Old Fuseboards


Postby Pier8 » Fri Aug 17, 2007 7:59 am

I have a small house that is about 30 years old. It has a wooden fuseboard and re-wirable fuses. The report following a recent inspection by a NICEIC registered inspector says this is "illegal" and suggests the fitting of "MCB/RCD fuseboard for better protection". This observation has been categorized as Code 1 (requires urgent attention). There are no other observations.
Can anyone comment on the use of the word "illegal"? I understand you would never install this type of fitting today on a new build or refurbishment but does this mean that all existing installations must be upgraded even though they are functioning adequately?
I should add that I am moving away and thinking of letting the house for a couple of years until I return.
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Postby sparx » Sat Aug 18, 2007 3:11 pm

Hi, no it's not 'Illegal',
You can in fact still buy & fit B.S.3036 (rewireable) fuse boards such as you have, 'WYLEX' i presume?, even on a new installation, there are however some circuit limitations if done as fuse blowing times much longer than MCB,s trip times so circuit lengths &/or cable sizes must be adjusted to clear a fault within allowed times.

If the make is as above then most wholesalers/Sheds such as Big & Quicks stock replacement plug-in MCB,s to fit as a first 'quick-fix' step.

As for RCD protection, it is a mixed blessing[curse], depending upon the method of earthing in use it may be highly desirable to have on ground floor sockets to protect anyone using extention leads out doors, or maybe just fit RCD sockets on outlets near doors labelled 'FOR EQUIPMENT USED OUTDOORS' which are printed for this purpose!

One could be fitted 'in-the-tails' by sparky but may well show up long-standing N-E faults so be prepared for some 'Extra's' on the bill!!
I rent out a property so I know of 'pit-falls' & if you use agents (I don't)
they may require cert. for their insurence; but my main concern would be earth bonding to main services, gas/water/oil/LPG etc. which given the age of inst. will be less than current standard & may be missing altogether.
Unfortunately NICEIC have there own version of the IET regs. which they seem to encourage their members to use, your man's comment should have been a cat [4] "Does not comply with current BS7671 standards, but
this does not imply the installation is unsafe"
where there any other relevent comments in the box, ref. earth bonding say, or lack of earth sleeving at fittings, or another NICEIC chestnut 'pigtail' fly leads from back boxes, (not a requirement when twin & E wiring used, but a good catch-penny)?
I will admit if I was going out-of-area for a while I would want some of this done first but would find someone locally recommended, not looking for more work, & for an inspection an inspector, ie a NAPIT 'full scope, member. (a bit Biased here but have tried 'em all & now ECA & NAPIT member company)
regards
SPARX
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Postby Pier8 » Sat Aug 18, 2007 4:22 pm

Hi Sparx. That's a brillant reply many thanks. I had all the earth bonding checked out and upgraded a couple of years ago when I had a new kitchen fitted and they fitted a 32 amp MCB alongside the existing B.S. 3036 fuses. So I'm pretty happy that all is OK and happy to challenge the report (you're right it's the letting agent who wanted the report).
Just one more thing to ask you - the report exact words are;

"Old illegal wooden back fuseboard + re-wireable fuses. Suggest fit MCB/RCD fuseboard for better protection".

Do you have any comment on the "wooden back"?

Many thanks
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Postby sparx » Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:39 pm

Hi Pier8,
the words are "to the standard of the day"
The wooden backed fuse board used treated hard wood which burns less than modern plastics ....'SUGGEST fitting...ect' just an opinion not a requirement!
Standards do change but not retrospective, ie there must not be any holes along the top of a newly installed consumer unit around cables big enough to allow entry of an object over 5mm dia.!!!

I think you must accept the fact of life that the leckie has to cover his a*se by pointing these out even if his terminology is a bit OTT, also don't know what inspection cost but if cheapish he may be hoping to make it up on remedials, as a guide from 'talking' with others on trade only forums a general price seems to be £25/ circuit + £25 for board, ie if you had 4way wylex plus 1 extra circuit it could cost £ 150 for your insp/test as a 'stand alone price'
Hope this helps,
B.W. SPARX
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