Although many people don’t know this, the electrical installation of all houses must undergo an inspection. This is done to ensure that everything is in order and it’s stated on a document called the Electrical Installation Certificate. Let us explain when you’ll need it, how to get it and how much it costs.
If you’ve decided to change the electrical power in your house, or if you’re going to enable a new supply, your path and that of the Electrical Installation Certificate (also called CIE) may cross.
Admit it: when they asked you for it you looked blank, because you didn’t know what they were talking about.
What is the Electrical Installation Certificate or CIE?
This certificate is a mandatory document for all houses, whether newly built or second-hand. It certifies that the electrical installation is in good order and complies with all the technical requirements.
We might say that this certificate concerning your electrical installation is the same as the MOT for your car or the Technical Inspection Certificate for the building where you live. That is, the official authorisation to continue to operate.
Unlike other inspections (e.g. those concerning gas), the validity period of this certificate is quite long: it expires after 20 years.
Like other inspections, it’s an essential system to guarantee that the electrical installations don’t constitute a hazard.
When do you need it?
Normally, it’s the distribution company that will request the certificate, and it’ll do this via the marketing company.
Remember, your contract is with the marketing company, which issues your bills. The distribution company deals with the supply, meters, breakdowns, etc.
These are the 4 most common situations when you’ll need your Electrical Installation Certificate or CIE:
1. You have to enable electrical power (because you’re moving into a newly-built house).
2. You want to increase your contract power, and in doing so, you exceed the maximum appearing on your certificate. You’ll need a new certificate that specifies that it’s safe to increase the power.
3. You want to change your electrical installation from single-phase to three-phase.
4. You make a change to your contract and your certificate has expired. This is why it’s important to check that the certificate is valid when you buy a second-hand home. If it isn’t, you can ask the seller to bear the cost of renewing it.
The CIE is the document that certifies that your electrical installation is in good order.
How do you get it?
If you need an installation certificate, you have to contact an electrician authorised by the Ministry of Energy and ask him/her to examine your installation and to check that nothing’s wrong.
Usually, there are no serious problems and the examination is over in less than half an hour. The document must then be registered with the official body, which doesn’t usually take more than a week.
In the event that the technician is unable to complete the examination or finds some fault, it might take a little longer to issue your Installation Certificate.
What does it include?
For your Electrical Installation Certificate to be totally valid, it must show:
Address of the building.
Characteristics of the installation: use (domestic, office, hotel…), surface area, maximum permissible power, voltage, details of the General Supply Line, details of the individual branch, meters and details of the protection devices.
Authorised installer company.
Among all these details, what should be of most interest to you is the maximum permissible power, as the supply you engage cannot exceed this figure. Remember, the more power you have, the more domestic appliances you can use at the same time without tripping the breaker switches.
How much does it cost?
The cost of the CIE is not regulated, and depends on a number of factors such as the rates of the electrician of your choice, the dimensions of the building or the taxes levied by each Autonomous Community.
To mention a figure, an Electrical Installation Certificate will usually cost about 100 to 150 euros.
Just a moment, yet another certificate?
In addition to the conventional installation certificate that is mandatory throughout Spain, in Catalonia the blue report or BRIE is also required.
This certificate is additional to the Electrical Installation Certificate, and the distribution company will ask you for it if you want to carry out certain procedures.
It expires after 6 months, and its purpose is to guarantee small modifications to the electrical installation.
The cost of this certificate is not regulated and varies considerably, although 100-150 euros is a normal figure.