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Electrical quote... does this sound legit?

Discussion in 'Trade Talk' started by d000hg, 21 Mar 2017.

  1. d000hg

    d000hg

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    I'm selling my home, it's a new build from 2004 with the original wiring and no modifications.

    My buyer asked a local firm to do an inspection of the gas boiler and a visual inspection of the electrics (checked the breaker, took a few covers off switches and light fittings etc).

    Mostly they found a few things not up to code, where things have changed regs-wise since 2004, plus a few things they claim are more important. One of these is the earthing to the gas meter outside, the wire isn't properly attached. And also the RCD was apparently tripping at 15mA (I think it's mA?) rather than 30mA which they claim is a safety issue requiring immediate rectification.

    Their survey was reasonably priced (£90 I think) but the quote they've produced is as follows:

    1. Consumer unit After the inspection of the above property several issues where raised with the consumer unit and RCD protection. The most economical way of rectifying all issues with the consumer unit is to supply and install a new 17th edition double RCD protected unit complete with MCB's for all circuits.£495.00
    2. Earth bonding To relocated and protect against the elements the external earth bonding cable to the gas meter. £95.00
    3. Electrical certificate Should the above issues be rectified an electrical installation certificate will be issued and be valid for 10years from the date of the works being completed. This will also include a 6 year insurance backed guarantee from our governing body the national association of professional inspectors and tester's. £89.00
    I was rather expecting maybe £100-200 and thinking it would be easier to pay it to get the place sold. But this is £700 on a new house which sounds crazy. I don't know what an RCD might cost (or even exactly if this means the entire fuse-box or just the breaker) but it sounds quite pricey. And then £95 just to move a wire?

    I'm nervous I'm being taken for a ride... cheap inspection then find expensive faults... and my buyer is asking this work be done as part of the purchase which is a bit of an unwelcome shock.

    Can anyone advise me here?

    update: photos added a few posts down
     
    Last edited: 21 Mar 2017
  2. d000hg

    d000hg

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    A little googling I find RCDs which are small separate boxes I've seen installed side-by-side with the main fuse-box, and consumer units with RCD/MCB integrated (I don't know what an MCB is) such as this: http://www.screwfix.com/p/bg-13-way-dual-rcd-metal-consumer-unit-10-mcbs/3150g. Is the latter what they're quoting me for?

    I can get photos if it's helpful. Let me know what to provide ;)
     
  3. oldbutnotdead

    oldbutnotdead

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    The earthing to the gas meter is important. Reading their report they make it sound like the world has ended so take a pic of that but I'll be amazed if is nothing worse than a slightly manky earth bond with a shoddily terminated bit of cable attached.

    RCD tripping at 15mA instead of its rated 30mA could be annoying but I can't envisage any circumstance where it would be dangerous. If it was not tripping til 150mA or 15A then that would be a cause for concern. Check the report carefully for the exact numbers they've reported

    'Various Issues' with the consumer unit- since you've paid for their report you are entitled to their detailed observations and measurements. Post it up here (lose the company name, you'll probably see some non disclosure stuff in their small print). Oh rats, has the buyer paid for the report? Stick a pic of the consumer unit up if you want to.

    There are plenty of operators out there telling world + dog that they need a new consumer unit for various reasons, not all of which are true. If all they've done is a visual inspection (which would be normal for that money) then unless the CU is hanging off the wall in bits I'd be surprised if it wasn't still perfectly fit for purpose.
     
  4. d000hg

    d000hg

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    Cheers. I've now got their actual report as well as the quote for remedial work. Of course there's no guarantee their quote is the minimum work needed so it might be a reasonable quote for the work, but not all the work is needed. Can you advise me, once someone makes any amendments to the main circuits does the whole thing have to be brought up to current regs?

    Details:
    Screen Shot 2017-03-21 at 15.54.54.png

    I'll have to get photos shortly. Anyway the main issue is with the consumer unit quote. They're selling it as a safety issue which means my buyer is asking me to have it remedied. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do about that since my word won't carry as much weight as the electrician's. But there's a clear difference between a)Not up to regs b)An issue but not dangerous c)Dangerous
     
  5. d000hg

    d000hg

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  6. d000hg

    d000hg

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    I was chatting to a friend who suggests the RCD block in the current unit could simply be replaced - and again that oversensitivity is not a safety issue, only the converse.

    Regarding the "slight earth leakage" he mentioned that if the internal retaining screws in sockets are loose this can give that effect amongst other causes. After the electrician left, my wife and I found a couple of those little screws (the brass ones) on the floor which seemed careless... could any wires be loose... when he said this I wondered if this could even be a deliberate thing to cause a slight leakage? Or am I being paranoid now, they seemed OK in person but you do hear stories.
     
  7. oldbutnotdead

    oldbutnotdead

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    1) Yep, that needs correcting- not up to standard. Not sure who painted the pipe black either, should have been coated with that yellow protective sleeve stuff. Without putting a joint in the cable (which is allowed but best avoided) it could be a pest running a new bit of cable back to the main earth. But not a disaster either- it is bonded, just not correctly.

    2) If everything is as fitted in 2004 (which you have stated and the red and black cable would tend to confirm) then not required, no issue.

    3) Slight earth leakage? Not a useful term. Without any test figures for insulation resistance between conductors, that 'issue' could be caused by any number of things. Did they, for instance, unplug or disconnect every single item (including stuff on FCUs) before testing? RCD over sensitive is not (to me anyway) a cause for alarm, looking at that CU a replacement RCD would almost certainly be available. I'd be sticking my tongue out at that one (or asking them for insulation resistance readings on the circuit in question).

    4) Does look quite neat and tidy and there's nothing visibly wrong with that CU.

    4A) And that 'earth leakage caused by loose screws' - nice scare story for the gullible. Loose terminal screws are undesirable but easily checked and repaired.

    So, Item 1 is a definite not compliant with regs. If the main earth is near that point then rectification would cost about £2 in bits and about 5 minutes if you did it yourself.

    Item 2 is not an issue

    Item 3 without some numbers to quantify the 'earth leakage' is a bit fishy.

    If the purchaser wants to spank £500 replacing a perfectly good consumer unit then let him/her do so, but from the info given there is no good reason to replace the thing.
     
  8. d000hg

    d000hg

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    Oh on the loose screws that was from a mate not the electrician... he mentioned that can sometimes cause such a symptom so it's worth checking. Then when I spotted the screws on the floor I suddenly wondered if that was an old trick... take a screw out and then 'find' leakage. Or is this just daft?

    I'm happy to fix anything that's a real problem so the gas pipe... sure. The others, I'm getting the vibe it's no big deal and certainly not a safety issue? If that's the case, how do I put this to the buyer who has a)a survey reporting problems b)a quote saying the whole unit should be replaced?
    Just replacing the RCD appears to be quite cheap and easy so an option for less hassle, but equally I could say I'm not keen to do this at all... but ideally with the backing of an electrician. Or is it reasonable to simply say I've investigated and spoken to people and do not feel it needs doing?

    I should say what I posted above is apparently the entirety of their report from the inspection survey. Does that seem right?
     
  9. oldbutnotdead

    oldbutnotdead

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    Problem with all of it is the whole buyer/seller thing. The bonding on the gas pipe is an easy fix- put the clamp in the correct place, fix the correct size wire to it and tighten it to the correct torque. All visual stuff, no drama.

    Replacing the RCD isn't a biggie either- but you've got no way to prove that the new one is functioning correctly without getting someone with all the gear to test it. The slight earth leakage in the kitchen is a quality scare tactic- again impossible to prove clear without expensive test gear.

    Here's what I'd be tempted to send the purchaser

    Dear Buyer.

    Gas pipe bonding- here's what they didn't like, here's what they said should be done, here's the pics (you can do that lot) of it done.

    No RCD on lighting and smoke alarm- was not required in 2004 when the place was wired. Is not required now unless any additional cabling on the circuits falls within the scope of the regs

    Slight earth leakage in the kitchen- please ask your inspector to elaborate with (a) test methodology used (b) insulation resistance figures between L, N & CPC. Without this data it is impossible to determine what work should be undertaken. A new consumer unit is not going to correct any 'slight earth leakage' in the kitchen.

    RCD tripping at 15mA- this is a good thing, as it is tripping at only 50% of the current at which it is required to trip. If there were any serious 'earth leakage' in the affected circuits the thing would be tripping every 5 minutes- as it is we've had to reset it (insert number of occasions) in the last x years.

    Bottom line- we're not going to replace a perfectly serviceable consumer unit without some evidence that the existing one is defective. We're not going to replace an RCD which has been PROVEN to operate correctly under fault conditions (ie disconnects at 30mA or less of fault current). We have corrected the bonding to the gas pipe. What you do after you've bought the place is up to you.

    Love,

    The Seller

    Oh yes, your question. If you added cabling or sockets to a ring final (or extra lighting onto a lighting circuit) then THOSE ADDITIONS have to comply with current regs. In most cases this will mean you'll need an RCD on the circuit (unless the new cable is surface mounted or in proper conduit or buried deeper than 50mm from any accessible surface). The RCD is intended to operate in case of damage to the installed cable as well as in case of any damage to a connected device- so for power sockets you cannot just use an RCD socket, besides which it'll nearly always be cheaper and certainly neater to protect the whole circuit at the CU. So, let us say, you added an extra light fitting (using buried cable) on the ground floor lighting circuit. That circuit would require RCD protection to comply. If the cable was surface mounted (or buried as above) then it probably would NOT require RCD protection to comply.
     
  10. Bosswhite

    Bosswhite

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    Its all a minor problem , the property is only 14 years old,minor Electrical regulations have changed since then, how many people will rewire their property every time the regulations are altered.
    Ask a firm for a survey they are bound to go by the latest regulations and insist on a complete rewire, they are hardly likely to stay in business if they say there is nothing wrong and nothing we can do, and the buyer is unable to negotiate a lower price.
     
  11. aptsys

    aptsys

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    I must be being daft. What's wrong with the gas bond?
     
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  12. oldbutnotdead

    oldbutnotdead

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    Gas bond needs to be as near the meter as possible (max 600mm) , preferably before any joints. I expect that bond was installed before the supply was connected, quite likely on the original drawings the outlet from the meter was on the other side of that hide & thus the tail left by first fix would have reached.
     
  13. aptsys

    aptsys

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    Well it's within 600mm so I would not have a problem with it. It's certainly not unsafe. Besides, those meter boxes are dated where the supply would be plastic anyway, so it's unlikely the bond is even needed.

    You could bring the bond inside at the point of entry to the property to protect from elements if that was a concern.
     
  14. oldbutnotdead

    oldbutnotdead

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    All valid points..... but it's a really easy visual defect for anyone looking at the place to pick up on (this is a buyer/seller situation remember).
     
  15. d000hg

    d000hg

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    Others already replied but what I was told was:

    • It has to be bonded within 600mm (I think it is though whether that is straight-line distance or distance the bond is along the pipe?)
    • It is recommended to be bonded before any joint
    • They didn't like that it was attached on top of a painted pipe
    A mate also suggested the pipe should be highlighted in some special tape rather than painted black but I never heard of that one before.

    So is the general conclusion that the electrician has simply reported all the non-code points and then spun this up into a nice day's work as something that needs to be done? i.e. the price isn't outrageous for the job quoted but the job quoted isn't really necessary.

    These RCD units that go inside the consumer unit... do they just pull out and can be replaced or is it more complicated than that? Plug & play I could cope with, anything else I'm not going near it!
     
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