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PROPOSED ELECTRICAL LEGISLATION
John Peckham
432 Posts
Question
The government have produced draft regulations on the periodic inspection and testing of domestic installations.

It can be found here http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2020/9780111191934

I have serious concerns with the proposed definition of "qualified" as it does not require anyone to have any qualifications whatsoever , so it does not do what it says on the tin. It perpetuates the current practice of any knuckle scraping half whit who does not know their amp from the elbow carrying out inspection and testing. Without setting out defined required qualifications it becomes unenforceable.

Unless an MP makes an objection as Secondary it will become law without debate. I have written to my recently Knighted MP this morning to explain my views on the proposed legislation and in particular the definition of "Qualified" that contains no requirement to have any qualifications. 

Unless the government gets any objections these Regulations will become law. Only an MP can get proposed secondary legislation changed.

You may wish to join me in writing to your MP? 
104 Replies
Alcomax
196 Posts
On first read, it does actually seems a vast improvement on the present [dis] arrangement.   The "Qualified " part relates to " a person competent" as opposed to a "competent person [scheme]", so there is a big shift here to individual competency. How you want to measure that is up in the air, but as there is going to be an absolute electronic trail of Reports it may be a little bit more risky to the badgery "inspector" who deal in "oven ready satisfactory EICRs". The fraudulent [ or incompetent] may possibly be more likely to be exposed. 
Normcall
39 Posts
You know as well as I do that qualifications do not a competent electrician make.
I recently had a new kitchen fitted by a well known national company. The NICEIC approved sparks could not be even bothered to pull cables down wall with a 3/4" metal conduit which I had carefully 'earthed'. I pulled the cables down and left the 'earthing' cable ready to connect to the accessory mounting box. He couldn't be bothered to connect to the box!  I will not even mention the invisible inspection certificate.

If made law it will go the same way as the building regulations unless enforced and who will pay for that?? 
Cremeegg
10 Posts
Thanks for that John - long anticipated but as expected no heads up email from my Competent Person Scheme.

I agree on the matter of competence - maybe 2391 or whatever its current number is as a minimum.  A great opportunity for C&G etc to dream up a new qualification and keep all the training establishments in clover until the 19th Edition courses come on stream. 

As for inspection - the standard isn't specified I can only assume that the Courts would expect the inspector to use those forms contained within BS7671. Maybe a Code of Practice is on its way specifying how to test and inspect - another £50+ from HSE Publications or the IET.

I wonder what provision has been made for the local housing authority to administer this. We all know the answer really.  They are suddenly in receipt of x thousand inspection forms.  How do they store them? Have they any staff that knows their amp from their elbow? Have they even any staff to pass such work onto contractors? Etc Etc.  In practice it falls down - just like Part P when local authorities had no money to spend on administering it; no money to train staff and just threw any notifications in the bin. 

Part P prosecutions can be counted on the thumbs of one hand - I strongly suspect these new requirements will not be enforced.

The good landlords already pay me to test and inspect to BS7671 with few if any exemptions and get the gas done as well. The bad ones don't bother doing anything - is it going to change?

Time to contact my MP.

 
John Peckham
432 Posts
Norm

Although I am not an electrician I agree competent is not having qualifications alone but without qualifications gained after examination and assessment in my view you cannot be competent. My view is to be competent you need experience, qualifications from a recognized awarding body and integrity. A bit like the 3 legged stool, without all 3 legs it falls over!

 
mapj1
2180 Posts
It seems also to be locked to the 18th edition BS7671 only - overlooking the fact that regs do change, and one day there may be a 19th  or 20th edition, or that those regs do acknowledge that not all work installed to previous versions is actually unsafe. Or for that matter that other safe methods and standards exist.
I see potential for a lot of nugatory work being generated at one end of the scale, and a lot of pressure to wave things through that really ought better be fixed at the other.
 I presume there ought to be a cost-benefit analysis for this, but I cannot find it.
Mike,
I noticed that also. There seems to be no leeway for an electrician to say that what has been done provides an equivalent level of safety to BS7671. It must comply or it is not acceptable.
I personally think the requirement for the qualified person to be competent to do the work is as good as we are likely to get, as it will be up to the courts to decide whether a person was competent or not. Generally if the qualifications and experience are there then competence is assumed unless proven otherwise, while if the qualifications and/or experience are not there then lack of competence is assumed unless proven otherwise. Sadly it has to end up in court before anyone looks into it.
Alasdair
Alan Capon
370 Posts

mapj1:
It seems also to be locked to the 18th edition BS7671 only - overlooking the fact that regs do change, and one day there may be a 19th  or 20th edition, or that those regs do acknowledge that not all work installed to previous versions is actually unsafe. Or for that matter that other safe methods and standards exist. . . 

That is a good thing to my mind. A BS7671 EICR is supposed to be an inspection & test comparing the installation to the latest published version of the Standard. It may well still be safe for continued use, and that is the opinion of the inspector, but the comparison must be to the latest Standard, not to some earlier edition, 

Regards,

Alan. 
Chris Pearson
1550 Posts

mapj1:
It seems also to be locked to the 18th edition BS7671 only ...

I don't think that this is a problem. In say 2021, there will be "The Electrical Safety Standards ... Amendment Regulations 2021" which will update these Regs. However, the implications are enormous. More below.
Chris Pearson
1550 Posts
I don't share John's concern.

First, a procedural note. When you see the House of Commons on the telly, some of the piles of papers on the big table in front of the Speaker contain draft Regulations. It is up to MPs whether to look at them or not - they can get a personal copy. Then they can respond or not. I suspect that under the current powerful Government, no changes will be made.

Second, the consultation period is over. (Without one, the SoS's Regulations could be challenged by judicial review.)

The consultation results are here.

The Government's response to the consultation is here.

You will see that guidance as to who a competent person might be will follow Scotland, whose guidance is here - see Annex A.

So basically Part Pee registered! Given that the competent person must be able (but not necessarily willing) to undertake the remedial work, which could be notifiable, this does not seem unreasonable. However, non-scheme members will be able to demonstrate their competence (and insurance, etc.) independently. The onus is upon a landlord to show that an inspector was competent.
Chris Pearson
1550 Posts
My concern is R.3.1.(a): "3.—(1) A private landlord who grants or intends to grant a specified tenancy must—

(a) ensure that the electrical safety standards are met during any period when the residential premises are occupied under a specified tenancy;"

And the electrical safety standards are: " “electrical safety standards” means the standards for electrical installations in the eighteenth edition of the Wiring Regulations, published by the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the British Standards Institution as BS 7671: 2018;"

For which read "the current version of BS 7671".

As written, this can only mean that the electrical installation of rented accommodation must be to the current edition. Whilst the law is not generally retrospective, in this case it appears to be!

What a bonanza! 😁

I find it difficult to see that this provision will survive, but you never know. Just think of all those plastic CUs which will have to be changed, for example!

Chris Pearson
1550 Posts
And my final comment ...

"Appeals relating to remedial action by local housing authorities

7.—(1) A private landlord on whom a notice under regulation 6(2) has been served may appeal to the First-tier Tribunal against the decision of the local housing authority to take that action."

Presumably this will be the Property Chamber. I find it slightly difficult to see how the FtT could adjudicate at least some cases without an expert member. If a landlord wishes to dispute an EICR, or whether a failure has been remedied, the Tribunal will need to understand the subject.

If specialist electrician members are appointed to the Tribunal, would £250 a day be enough?


 

John Peckham
432 Posts
Chris

Yes the consultation period is over. Originally the proposal was for a new competent person scheme that registered individuals unlike the current scheme that registers enterprises who have at least one competent person. I worked on this for Stroma but the consultation responses kicked this in to touch.

Although the consultation process is over Regulations made under an Act of Parliament permit Ministers to make Regulations without parliamentary debate. The process is to place the proposed legislation on the table of the House of Commons library for a set period. If no MP objects they become law. If an MP objects then the Regulations are debated in the house and voted on before they can become law. I believe the speaker reads out the title of the Regulation and if no one shouts out "object" the regulation becomes law.

The current proposal allows anyone to self define themselves as competent. 
Chris Pearson
1550 Posts
John, I don't disagree with the legislative process, but Boris's lick-spittles won't make a murmur.

On further reading, I see: "(4) Where a report under sub-paragraph (3)(a) indicates that a private landlord is or is potentially in breach of the duty under sub-paragraph (1)(a) and the report requires the private landlord to undertake further investigative or remedial work, the private landlord must ensure that further investigative or remedial work is carried out by a qualified person..."

The problem here is that an UNSATISFACTORY EICR requires nobody to do anything - it merely recommends; and even a C3 recommends improvement.

Back to competency. Yes, I agree that anybody may claim to be a competent person, but it is up to the landlord to ensure that he (or she) is indeed competent. And yes, there will be cheap "drive-by" reports no doubt, and most of the time nothing will go wrong, but will a potential £30k penalty make a difference? Criminal standard of proof and appeal to FtT. Er, probably not! 😡
Sparkingchip
2724 Posts
Quote:

qualified person” means a person competent to undertake the inspection and testing required under regulation 3(1) and any further investigative or remedial work in accordance with the electrical safety standards;

The majority of remedial work will not be notifiable under part P, so unless a replacement consumer unit is installed there won’t really be any check on who has carried out the remedial work.

 Andy Betteridge 
gkenyon
1086 Posts
Interestingly, this legislation specifically mentions BS 7671.

Weekend quiz fun ... Which other legislation specifically mentions the standard?
Sparkingchip
2724 Posts
Another quiz question, is JP competent to undertake remedial work on an electrical installation in a tenanted domestic property as by his own admission he is not an electrician?

If he cannot do remedial work can he prepare an EICR for a landlord?

Andy B.
John Peckham
432 Posts
Andy

I do have a gold card that says I am an approved electrician. Anyone can call themselves an electrician as it is not a protected term and there is a stated case from the High Court that says that. 
Sparkingchip
2724 Posts

John Peckham:
Norm

Although I am not an electrician I agree competent is not having qualifications alone but without qualifications gained after examination and assessment in my view you cannot be competent. My view is to be competent you need experience, qualifications from a recognized awarding body and integrity. A bit like the 3 legged stool, without all 3 legs it falls over!

 

Just quoting you from an earlier post 🙄
OMS
659 Posts
I've just looked out the window at the rain - maybe it's the tears of those who kicked up such a storm about competent persons now falling lonely and unloved into the gutter.

It brings to mind the warnings of RnR - what was it he said  - ohh that's right "Be careful what you wish for"

Regards

OMS
Sparkingchip
2724 Posts
I have emailed my Member of Parliament pointing out that writing BS7671:2018 into the Regulations may not be a good idea and raised a question about the definition of qualified and competent.

The last time I spoke to my MP he was telling me that at that time he was on the Parliamentary committee that was examining the condition of the Palace of Westminster  and deciding what to do about renovating it, he was telling me about the condition of the electrical installation and I’m sure he has sufficient knowledge to be able to read the draft regulations through and see a couple of possible issues.

Andy Betteridge 
Chris Pearson
1550 Posts

Sparkingchip:
The last time I spoke to my MP ...

On the one occasion when I met my MP, Ms Dineage, (which was at work so I had to behave) I had such a struggle not to say "How?" 😁
Sparkingchip
2724 Posts
Meeting Dennis Skinner aka The Beast of Bolsover during a tour of the Palace of Westminster was a memorable event. 

MPs should have a bit of character. 

Andy B. 
Chris Pearson
1550 Posts

Sparkingchip:
Meeting Dennis Skinner aka The Beast of Bolsover during a tour of the Palace of Westminster was a memorable event. 

MPs should have a bit of character. 

That has been a problem with recent Prime Ministers.
Sparkingchip
2724 Posts
However Deputy Prime Ministers probably should not be left in charge of regulations and legislation concerning electrical installation work, regardless of how much character they have.

🚘 🚘
-2400-
72 Posts
In the definitions: 

“electrical safety standards” means the standards for electrical installations in the eighteenth edition of the Wiring Regulations, published by the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the British Standards Institution as BS 7671: 2018(5);


but then footnote 5 refers to BS IEC 60364-8-1, which I believe correlates to Appendix 17 Energy Efficiency of BS 7671

(5)  BS IEC 60364-8-1(2018 edition). Copies can be obtained from the Institute of Engineering and Technology, Michael Faraday House, Six Hill Way, Stevenage SG1 2AY.


seems like an error?

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