Engineering Insurance and Inspection Services2021-07-27T11:03:05+01:00
Failure of mechanical, electrical or lifting equipment can be costly and disruptive to the leaseholders and tenants, and cause you major problems.
Independent engineering inspections help identify problems early, enabling you to organise and plan for repairs before a major failure occurs. Independent inspectors, who are unlikely to have a vested interest in the outcome, are more likely to identify only necessary repairs.
Some inspections are a legal and statutory requirement. Passenger lifts, for example, have to be inspected twice annually, not least to meet health and safety legislation. Insurance against breakdown can also be added to a policy. It provides cover for the cost of repairs, so there may be no need to raid the management fund if the unexpected happens.
Are you breaking the law?
It is a legal requirement for many types of plant and machinery to be inspected on a regular basis. Unfortunately, some people believe engineering inspections are only desirable rather than essential.
The purpose of an inspection is to make sure the equipment is safe, it does not replace maintenance. An examination by a qualified inspector will:
Detect defects and weaknesses
Ensure the safety and continued use of the equipment
Be sufficiently independent and impartial to allow objective decisions to be made
The items listed below have to be inspected, either as a legal requirement or to comply with other statutes and, not least, to meet the requirements of your insurance policy.
LOLER – Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998
Passenger lifts – Every 6 months
Goods lifts – Annually
Lifting accessories (tackle) – Every 6 months
Vehicle lifts – Every 6 months
Window cleaning gantry – Annually
PSSR – Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000
Steam boilers and steam ovens – Every 14 months
Any equipment operated by steam – Every 26 months
Hot water boilers (>100°C) – Every 14 months
Other pressure systems – Every 26 months
Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
Electrical installations & equipment – Every 5 years
Electric gates and barriers – Every 12 months
Inspections are necessary for equipment where there are significant health and safety risks (H&S) as a result of incorrect installation, reinstallation and deterioration. Regular inspection can prevent potential hazards, save money and ensure compliance with UK H&S laws.
Machinery and plant all have varying inspection periods, depending on the type of equipment and includes items such as lifting equipment, boilers and electrical installations.
Inspection guide – What you need to know
What to expect from an inspection:
Tests should be performed on site by a qualified engineer or surveyor, who may also provide advice on maintenance and usage.
You will be issued with a “Certificate of Inspection”. Similar to an MOT for a car, this will also highlight any faults or defects that need fixing.
Anything considered dangerous may result in the plant being taken out of service until it is repaired.
Passenger lifts – Inspected: 6 months
It is a legal requirement for lifts to be inspected by an independent competent person. Inspections should not be carried out by the same person responsible for maintenance due to conflict of interest. Be aware that a maintenance plan may not include all statutory inspection requirements. Keep a record of inspections and a copy of the inspection certificates with your insurance documents. To help comply with the 1998 ‘Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations’ (LOLER), insurers offer a stand alone inspection service, separate to an Engineering Insurance policy.
Lift Car Guide Rail – Inspected: 12 months Examination of the lift car guide rail in the shaft is essential. If faulty the lift could list, causing extensive damage and harming anyone inside.
Good lifts – Inspected: 12 months
Goods lifts are for carrying goods only and should never be used to carry people. Falling lifts and trapped limbs are among the most common risks.
Pressure plant Inspections will depend on the type of pressure system(s) you have. In blocks of flats these are listed below:
Hot water boilers – Inspected: 24 months
Hot water boilers keep the water temperature below 100ºC and typically provide heating of water for domestic and commercial use.
Pressurised hot water boilers – Inspected: 14 months
They are susceptible to corrosion and fatigue caused by excessive scale in the system.
Refrigeration Plant – Inspected: 48 months
Typically used for air conditioning, the main risk for refrigeration plant failure is pressure failure due to corrosion and fatigue.
Under the Electricity at Work Regulations Act 1989, it is a legal requirement to ensure the safety of electrical devices in blocks of flats, which are considered commercial premises for insurance purposes.
Wiring circuits Inspected: 3-5 years
Electrical wiring installations vary widely in complexity. To avoid shocks, burns and worse, the communal areas of blocks of flats have to meet strict health and safety standards determined by the government.
Alternators Inspected: 12 months
Alternators can be used as a backup in the event of an electrical power failure or interruption. Inspections identify obvious signs of wear and deterioration.
Motor Inspected: 24 months
Inspection of engines, motors, pumps and compressors are essential. Owners and occupiers of a Block of Flats with electric gates also have duties under the workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 regarding the construction and maintenance of the gates.
Most claims fall under two main causes:
Mechanical breakdown is usually defined as:
Sudden stoppage caused by a mechanical or electrical defect in the plant
Fracturing of any part of the plant caused by mechanical or electrical defects and which requires repair or replacement before the plant can resume normal working.
Most policies are worded to cover ‘Sudden and Unforeseen’ damage, which often also includes explosion, collapse and accidental damage. ‘Sudden and Unforeseen’ damage would cover immediate repairs or replacement. The policy holder merely has to prove the damage was both ‘sudden’ and ‘unforeseen’. The onus rests on the insurer to prove that any loss or damage was the result of an ‘excluded’ cause.
Examples of scenarios covered*:
Smashed glass in the lift when property is being moved in or out of the building
Faulty operation or non-operation of safety or protective devices
Faulty operation or incorrect operation of equipment
Boilers and pressure plant: Sudden and Unforeseen Damage includes cracking, fracturing water-hammer action and frost
Key features of our engineering policy
Independent inspections of equipment to meet your statutory obligations. This applies to equipment such as:
– Window cleaning hoists and cradles
– PAT Testing of portable electrical equipment
Independent inspection of any plant to ensure these are safe to use, and in good working order.
Insurance protection Breakdown and other unforeseen damage for mechanical and electrical plant
Explosion and/or collapse of boilers or other equipment operated under pressure
Cover includes a range of extensions including consequential losses, temporary hire of replacement equipment and professional fees incurred in investigating losses
Equipment is insured on a “replacement as new” basis
Check list of engineering plant located at blocks of flats – When did you last check?
Electric gates and barriers
Garage doors & roller shutters
Plumbing and heating systems
Window cleaning pulleys
Air conditioning and ventilation units
Disabled access systems
Doors and intercoms
Smoke alarms, fire hydrants and doors
Lightening protection systems
Pool/spa cover systems
If you have any questions regarding what plant does require inspection by law please contact us to discuss. For a copy of our guide to Engineering insurance and inspection services and the cover provided under a standard policy* click here.
*As with all insurance policies, the policy is subject to limits, conditions and exclusions. For full terms and conditions please refer to the policy wording available on request. This document does not purport to be comprehensive or to give legal advice. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, Deacon cannot be held liable for any errors, omissions or inaccuracies contained within the document. Readers are always recommended to take further professional advice before making any decisions.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is covered by Engineering and Inspection Services Insurance?
The purpose of an inspection service is to make sure communal equipment, such as, lifts, boilers, electric gates etc. are safe to use and inspected to minimum legal requirements. You can also insure such items against breakdown and other forms of damage.
Do I need Engineering insurance and Inspection?
Engineering insurance is not a legal requirement and you are free to decide whether you buy this protection or not. However, depending on the type of plant, there are a number of regulations that stipulate it must be inspected by an independent and competent person to ensure it is safe to use. The regulations specify how often these inspections must be carried out. The most common types of plant requiring inspection are lifts and pressure vessels.
Why have an Inspection Services?
It is a legal requirement for many types of equipment and machinery to be inspected on a regular basis, such as lifts, boilers, water pressure systems, electrical wiring, etc. As well as ensuring your operation is legal, it is good business practice and often small issues with the equipment that can be identified early and easily repaired, helping prevent a major and costly failure later. Serious fines and penalties can be imposed for failure to comply, particularly if there has been an accident and it can be proved that plant was not inspected and maintained in accordance with regulation.
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