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Anomaly in EICR
AlanKay
31 Posts
Question
Situation; I have owned and let for about 17 years a small (1 bed) flat in large converted house. Conversion was done in 1987, six years or so before I bought. The property is in England.

A Managing Agent looks after tenant's requests and has a raft of contractors on their books for everything from plumbing and electrics to carpet-fitting, decoration and gardening. MA calls us for approval before engaging their contractor on any job. They arrange regular GasSafe inspections and certificates and at our request carried out an asbestos survey (none found!).

They have just written to advise that in line with new regulation they sent their electrician to carry out an EICR on the flat. Copies of the completed EICR and a quote for remedying defects arrived with their inspection advice.

I don't know why, but I'm always a little wary of such combined "we found a dangerous fault, but don't worry we can fix it for you" quotes.

I'm quite possibly wrong here, so I'd appreciate experienced opinion.
I really am not trying to avoid works that are necessary, even if they would require my tenant to move out (in the event of a full rewire for example).

Cut to the chase.

In the quote, one of the discovered faults to be repaired is described as, "No end to end reading on ring circuit, locate fault and re-terminate".
That same message is repeated in section 7 (Observations and recommendations) of the EICR, "No end to end reading on R2 - Locate and terminate" - with a C2 classification.

Ok. An open-circuit of the cpc loop needs finding and fixing, but..

In section 16 (Schedule of circuits and test results) the values for r1, rn and r2 are written in as 0.55, 0.54 and 0.84.

Can someone explain how the 0.84 Ohms measurement was made with an open cpc loop?
(I think 0.84 Ohms is quite good for 1.5mm vs 2.5mm. With r1 and rn around 0.55 I'd have expected at least 0.9.)


Moving on from that, and now feeling unsure of the veracity of the inspector's report:-

Next old chestnut; "Old consumer unit with no RCD protection - replace". To my certain knowledge there has been no modification or addition to the flat's electrics since I bought it. Has "retrospective normalisation" now caught up with us? I do realise that there are different regulations for let properties... Another C2.

Lastly; "Excessive exposed copper within sockets, need re-terminating. Another C2.
Again, to my certain knowledge there has been no modification or addition to the flat's electrics since I bought it.


To add to the pressure, EICR sect. 6 recommends next inspection in 2 weeks.


I doubt the electrician will want to engage with me if I question the report, far less re-quote with reduced scope.
Would it be best to ask the MA to arrange another, independent, EICR?
Please be assured, I do NOT suggest simply finding an electrician who will sign off an unsafe installation. If it is unsafe, or safe but doesn't meet regs, it must be rectified.

Sorry for the long post, but I've tried to include all relevant info.
45 Replies
Sparkingchip
2873 Posts
You are running a business, that business has expenses including repairing and upgrading the electrical installations of tenanted homes over the years you have taken an income from it.

As the electrician for some clarification if you feel it is required, but don't be surprised if you are due to spend some money on the property.
OMS
690 Posts
Sparkingchip:
You are running a business, that business has expenses including repairing and upgrading the electrical installations of tenanted homes over the years you have taken an income from it.

 

But it's not necessarily to obligation of the wealthy man to provide an income for the artisan

Guy's been paid to do an EICR (probably at minimum cost under pressure from the managing agent) - and has reported one credible observation (RCD protection) and a few fairly vague, unsubstantiated or possibly erroneous observations.

Personally I'd get the MA to challenge to EICR and also arrange a quote from 3 contractors for the "remedials" - this can't be the only flat where alleged C2 non conformance have been found.

Regards

OMS

Alcomax
208 Posts
Seems this property has been managed and regular Inspections.  OMS comment on likely " low remuneration inspector/ sparky" is especially valid for rental, as there is a temptation to " make up the money" with remedials; a bit like those garages offering "free" or "half priced" MOT.

The " 2 week" re-inspection is an open goal. Seems MA are obliged to do another Report😀,
On their part I would say they are obliged to do this gratis to you AND have a differing Inspector.
Simon Barker
706 Posts
The new regulations require that the installation is inspected against BS7671:2018 - the 18th Edition.  Any C1 or C2 faults must be fixed.

In that respect, saying "it complied when it was installed" doesn't work.  If the inspector thinks it's now unsafe enough to get a C2 under the 18th Edition, then it has to be fixed.
Sparkingchip
2873 Posts
LOL you having a laugh, you will struggle to get one contractor to quote at the moment, never mind three.

By all means question the agents and electrician, for something physical that can be seen I would email the landlord a photo.

What cannot be done is emailing a photo of something that cannot be seen, I am just about to leave my desk to go to my wholesaler to pick up some materials to go and do an EICR remedial, including fault finding a neutral earth fault on a socket circuit in a TT installation with a Ze of 300 ohms which is a C1 in it's own right being a total failure of the insulation plus it playing merry hell with the 30 mA RCD and blocking it  when I try to test it, but making it trip when I test the other RCDs. I cannot really send a photo to explain that, though perhaps I could video and email a short documentary 😏

After seventeen years spending some of the income to improve an investment is hardly a big issue, it will be paid for with tenants money.
Sparkingchip
2873 Posts
And there’s no way I will fault find for a fixed cost.
Chris Pearson
1630 Posts
AlanKay:
I don't know why, but I'm always a little wary of such combined "we found a dangerous fault, but don't worry we can fix it for you" quotes.
Yes, see the remark about MOTs above, which is why I have paid the full whack to the same chap for years. I am sure that his advisories would be fails elsewhere.
In section 16 (Schedule of circuits and test results) the values for r1, rn and r2 are written in as 0.55, 0.54 and 0.84.

Can someone explain how the 0.84 Ohms measurement was made with an open cpc loop?
(I think 0.84 Ohms is quite good for 1.5mm vs 2.5mm. With r1 and rn around 0.55 I'd have expected at least 0.9.)
No, I cannot. The only way it could be open is if he has failed to put it back together properly.
Next old chestnut; "Old consumer unit with no RCD protection - replace". To my certain knowledge there has been no modification or addition to the flat's electrics since I bought it. Has "retrospective normalisation" now caught up with us? I do realise that there are different regulations for let properties... Another C2.
Possibly - do have a look at our extensive discussions over the past few weeks and months. The issue is that the installation must comply with BS 7671:2018 whenever it is occupied by a tenant. I would give absence of RCD protection a C3 (be it sockets, lights, cables in walls, etc.), but others would grade C2. This does seem to be a reasonable range of expert opinion.

I had been considering handing out my card to the three or four letting agents in the high street 10 min away, but our debates have been thoroughly off-putting. I think that before long, the letting agents will get to know who issues a reliable EICR. It's the same in any business - quality sells.
Sparkingchip:

After seventeen years spending some of the income to improve an investment is hardly a big issue, it will be paid for with tenants money.

You seem a bit partial.  EICR #1, #2, or however many, and any remedial works will be paid by the landlord, from probably, quite a meagre yield on his original investment.  But certainly not by the tenant.   

I had been considering handing out my card to the three or four letting agents in the high street 10 min away, but our debates have been thoroughly off-putting. I think that before long, the letting agents will get to know who issues a reliable EICR. It's the same in any business - quality sells.

The issue is the legal instrument and how it defines "electrical safety", which is not as an electrician would define it for an EICR.  The EICR process / condition codes and the regulation are at odds.  It's not, necessarily, a quality problem. 

AlanKay
31 Posts
Many thanks to everyone who has replied already (wish my MA was so responsive!).

I do understand that contractors have to make a living - I was once one - and I hope I'd made clear that I'll willingly pay for regularising the installation. ...

I'll take issue with the suggestion that buying-to-rent one tiny flat - bought as my pension - makes me some sort of property magnate.
MA's fees, communal repair costs, mortgage repayments, voids, upgraded WC/bath/sink, carpets etc. etc. - mean it barely washes its face.

I agree with Sparkingchip, "there’s no way I will fault find for a fixed cost." But that's exactly what's been quoted; to find and fix a discontinuity somewhere in the ring. If you're in luck you'll find it inside a back box. If not, with cables run under floorboards and fitted carpets - in a conversion where every floor/ceiling is a shared utility space between two dwellings - fixed-fee? No way!
 
ebee
773 Posts
"It's the same in any business - quality sells. "

Oh if only that were true.
There is large portion of our audiance out there whose only aim give you price sells.

That`s why I do not price for letting agents and many landlords.
No I do not quote for fault finding either.
 
I pick my customers and they pick me.

A chap once asked me something like "Hello I`m a landlord and I have a tennant moving in next week, I need a consumer change before he moves in and I know that consumer units cost £50 at B & Q and they take 45 mins to fit cos I`ve seen it done".

Actually I very patiently and courtesly talked him thru it and said I could not do it within 4 weeks anyway. I was not "abrupt" at all mostly because he was given my contact details by one of my valued (landlord) customers.
Sparkingchip
2873 Posts
I suggest it’s a good idea to employ some who is busy and says they cannot come they same or next day.
Sparkingchip
2873 Posts
A hour and fifteen minutes to find and fix the neutral fault,  a neutral in a back box caught with the face plate fixing screw. The tenth fitting that was dismantled. 

 
Chris Pearson
1630 Posts
ebee:
"It's the same in any business - quality sells. "

...
 
I pick my customers and they pick me.

Which proves my point! 🙂

Sparkingchip
2873 Posts
The real issue is that many people are picking codes out of thin air without any real way of backing up what they chose. So when challenged probably cannot come up with a rationale explanation. 

The issue of the inconsistency in ring continuity is not a matter for general discussion, only the person who compiled the report can explain it.

Regards RCD protection there are many reasons for installing RCD protection, which issues have been raised as C2’s and would you as the landlord write a risk assessment that says it’s okay not to upgrade the installation by adding RCD protection to all circuits?

Andy B. 
Alcomax
208 Posts
A risk assessment, re RCD for sockets, is for new installation work.
Again , this is EICR, not initial verification.
Chris Pearson
1630 Posts
Alcomax:
A risk assessment, re RCD for sockets, is for new installation work.
Again , this is EICR, not initial verification.

I might add that there just has to be a documented risk assessment (my emphasis): the soundness of the risk assessment does not have to be checked.

I agree with your concerns.
  • The flat on a separate post earlier has a cable, declared to be aluminium but is clearly tinned stranded copper, Company refused to budge and admit mistake but said that if it was, it needed changing as it was old.
  • Lights in bathroom "need upgrading to LED as they show signs of heat damage". They don't and are already LED.
  • No earth connected to ceiling roses, C2 when it should be C3.
The problem is that these companies are dong a service to letting agents by coming round when asked but this is a bit much. Especially as the prices given seemed very high and did not include repairing ragging along a plaster wall.
Sparkingchip
2873 Posts
Alcomax:
A risk assessment, re RCD for sockets, is for new installation work.
Again , this is EICR, not initial verification.


A landlord has to assess everything that may be a risk from steps and staircases to the electrical installation.

So the landlord or their agent instructs an electrician to prepare an EICR and this EICR has half a dozen observations regarding the lack of RCD protection, if the landlord doesn’t upgrade the installation they are assessing the risks and determining that the risks don’t justify having the work done. If the sole reason for not upgrading the installation is the cost they are leaving themselves wide open if there is an incident that results in death or injury that may not have been fatal or life changing had RCD protection been installed.

Another thing to consider is that an EICR highlighting that the landlord has not upgraded the installation reduces the value of their investment property and may affect the level of the rent that can be charged, even though the installation has been classed as “Safe to use”, through not fault of the electrician.

 Andy B.

UKPN
146 Posts
I agree with many of these posts, but above all the 18th ed clearly says previous eds are not necessarily unsafe. The house I live in is 1974. Cable sheath earth, 0.3, Bonding, supplementary bonding, new switches, sockets. Exis cooker control panel. RCD sw socket by back door for mower etc. Everything tests out. In my opinion the installation is perfectly safe. If I for some reason I had to have an EICR, and the guy said its unsafe by way of a "code" (C2)
I would challenge him. It wouldnt be pleasant,  I would want a written explanation as to why.
These nonsensical C2s for 1970/1980s fuseboards, shower without an RCD where the bathroom is bonded throughout. Ifs/mights/maybes/could doesnt cut it with me. "The fuse(MCB) board might catch fire". The fuse board is built to BS????, the board can cope with the PSCC, the terms are tight, the load is in spec, how is it going to catch fire? 

Regards, UKPN
wallywombat
261 Posts
UKPN:
I agree with many of these posts, but above all the 18th ed clearly says previous eds are not necessarily unsafe.

That's all well and good. The problem is that the new landlord regs say nothing about requiring the electrical installation to be safe; instead it requires the installation to comply with BS7671:2018 at all times while it is let out.

Sparkingchip
2873 Posts
Not do many years ago a customer asked me to have a look at his mother in laws house on the Bristol Road in Birmingham, because she had students as lodgers and the local college insisted that they needed an EICR for her house as they handled the tenancies on her behalf.

I did not charge her for telling her it needed to be rewired, I called in on the way home from her daughter and son-in-laws home and as I went into her house I saw a beautiful rosewood fuse board with double pole fusing in porcelain cups, I eased a light switch of the wall and could not determine what the cable insulation was, but it had fell off where it had been manipulated.

I think the house was wired in the 1900’s when the tramway was electrified and power cables run along the Bristol Road and apart from changing fittings the lighting circuit was virtually as installed.

Just how far do you feel you need to go before it’s reasonable to condemn an installation? I see beautiful houses that have had lots of money improving and  extending them, but hidden below the surface are fifty year old electric cables that lack the RCD protection that would be required for brand new cables.

As an owner occupier you can to a certain extend be the decision maker regards upgrading your own electrical installation, but suddenly landlords are being forced to consider the repairs, improvements and upgrades they have avoided doing for many years. Ultimately it will be the landlords who decide if they act on the EICR observations, if they don’t they can let a friend or family member move into the property and live there free of charge, sell the property or even move into it themselves.

What they cannot do is ignore the EICR and pretend they didn’t see it or they have not assessed the risks from not carrying out the recommended work and     upgrades, even if the observations are coded 3.

 Andy B.
Chris Pearson
1630 Posts
UKPN:
I agree with many of these posts, but above all the 18th ed clearly says previous eds are not necessarily unsafe. The house I live in is 1974. Cable sheath earth, 0.3, Bonding, supplementary bonding, new switches, sockets. Exis cooker control panel. RCD sw socket by back door for mower etc. Everything tests out. In my opinion the installation is perfectly safe. If I for some reason I had to have an EICR, and the guy said its unsafe by way of a "code" (C2)
I would challenge him. It wouldnt be pleasant,  I would want a written explanation as to why.
These nonsensical C2s for 1970/1980s fuseboards, shower without an RCD where the bathroom is bonded throughout. Ifs/mights/maybes/could doesnt cut it with me. "The fuse(MCB) board might catch fire". The fuse board is built to BS????, the board can cope with the PSCC, the terms are tight, the load is in spec, how is it going to catch fire? 

Regards, UKPN

I agree with UKPN. I am not rushing to "upgrade" my 1982 installation, but I shall do so when time allows. It won't make me feel any safer.

Sparkingchip
2873 Posts
I still have two bedroom plastic  pendant sets and light switches without a CPC, the metal switch back boxes have nylon lugs. The lighting was wired in insulated singles, so I pulled in a new live with CPC to most fittings, but didn’t quite finish the job. As the bedrooms are below the loft the lights aren’t hard to do, it’s just time. But the circuits are RCD protected.

What you have to remember is there is a hell of a difference between an old installation that was installed to a good standard and has been hardly touched, as opposed to the multitude of installations that have been hacked about over the years.

Occasionally I see an old installation and all it needs is a straightforward consumer unit replacement to update it by more than twenty years as everything else is spot on, but these installations are rare.

Andy B. 
Sparkingchip
2873 Posts
Is anyone coding a lack of surge protection on landlords EICRs?

Andy B.

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