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Getting electrical work approved

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by bazmdiy, 11 Jan 2015.

  1. bazmdiy

    bazmdiy

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    Hi all,

    Does any body have any experience about getting notifiable wiring work approved by a Building Control Dept?

    Apologies in advance for length of post!

    About 3 years ago I started to build a fair sized (7x10m) extension including shower room and kitchen. Initially I intended to get all the electrical work done by qualified electricians but as time progressed and I needed lighting and sockets to do building work I did most of the wiring myself.

    Cooker and hood installation unit work and mains bonding were done by fully qualified electricians. I never did any work without researching the appropriate regulations and took photos of every stage. Much of the work is still open to inspection. In all there are 6 lamp fittings and 14 sockets.

    Lately an electrician came to connect a cooker isolator switch/outlet and new 10mm cable (which I laid) to the consumer unit and commented that the work was good. So I asked if he could certify the rest of the work and he said no because unless he'd done the work he couldn't certify it which sounds fair enough. However, he said the local Building Control dept may do it for a fee "if they had anybody available."

    Doe anybody know if Building Control would definitely do it and should the work be completed or open to inspection (some of it would be a pain to expose - like removing Fermacell building boards and panelling).

    Many thanks
     
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  3. OwainDIYer

    OwainDIYer

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    Did you include the wiring on the original building control application?
     
  4. bazmdiy

    bazmdiy

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    Ouch! there's a point. Many thanks for that.

    I paid about £600 building control fee and we have had regular inspections for foundations/roof structure and insulation but electrical work has never been mentioned by either side. I assume it was never included. Does that mean they will not inspect the work?
     
  5. bazmdiy

    bazmdiy

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    I dug out the Building Notice form. There was a bit at the bottom of the form that said "please complete this if the proposals include 'notifiable' works on an electrical installation."

    It then asks for name of electrician who would need to attend Building Control inspections and Final Test. I'm amazed the planning people accepted the Building Notice with this section blank. I suppose I will have to ring them to find out where I go from here.

    I'm starting to feel that this could be messy and expensive....
     
  6. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    May they not have 'accepted' it because, by leaving that section blank, they considered that you were effectively telling them (at least implying to them) that no 'notifiable' electrical work was involved?
    Unfortunately, you might be right. If you come across some decent human beings, it may be possible for them to somehow retrospectively incorporate the electrical work into the original Building Notice. Otherwise, they may now regard the electrical work as a totally separate issue/application (with its own fees etc.), compounded (with possible/probable financial implications) by the fact that you would be applying 'after the event'.

    Kind Regards, John
     
  7. bazmdiy

    bazmdiy

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    After googling electrical inspections I find there are electricians who will perform an electrical inspection report (Safety check on electrical wiring in standard three-bed semi detached house) for about £200. Does anybody know if that would satisfy Building Control?
     
  8. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    That's not what an EICR is intended for - since it does not allow any declarations about how the work was designed and undertaken, and would not usually allow or involve inspection of parts of the wiring etc. which have become 'concealed' (within walls, above ceilings etc.). You need to speak to LABC. They may be prepared to accept an EICR (possibly in exchange for some sort of 'regularisation' fee!) - but they would be within their rights to insist that all of the wiring was 'exposed' for inspection etc.

    Kind Regards, John
     
  9. ericmark

    ericmark

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    There is only one set of people who can say if you can get a completion certificate or not and that is the LABC.

    If it were me who had made the same error I would complete the installation certificate and send it to the LABC and see what the result is.

    Likely they will say it was not on the original form but if you claim it was an over site then maybe they will be lenient.

    Do remember the LABC do not do the inspection and testing all they do is verify the certificate completed by who ever has done the work. They may come and test some parts to see if their readings match your readings but they do not issue an installation certificate that must be issued by person doing the work.

    I did it just once in early days of Part P and I took over the work from a builder who ran off into the Welsh hills never to be seen again. We had one visit from the building inspector who wanted us to employ some one to inspect and test in other words do a periodic inspection report as it was called then. I had no intention of employing some one and flatly refused which started an argument as to my sons qualifications the building inspector clearly did not have a clue and would not accept a C&G2391 but relented when my son told him I had a degree in electrical and electronic engineering. I completed the installation certificate carefully noting in the appropriate section what work was done by the builders who ran off.

    I fully expected the inspector to return and ask for the builders work to be exposed I would not have been happy if the roles were reversed. However after around 2 weeks the completion certificate arrived in the post.

    You can down load the forms from the IET web site and there is some notes on the forms. You will clearly need test gear when mine was in for calibration I found minimum hire time was one week and it was £75 per week hire charge.

    The new name is EICR for what was a PIR and if you get an electrician to do a report likely you could copy the results onto your installation certificate. It says results can be by measurement or enquiry so copying is by enquiry so not really anything to stop you copying.

    However clearly you don't know what the LABC will say and to hire test gear or employ an electrician to do an EICR is going to cost.

    You could completely cheat of course and guess the results. On this forum we have in the last couple of weeks seem an installation certificate where the results were so far out any electrician would have alarm bells ringing yet it seems he got away with it.

    Having done many installation certificates I am sure I could guess results which were near to recorded results and have very little chance of getting caught. But I know what to expect.

    The problem is of course the building inspector can ask for items to be exposed for inspection. I think it rather unlikely but he could.

    However you do it there is some risk either to safety or to what inspectors will require and cost could be anything from cup of tea to a few thousand pounds if he wants wires exposing.

    I have worked three times with LABC with Liverpool they could not have been more helpful, Cheshire was a little more stringent, Flintshire took quite a lot of persuading before he agreed to me doing the inspection and testing.

    My friend was a builder and he said how he had failed to tick the box for electrics on one job. He presented the inspector with the certificates at end of job and only then did the inspector say electrics was not included. He said to inspector he had asked at each stage could he proceed to next stage and once he said yes then he could hardly go back and change his mind. The inspector relented and included the electrics but warned in future to ensure they were included. My friends argument was the electrics were shown on plans submitted if he did not want electrics included they would not have been on the plans.

    The other question is what happens if you do nothing? At the end of the job you will get a completion certificate so either the LABC inspector will ask for the compliance certificate before he issues the completion certificate or he will simply issue it or he will issue it with a note that it does not include electrics.

    It could very well be doing nothing you get the paper work required without him looking at the electrical work. As to what has happened to others it varies county to county as I found out. As you have said some of the work was done by electricians so just giving the LACB inspector that paperwork if they check it like mine did likely they will issue the completion certificate anyway.

    What ever you do it's taking a chance and only you can decide which way to go.
     
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  11. OwainDIYer

    OwainDIYer

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    Did you include any sockets/wiring etc on the plans? If you did, and you did not tell BC that you would be using an electrician, you could claim that they are responsible for inpection for building control purposes.
     
  12. bazmdiy

    bazmdiy

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    Hi JohnW2 - I can’t see how building control can assume there were no notifiable works. I demolished an extension and put up a much better replacement. The planning application described a kitchen and shower room and there are plenty of notifiable works in these two rooms eg lighting and extractor fans. Unfortunately 99% of the planning effort went into the structural and aesthetic design (it’s a listed building) and the electrics were forgotten by everyone.

    I googled EICR and came up with this from mylocalelectrician.co.uk
    “An EICR is an Electrical Installation Condition Report. It is a formal document that is produced following an assessment of the electrical installation within a property. It must be carried out by a Part P Registered Electrician who has a good working knowledge and experience of electrical installations.
    There are many reasons why a householder might request an EICR and indeed they are highly recommended where proof may be required to show an electrical installation is safe. One of the more common reasons an EICR is requested is in rented accommodation where an EICR is the most straightforward and least time consuming method of proving an electrical installation is safe.
    An EICR is also recommended in all domestic homes every 10 years to check the condition of the electrical installation and ensure there is no deterioration, however there may be reasons why an EICR would need to be done more often. “
    I feel you may be right and that the LABC will accept such a report.

    Hi ericmark - your story about Liverpool is encouraging. My LABC is North Herts. I guess it depends on the person one deals with.

    You have outlined some possible ways out of the situation but I really need a positive approval of my and electricians work. I will say there has been an oversight on the Building Notice form and ask if they retrospectively include it.

    If I get an electrician to do an EICR would the information on that be such that I could provide an installation certificate to satisfy building control? Is an installation certificate standard across all counties? I searched IET web site but but could not find any forms.

    Many thanks for all replies – I’m beginning to feel a little better now. I’ll post back when I have heard from the LABC – hopefully tomorrow.
     
  13. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    That might seem common sense, but bureaucratics often take literally what is (or is not) written on their forms. You told us that
    Hence, IF you did not complete that section of the form, a 'Jobsworth' could take that as an indication that you were declaring/claiming that no notifiable electrical work was involved.
    I said 'might', not 'will' - and I think it's far from a foregone conclusion. If the work had been pre-notified in the proper manner, they (or a self-certifying electrician who did the work) would have ben able to see, for example, the routes of cables that were to be covered up by walls, floors or ceilings, to ensure that they were compliant with regs. An EICR undertaken 'after the covering up' obviously cannot do that, without being very destructive and/or disruptive.

    Kind Regards, John
     
  14. bazmdiy

    bazmdiy

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    Hi JohnW2,

    I think the crucial point is that the vast majority of work is very much open to inspection. The bits that aren't I can present photographic evidence for and a cable detector will also verify show presence. If somebody really wants to be officious I can expose the few bits concealed.

    I am going to try and argue that its a complete oversight (it was) and any reasonable person would assume there is notifiable works from the planning application. I feel its a situation where speaking to a person face to face is the best way forward. I'll post back when I've spoken to the LABC.

    many thanks for comments.
     
  15. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    Fair enough - that doesn't sound as bad as it could have been.
    Indeed. As I said, if you find yourself interacting with decent/reasonable human beings, that approach might work. I would imagine that the important thing is to be pleasant and suitably apologetic/humble about the oversight. If you rubbed them up the wrong way, they could make life difficult (and possibly expensive) for you! I look forward to hearing how you get on.

    Kind Regards, John
     
  16. ericmark

    ericmark

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    There is a flaw in the EICR explanation you have posted. There is no requirement for the electrician completing an EICR to be a scheme member. If he is a scheme member there is also no requirement for him to send the results to the scheme provider. One would hope an electrician completing an EICR would have professional indemnity insurance but often they only have public liability insurance. So for the LABC to accept an EICR instead of an installation certificate they (the LABC) must trust the guy doing the report.

    So down to nitty gritty the LABC will say who they want to inspect. He may be a scheme member but being able to self certify ones work is not the same as being trusted by the LABC.

    As to who needs an EICR it depends on location. Although the IET/BSi recommend on change of occupier or every 10 years which ever is the sooner in Scotland for example with rented property it is going to be a legal requirement every 5 years.

    As to if the Scottish law asks for any insurance or qualification or membership of a scheme provider I don't know. I live in Wales so only of passing interest.

    There are two exams which test the student on their ability to test and inspect the C&G 2391 was the original one which many electricians failed a cut down version was then introduced the G&G2392 I have no idea why but now either is considered as proof you have the knowledge required.

    Some scheme providers only required members to have a C&G2382 which to put it bluntly means they can read a book. So being a scheme member does not automatically mean they have the skill required.

    Because there is no need to be a scheme member to do an EICR it would be hard for scheme providers to police who does an EICR so a kitchen fitter who has a limited membership could complete an EICR but be completely out of their depth.

    Although I have passed my C&G2391 I will admit it was back in the BS7671:2001 regulations and I have mainly worked on commercial installations. To detect a figure of 8 ring final fault takes some skill and I would need to do some revision on how to test for this. One gets a feeling for results and in the main it is alarm bells ringing rather than the actual readings which leads one to a fault. One looks at a house and mentally you realise the ELI should be around 0.96Ω and either a 0.45Ω or 1.35Ω reading makes one look further. All may pass but that's not the point higher or lower alerts one to something amiss.

    Doing my exam I found a fault which the exam setters had not expected me to find. To simulate a house resistors had been used in the test board. These if a load was applied would have overheated and caused a problem. I realised the readings were too high for the distance involved and did further investigation finding the resistors. This caused the examiner a problem should he fail those who had not found the resistors. I was told he didn't but in real terms I only found the fault because I had done many tests and realised it was not a normal result.

    As far as you are concerned it comes down to do you want a bit of paper or do you want the house to be safe?

    You will likely get the bit of paper by doing nothing. To ensure safe then likely the electrician recommended by the LABC is the best you can hope for.

    My local council has a three strikes and out policy so three mistakes and good by to electrical company this means in the main the chancer is soon deleted from the list. So I would say using the LABC recommended electrician it is unlikely he will miss any errors.
     
  17. bazmdiy

    bazmdiy

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    Hi eric - got the EICR definition off the net so just shows how careful one has to be.

    I am 100% for having a safe house so I'm not interested in massaging the planning bureaucracy...

    I have just got off the phone to the LABC. At first the girl wanted to charge £275 for a new building notice but then she put me through to an actual inspector. After I explained the matter he said he would send me a regularisation form which effectively retrospectively updates the Building Notice. Then the LABC will send an electrician to do an inspection. I think I am very lucky. Maybe the LABC is like the Inland Revenue - not so bad when you talk to them :mrgreen:

    Vive le Building Inspector :!:
     
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