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Landlord electrical safety certificate
Grumpy
57 Posts
Question
Hi all, my father in law has a rental property that was completely rewired and with new split load CU five years ago. The installation is now due an inspection. Will the fact that the CU is plastic constitute a "fail"?
 
88 Replies
Chris Pearson
1545 Posts
I'd give it a C3, but whether that constitutes a fail is a moot point.
No,it is not a fail. C3 seems OK to me too, however, all the terminals should be checked fully for tightness. Remember that was the original problem!
Sparkingchip
2711 Posts
Where is it located?
Grumpy
57 Posts
Right, thanks guys.
Fore warned is fore armed an' all that, I'm just anticipating an overreaction by some zealous sparky!
 
Grumpy
57 Posts
Sparkingchip:
Where is it located?

You've guessed it, under the stairs, gulp!
 

Why does it matter where it is Andy? Is this a regulation or personal preference, or even some kind of risk assessment? The problem is loose terminals, not anything else.
ebee
727 Posts
Caused by cage clamps!

Long live the tunnel terminal, with two screws per terminal, each screw had a spherical end that dimpled the conductor and helped keep it in place
lyledunn
335 Posts
If you are taking a lead from Best Practice Guide 4 issued by ESF then the location is important. Under unprotected wooden stairs or in a sole escape route warrants a Code 3 according to them. Otherwise it is merely worthy of note, which they say should not appear on the EICR. Of course if there are loose connections or evidence of overheating then Code 2.
This is up to the inspector. Whatever ESF or anyone else says maybe some justification, but it is still the inspector who decides. In many ways these "guides" are not a good idea, they are no replacement for inspection experience.
perspicacious
339 Posts
Wasn't there a post about http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/312/regulation/3/made  requiring full compliance with the 18th with no deviations?

Regards

BOD
lyledunn
335 Posts
davezawadi (David Stone):
This is up to the inspector. Whatever ESF or anyone else says maybe some justification, but it is still the inspector who decides. In many ways these "guides" are not a good idea, they are no replacement for inspection experience.

Couldn’t agree more David but these guides are often considered as chiselled in stone. They even feature in the 2391 Inspection and Testing exam.

perspicacious
339 Posts
Extract from the above topic:
 
OlympusMons
Forum topic level 1Forum replies level 4Social sharer level 0
118 Posts
Well if you are confused Andy, what chance do the rest of us have?

Heres my take on it;
115.1 (2018) says "For installations over which a licensing or other authority exercises a statutory control, the requirements of that authority shall be ascertained and complied with in the design and execution of the installation"
The 2020 rented regs confer statutory duties on local housing authorities to enforce the regulations, they therefore have statutory control. And these reference BS7671:2018 unammended.
BS7671:2008 also has 115.1 with exactly the same wording. So all roads lead to BS7671:2018 unammended. Simples

Regards

BOD
Really Lyle, that is going quite a way in the wrong direction. Such is modern education, everyone passes anyway!

There was a post BOD, but the 18th in part 6 allows for older versions, and it is again up to the Inspector. It doesn't say one may ignore deviations from the latest regs, but take them into account. This is all part of the "Engineering Judgement" which an adequate Inspector should have in Spades, and my judgment says that tight terminals are not dangerous, only loose ones. A metal enclosure will slow the propagation of a fire and not provide much fuel (only paint) but it is not guaranteed to stop a fire.
Sparkingchip
2711 Posts
Grumpy:
Sparkingchip:
Where is it located?

You've guessed it, under the stairs, gulp!
 

It is open to discussion.

Andy Betteridge 

Chris Pearson
1545 Posts
perspicacious:
Wasn't there a post about http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/312/regulation/3/made  requiring full compliance with the 18th with no deviations?

Well despite my best endeavours, Parliament doesn't quite understand the situation.

R3: "(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 breach seems to be clear - the installation does not comply with the 18th Edn.

The problem lies in the next bit. No EICR requires anybody to do anything; but let's assume that they meant "recommends". That still leaves C3s to be addressed; and if the local authority decides to take action, off we all go to the First-tier Tribunal.

What happens there? As it happens, I had an opportunity to speak to a judge of the Property Chamber of the FtT last week. In a case like this, the Tribunal would consist of a judge and a surveyor. The local authority would be legally represented, the landlord does not have to be. The Appellant (landlord) would have obtained a (favourable) expert report of his own. First of all, the lawyers might argue about the meaning of the word, "requires"; then they could spend the rest of the day debating the difference between a C1 or C2 on the one hand, and a C3 on the other and whether the latter imposes a requirement upon anybody to do anything.

Now we have a decision from the Tribunal, but it doesn't end there. It could be appealed to the Upper Tribunal where finally (almost finally 😉 ) the law would be settled.

I was told that the Property Chamber can be "quite adversarial".

So there we have it: a bean feast for the lawyers and expert engineers.

Alcomax
196 Posts
"New Rental Law...requiring full compliance with the 18th with no deviations?"

Only applicable to the new works or alteration. An EICR will use the 18th as a reference as usual practice. I do not think anything has changed much. Of course there will be many ready and willing to take the approach that the new rental law is a perpetual revenue stream and every five years kerching .

Simply, the LA, if they are interested, are not really issuing a licence, as in HMOs. They appear to have more statutory control on rental, but that appears to be only if and when there is some kind of paperwork issue flagged up, usually by the Tenant saying...where is my EICR for my new Tenancy? or I have an EICR, says my abode is unsafe/ potentially dangerous and the Landlord will not do anything about it ?  Not that these Tenants are likely to know about this new requirement anyhow. Private Housing dept have always had some control on rental and [very very rarely] do get involved in unsafe  private rental if and when the landlord does not take remedial action to satisfy the LA.

edited to make sense
 
Well 651.1 sets the Scene.
The 651.2 expects us to look for danger and report, eg primary protection, fire and heat from a defect, ratings of cables CPDs etc, monitoring devices, deterioration, and defects which may give rise to danger. Then the notes.

Generic list for inspection Appedix 6
Previous editions fine unless they are unsafe.

My comment is there has never been any indication from anywhere that a plastic CU is inherently dangerous, it only may become a fire risk if the terminals are not tight leading to excessive heating. Thus my remark above that the terminals should be inspected for heating and tightness and corrected if loose. (I didn't put it in quite as many words).
BS7671 does not say plastic CUs are dangerous, most are not. It does not say they should be replaced. It does not say that existing CUs are non-compliant.
The defense rests!!!
 
Fitzy71
47 Posts
If it was compliant under the regs at time of installation and there are no obvious safety issues now, like big holes or a broken case etc, then it’s a C3, the current regs don’t apply retrospectively.
Sparkingchip
2711 Posts
Grumpy:
Sparkingchip:
Where is it located?

You've guessed it, under the stairs, gulp!
 

 

Sparkingchip
2711 Posts
Does the cupboard under the stairs fit the description of being constructed of non-combustible materials?

Is the wood work of the underside of the stairs covered with plaster board and skim?

Is there a fire resistant door on the cupboard in a fire resistant partition?

If the plastic consumer unit is burning will the fire be contained within the cupboard?

Andy Betteridge  
geoffsd
145 Posts
We could desist from calling it a "Landlord electrical safety certificate" if it is an "Electrical installation condition report".

Therefore the regulations governing the issue of an (18th edition) EICR and the required actions following it apply.
Simon Barker
668 Posts
geoffsd:
We could desist from calling it a "Landlord electrical safety certificate" if it is an "Electrical installation condition report".

Therefore the regulations governing the issue of an (18th edition) EICR and the required actions following it apply.

The legislation doesn't actually refer to an EICR, it calls it "a report from the person conducting that inspection and test, which gives the results of the inspection and test and the date of the next inspection and test".  It's really vague as to what inspection and testing should be carried out.

My wife (a registered Landlord, since we are in Wales) owns a property which she rents out through a registered Agent. Gulp, the consumer unit is plastic and beneath the stairs. The property is similar to our own next door.  The rented property was rewired late 1990s, by a NICEIC, (I think) electrician and following purchase by my wife has given an EICR by a registered electrician who also did the new kitchen electrics.

So, if at the property's first Rental check get a fail for the consumer unit by whoever the Agent employs, in Wales it is up to the Agent.... where would move it to?

Our own property next door, when we had it rewired in 2002, we chose to have the meter moved to a through the wall box (about £700 by MANWEB-SP) and a 10 metre or so sub-main to the garage via a switch fuse (under the stairs! at least it is metal). With a suspended ground floor this was easy, but the rented property next door has a solid floor and no real other location other than to be put in a meter box outside! Which I do not consider to be a good idea for a few reasons.

So what is the greater risk, a plastic consumer unit under the stairs or a multi-way junction box in its place so as to enable the extension of lighting, ring, cooker cables etc to a safer place.  Maybe change to a metal consumer unit in same location, but otherwise seems a backward step.  Our own house of course has a plastic consumer unit of 2002 vintage.
Clive







 
mapj1
2177 Posts
nothing precludes a  metal box around the plastic one  may not be the electrician's preferred solution, as it makes no new work for him/her  but easy to show it now meets the regs.

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