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New Law: Landlords Must Perform Electrical Checks If Letting Properties After 1st July 2020


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This might be viewed as just one interpretation.

 

Of the question of plastic boards, their advice recommends that a C3 - IMPROVEMENT RECOMMENDED code is given for a plastic board, only when it is either under wooden stairs or else in the sole means of escape from the property.

A C3 code is akin to an 'advisory' on a car MOT. It does not constitute a fail, rather a situation where safety could be improved by having the following items rectified.

Any other areas where a plastic fuse board may be located as opposed to a metal consumer unit, would not even be considered a C3 code, rather just something to note on the EICR.

 

To me this sounds reasonable. And 'we' may prefer to take the advisory in our stride, to be actioned later. For me that action would be for 'me' to replace the consumer prior to the next inspection in 5 years. 

Further reading suggests that a plastic consumer below wooden stairs wouldn't get a C (advisory) if the area around the consumer is protected by plasterboard. There wasn't a suggestion that this should be double boarded to 1 hour, and since a finished and decorated area isn't for the sparky to know I would suggest 1 sheet is good. What it does do is suggest that we might provide other means to protect any egress route against a potential fire from the consumer. I'm open to suggestions as to what non flammable material we might  use to box in the consumer. i have 2 next to the front door, the only escape door.

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I had an inspection done yesterday, it failed big time , the tails from 3 phase to single phase need changing , some of the wiring is in tin (whatever that is ), it is recommended a second ring is added , but the good news is the lighting circuit is fine, I have today had to buy a combined carbon monoxide and smoke detector and another smoke detector which now have to be hard wired with gismo that when one alarm goes off the other one receives a radio signal and it goes off also , I don't think I am going to see any change out of 3K

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I feel your pain. 

An issue I perceive is that the contractor is keen to say you need, rather than I recommend. I asked my contractor specifically about the requirement for metal consumer units. "They are needed if they could impede the exit, by fire, of the only exit route." Stairs were mentioned. But it gets a C (advisory). The consumer is a chushy unit to replace and looks like a significant improvement. Easier money than crawling under floors anyway.

I've several downlighters that 'neeeed' replacing, but I'll read up on that tomorrow. 

C's can wait.

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11 hours ago, kerbut said:

I had an inspection done yesterday, it failed big time , the tails from 3 phase to single phase need changing , some of the wiring is in tin (whatever that is ), it is recommended a second ring is added , but the good news is the lighting circuit is fine, I have today had to buy a combined carbon monoxide and smoke detector and another smoke detector which now have to be hard wired with gismo that when one alarm goes off the other one receives a radio signal and it goes off also , I don't think I am going to see any change out of 3K

3 Phase electrical supplies suggest that your building is a commercial building or was a commercial building conversion at some time in the past.

The electrical tails on nearly all pre yr. 2000 domestic buildings are not the correct diameter (8mm?) for year 2021 (10mm?)  mains electrical supplies to consumer units.

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Thanks for your tip about the "C", I will look , the property was a 14 bedroom house when I bought it 40 years ago ( built 1898 ) and converted it to 5 flats hence the splitting of the phases, we live in one of the flats. This is the final property(of 12) to have the test and the electrician has done my work for 30 years + ,so I do trust him, I bought 12 metal "trip boxes" from Toolstation when they had on offer Aixcom boxes  and extra RCD,s are only £2.   He showed the paperwork showing very high readings (which meant nothing to me ), told me the tin wiring needed replacing and about fitting a second ring , I said I wanted it surface mounting as I am expecting the tenant of 17 years to be returning to St Helena in a few years when he retires and we can lift floors when they have left as I will be changing the kitchen ,bathroom and carpets then.

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I suspect it will be low readings that are the issue.

A test is performed to check if the insulation is still in good enough condition. Essentially this is looking for the breakdown of the pvc coating of the cables but will pick other causes of breakdown.

It could be from corrosion in back boxes causing growth within. Spiders and such could do it. Some have found vermin have chewed cable and a dead rat might still be with its teeth embedded into a cable.

Anyways the test is using 500volts as that emulates the peak voltage present on our 240v  (RMS) installations.  A simple multi meter does miss poor insulation where a 500v tester finds it.

We are allowed a reading down to 1 Mohm, lower is a fail. Ideally it would be infinity so very high.

All switches should be on and end devices removed. So light on, isolate, and remove the lamp (disconnecting such as fluorescents and LV transformers becomes a nuisance so some might well overlook such).

A flat ,locally gave me 2 low readings so I strip ccts  down (2 of 'em) to investigate and find 2 legs each have one wire low insulation. I'm going to run trunking to replace both legs, but no need for a rewire the whole. 

It took me more than a day to test that flat. Yesterday I tested a more complicated house in 2 1/2 hours as it was clear, aside from the T's and all the clutter.

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I thought I would just show my new electrical consumer unit fitted 3 weeks ago.

1st picture is obviously the old fuse wired one which under the old rules still had 3 years of certification left to run. I couldn't have told you what type of consumer unit I had fitted without going to eyeball it.   Anyway, it's done now for me.

2nd picture is the new installation. All singing and dancing for the 21st Century well, that is until they change the rules again 😅

If you read the Government rules on the new landlords electrical certification I have to say they are a bit ambiguous to say the least. I know for a fact that some electricians are ignoring some of the Government. Gov content and will only fit and supply new units with their landlords certificates when in fact in many cases they only need to put a code C3 as an advisory comment on the certificate similar to a cars MOT certificate. Codes C1 is a fail & C2 it needs to be fixed in a timescale.

An example of a C3 advisory code is on my latest inspection on another property yesterday was the electrical "tails" need to be upgraded from 8mm to 10mm diameter.

Old Electrical Consumer Unit.jpg

New Electrical Unit.jpg

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If you kept the old consumer unit they fetch a good price on Ebay. I had quite a few of those old memera fuse holders a while back and sold them all on Ebay.

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Oh Dear lads   eBay an old fuse box? Time for you to put the rents up. 😀

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10 hours ago, Richlist said:

Sell it & give the money to charity if it makes you feel better.

It's preferable to putting it into landfill.

 

I wouldn't have given it thought about selling a 40 year old fuse box RL If the electrician is like my Son about recycling metal items he would send it to the local metal scrap merchants to be recycled.

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Its strange how things go full circle, I remember a grey  metal fuse box with the door hinged on the left hand side  ( MEM ?) ,then they went to plastic casings and now back to metal casings.

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On 3/12/2021 at 6:52 PM, Melboy said:

Oh Dear lads   eBay an old fuse box? Time for you to put the rents up. 😀

Don't forget its from a rental property and therefore comes under commercial waste so you cannot dispose of it in the normal way.  😈 

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1 hour ago, Richlist said:

Don't forget its from a rental property and therefore comes under commercial waste so you cannot dispose of it in the normal way.  😈 

Oops. I best go back to the local tip and ask for the 10+ trips of rubbish back from my last referb so I can dispose of it correctly.

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I'm sure you'll be ok, but i've learnt over the years that the old saying.......if you sing your song off key, make sure your enemies don't attend the performance ......to be true. 😁

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What a relief, the electricians arrived today to do the rewire and would need 2 days to do it BUT their boss told them to clean the metal conduits that are the supply to each flat  back to bare metal and to rebond  with new straps and a larger earth wire , this was done where the 3 phase comes in and then goes 5 ways , the conduit was bought back to bare metal in all 5 flats and all re bonded , perfect readings and only 2 tin wires surface mounted needed replacing in one flat. We called out SSE as the electrician said a incoming supply terminal need replacing and a modern earth bond need fitting along with larger input cables , the engineer agreed the readings and is going to report the cables need changing at SSE,s expense , good result from an electrical company who know what they are talking about , not the cheapest but value for money.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been in contact with 3 lots of sparky bods so far. Some are happy to detail new metal consumer units, fire rated downlighters and more. They are slow to explain that most often these upgrades are only a requirement in specific situations, so often not required at all.

I spoke to a couple of sparky's who said I could do it myself, but I'm not registered says I, so a local authority would reject me as an inspector. Anyway it wasn't a lengthy discussion.

It is true I am a little behind with my knowledge. I put myself through the 17th Edition Electrical Regs, but since then there have been amendments, the 3rd being most applicable. Later there was the 18th came about and there will be more. Sometimes there are even cancellations of newly introduced measures. It's a shame the engineers can't produce something that is good for the long term instead of continually adding confusion to the electrical regs.

To the fact of it, for a 'person' to produce an EICR  'they must be qualified and competent. You would think that as this has such a great impact on our society, us specifically at the moment, the qualification would be specific. As is it leaves ambiguity for the lawyers to enjoy revenues in the event of an incident, where the Police involve the HSE, where the HSE pass it up the chain to the DPP, who would most likely let the courts decide on it.

Reading forums there is confusion on many aspects of the EICR. For example some are stating they produce fault codes for lack of surge protection, wtf. More often it is recognised that it is very useful for creating work and revenues, and most Sparky's would prefer a nice earner sitting at a consumer unit for 2 hours or so rather than crawling under floors or scrambling through loft spaces. On the same lines replacing downlighters from under is a nice little job. Btw, upgrading those to fire rated is only required where penetration of a ceiling would affect the fire rated integrity of a fire rated dwelling above, in a HMO for instance. Replacing downlighters in a lounge where the staircase is an easy fire route anyway is pointless.

I had a Sparky lined up following my pre inspections and relevant improvements. It could be argued that it isn't always essential but I wanted all circuits to have a form of RCB protection. That meant replacing 6 consumers.

Sparky's rates were attractive, his availability, surprisingly, seemed no issue. I emailed to clarify his qualification's and the calibration dates of his meters. I could only get ambiguous response to those points. It led me to believe he is no more suitable than I am.

Do we have liability if the Sparky we employ turns out to be deficient? In the event that's another one for the lawyers, at our expense I guess.

Anyway I'm expecting 2 new meters in the morning, to compliment my existing meters. These are from RS Components and will be ROHS certified.

Finding usable inspection sheets online was a challenge, but achieved. Tbh I think there is a lot of dross within them but I'll use that format even though my own produced inspection sheets are far more user friendly and carry the relevant info.

I accept that I may be challenged at some point but believe my qualifications are adequate. My experience and therefor competence certainly is. All inspected there should be minimal risk of incident, after all that is the purpose of all this isn't it? We can't escape T's interfering with our properties but I view that the records of inspection would demonstrate that they have done so later.

 

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Interesting COR. 👍

My knowledge of basic electrics is pretty good as well having completed AC & DC theory as part of my engineering apprenticeship a million years ago.

I had the choice of a couple of Sparkies as well but one I knew would be expensive and the other would be reasonable with the pricing which is why I put the properties out on a tender like basis. 

I was quite happy with the results and safe in the knowledge that I had the legal certificates and registrations required.

I still managed to spot that my electrician failed to notice a missing earth bonding clamp which should have been picked up but I never said anything to him and I fitted one of them later on.

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I reserve the right to alter my stance on this if a reasonably qualified Sparky but not registered or recently updated to 18th Edition (plus inspection and testing) is prosecuted as a a tester. On the principle that we can never cite the authorities as incorrect, w/o spending a couple of £million Gina Miller style (and still w/o a likelihood of success.)

Anyway a little ditty to add. I see I've to check my immersion heaters. If they don't have an automatic hi temp trip (98 degrees) as well as the stat control, and they have aplastic head tank, they are C2 and 'unsatisfactory'. Easy to spot as with immersion cover off, the stat block will have a reset button (or not). Only about 12 quids and 10 minute  change out so not a biggy, aside from me having 10 to look at.

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  • 4 weeks later...

* Keep detailed records of date & time you attempt to contact, method of contact, and what has been said.

* Write a letter to the tenant explaining what you want to do, why you want to do it and the benefits for them. Go on to explain that you will begin the eviction process if they don't contact you in 7/14 days to make arrangements for electrical certification.

* Then begin recovery of the property following legal process when the time is appropriate.

* Chastise yourself severly for not selecting a better tenant and promise yourself you'll do a better job of it next time.

Good luck

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