Installation testing

19 Nov 2004
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United Kingdom
I've just had a new consumer unit installed. The electrician (niceic registered) apparently should have provided a certificate but didn't. I therefore don't know if he tested properly either. Should the testing have involved doing anything at the individual sockets - all he did there was use a 3-light socket tester in each one?
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Yes you should have had an Electrical Installation Certificate which also consists of a schedules page, schedules of item inspected/tested and schedule of circuit details or a Domestic Electrical Installation Certificate, which also consists of a schedules page which has all three schedules on one page. There should also be a label on or near the Consumer unit saying when the next periodic check should be and another one(if it contains an RCD which it should do) telling you to test the RCD quarterly.

How long ago did you have it fitted as the certification may take a few days to come through? If it has been a while I suggest you contact the electrician who installed the CU and if you get no joy, ask the the NICEIC who have a web site;

As for the testing side of it he should not have just used 3 light socket tester on the sockets but should have checked at least 10 - 20% of each circuit not just the sockets. Most importantly he should have checked all your earthing and bonding as well. His name wasn't John Wayne was it??
You could ring him up and ask him for another copy of the cert and test schedule - he should keep a copy.
The work was done a week ago. The c.u. has the label saying the RCD should be tested quarterly, but that's the only 'documentation' that you mention provided.

This is a radial system btw, and he definitely didn't test (other than with the 3 light tester) any of the sockets in two of the circuits. The only testing that could have been done was at the cu. So I take it it can't have been tested adequately...whatever that means? Odd thing is that this guy seemed to be very diligent and efficient. He didn't come over as a cowboy at all.
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Sorry for being dense, but I'm still unclear about this. I'm trying to establish whether the fact that the only testing done on the sockets was with a 3 light socket tester that this **proves** the testing was inadequate. Bearing in mind I was in a room with the sockets not at the c.u. or in the loft where the cables go, I can't know what he did or didn't do anywhere else.

On another matter... he provided a Contactum c.u. I now read that this appears to be the cheapest and nastiest bit of gear you can buy. What's likely to be the problem with this? And is it usual/unusual for an electrician to provide the cheapest possible gear left to his own devices (npi); would any pros here provide a Contactum unit for a customer?
did he make sure everything was unplugged before doing the testin? if stuff was plugged in then he cudnt of done an insulaion test
All CU are built to British standard something or other. Whatever people might think of one compared to another, there is minimum guaranteed standard. If they really caused problems no one would use them because of the agro from being called back to fix it.
Tingle, every circuit should have been electrically tested before connection to the new consumer unit. The values for continuity, insulation resistance, loop impedance and RCD operating parameters should be recorded on the schedule of tests, along with details of your supply and earthing/bonding characteristics. All this work can take the best part of a day to do properly on the average house - at some point every appliance should have been isolated and all lamps removed from light fittings. The consumer unit should be fully labelled, circuit by circuit and be labelled (as mentioned before) with advice about testing RCD's and the date of last and next recommended test. Ideally you should also be supplied with a full schedule of your circuits to be kept by the consumer unit.

It is a requirement of BS7671 that an electrical installation certificate be issued for such work and that you, as the person ordering the work, are given the top copy. Many reliable, safe, fully qualified electricians are unaware that this is the case. Many believe that they only have to issue certificates on request. Some have never issued a certificate in their lives.

But, if your guy is NICEIC approved then there is no excuse and he should be fully aware of these requirements. Also, if he really is approved, you can ask the NICEIC to intervene if you get no satisfaction.
Well, at one point he did unplug everything from the sockets for about 1/2 hour, but not the light sockets. Also, the washing machine is plugged into a socket fed by an FCU and that wasn't unplugged. But he, himself actually installed that circuit (radial remember), as he did the earth bonding for the gas and water. So (clutching at straws here), I suppose he could have tested those things previously(?). I dunno... I'm inclined to just say b ***r it, and if we have any problems and he wants us to pay him to fix 'em bring up the issue of certification and testing; he is on the NICEIC web site as approved.

Anyway, thank you all for the replies.
plugwash said:
dingbat said:
It is a requirement of BS7671
which there is not yet any requirement to comply with

If he's NICEIC approved then he is required to comply if the work is within the scope of his approval. And although BS7671 has no legal standing it is the document which will be used as the basis for any legal action. Whatever anybody's view on the rights or wrongs of the matter, the work has not been completed to this British Standard unless the testing has been done and the appropriate certificate has been issued.

This does not mean that the work is substandard or unsafe, simply that there is no documentary evidence.

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