PAT information for third parties

Contractors wishing to provide PAT services

Contractors wishing to provide PAT services must be approved prior to any order being placed for such work. A check of competency must be made of each person wishing to undertake PAT services on behalf of or employed by that contractor. Details of competency requirements are given in higher risk environments or activities (.pdf).

Where a contractor is approved by the University to provide PAT services, the requirements of this PAT standard will apply, unless the contractor's risk assessment justifies an alternative approach which is agreed by the University.

This will enable consistent practice to be applied across the University in an efficient and cost-effective manner. For example, it would not be acceptable for a contractor to impose a frequency of PAT which is greater than those given in low risk environments (.pdf) or higher risk environments or activities in order to secure repeat business. An example could be requiring certain electrical equipment to have a combined PAT every year when the University guidance is every three years, unless there is a suitable justification which is accepted by the Estate Management Section Electrical Team.

Responsibility for a contractor approved to provide PAT services

The Head of Department/section/business unit is responsible for managing any approved contractor they appoint and for all arising costs and record keeping. Records of maintenance, including test results, should preferably be kept for at least three years after the date when it is removed from the area or responsibly disposed of.

The Estate Management Section will not accept responsibility for any costs unless agreed in writing by the Director of Maintenance, Capital and Development.

Contractors or third parties wishing to use electrical equipment on University premises

Contractors or third parties who intend to use electrical equipment on University premises must comply with this PAT standard. Any reference to 'contractor' includes those subcontractors or self-employed persons assigned to the work activity. A 'third party' includes visitors or those working with or carrying out research activities with University staff or students and who may wish to use their own electrical equipment.

Equipment checks

Simple visual check

A simple visual check of the electrical equipment should be carried out before it is connected for the first time to the University’s mains supply and when there is significant movement to a new location. Examples might include:

  • a contractor using hand-held equipment such as drills, sanders or isolating transformers should visually check their electrical equipment on a daily basis before use, and also when moving their equipment around campus from one area to another. This could be detailed in their risk assessment or method statement
  • a visitor bringing a personally owned computer or projector into a low-risk environment such as an office or seminar room; the equipment can be easily and quickly checked by the visitor or their host on arrival and may require no further checks during their visit

PAT label or record

Where there are just a few items of electrical equipment owned by a company, another employer or are under a hire or lease agreement, or loan arrangement, the PAT label or record for each item should also be checked. Examples might include work equipment belonging to another University which is to be used by a visiting academic, or specialist equipment which is hired in for a particular research activity.

Written confirmation and agreement

A contractor can be asked to provide written details to confirm that the electrical equipment they intend to use on University premises has passed combined PAT within a reasonable period. An example might include communication service providers who visit the University on many occasions over an academic year.

A written agreement may be in place which states that the lead contractor for a project or lead organiser for an event is responsible for ensuring all equipment has up-to-date combined PAT. Examples would include those carrying out construction works, or electrical equipment to be used on University premises by entertainers.

If the responsible person is unsure whether PAT has been carried out in a reasonable period, guidance can be found in low risk environments (.pdf) or higher risk environments or activities (.pdf).

Significant and foreseeable risks

A bespoke risk assessment may be required where there is a significant and foreseeable risk; this will depend on the nature and location of where the equipment is planned to be used. For example, some electrical equipment may need to be compatible with the environment where it will be used, for example in outside weather conditions, wet or dusty environments or areas where there is a higher risk of fire or explosion with flammable substances coming into contact with sparks from electrical equipment.

Prohibited or dangerous electrical equipment

Electrical equipment which is prohibited by the University should not be brought onto University premises. Electrical equipment which is found to be dangerous will be removed where it is safe to do so, or the owner requested to take the item/s out of use. Find out more about prohibited or dangerous electrical equipmentprohibited or dangerous electrical equipmentprohibited or dangerous electrical equipment.

Tenants under a lease agreement


Tenants have a legal duty to ensure electrical equipment is maintained and safe to use. They must also adhere to the University’s fire safetyfire safetyfire safety provisions.

Unless stated in the lease agreement, following the University’s PAT standard does not directly apply to tenants. This is because tenants may choose to meet their legal and contractual obligations in an alternative way, such as by assigning their own facilities management provider to manage their PAT arrangements or by following their own electrical safety procedures such as for the management of contractors or visitors bringing electrical equipment onto University property.

In accordance with any notice required under a lease agreement and from time to time, the University may submit a request for information to satisfy themselves that appropriate control measures are in place for the safety of electrical equipment used in University property. Tenants would be expected to respond to reasonable requests for such information.

Statutory reporting

Some types of electrical injuries or dangerous occurrences may need to be reported by the employer, landlord or tenant under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR).

Should a report need to be made under RIDDOR, tenants are asked to provide a copy to the University of Essex Campus Services Head of Operations at the earliest opportunity in case an internal investigation needs to be carried out.

Further information

The Commercial Property Surveyor should be contacted for any queries relating to PAT in tenanted properties. Also see our electrical safety informationelectrical safety informationelectrical safety information.

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Contact us
For assistance arranging PAT Caralyn Elmer, Technical Assistant
Telephone: 01206 876334
Health and Safety Advisory Service
Telephone: 01206 872944