Hi I own a rented flat which will shortly be vacated so will get be an ideal time to get it tested to comply with the new legislation. I served my time as an electrician and did 5 years in a contracting environment but moved onto other things so obviously I'm not qualified to do it. It's an ex Council flat and the installation appears to be in good condition. It is protected by a circuit breaker board but not the latest metal cased type. What will the tester be looking for that I could possibly check over first. Thanks
Well lets face it all 230 volt is potentially dangerous, what a daft thing to say, so we can't say an inspector is wrong if he says a non metal consumer unit or lack of RCD protection is potentially dangerous, but most people consider if the installation complied with any edition of BS 7671 then there should be no C2 codes, there may be C3 saying it is recommended it is upgraded, but no C2 codes so you can rent it as it stands.
Best option is sell it and buy one on Wales, where the welsh government has said requiring an EICR for single occupancy dwelling may increase the homelessness so think it is not in the best interest of the tenants as a whole.
The English government has allowed a load of get out of prison free clauses, student accommodation for example. And over 7 years contracts.
But that has not stopped the greedy from coding loads as C2 to get extra work.
I see the government has issued "Guide for landlords: electrical safety standards in the private rented sector" this forum not very good with links, it states:- "What will happen in the inspection?
The inspection will find out if:
any electrical installations are overloaded there are any potential electric shock risks and fire hazards there is any defective electrical work there is a lack of earthing or bonding – these are 2 ways of preventing electrical shocks that are built into electrical installations." Which seems to indicate they are not looking for RCD protection. As to fire hazards I personally think the problem was MCB's not holding the terminal open when unscrewed and as a result the buzz bar was not clamped, causing the fire due to poor connection, it was a poor design with some consumer units, I would say if not gone on fire already and shows no signs of burning it is unlikely to go on fire in the future, and fire prevention and detection is not really part of the remit when doing an EICR. However it seems inspectors are over stepping their remit.
This whole situation has been raised many times in the last month or two, what I am reminded of it the death of Emma Shaw, this was before we needed RCD protection on all circuits, and the report was a catalogue of mistakes, plasterer, plumber, electrician, electricians mate and electrical foreman all made errors, and when you see sparks and have a flood turning off water before the electric may not seem the most sensible approach, however in an emergency it is easy to make a fatal error.
One it is a surprise who carried the can, it was the electrical foreman even when he had never been to the site, but if we ask had the plasterer put the nail in after the testing, and it happened today, who would the court find at fault?
It is clear a RCD would have saved the day, so if an inspector gave it a C3 the big question is who would the court blame? Lucky cases like this are rare, and since 2008 I have not seen any where we could question lack of RCD protection, but when I have 14 RCBO's (RCD and MCB combined) in my home, can I really tell some one else you don't need to fit them?
I will agree the 28 day limit is a tad tight, with the rear guard fog warning and seat belt laws with cars it was brought in with stages allowing the industry to slowly up grade between each MOT, this you didn't need it for last 200 years but you need it by 1st of April 2021 is not really giving people enough time, and wording so no one is sure what is and is not required does not help.
But in last 50 years I have owned 4 houses, only the one sold before 1980 did not have RCD protection fitted, I seem to remember fitting first lot in 1992 approx when my son got his amateur radio licence. He was 14 at the time. In 2001 we were told any socket which may be used outside needed RCD protection, and in 2008 all sockets except for specials like freezer needed RCD protection, today not only RCD protection to 30 mA at 40 mS but also states what types should be used, AC, A, F or B. And with electric cars I seem to think needs to be type F at least. The problem is we don't know what electrical equipment any tenant will bring into the house, Worcester Bosch boilers are stipulating the use of type A with some of their boilers, and I have not seen an electric shower for over 30 years which did not say must be RCD protected.
So technically you may be able to avoid fitting RCD's but I would say your taking one heck of a chance not fitting them.
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