Wiring and Electrical Issues After Electricians Report Advice Needed


Postby rthomas1981 » Tue Oct 04, 2016 1:02 pm

Hi,

I'm in the middle of selling an old 50s ex authority property. The wiring in the house is old and the surveyor requested an electricians report before mortgage completion.

The guy has come out to inspect and has flagged:

No bonding - code 2
No rcd - code 2
Earth 6mm not 10mm - code 4

While at the house, he phoned the buyer to explain what he saw and that if I were not selling the house I wouldn't actually need to do any work.

Barclays appeared to agree and are happy to release the mortgage without the work being done.

However the buyer and electrician are now saying a) that it's life threatening b) no single event can be done, all three must be done together not just the bonding (which is the bit said to be dangerous) c) that it'll cost £500, and finally d) that due to the age of some of the wiring it could cause continuous trips and result in a full rewire.

What I'd be grateful for is if all 4 points appear truthful/accurate or if it's worth getting my own report to refute anything?

If the guy's correct then that's cool, I just find it suspicious that it went from "wouldn't need to touch it for at least 5-10 years" to "its life threatening."

Thanks for any advice!

Rich
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Postby kbrownie » Tue Oct 04, 2016 6:45 pm

Your electrical installation condition report, would have come up as overall unsatisfactory, due to the fact you have code 2s on them, as this code is considered as a potential hazard!

There are four codes but no code 4.

Code 1: is dangerous situation that requires immediate attention
Code 2: is a potential danger, that requires sorting ASAP
Code 3: is something that is recommended but not a must do
FI: requires further investigation, on most occasion a code either 1,2 or 3 can be remarked on, but on occasion when it cannot be, as the code is not known, without more investigation, a FI should be attributed to that situation.

Now to your finding.
No equipotential bonding would be a code 2 and requires dealing with.
There are occasions where it can be excluded but these are rare, and only when the incoming services are all of a insulated material, but even then I would prefer it be in place.

No RCD? Code 2?, well the only occasions I would enter a code 2 on an RCD issue, would be if the RCD was not present or failed to work on a TT system,
Where it could be expected that electrical appliances/equipment could be used externally/outdoors from a socket out or a socket was installed in a bath at the regulated distance of equal to/greater than 3M of bath/shower tray, without RCD protection.
There could be a situation where supplementary bonding was not present in a bath/shower room. Where RCDs could exclude that requirement, but that would be flagged up as no supplementary bonding present, rather than RCD not present.

With regard to the undersized earthing conductor, that would be a code 2, if it does not satisfy the adiabatic calculation.

So in summary, To install earth bonding I would expect that to be £70-£120 job.
Updating the earth conductor, dependant of access between supply and MET, could be as less as £20 but could be £70+.
RCDs would depend on what exactly the inspector is flagging up.
But a RCD socket would cost £15.00 per socket, then expect to pay that again for installation and testing.
So if you have sockets that could be plugged into for outdoor appliances, such as power-washer, lawn mowers, hedge trimmers etc that are not RCD protected then that is what requires addressing.
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Postby rthomas1981 » Tue Oct 04, 2016 7:29 pm

Thanks!

So the "dangerous" part isn't a con then...

The issues stem from the age. We have no CU, a wooden back fuse board, and no bonding.

Is it true that he wouldn't be able to just do the bonding job? That it would necessitate changing the fuse board?

The reason for asking is that the lack of bonding was highlighted by the buyer as too much of a risk and the electrician is refusing to do just that job.

I'm also still unsure of his explanation that when the fuse box is replaced it could cause repetitive trips because of the age of the other wiring and thus need a full rewire?
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Postby kbrownie » Wed Oct 05, 2016 7:23 am

The installation is certainly not up to current standards, but the regulation are not retrospect. Not being to current regulations does not mean it requires bring up to them. But unsafe or potentially unsafe observations (code 1 and 2) must be corrected or made safe!

July 2015, brought in a new regulation where consumer units, had to be either made of or enclosed with a non-combustible material. That does not mean that all older units required this though, so that is not something that a EICR would flag up as code 1 or 2.

With respect to the new RCD boards, yes they can nuisance and fault trip on hard wired installation where neutrals have been borrowed or shared, this tends to be on the lighting circuits, especially two way lights in hallway/landings. Where the original installer has been lazy and taken the neutral from another circuit.
If you only have one lighting circuit, I would not expect this. But if the electrician is competent there is every chance this was picked up on the EICR. And a simply insulation resistance test across neutrals and lives should pick this up.

But the only correction that are required are those that are code 1 and code 2, to satisfy an EICR.

So it the bonding can be corrected and the areas, I have pointed out in my previous post, regarding RCD protection be sorted if needed.
You do not need a rewire, the report was not mentioned any failure or unsafe condition of circuit conductors, a rewire is not required and the other things can be dealt without the need of a new consumer unit.
I would try another electrician for a second opinion. Show the EICR and ask him if he considers them to be correct and if so at what cost would the remedial work cost.
Make sure you get one that is registered and familiar with EICR.
Try the governments competent persons website.
https://www.gov.uk/building-regulations ... on-schemes
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Postby ericmark » Mon Oct 10, 2016 11:52 pm

As soon as I see code 4 it rings alarm bells, as this was got rid of some time ago. There are some best practice guides which many electricians use to work out what code to give to any items not complying with current regulations.

As already said the regulations are not retrospective so a house wired in 1960 could have no earths to lights. There is again guidance given on what to do, a sticker saying no earth on lights use class II light fittings only is considered good enough.

We can debate what is safe and what is dangerous, but in 1954 when my dad's house was built the regulations were not as strict, and I got two shocks as a lad, one the bulb was missing in the kitchen counter light so I stuck my finger up the hole to feel what was there. It could of killed me, and then I would have not passed the age of 8, but it didn't, today there is still no regulation to stop that from happening, you can get bulb holders which need the bulb in for the pins to become live, but you don't have to use them. A RCD does not stop you getting a shock.

The second was when repairing a spool to spool tape recorder, again nothing today which would stop me getting that shock, again the RCD would trip but I would still get a shock for 40 mS.

A couple of years ago I got a shock at home, when I put a hacksaw blade through the cable which I had not expected to be there, the RCD did trip, but it still knocked me out. Nothing has changed to stop that happening.

So nothing in the new regulations would have stopped me getting those three shocks. So you could say the electrics are deadly, however I should not stick my fingers up a light socket, or cut groves in a wall without testing for cables. And in the main if you follow the recommended practice then wiring in 1954 was just as safe as wiring today.

What the new measures have done is protect against people doing something daft.

So compare it with a passenger in the rear seat of my car, travelling with the door open the passenger can't fall out because he has a seat belt on, travelling with door closed and no seat belt on he still can't fall out because the door is closed, but have no seat belt and door open he could fall out. (I have sliding door at back)

So same with electrics most things have two or more things which must go wrong for some one to get a shock, so door open and no seat belt is code 1, that is dangerous, but travelling with door open may get a code 2 as if he removes seat belt he could fall out, but unless he removes the seat belt he is still safe.

So with no bonding that does not mean you will get a shock, but should you get a further fault for example a lamp standard is knocked over by the cat and the bulb smashes on a radiator then you could get a shock in another room by touching a radiator. But it needs that second fault of the lamp standard being knocked over.

Now also the RCD helps here, even with no bonding, the RCD would likely still trip protecting people in the house.

In real terms it is unlikely there is "NO" bonding, more likely the bonding can't be seen or is not done in the recommended way. Likely the boiler will have an earth through the 13A plug which would likely be good enough to open the supply by blowing a fuse or opening a trip if the lamp holder was knocked over by the cat.

That does not mean it should not be corrected, but it does raise the question who should correct it?

As said the consumer unit will no longer comply, because of the new fire regulations, due to poor workmanship in consumer unit design and fitting, the older units had no problems, so let us consider changing it.

So we have three flavours.
1) 2 RCD's covering all circuits.
2) 2 RCD's plus some extra RCBO's to reduce the likely hood of tripping.
3) All RCBO's to reduce unwanted tripping to minimum.

Selling the house you would go for cheap option 1) but if you were buying then you may consider 3) is a better option. So highlighting a problem is good, but really up to new owners as to what they do about it.

I have read too many EICR's and seen items which raise questions on how well it was tested, I have seen TT (means it has an earth rod) installations with a earth rod reading of 3 ohms, and I know it is likely to be between 30 and 70 ohms so likely the tester has not removed earth link before testing. And also seen it where the tested seems to be looking for work, and has given codes where there should be non.

Seems wrong I know, but my son was told, always find something to code, then some one needs to work on the system after you leave so your not responsible for anything missed. The person who corrects it has to issue a minor works or installation certificate which will mean your EICR is no longer valid.

So in real terms the report means the buyer can haggle for a few pounds off the selling price. Knocking a couple of hundred off the price is likely better than getting the jobs fixed, as that way there is a record they know there are faults which they are agreeing to fix.

And you both really know there is no problem it's just a method of reducing the price. And if they really want the house they will buy it anyway even if it needed a full re-wire. Just had mothers house done at £3200 which when you think of price of house is nothing in the grand scheme of things.
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