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Advice required for house rewiring dispute

Postby chucky » Thu Nov 29, 2007 12:46 am

:?: I hope to get some help with my house that has been rewired.The original electrician has completed his work but another sparky has come in to do the electrics in the conservatory as the original one was not available. This new sparky has stated that Black flex wire has been used throughout the house for the sockets and lights when he should have used Grey wire and that the whole lot needs to be redone at a cost of over £2000, having already paid out £2k this has come as a huge shock! Is this correct or is the house safe with the Black wiring, the 1st sparky said it is fine and is fully insulated and you can use either for Domestic rewiring. Also the lastest sparky states the original guy should have put in a RCD in the fuse box under new regulations but the 1st guy states this is not until July 2008, who is right? I just want to be sure that my house is safe for my children and both sparkys are saying different things.

Although the original sparky did not put an Earth on the water pipe in the downstairs toilet so I have my doubts! I may need to get an independant test done, but knowing that the Black flex wiring is ok for Domestic would be a big relief!!

Thanks in advance

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Simply Build It

Postby ericmark » Thu Nov 29, 2007 1:24 pm

Your second electrician has some good points. Any socket that is likely be used for items outside should be protected with an earth leakage device and that has been in the regulations for some time. It does not say all sockets so if you had a house which has no garden etc he could get away with it. There is nothing to stop a rewire with flex although it would not be the normal way to do it and rings alarm bells. It is more expensive and harder to work with so one wonders why use flex and all cables have ratings which take into account there resistance (How much they will heat up in use) their resistance to heat (what they are made of) and where they are used (The amount of heat that can escape) the 2.5mm flat twin and earth is normally rated at 22 amp but flex of same size 15 amp so there is question as to if the flex is big enough for the job?
I will guess the earth leakage should have been fitted so that again rings alarm bells.
When any electrical work is completed it is then tested. The results are then entered onto some standard forms most of them giving standard information and the designers name and signature same with guy who fitted it and guy who tested it very often the same guy and two pages one with tick box to say everything is checked and other which lists all the circuits each one having the name, fuse/breaker size, installation method (code need to look in book to find what it means) size of cable, R1/R2 etc if you did not get one of these sets of forms most likely the first electrician is a cowboy. He should have given you a copy, the owner if not you a copy, and the council a copy although if registered under part P this can be through a sort of clearing agent.
If you didn't get one then maybe you should contact County Council? They may make you get a re-wire but if it's your family your worried about that's not the point. They will take the electrician to task normally becoming a court case and ensure he does not continue to work in that way. Part P was introduced to stop cow boys and it works both for you and against you. It will annoy the council they don't like work. They will try to blame you as you are responsible for your house but once they get off their high horse they will help once they take him to court you can claim your money back a lot easier as case proven unless he goes bankrupt.
But maybe you telling the first electrician of your intentions will be enough thats assuming no paper work.
I think you should be able to see it's not cut and dried and both electricians may be right is some ways. Without inspecting the job very hard to say who is right.
Part P came in about 2004 but even before that paper work still needed to be provided not quite shore on date but BS7671:1992 required it so before 1992 maybe it was not required.

Postby chucky » Thu Nov 29, 2007 11:07 pm

Thanks for your reply ericmark, since I posted the original topic things have heated up, pardon the pun! I have spoken to the 1st sparky about the problems the 2nd sparky found and questioned his work, he states that he used Black Flex wiring as he already had this wiring from his own house and rather than charge me for purchasing Grey wiring he used his own at no extra cost to me and states it is more expensive and that he checked first with other electricians to make sure it was ok and was told yes it was. He also stated that the reason there was no earth on the gas pipe was because it had come off, but he states this must have been knocked off by someone, and also states that the plumber fitting the radiator and toilet suite in the downstairs toilet should have sorted the earth for the stop tap. The 2nd sparky seems to feel that the certificate he has issued is not worth the paper it is written on as he does not recognise the reg nr he used and he could not find any continuity upstairs with the earth test he did.

The house is a private house so I don't think it would be a council problem, I think I would have to persue it myself but he works at same firm as my dad so very awkward.

In response to your query as to why he would use Black cable instead of Grey it could be that he used Black Flex as he was able to get it from work as electrician for a firm, whereas Grey would have needed to be bought elsewhere. I think I will get a proper test done on the property and if it turns out this sparky has made mistakes and potentially dangerous one's then i can decide whether to take further action. Interestingly though, the original sparky rang me yesterday to say how peed off he was about the 2nd sparkys accusations and threatened to sue for slander!!!

As for the RCD thing, is this in force now or is it from July 2007?

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Postby ericmark » Fri Nov 30, 2007 12:31 am

The council is still interested even if not a council house they are the public body who are responsible for ensuring compliance with Part P. I guessed on reason for black flex it could be OK there are many flavors and its not automatically wrong. As to earth leakage only if you have no garden or yard could he get away without an earth leakage and even then normally one would be fitted even if not required to letter of regulations. In fact sometimes two have to be fitted if supplied with overhead cables. One at 30ma other at 100ma.
I should think if the paper work is incorrect the council would pick that up. That's why you have to submit the paper work to the council. I would call in with it and ask if they have viewed it and if it passed. Although I would think he has never submitted it.
Saying that my own council admitted to me they have no one trained to inspect either the paper work or go out the test premises and if they think it may be suspect they call in an outside firm.
I am sorry to say many houses have sub-standard electrics and the Part P has not really stopped it.
Not sure what comes in on July 2008 but the 16th Edition or BS7671:2001 is not law but a recommendation but may be used in a court of law. So as long as one can convince a court there was good reason to not follow it you can get away with it. But being passed under Part P is law so if he did not summit paper work he's up creak without paddle and since you need it to sell house and for insurance to be valid you really must summit and if they knock it back then it will remove any argument.

I hope that helps. 3 years ago you had nothing but court but I think Part P will help you.

The forms are not easy to fill in. There are parts that only after taking to 2391 course and exam one would be familiar with so I can understand mistakes.


Postby 333rocky333 » Fri Nov 30, 2007 12:52 am

Is the cores of this black cable solid or stranded ,do you know the size of the cores ie 1.5 ,2.5 ,and if possible the bs number this may be stamped on the outer sheathing,or on the test sheets if you got any.
reg 521-01-04 states flex can only be used as fixed wiring where the relevant provisions of the regs are met, so there are many other things like volt drop and current ratings to conform with.
Most twin and earth is now grey this has better fire quality (lsf), the white is still available but made from a form of pvc which is becoming less common .
As previously stated , sockets reasonably expected to be used for outside purposes,ie a lawnmower for example, should be provided , these should be RCD protected .Therefore most buildings would have at least one rcd socket,this is a reg that many people dont know and often overlooked. REG 471-16-01
Most rcds are fitted for extra safety and are not always compulsory.
The new regs in jan will reguire more use of rcd and will come into force about july.
Therefore at present rcd sockets are only needed where required like bedrooms with showers ,or on the main if external earth loop is too high and some other cases.
split load rcd boards are not compulsery.
local councils tend to use them mainly for addititional protection to there residents
In the new regs split load boards will not be recomended due to inconvenience when they go off. They will push for more use of rcbo protected circuits
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Postby kbrownie » Fri Nov 30, 2007 12:54 pm

hi chucky,
been reading your post with great interest. Sounds like you have battle on your hands.
As far as regs are concerned flex can be installed as long as it complys, that's taking Design current, cable calcs and cable factors in to consideration this applys to flat grey cable as well. Flat grey is normally prefered over flex because of expense. It's cheaper!
RCD's? an installation is required to have these under perticular use,
On T.T. earthing system, this is when earthing electrodes are the means of your earthing supply.
On electric socket outlets that may be expected to supply portable equipment outdoors.
Circuits suppling portable equipment for outdoor use by means of flexible cord.
On socket outlets in rooms containing a shower cubicle (not bathrooms or shower rooms)
If no earth continuity it must not be terminated correctly, IE loose earth wire or missing earth.
Council concern is that building regs being complied not the fact that property is privately owned.
Sparky must be Part P qualified to carry this work out and be part of a govering body, find this out it is important.
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Postby ericmark » Fri Nov 30, 2007 5:32 pm

I wondered if any changes had taken place while I was at University so rechecked the web site and down loaded last version of Part P (BR_PDF_ADP_2006) and the good news is:-
1.26 The building control body may choose to carry out the inspection and testing itself, or to contract out some or all of the work on its behalf. Building control bodies will carry out the necessary inspection and testing at their expense, not at the householders' expense.
So I would contact them without delay.
1.21 Where notifiable electrical installer work is carried out by a person not registered with a Part P competent person self-certification the work should be notified to a building control body (the local authority or an approved inspector) before work starts. Where the work is necessary because of an emergency the building control body should be notified as soon as possible. The building control body becomes responsible for making sure the work is safe and complies with all relevant requirements of the Building Regulations.
Look as much as I can I can't find "Who" should inform the building control body. But since only the electrician will know if his registration is up to date or not I would assume the electrician. But as well as your BS7671:2001 forms filled out by the electrician you should also have a Building Regulations completion certificate issued by the building control body. The electrician must hold qualification to do the work but there seems some confusion on what these are some saying 16th Edition is required others saying a full inspection and testing qualification like the City & Guilds 2391. Daft as it may seem my Degree in electrical and electronic engineering does not qualify me. But I have the others as well. I hope it's all sorted out soon.
I know it seems confusing what we have is a joint body what was the IEE and the BSI who have for many years issued a book called 16th Edition by IEE and BS7671 by BSI its the same book. This gives what is expected as a minimum requirement to make electrics safe. It costs and mine is out of date. Then to force people to abide by these recommendations we have a government regulation called Part P for domestic and Electricity at work Act for commercial premises which makes us comply with the book of recommendations. The latter has an odd index system so when 471-16-01 is quoted I can look it up even if my book is an older version than the guy who quoted the number unlike page numbers which would change.

I hope to here it's all sorted soon Best Eric

Postby chucky » Tue Dec 11, 2007 10:53 pm

Sorry for delay in posting response as laptop broke and only just got it back! Thanks everyone for the information it is much appreciated, never expected to get any replies.

Since last post I have got 1st sparky to sort out earth on water pipe in downstairs toilet, so that is ok, except for earth wiring going along outside of house wall when if done properly in first place I would have assumed it would have been hidden under ceiling boards!! He has also attached earth to gas pipe, now seems to be secured with a clip, one thinks if done properly 1st time around then should not have been easily displaced! So at least he is rectify some of his errors which he admitted to forgetting to do the water pipe earth!

Problem now though is the 2nd sparky who started the conservatory wiring is refusing to finish work as no RCD on main fuse box, 1st sparky has said he will change next week but 2nd sparky still refusing to finish work he has started! Which means I have to use the 1st sparky to finish his work even though the 2nd guy does not trust him. I think I will get the RCD added next week and get the conservatory sockets finished and then have an independant test done to make sure of the work and to validate the certificate as you rightly say is needed to validate insurance and for future sale. I have spoken to the NICEIC who have confirmed that it is ok to use Black Flex wiring for domestic use as long as 1.5 for lights and 2.5 for sockets which 1st sparky states he has used and he also has used 6.0 for cooker which I understand is ok. I have tested all the sockets with a plug in tester to make sure earth, neutral, live etc all wire correctly and all are fine but I need to make sure that there is an earth in all the lights based on 2nd sparky stating that he could not find any continuity, then again he did also insist that the Black Flex wire HAD to be removed, so at least we have saved on this expense.

Moral of the story is not to use people recommended by friends/family without first checking their credentials and being an electrician for a firm does not garuantee the required level of knowledge to do domestic work!!

My next problem is sorting out my kitchen, ordered it in Sept, paid final balance Oct, told in Nov that delivery would be Jan 08, told them no thanks I'll have my money back as too long, they then managed to get it for 1st Dec. Nothing wrong there you may ask, BUT....get a call from Customer Services the evening before delivery to say no sink drawer and missing 3m worktop until 15th Dec!!! Then fitter finds corner wall unit missing, call c/s again who say not on invoice and contact store, go into store, turns out they removed it from the order and never bothered to tell me, and delayed until Jan so cannot finish kitchen!! Lot of shouting in branch with sales plebs, promise to look into and call me next day.....5 days later nothing heard, so back into branch again, this time speak to Manager, more shouting, Manager promises to call me next day as thinks he has another unit for me and promises to call me next day with news, told him nobody has called me yet so don't expect he will, he says make sure I am sitting down "tomorrow" as "I will call you" call!!!

So out of the frying pan into the fire!!! Oh and did I mention that I have asbestos in my rickety old garage roof, £600 to remove!!! Why is it when you want strong winds to blow your garage roof off it never happens, but you bet as soon I replce it......whooosh, I'll be hit by a tornado!!!

Merry bloody christmas. Mary's birth pains were nothing compared to my renovation nightmares, where's Nick Knowell's DIY SOS when you need it!


Chucky [/url]
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Postby sbelectrical » Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:58 pm

hi there what a story eh firstly i agree with the 2nd sparks as the flex situation is not illegall only a cowboyish electrician would use it plus i'm prety sure you can't come by 6.0mm flex very easy. an rcd is a requirement, so all in all your first sparky can not be part p registed as he would know this i speak from experiance as i am an niceic part p domestic
installer, i urge you please do not have him back at all and ring another sparks instead, im affraid if you do have him again more fool you.
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Postby ericmark » Wed Jan 02, 2008 11:28 am

Well Christmas and new year over how did you get on with kitchen and electrics? I have worked with 185mm 5 core flex so I am sure 6mm flex is available. Not sure what came in July 2007 Part P dated April 2006 see the projects section and look at the project on building regulations. Click into the planning portal website and go to /uploads/br/BR_PDF_ADP_2006.pdf and I enrolled in IEE update service and nothing has been posted. As to RCD they are only required for sockets likely to be used outside and bedrooms with a shower in. I would do all sockets but a RCD protected socket where you are most likely to plug in items used outside could be seen as complying. It is hard to say something is wrong rather than not normal. Your earth bonding done things are progressing but second spark working on the conservatory wiring has two ways out either wait for first spark to complete or fit RCD protected sockets in the conservatory. It is always a problem I know my son now does an inspection and test before starting work on a house so if there are faults he can advise before he starts rather than half way through a job. Once started it is very hard to stop. Especially if you want paying.

Postby juli-juan » Wed Jan 02, 2008 8:36 pm

hi i work for an electrical company who are in niceic regarding your problem 1st of all did you get and inspection certificate 4 the work done on your wiring if you did show it to the sparky doing your work in conservetory. if the flex is 1.5mm2 and done in a ring then he knows not much about wiring as it is for flexible wiring like extentions not
fixed wiring that is for your sockets lighting points etc as regards rcd most use a spilt board so that sockets can be protected different to lights. do not confuse mcb with rcd/rcbo these have a little test button on them. mcb dont just one switch.
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