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Postby flashbang » Fri Nov 12, 2010 9:20 pm


I have just taken the role of managing a house where people requiring support live. I have just had pat testing done and a potential fault (no pun) has been found on the washing machine, the chap very helpfully fitted a stand alone single socket protected by elcb/rcd.

When the tenant uses the washing machine the device trips out. I have chopped the plug off and ordered a new washing machine (arrives tomorrow). As I was curious I looked around ( I was qualified up to 16th edition but stopped working as a spark a fair while ago). I discovered that the wiring is not protected by and rcd or elcb device at all. As the property is maintained by the local housing trust and the property has an electric cooker and a shower surley there should be a safty device fitted?

Further questions lead me to beleive that the shower was fitted 3.5 years ago.

Many thanks for any advice offered.
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Postby ericmark » Sun Nov 14, 2010 12:13 pm

Careful with word ELCB there are two voltage (now banned) and current so better use word RCD.

The use of the RCD has increased with each issue of BS7671 and with latest BS7671:2008 the RCD is used on nearly every cable within a house. The rules are to be relaxed again with amendment 1 but this has not been released yet.

However the rules are not retrospective so as long is it complied when built then its still allowed one does not have to change existing wiring.

The requirement for a RCD for sockets likely to be used outside and for bathrooms was there in the BS7671:2001 but I don't think it was in the original BS7671:1991. There have been three versions of BS7671 but only two editions of wiring regulations when the BS number changes we have to re-take the exam.

601-09-02 is the old 16th regulation and any equipment is zone 1 required RCD protection that's from BS7671:2001 and in new book 701.411.3.3 is regulation and it required that ALL electrical items in bathroom including the lights are protected with a RCD. Only SELV and the shaver socket can now be without RCD protection in a bathroom.

For rented accommodation one has to get a PIR done with change of occupant and one has to code the faults. The lack of RCD protection only gets code 2 or code 4. And which it gets has been an ongoing argument as code 4 says it complied with previous edition of BS7671 where code 2 says if there are other faults it can become dangerous but is not dangerous as it stands. Since the first BS7671 came out in 1992 anything before that date should not get code 4 but many electricians read BS7671 as being wiring regulations and even lack of lighting earths with changed in 1968 (14th Edition amendment 1) and given code 4 where clearly is should be code 2.

As a result often the landlord does not realise that the installation does not comply. Even the county council in my area has properties which do not comply with first BS7671 so to try to force other landlords to comply seems a little off?
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Postby flashbang » Wed Nov 17, 2010 5:22 pm

Thanks very much for that info. It seems a bit of a minefield but just to give closure on this, my way forward will be to insist that a RCD device is fitted, especially as a person could touch both the cooker and the metal draining board at the same time and that could of course prove fatal.

If the local council will not fit one then I shall instruct a current tradesman to fit one at the consumer unit and get my company to pay for it and try and wangle the money back.

I can't believe that such an omission can be allowed to remain in that sorry state.

Once again ericmark, thank you very much for your help.
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