Consumer Unit Replacement Do I have a Cowboy?

Postby beamer » Sun Jun 15, 2008 10:08 am

My Neighbour aged 80 years has just had his consumer unit replaced by a Part P certified electrician. The original fuse box was old and used the old wired fuses. He was having problem seeing where the wire went when a fuse failed and I proposed he got an electrician in to update everything.

I visited on Friday to check the work and found a 17 way consumer unit without any RCD's at all in spite of the old gentleman having lots of outside lighting and his home being a bungalow!

This seems to me completely wrong but the Electrician has argued that he does not need to install RCD's!

For the record the electrician also installed 9 halogen down lighters to replace the 100 watt down lighters and now the old gentleman is having issues with not having enough light in spite of the electrician advising that he would get better lighting!

All this at a cost of £1100 + VAT

Would you please be kind enough to advise if the electricians work complies with current regulations. I understand that the 17th edition does not become law until July 1st.
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Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 9:56 am


Simply Build It

Postby ericmark » Sun Jun 15, 2008 2:40 pm

If the house already has RCD sockets then maybe the electrician could get away with it? Also if a shower is fitted an RCD would I think be needed to supply that if not already fitted. With only a couple of weeks left before BS7671:2008 kicks in not to fit RCD’s is crazy below is the regulations covering RCD’s in old BS7671:2001 this was from Blue book there may be a change in Brown book but I never bought one.
471-16-01 A socket-outlet rated at 32 A or less which may reasonably be expected to supply portable equipment for use outdoors shall be provided with supplementary protection to reduce the risk associated with direct contact by means of a residual current device having the characteristics specified in Regulation 412-06-02(ii).
This regulation does not apply to a socket-outlet supplied by a circuit incorporating one or more of the protective measures specified in items (i) to (iii) below and complying with the Regulations indicated:
(i) protection by SELV (see Regulations 411-02 and 471-02)
(ii) protection by electrical separation (see Regulations 413-06 and 471-12)
(iii) protection by automatic disconnection and reduced low voltage systems (see Regulation 471-15).
471-16-02 Except where one or more of the protective measures specified in items (i) to (iii) of Regulation
471-16-01 are applied in compliance with the corresponding regulations stated therein. a circuit supplying portable equipment for use outdoors, connected other than through a socket-outlet by means of flexible cable or cord having a current-carrying capacity of 32 A or less, shall be provided with supplementary protection to reduce the risk
associated with direct contact, by means of a residual current device having the characteristic, specified in Regulation 412-06-02(ii).
412-06-02 (ii) the residual current device shall have a rated residual operating current (IΔn) not exceeding 30 mA and an operating time not exceeding 40 ms at a residual current of 5 IΔn, as provided by BS 4293, BS 7071, BS 7288, BS EN 61008-1 or BS EN 61009-1.
531-02-04 A residual current device shall be so selected and the electrical circuits so subdivided that any protective conductor current which may be expected to occur during normal operation of the connected load(s) will be unlikely to cause unnecessary tripping of the device.
601-08-02 Where a shower cubicle is installed in a room other than a bathroom or shower room, outside zones 0, 1, 2 or 3 a socket-outlet, other than a SELV socket-outlet or shaver supply unit, shall be protected by a residual current device with rated operating current, (I∆n), not exceeding 30 mA in accordance with Regulation 412-06.
601-09-03 In zone 3 current-using equipment other than fixed current-using equipment shall be protected by a residual current device with rated residual operating current (I∆n) not exceeding 30 mA in accordance with Regulation 412-06.

I find 531-02-04 interesting as this is reinforced in the 17th Edition and means possible even in the 16th Edition maybe we should have fitted multi-RCD’s depending on the manufacture of the board RCBO’s cost between £12.5 and £35 and can easily be fitted in each individual circuit. Can’t really comment on down lighters.

Yours Eric

Postby beamer » Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:26 pm

Ericmark: Thank you very much for taking the time to reply and with so much detail. Fortunately we are in a reasonable position as I managed to get the gentleman concerned to cancel his cheque in time.

I became concerned when I noticed that not a single RCD had been fitted and also that a certificate of conformity had not been issued. Presently there are no RCD's installed anywhere within the property. In view of the fact that there are garage door openers and a garage separate from the main building that has power points used for power tools in the garden, I am dissapointed in the installation to say the least.

In addition £1100 + Vat for parts that cost £217 and did not include a split load board with RCD's is IMHO taking the P*** I don't expect you to comment on the cost ;-)

I sent a note to NICEIC in hope that they will advise the best way forward since the Electrician is registered and will also contact building control tomorrow morning before I meet with the electrician on behalf of my neighbour.

I will use the regulations that you have posted to press my case but it seems to me that it might be a good thing to hang the whole business out until after July 1st!
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Postby ericmark » Sun Jun 15, 2008 10:27 pm

It is very hard to criticize as we don’t know all the facts. I have seem where the Lady of the house has asked if something can be done and the electrician has done it only to find she was only asking if it could be done and did not want to pay extra for the work. Neither were right or wrong just a miss understanding but to listen to either you would swear the other was in the wrong. Since he has fitted no RCD’s I would think he is out of order but as far as 17th Edition is concerned it is planned after not completed after so he will not have to comply with 17th Edition. And I think he has 30 days to send you the completion certificate and I know many electricians hold on to the certificate until they are paid.
Do let us know how you get on please.

Yours Eric

Postby beamer » Mon Jun 16, 2008 12:32 pm

I am pleased to advise that after presenting the sparks with the relevant statutory requirements, he admitted the deficiency and his lack of knowledge regarding the new regulations. He is going to install a split load consumer unit with an additional small consumer unit to cover bathroom and external garden supplies.

In fairness to the guy, he thanked me for bringing the matter to his attention and is now planning to attend a refresher course on 17th edition requirements.

I did find out that there is a requirement in building regulations for lighting to equal or exceed 600 lumen per square metre in areas where food is prepared i.e kitchens. The sparks is addressing this by upgrading the lights installed.

I could not ask for more.

Thanks again for your assistance
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Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 9:56 am

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