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JNoles
01-04-2006, 09:48 AM
I've just had a periodic inspection report done on the electrical installation at my property, and a few points surprised me, especially since the same company did a report at the same property 4 years ago and didn't raise these points. The issues they've raised are:


The Ground floor power has no RCD protection. A couple of sockets should be changed to RCD twins.
The light fitting in the bathroom and en-suite need to be enclosed moisture resistant fittings
Sockets in the back bedroom have been damaged. These need replacing and moving above skirting.


On the last point, I accept the need to replace a damaged socket; it's the need to move it above the skirting that surprises me. I haven't checked with them yet but am assuming/hoping this is just good advice to prevent the socket becoming damaged again.

The reason they are stating for these things needing to be done are 'new regulations'. I just wondered if Elektratek or anyone else on here with electrical knowledge can comment on these issues, particularly any new regulations that have made these things necessary?

Also, am I OK doing things like replacing sockets and light pendants/light fittings etc myself or am I required to get an electrician to do things like this these days? I'm aware there have been recent changes that affect what non-qualified people can do, just not sure how far-reaching they are.

Thanks in advance.

P.Pilcher
01-04-2006, 14:30 PM
Subject to what electratek has to say, I do not believe that such regulations are retrospective. The installations were made in accordance with the regulations in force at the time thus no alteration to comply with current regulations is mandatory. Of course to make modifications to comply with some of them is good practice, but not strictly necessary - but then I'm only an M.I.E.E. so what do I know?

P.P.

Ericthelobster
01-04-2006, 16:36 PM
I agree with PP on this - pretty sure that's correct.

One point about the sockets-on-skirting-board issue: how low are yours? It's just that other regs have meant that all electrical appliances are now supplied with plugs attached, which often have a stiff moulded section where the flex enters the plug. This may make it impossible to insert such plugs into a skirting-mounted socket, at least not without breaking something!

Current building regs certainly permit you to change like-for-like sockets etc without further ado; not sure whether you can do the bathroom ones though.

Regarding the lack of RCDs downstairs - do you have an 'outside' (eg garden) where appliances can be plugged in to use outside? If not, there's no real justification for the report demanding you have them fitted.

www.electralight.com
01-04-2006, 18:35 PM
Hello

current wiring regulation 471-16-02 state any socket that can reasonably supply portable equipment for outdoors use should be protected by a RCD. This is not retrospective but in the IEE publication the Electricians guide to the building regulations this is listed as a class 2 requires improvement and any periodic with class 1,2,3 recommedation should be deem unsatifactory.

Thelight fitting should be IP65 rated if there is a possibility it can get a water jet ie the shower on it IP44 if not.

The socket are not a correct height for BS7671 so do not comply I would suugest the electrician feels if they were mounted higher they would not get so easily damaged.

Hope this helps

JNoles
01-04-2006, 23:11 PM
One point about the sockets-on-skirting-board issue: how low are yours?


Not low enough to cause a problem with plugs with moulded flexes



Regarding the lack of RCDs downstairs - do you have an 'outside' (eg garden) where appliances can be plugged in to use outside? If not, there's no real justification for the report demanding you have them fitted.

There's a back garden and a parking area to the front, so guess there is justification for RCD sockets.



Thelight fitting should be IP65 rated if there is a possibility it can get a water jet ie the shower on it IP44 if not.


Thanks electralight. Do IP65 and IP44 relate to Zone 1, Zone 2 etc as in Wickerman's post? Also - as it seems you are an electrician, can you comment on my question about what works I am allowed to do? Specifically am I allowed to

Replace the damaged socket and move it higher up the wall
Replace a normal socket with an RCD socket
Replace a damaged pendant with a new one
Replace a non-compliant bathroom light fitting with a suitable one


Thanks to all for helpful comments and advice.

Elektratek
02-04-2006, 10:52 AM
Was it the same inspector or just the same company?

J is it possible to scan the report and email it to me? aidan@elektratek.com
The inspector is correct to pull these things, but sockets in skirting is a non compliance if it has no back box, impedes a plug flex, or is susceptable to damage. IF however, it is installed to a previous edition of BS7671, it is not necessarily a failure (obviously if broken), but can be changed. The fact it is on the skirting would attract a code 2/4 dependant on when i see it, and is not a cause for a failure.

There are alot of 'new' inspectors being qualified to meet current laws, and sometimes they are a little misguided with their judgment, as there is a hell of a lot to know/consider.

I can normally tell this from looking at the report - believe it or not-, which is why i have asked for a copy. I can give you more information then.

RCD protection - yes, or install an RCD replacement socket by the doors. (you will need to test these though - get a sparky).

Light fitting should be IPx4 or greater, not IP65 as mentioned.

You can change all these yourself except install the RCD (unless you have a calibrated tester x½, X1, and X5 tests at 0 and 180 degrees blah blah blah - so get someone to change those over for you

Regards
Elektratek
www.elektratek.com


If you do have a question, or would like a second opinion/advice, just email me and tell me the post is here. Part P ducument is online at our site if you need to refrence something

Elektratek
02-04-2006, 10:52 AM
Was it the same inspector or just the same company?

J is it possible to scan the report and email it to me? aidan@elektratek.com
The inspector is correct to pull these things, but sockets in skirting is a non compliance if it has no back box, impedes a plug flex, or is susceptable to damage. IF however, it is installed to a previous edition of BS7671, it is not necessarily a failure (obviously if broken), but can be changed. The fact it is on the skirting would attract a code 2/4 dependant on when i see it, and is not a cause for a failure.

There are alot of 'new' inspectors being qualified to meet current laws, and sometimes they are a little misguided with their judgment, as there is a hell of a lot to know/consider.

I can normally tell this from looking at the report - believe it or not-, which is why i have asked for a copy. I can give you more information then.

RCD protection - yes, or install an RCD replacement socket by the doors. (you will need to test these though - get a sparky).

Light fitting should be IPx4 or greater, not IP65 as mentioned.

You can change all these yourself except install the RCD (unless you have a calibrated tester x½, X1, and X5 tests at 0 and 180 degrees blah blah blah - so get someone to change those over for you

Regards
Elektratek
www.elektratek.com


If you do have a question, or would like a second opinion/advice, just email me and tell me the post is here. Part P ducument is online at our site if you need to refrence something

Ericthelobster
02-04-2006, 11:17 AM
You can change all these yourself except install the RCD (unless you have a calibrated tester x½, X1, and X5 tests at 0 and 180 degrees blah blah blah - so get someone to change those over for youWhy can't he just change a socket near a door for an off-the-shelf RCD-protected one like http://www.screwfix.com/app/sfd/cat/pro.jsp?cId=A231858&ts=76568&id=57865? Don't see why that would fall outside the Part P regs?

www.electralight.com
02-04-2006, 12:12 PM
Hello JNoles

As Elektratek says if you get a sparky in, it properly a couple of hundred pounds for the remedial work and a fresh certificate with a satifactory result. You then put the responsiblity for the electrical installation on to a competent person.
All electrical work now need to be inspected and tested by fully qualified electrician like myself and Elektratek and all works in special locations ie Bathrooms Kitchens and outside are part P notifiable. Which part the country
are you from.

Elektratek
02-04-2006, 17:33 PM
Eric, if it were a normal socket, he could change it.
If you install an RCD socket, it has to be rated at 30mA or less, and be tested to trip within specific times at different leakage currents. How is he going to test it? If it is not tested, then how do you know it complies?? THAT is the problem with it. Pain in the a*** i know. RCD tester + Calibration = get a spark in for a one hour charge to test them.... easiest option hence my recommendation. It is arguably a replacement, but not like for like hence the problem.

Could he change them and have someone test them? well yes if he doesn't energise the circuit prior to testing - that is a direct non - compliance of BS7671. 711-01-01 and 743-01-01 refers (alterations and additions), however, you cannot test an RCD without power :o) gets confusing dunnit!!!. If it is noted on his periodic inspection report, then the non compliance will be wiped by a newer dated minor works certificate to say the non - compliance now is rectirfied.

Regards
Elektratek

www.elektratek.com

Elektratek
02-04-2006, 17:40 PM
:confused:
Why can't he just change a socket near a door for an off-the-shelf RCD-protected one like http://www.screwfix.com/app/sfd/cat/pro.jsp?cId=A231858&ts=76568&id=57865? Don't see why that would fall outside the Part P regs?

I have heard of an NICEIC approved contractor fail an installation when an RCD socket was provided by the back door to a house. He said that if the socket was broken you would use another, and that wouldn't be RCD protected.... put them everywhere then? how far do you go? there are guildlines on this, and there is text on this, but just for example puposes i'm not going to dig it out now, but i will if needed.

regards
Elektratek

www.elektratek.com

JNoles
03-04-2006, 07:56 AM
Was it the same inspector or just the same company?


It was the same company AND the same inspector. One thing that really bothers me, not mentioned so far, is that he has said "the MCB controlling the shower is oversized" - and get this: when the last report was done I had major overhaul works done by the same guy, and HE replaced the old style fusebox with a new MCB jobby which of course included an MCB for the shower!!



J is it possible to scan the report and email it to me?
aidan@elektratek.com

Can do, but would be easier to fax if that's possible for you. Can you give me a fax number?



You can change all these yourself except install the RCD



All electrical work now need to be inspected and tested by fully qualified electrician like myself and Elektratek and all works in special locations ie Bathrooms Kitchens and outside are part P notifiable.


You guys have a difference of opinion here. Elektratek seems to be saying I can change the bathroom lights, electralight seems to be saying I can't (I think!) Can you clarify please? Also you disagree on the rating for the lights - is it IPx4 or IP65?

My concern here is to make sure the installation is safe and compliant etc but I don't have an unlimited budget. The company I'm using has already charged me £140 to do the initial tests and report, and wants a further £336.95 + VAT to correct all the things the report has identified and issue a clean certificate. The work needed is change two downstairs sockets for RCDs, replace two damaged pendants, change 3 bathroom light fittings, replace and move damaged socket above skirting, fix loose cable in cupboard under stairs, deal with oversized MCB for the shower.

Because of the cost I want to do all I am allowed to do myself, then get the company to do the remainder - sounds like this will have to be the RCDs unfortunately, and possibly the bathroom lights depending on clarification as above - test the works then issue a clean certificate.



Which part the country are you from.

Southend-on-Sea, Essex

Thanks again guys for all your input and advice. It is much appreciated.

Jeremy

Ericthelobster
03-04-2006, 09:04 AM
It was the same company AND the same inspector. One thing that really bothers me, not mentioned so far, is that he has said "the MCB controlling the shower is oversized" - and get this: when the last report was done I had major overhaul works done by the same guy, and HE replaced the old style fusebox with a new MCB jobby which of course included an MCB for the shower!!Maybe that tells you something about the expertise of the firm you are using? I trust you will demand a full explanation of the discrepancy... they've charged you to change the MCB once, and now want to do it again??!! Will be interested to hear how they try to wriggle out of that one.


Originally Posted by www.electralight.com
All electrical work now need to be inspected and tested by fully qualified electrician like myself and Elektratek and all works in special locations ie Bathrooms Kitchens and outside are part P notifiable

You guys have a difference of opinion here. Elektratek seems to be saying I can change the bathroom lights, electralight seems to be saying I can't (I think!) Can you clarify please?

I get all hot under the collar when I read electricians posting totally false statements like Electralight's above, so if I were you I would go with Elektratek's opinion! For what it's worth, here's an extract of the relevant Building Regs Approved Document, from http://www.odpm.gov.uk/pub/323/ApprovedDocumentPElectricalsafetydwellings2006edit ion_id1164323.pdf. It states:

"Notifiable jobs include new circuits back to the consumer unit, and extensions to circuits in kitchens and special locations (bathrooms etc)... ...Replacement, repair and maintenance jobs are generally not notifiable, even if carried out in a kitchen or special location or associated with a special installation.

Go figure!


Also you disagree on the rating for the lights - is it IPx4 or IP65?There's a good explanation of IP ratings at http://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Technical/DataSheets/IPNumbers.htm. The difference here is basically about whether there are likely to be jets of water contacting the electrical fitting - I'd say IPx4 sounds fine in your application unless the light fitting is inside a shower cubical or something?


Because of the cost I want to do all I am allowed to do myself, then get the company to do the remainder - sounds like this will have to be the RCDs unfortunately, and possibly the bathroom lights depending on clarification as above - test the works then issue a clean certificate.Personally I'd be tempted to submit a Building Notice to your local Building Control dept (usually costs about £100), and do all the work myself, which would then be subject to inspection and sign-off by Building Control. You wouldn't get the 'clean' report from the company, but if what you are (laudably) wanting to achieve is a safe installation for your tenants, you would end up with a report showing several faults/issues, and stapled to the back would be your documentation from Building Control saying that the issues raised were now put right. All totally legal and above board, and above all, safe.

Stuart Urban
04-04-2006, 16:30 PM
I would like to try and attempt to dispel the myth that "the regulations aren't retrospective". This is a common phrase used by electricians but I have not found any evidence to support it. However an installation that does not comply with the current regulations is not necessarily unsafe as far as the Health and Safety Executive are concerned - I suspect this is where the confusion has arisen from.

I can't find anything in BS 7671 (also known as the IEE Wiring Regulations Sixteenth Edition) that states that they are not retrospective.

The Periodic Inspection Report (PIR) reports on the condition of an existing electrical installation as judged against the current standard which is BS 7671. There is a section on the PIR where you fill in the current version of BS 7671 that you are inspecting to.

A PIR has two results either satisfactory or unsatisfactory. A list of observations and recommendations are given which are coded 1 to 4. A 1 would require urgent attention, a 2 requires improvement, a 3 requires investigation and a 4 does not comply with the current regulations but does not mean the installation is unsafe. A code 4 is typically used where the deviation from BS 7671 does not directly affect safety of the installation, a classic example of which is when there is no sleeving on switch wires to indicate that they are live conductors. Any deviation from BS 7671 would be noted on the PIR and a decision as to what code it was determined by the inspector.

If a PIR had a code 1 it could only have an unsatisfactory result. Any number of codes 2 and 3 and the inspector would have to make a judgement on whether the installation was satisfactory or not, in practice it would usually be satisfactory. The decision of whether an installation is unsatisfactory or not is based upon whether it is safe or not. However this decision needs to be based on knowledge of BS 7671 and the Guidance Notes in order to minimise the subjective view of the inspector and to try and make things as objective as possible.

There is no regulatory or statutory requirement to have a PIR but the Landlord does have a duty of care towards his tenant and therefore can use the fact he has had a PIR carried out to demonstrate this.

If the wiring regulations were not retrospective then this would mean that if your installation complied with the regulations as published on May 11, 1882 it could be deemed satisfactory on the PIR. Which would mean you don't need an rcd on the downstairs sockets or a water resistant light fitting in your bathroom. The 1st edition of the wiring regulations were 4 pages long the current edition is over 300 pages with 7 Guidance Notes.

Imagine yourself in court either as a landlord or an electrician. You would have to argue to the court that you have exercised your duty of care. Could you do this by saying you complied with the 1882 version of the regulations.

If you have a PIR that has reported an unsatisfactory installation then you need to decide what to do after considering the advice of the inspector. The inspector could advise you what you would need to do to have the installation deemed satisfactory. This could be achieved without necessarily rectifying all the deviations reported on the PIR. Obviously the safest option is to rectify all the faults but that's a decision the landlord needs to take after consideration of the PIR and the inspectors advice.