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Landlord EICR

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by Burt Stormberger, 14 Jun 2021.

  1. Burt Stormberger

    Burt Stormberger

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    Hi everyone

    After some help please!

    I've needed to get an EICR for my flat that I rent out while I am working away for a while. The flat is a 1990s build, I've owned it since 2000, as far as I know, the installation was original when I bought and I've not had any significant electrical work done on the place since I've owned it.

    The original installation doesn't have RCDs as I don't think regs at the time of build required them. Pics of the consumer unit attached which to me looks to be in good visual condition.

    As I said, I work away and I had the letting agency arrange the EICR. The company that performed the EICR (attached) have graded the absence of RCDs against a number of the checks as C2.

    Is this right? I was under the impression that in general there is no need to continuously update a property to meet latest building regs, but any new work has to be to the new standard.

    They're quoting £780 to replace the consumer unit, fit RCDs to all circuits, replace a broken socket and a broken switch and fit an IP rated light fitting in the bathroom.

    Am I being taken for a ride or does the consumer unit really need doing?

    Thanks in advance!!
    Burt!
     

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  3. ericmark

    ericmark

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    It likely needs doing, the stuff we use today really does need RCD protection, however you are correct BS 7671 has a date where installations designed after that date must comply.

    However one the guy doing the EICR would need to be supplied with the orignal EIC to know the date, and code 4 does not comply with current edition has been dropped.

    So Code C2 means protentialy dangerous and is not linked to BS 7671, but clearly we do need to follow some rules, and easy way is follow BS 7671.

    What has caused a problem is when RCD's are used the bonding rules change in bathrooms, so some thing which looks unrelated to electrics like using some plastic pipes can cause changes as to what it required.

    In real terms the goverment has done it on the cheap, and there has always been a diffrence of opinion as what should get a C2 or C3, but until the new law it did not matter.

    However in real terms it should have RCD protection does not really matter is technically required, morally you should fit them.
     
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  4. plugwash

    plugwash

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    Another sh*t EICR, perhaps not quite as sh*t as some we have seen on other threads but still sh*t.

    I particularly note the following paragraph from the electrical safety councils EICR best practices guide.

    The descriptions of the defects on your report just consist of the out of context text of a regulation and the description of a category code, rammed together into a statement that makes no gramatical sense and gives no indication of where or what exactly the fault is, just which regulation the inspector believes it does not comply with and what severity they have assigned it. There is a little bit of extra information in the "inspection schedule" section, but it's still very terse for example it says something is "not IP rated" but gives no indication as to what.

    Under "Manual operation of circuit-breakers and RCDs to prove disconnection(643.10)" in the insepection schedule he puts "some circuit not rcd protected", this doesn't seem to have anything to do with the category he put it under and is not consistent with the schedule of circuit details which mentions no RCD protection for any circuit. He mentions "some circuit not rcd protected" again in several more correct categories, but again "some" is not consistent with the schedule of test results.

    There seems to be a bunch of electricians out there who run their businesses based on doing sh*t EICRs, doing sh*t EICRs serves two purposes, firstly it makes doing the EICRs cheaper and hence makes it easier to sell their EICR services to those who don't know or don't care about a good job being done, secondly it makes it difficult for anyone else to quote for the remedial works because they do not have proper descriptions of the defects they are quoting to remedy.

    It is likely that remedial works are indeed required and replacing the CU is often the most sensible way to deal with a lack of RCD protection, but I would find another electrician to do them.
     
    Last edited: 15 Jun 2021
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  5. ericmark

    ericmark

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    It does seem to be a lot of paperwork to say RCD's not fitted, a damaged socket, and wrong type of equipment fitted some where.

    IP rating is never not there, the IP rating may not be indicated on the equipment, but table 55.2 says "NOTE: The marking of the symbol,corresponding to IP numbers is optional" so it does not need to be marked, or of a level not accepted. So the "Not IP rated" makes no sense. We have IPXXB or IP2X, IPX4, IPX5 and IPX8. It can refer to some thing as simple as a knock out missing in a CU case or MCB blank, or wrong type of fitting in a bathroom, even a surface socket box with a blank or knock-out missing, so without a location it is totally useless.

    The same could be said for damaged socket, location is important, in my parents house there were a few sockets which were damaged or did not comply with IP rating requirements, all were redundant left in place after a re-wire, so location is important.

    @plugwash talks about "the electrical safety councils EICR best practices guide" and this guide shows this fuse-box-1.jpg picture of a fuse box with comment it is still serviceable, however they also showed this socket.jpg as a fault with an EICR which although bad I would say beyond the remit when doing an EICR, as they are not fixed, however the law says
    which means the EICR could include things like built in ovens, hobs, fridges etc. These would not normally be included in an EICR we would cover them with the "Inspection and testing of in-service electrical appliances" common called PAT testing.

    This is the problem, unlike a car MOT there is nothing which lays out exactly what should be tested, or what is a pass or fail. Not sure if agreed limitations are permissible? even when they make sense. When I bought this house I had a house buyers report done, as part of that report the surveyor also reported on the condition of the electrics, he got it wrong, but that is beside the point, he is a professional so drops into what the law asks for, and he made a report on the electrics without a single C1, C2, C3, FI, LIM or any other code. He simply pointed out the faults. But reading the law
    and it does not state must have passed C&G 2391 or any other exam, however when doing an EICR one would have expected some reference to qualifications, we list the test equipment but not the inspector, So Mr A. B. Blogs FdSc for example. It is a complete mess, and can't really blame the inspector.

    But really does not matter what you must do, you should morally fit RCD protection as a caring landlord, be it legally be required or not. As I read it not legally required, but I have 14 RCD's in my house, called RCBO's which is a MCB and RCD combined, even then only type AC and for some equipment in my house really should be type A.
     
  6. Burt Stormberger

    Burt Stormberger

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    Thanks guys for the replies. I'll contact some local electricians and arrange to get the CU replaced and RCDs fitted.

    Anyone able to comment if the £780 quote I have in hand is any good?

    Cheers!
    Burt
     
  7. flameport

    flameport

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    Depends what you are getting - there is a world of difference between a quality consumer unit from a reputable manufacturer and some end of line clearance special from screwfix.

    The EICR document is poor.
    However the lack of RCDs is correct, even in the 1990s RCDs were required for some circuits.
     
  8. ericmark

    ericmark

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    Seem to remember paying around £250 for my consumer unit, that did not include fitting costs, the guy who fitted it for me took nearly the whole day, and I did some work after he left correcting borrowed neutrals, so really more than a day. So not far out cost wise, but hard to say what is reasonable. If I had used top of range instead of budget consumer units the cost would more than double, and if OK with just two RCD's for whole of house could half the cost.

    I had a house with 2 RCD's for whole house for some 25 years, and in that time lost around 4 freezer full of food, due to RCD tripping when not home, so I thought the extra for all RCBO well worth while, as to type A I have taken a chance and used type AC, may be wrong as if I ever get an electric car may need to change that.

    But in the main house electrics are a compromise. We save pennies which cost pounds.
     
  9. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    ... except when we spend pounds to (perhaps) save pennies :)

    Kind Regards, John
     
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  11. ericmark

    ericmark

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    I was considering the fitting of two RCD's instead of all RCBO protection, in the main when a RCD has tripped for any reason I have been aware within hours of tripping and no food loss, it does depend on life style, at the moment our daughter does shopping for us once a month so three freezers and loss of power wrong time of month would be expensive. Also to reset a RCBO means leaving the house going down a set of steps, and into the garage under the house to reset. Not some thing I want to do in the dark or snow. This changes home to home, it could well be much easier to reset and could be done without even getting dressed.

    But before we went to MCB I never remember a fuse blowing, as we moved to MCB the bulbs blowing did trip MCB's, much better since LED, but again fitting RCD also caused more trips, as to how this will affect a landlord not sure, will affect a tenant, but mothers house after re-wire never remember a RCD tripping, and since she could not reset herself as wheel chair would not go under the stairs, it would have been a big thing if they had tripped.

    I used rechargeable torch that auto switched on when power removed to both show when power failed and help restore it, and in one house stairs were central so had an emergency light for stairs, basic thing is as we increase the likely hood of power loss we also need to assess the risk involved with power loss. Including where a item plugged into a socket goes faulty causing also a lack of light.

    Many houses were wired light split up/down and sockets side to side, the latter gives a better loop impedance and means with a failure which can't be corrected by simply switching on again, no leads up/down stairs. This means at least three RCD's required, so a high integrity consumer unit at least, so one circuit is RCBO protected.

    I had to go to council over my uncle's flat, and could not believe some of the faults they had to send men out to cure, if my loo over flows I lift lid adjust ball cock and replace without really thinking about it, to send a plumber out to do that seemed silly, but this is done with rental, as to electrician being called to reset a RCD daft as it seems with mother in a wheel chair she may have well needed to do that is I was not available. And there are people who will not touch an electric box. We are not all electricians or sons and daughters of electricians many people will not touch anything electric.

    As a landlord you want to fit and forget, you don't want the hassle of the tenant phoning up saying I have no power again, it will depend on tenant some are very good, but when a letting agent is involved you have really no idea of how the tenant will react to having RCD protection forced on them.
     
  12. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    Yes, it depends very much on life style since, as with so many things in life, there are swings and roundabouts.

    If your lifestyle is such that the house is frequently unoccupied for significant periods (say 48 hours) then, yes, it is better to have a freezer on a dedicated circuit with it's own RCBO (or RCD), so that it will not lose power in the event of a fault on some other circuit.

    However, if it is relatively unusual for the house to be unoccupied for significant periods of time (so that the probability of anything tripping whilst the house is unoccupied is very low), unless one has (as I do) over-temp alarms on the freezers, it's probably best to have the freezer supplied by a circuit which serves other ('common') purposes (or, at least, on a circuit protected by the same RCD as circuits serving 'common' purposes) - so that one becomes rapidly aware of the loss of power to the freezer.

    Having said that, as I always say, it also depends on how lucky/unlucky one is. As I've said, in contrast with your experience, I have lkives with a large number of RCDs for 35+ years without hardly (if at all) ever having experienced a 'nuisance trip'. Furthermore, as I've also said, even if the house is constantly occupied, I am a great believer ion over-temp alarms on freezers - as I've said, the last three occasions on which I could potentially have lost the contents of a freezer (but didn't) it was because of failure of the freezer, not its power supply.
    As you say, it virtually never happened with fuses, but when we moved to MCBs it became almost the rule, rather than the exception, that the MCB would trip when an incandescent bulb died. However, although it obviously might happen occasionally, I have never personally experienced that with an LED lamp/bulb, so doubt that it is a significant consideration.
    As I often say, I don't understand this obsession about loss of lighting in part of a house when there is no requirement to take measures (i.e. emergency lighting) to address the possibility of all lighting in the house being lost. In the event of a 'power cut' (for me, much more common than RCD trips), no number of RCBOs/RCDs, or extension leads up/down stairs, which result in any lighting being restored!!

    Kind Regards, John
     
  13. ericmark

    ericmark

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    I see a diffrence between general loss of power, and lost of lighting when an event causes the RCD to trip. Bad enough to have an electric shock without being plunged into darkness.
     
  14. SUNRAY

    SUNRAY

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    That also cuts both ways I've worked in a decent number of rental properties and finding RCD's bypasses has always had a story of 'getting the landlord to do anything' to go with it.
    Personally I try to react very quickly when tenant gets in contact, last month I had a report of water coming from electric shower unit, I was there the next day to find a split heater tank (fitted 2012) replaced whole heater and following day similar report, I attended and found the single shot PRV had released. It turns out the customers recently fitted shower head is not suitable for the heater.

    Do I blame them for damaging the heater or do I accept £15 per year for shower unit an acceptable cost? This is on top of £1200 for replacing the 38 year old night storage heating arrangements earlier this year.
     
  15. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    I suppose one could say that, but I would suggest that only a minute, probably essentially 'negligible', proportion of RCD trips have anything to do with anyone getting an electric shock.

    Over the years, I have asked many times (here and elsewhere), for reports of occasions on which people have suffered electric shocks which have resulted in an RCD tripping and, I think, over the years I've been asking, have so far been told of only two or three occasions on which this has happened.

    Kind Regards, John
     
  16. ericmark

    ericmark

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    OK I will admit only once line contact has cause a RCD to trip with me, loads of neutral but that did not result in a shock, the one line was in daytime so loosing lights not really an issue, caused by wiring not following safe routes and I put a hack saw blade through the cable. In spite of RCD protection it still knocked me out, no one else in the house, seems silly, but all I was doing was chasing a grove in plaster for a cold water feed to the fridge. I had never expected a problem. And this is the time when of course accidents happen, never considered what I was doing involved any danger.

    If we look at reports from court cases, we tend to say there by grace of god go I. With the Emma Shaw case I would have also used an electricians mate to take the readings, yes wrong, if I am signing the installation certificate I should test, the RCD did not trip in that case as no RCD, and from the report it seems a RCD would have tripped before she even touched the water stop cock so would have saved her life, in fact likely she would have not even got a belt, it would have tripped well before she was trying to stop water leak.

    But people say I am always quoting the same case, and good reason, fortunately accidents like that don't happen very often.

    But as to getting a shock when doing electrical work, many will not admit they have made a mistake, they will only admit the no blame to themselves shocks. But is seems the IET/BSi must consider loss of light when RCD trips a problem or BS7671 would not say
    when talking about division of installation.

    As to @SUNRAY I think this last year landlords have had a hard time of it, with non payment of rent and also more wear and tare do to homes being used as an office, the home is not commercial premises and should not be treated as commercial premises, there was a limited number of businesses which can be run from domestic premises, doctor, dentist, lawyer and a few others. The new landlord law should have been delayed until more normal times have resumed. When a landlord has been renting out property for years it is a case of looking at it over a 5 year period seem to remember that is what the tax man allows, but taking the attitude only tenant is affected by covid19 is wrong.

    I am lucky, I can afford the delay getting money, many can't, and I can see why any landlord as it stands does as little as possible.
     
    Last edited: 17 Jun 2021
  17. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    Yes, you are one of the 'two or three people' who, over the years, have reported such an event in reqsponse to my questions. However, in your case there can be no certainty (in fact, quite possibly the converse) that the RCD tripped as a result of the shock you received (i.e. due to current through your body) - since you were (unknowingly!) attacking a live cable with a hacksaw blade at the time, it's very possible that most of the fault current did not go through your body, and that the RCD would still have tripped even if you had been wearing rubber gloves.

    In passing, I don't think you've ever told us what the 'second point of contact' was when you received this shock - do you recall what it was?
    That was my point - if there had been an RCD it would have tripped before anyone got a shock. As I said I believe that RCD trips are very rarely due to an electric shock being received by a person, such that, as I said, I think your concern about people being 'plunged into darkness' at the same time as getting an electric shock is (quantitatively) probably unfounded.
    They (particularly I) do say that, and I personally feel that it is not a very good case to cite (if you wish it as a 'warning' to others, or as a determinant of practices) - since it seems to 'send out all the wrong messages' (to anyone inclined to be 'reckless'). It seems to indicate that not only has only one such high profile case come to the court in the UK in the last 14 years but that, even when it did come to court (7 years after the event), and even though a death was involved, the penalty imposed by the court was 'trivial' (a £1,000 fine).
    I think we've done that one to death. For a start the requirement is only to "take into account". However, no matter what the nature and extent of the concern of the IET/BSI, it is the way in which electricians seem to interpret it that I find difficult to understand - since most of them seem to interpret it as requiring the installation to have at least two RCDs, but do not seem to think that it 'requires' anything to be done to address such 'potential dangers' that can arise in the event of a power cut.

    Loss of lighting, per se, is not much of a danger - most people can muddle along with torches, candles or whatever. It is the 'moment of loss of the lighting' that can, at least theoretically, result in dangers - and such 'being plunged into darkness' is just as sudden and unexpected if it's the result of a power cut as it is if caused by an RCD tripping.

    Kind Regards, John
     
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