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Earthing on Light Circuit?

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by firapara, 27 Feb 2021.

  1. firapara

    firapara

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    Hi Guys,

    I had an Electrician check my flat a few days ago and we scheduled a FuseBox replacement and the EICR checks. He came today saying that he cannot do the work because the light circuit does not have earth.

    It is an old flat, built in 1930s. Is earth on the light circuit a requirement? Do we have to rewire the light circuit or there are some alternatives, like removing all metal switches and metal lights?

    Thanks,
     
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  3. EFLImpudence

    EFLImpudence

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    It is a requirement now but -

    it has no bearing on changing the fuse box or EICR.

    In fact, it would be better and safer with a new consumer unit (new fuse box).


    The only thing it prevents is fitting metal (Class 1) light fittings and switches etc.
     
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  4. ericmark

    ericmark

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    The rules on earth on lighting changed in 1966, up to that date we had rubber and aluminium cables, and the worry is more about other items with an installation of that age than the simple lack of lighting earths.

    I think now on issue 5 of the electrical safety council best practice guilds, but up to issue 4 they gave instructions on how to deal with lack of lighting earths, we are suppose to get a PIR/EICR every 10 years, 5 years with rented, so from 1966 the owners should have been told about the problem 5 or 6 times, so hardly being sprang upon one.

    There should not be any metal switches or fittings to remove, there should be a sticker on the fuse box/consumer unit to tell you Page 11 or Page 9 on the latter version tells electricians what they should do.

    For an electrician to get a compliance certificate issued he has to join a scheme, as a member the scheme provider tells him/her what he is allowed to do, if he does not follow these instructions he can lose his scheme membership which would reduce what he can do without pre-notifying the LABC, so even if the law says he can, and rule book says he can, it is what the scheme provider says which is important, not what IET/BSi, Part P or EAW says, his hands are tied, we laugh at "Jobs Worth" but in this case that is the problem, as an electrician I may well think having a CU with RCD protection is clearly safer than leaving the installation as it is, and I personally would say the earth problem needs curing but a new consumer unit will remove some of the danger while waiting for that to be done, so yes change it, but if doing so I get kicked off a scheme and can't feed my family, then sorry don't care what the risk to client is, the risk to my family is too high.

    The Page 7 and 13 on this are all too common, I had it with parents house, I tried to get my dad to have it rewired, but he said I am not living in a building site you can do it when I'm gone, which is exactly what happened.
     
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  5. firapara

    firapara

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    Thank you for clarifying.

    If the light circuit earth has no bearing on the CU installation or EICR, does it mean the electrician was overly cautious or he just does not know the regulations well enough?

    Would absence of the Light circuit earth be described as Code 3 'Improvement recommended.' in EICR?
     
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  7. EFLImpudence

    EFLImpudence

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    I honestly don't know.
    There was a misguided guide that used to say that in such a situation the electrician should walk away but that would be silly because, as I said, a new CU would improve the situation.
    There are a lot of poor guides and old wives' tales around which the less knowledgeable just accept.

    Yes - as long as you only have plastic fittings and switches etc.
     
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  8. firapara

    firapara

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    Thank you
     
  9. boringoldcodger

    boringoldcodger

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    I believe (I'm not a sparky) that that includes any exposed screws, e.g. (edit) visible screws holding a faceplate on need to be plastic (possibly nylon).
     
    Last edited: 28 Feb 2021
  10. ericmark

    ericmark

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    But to be frank I think the electrician did the right thing, when he knows before starting he will need to fail the installation to take money for fitting a new consumer unit and an EICR is morally wrong, he has told the client what needs doing, so it may not be what he should do, he should if he thinks the installation is dangerous disconnect the supply to anything dangerous, and if that means the home is considered uninhabitable then he should find alternative accommodation, however he does not need to foot the bill, so a little pointless.

    Some of the rules seem daft, the lights don't work so uninhabitable so live in a tent which has no lights anyway?

    The owner should have known since 1976 that the lights did not have an earth, we should get a PIR/EICR every 10 years, so rules changed in 1966 so owner should know by 1976, OK I know we don't get our home tested every 10 years, but 35 years I would say is long enough, if you don't get home buyers report, or don't do a check for mining in the area and some thing goes wrong, well you took the risk, not anyone else.

    Even when I did not need a mortgage, and so did not need any home buyers report I still got it done, and have also insured my house, I had mothers house rewired, no one forced me, but one I wanted a safe home for mother, and two ability to rent the home if mother went into a nursing home.

    The electrician has given @firapara breathing space, where they can consider the way forward, FOC one assumes, and good on him for doing that, there are things like all class II fittings which can improve the situation, but that is a stop gap, rewiring is required, so now you can plan when it is done and that means you could arrange alternative accommodation, with my mothers house she had to go to hospital, and I took that opportunity to get her house rewired, it was tight, but I managed to have it all done for her return. Cheaper to rewire a house when no one living in it. No need to ensure everything is safe at all times.

    Had it only been a CU change then OK maybe he should have changed it anyway, but he was also going to do an EICR and so he was right to say pointless doing half a job and leaving you with a fail on the report.
     
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