced testing process where the opportunity to increase the number of circuits that can be tested is far greater because there is far less testing of circuits carried out.
This is not a problem as such, but testing of this nature can only be done in particular circumstances, and the client needs to be fully aware of this offer.
If you've been offered an in-hours service with minimal disruption, then this is more than likely the testing process you will be offered—the reduced testing and minimal powered down testing provides for minimum disruption and so can potentially be provided on an "in hours" basis.
As prices to you move up, the more testing is probably being carried out. Therefore, more intrusive testing is taking place; conversely, these services are far more likely to be "out of hours" due to increased potential for disruption.
To summarise the point, cheaper pricing generally means less testing done. this may now seem pretty obvious, but you are not on your own if you thought it was the same testing but less expensive as this is what most people think.
Something to be aware of when buying this service
Where does Ultimate fit into the market?
At Ultimate we don't advocate the "One Size Fits All" approach.
We believe that different electrical infrastructures require different solutions to demonstrate compliance. We don't think a customer is best served by being provided by a testing and inspection solution which under tests and potentially misses potential risks and conversely, why should you pay more than necessary for over-testing where it is not required?
We provide three testing solutions that tend to range in price anywhere between £7.50 a circuit up to £15.00 depending on your site situation and of course, we can provide custom solutions as well.
The second main differentiator, I believe, is that we're entirely transparent on the level of testing that you will get for the service provided. We’ve produced a comparison table showing the service plans available. It's all on one sheet and it's straightforward to read. We’ve tried to make it as non-technical as possible.
We believe you should have complete clarity and enough knowledge to make an informed choice in what to buy and what you're getting for your money.
Lastly, we provide commercial debriefs of the results, both with one-on-one situations with either myself or a member of the team, or we can also do it as video debriefs you can take that package if you need to show it to any other interested stakeholders.
If you found this article of interest and have any questions, then drop me an email, or call if you’re happy for a chat.
Thanks for reading.
Steve Gubb - Co-Founder - firstname.lastname@example.org