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New Rules for Metal Boxes in rental properties

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by eta, 1 Sep 2020.

  1. eta

    eta

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    Hi,
    Just interested, on a rental property which has no earth in lighting and OLD wooden boxes & Double insulated fittings and plastic switches.
    Now to get the rental electrical certificate , all the Boxes have to be replaced to Metal and rewired.

    Is this the latest IEE regulations and requirement now for all rental properties when changing tenants to get a cert.

    Thanks
     
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  3. EFLImpudence

    EFLImpudence

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    Nothing to do with the IEE.

    It's the law; blame the government.
     
  4. davelx

    davelx

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    The latest IET (The IEE and IIE merged in 2006 to form the Institution of Engineering and Technology)/BSI wiring regulations, BS7671:2018, stipulate that CUs in domestic premises must be manufactured from, or enclosed in, non-flammable material and gives ferrous metal as an example of one such material.

    In the absence of any other specification for "non-flammable material", CU manufacturers and the trade in general have mostly taken this to mean that CUs have to be made of steel.

    However, there is not, and never has been, any requirement in BS7671 to upgrade existing installations that met the standards that existed at the time they were installed (although when a inspections (EICR) is carried out, things that do not comply with the current regs should be highlighted with a recommendation that improvements be made).

    Any "requirement" that the installation be upgraded to meet the latest regulations stems from interpretation of other regulations. There is discussion about this going on here: https://www.diynot.com/diy/threads/electrical-certificate-for-renting-out-property.551746/
     
  5. wgt52

    wgt52

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    In my property had to replace some wiring to lights as cabling to one room did not have earth conductor. Also had to change the bathroom light fitting for a bathroom spec one.
    Wooden boxes? please explain as it could mean so many things. Consumer unit? Pattresses?

    As now it is a requirement for a new tenancy to commence. As of 1st April 2021 then all rental properties are required to have one. The EICR report lasts for 5 years unless the electrician puts a shorter lifetime on it.
     
  6. eta

    eta

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    Yes , its a new tenancy , hence the check.
    The light switches have wooden boxes in the wall and not metal boxes

    Interesting, hes been told by the company that have looked after the flat for some years, it HAS to be done, to comply with the new regs, and also they wanted an open cheque for anything else they find, which he has refused and asked for a quote for all the work that MUST be done.
     
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  7. davelx

    davelx

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    You should read through the other thread I linked above.
     
  8. AndyPRK

    AndyPRK

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    It sounds so out dated, I think you will have to do a lot of work for rental.
     
  9. flameport

    flameport

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    There is no certificate to get - it's a report on the condition of the electrical installation.

    Whether it states Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory is another matter - but in either case it should clearly state which parts of the installation require improvement and the reasons why.
    If Unsatisfactory, the person providing the report may also provide options and price(s) for rectifying those items. You can optionally have those things quoted for and completed by someone else.
     
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  11. plugwash

    plugwash

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    As I understand it.

    The fundamental issue is that BS7671 was designed as a set of requirements for new installations and modifications to existing ones. It does little to address the question as to what extent an installation that was designed and installed to a previous edition should be upgraded. It does however say “Existing installations that have been installed in accordance with earlier editions of the Regulations may not comply with this edition in every respect. This does not necessarily mean that they are unsafe for continued use or require upgrading”.

    After years of neglecting the issue of electrical safety in rented properties, rather than doing their job properly and writing a proper set of rules for electrical inspections of existing properties the government simply threw in a reference to the latest edition of BS7671. Some have interpreted the above quoted statement from BS7671 as permission to keep using an installation that was designed to an earlier version of the regulations. Others have taken a narrower view.

    Your case is somewhat different from many though, in that it seems your installation is not just a little behind current standards, but decades behind them. You would probably find an electrician who would sign off an installation designed to last-years regs as "satisfactory", I suspect you will find it much harder to find one who will sign of an installation installed in a way that hasn't been acceptable for new installations for decades.
     
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  12. OwainDIYer

    OwainDIYer

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    The government is fairly clear that landlords of privately rented accommodation must:
    • Ensure national standards for electrical safety are met. These are set out in the 18th edition of the ‘Wiring Regulations’, which are published as British Standard 7671.
    • Where the report shows that remedial or further investigative work is necessary, complete this work within 28 days or any shorter period if specified as necessary in the report.
    https://www.gov.uk/government/publi...safety-standards-in-the-private-rented-sector
    In practice, if the report does not require investigative or remedial work, the landlord will not be required to carry out any further work.

    Inspectors will use the following classification codes to indicate where a landlord must undertake remedial work.
    • Code 1 (C1): Danger present. Risk of injury. The electrical inspector may make any C1 hazards safe before leaving the property.
    • Code 2 (C2): Potentially dangerous.
    • Further Investigation (FI): Further investigation required without delay.
    • Code 3 (C3): Improvement recommended. Further remedial work is not required for the report to be deemed satisfactory.
    If codes C1 or C2 are identified in on the report, then remedial work will be required. The report will state the installation is unsatisfactory for continued use.

    If an inspector identifies that further investigative work is required (FI), the landlord must also ensure this is carried out.

    The C3 classification code does not indicate remedial work is required, but only that improvement is recommended. Landlords don’t have to make the improvement, but it would improve the safety of the installation if they did.

    There are some disputed areas, like the absence of RCDs on sockets, which an electrician may code as C3 or C2, depending on whether supplementary bonding is correct, an electric shower, or a socket likely to be used for outdoors equipment.

    The NRLA state:

    Does my electrical installation need to comply with the 18th edition of the Wiring Regulations?
    No - not if it is still deemed to be safe. The 18th edition of the Wiring Regulations states: “existing installations that have been installed in accordance with earlier editions of the regulations may not comply with this edition in every respect. This does not necessarily mean that they are unsafe for continued use or require upgrading”.

    By convention the regulations must reference a specific Standard, and whilst the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations are referenced, an electrical installation is deemed to comply with the regulations if it has a satisfactory report - and a satisfactory outcome does allow for C3 codes to be noted. C3 codes often refer to aspects of the electrical installation which are still safe and compliant but do not meet the latest edition of the Wiring Regulations.

    https://www.nrla.org.uk/resources/looking-after-your-property/electrical-safety-inspections

    It's always been the case for EICR that the installation must be judged according to current standards, and not standards in place at the date of installation. If compliance as at the date of installation was all that was required we'd still be passing installations in VIR cable in wooden capping, with double pole fusing in glass-fronted walnut boxes, and linked tumbler switches as mainswitches, as compliant and safe.

    Any wood back boxes are probably 70+ years old by now. They may not be an electrical hazard but I'd say they're a fire hazard.

    I also think it's sensible referring to current IET regs rather than having yet another set of slightly-contradictory regs to comply with.
     
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  13. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    That Guidance document is, indeed, extremely clear - and will hopeful put and end to most of the uncertainty, discussion and debate. It might even do something in relation to work-seeking 'cowboys', although some may still try giving C2s to things that they shouldn't!

    However, it's a pretty unsatisfactory situation. The legislation is unclear, to the point of being essentially ambiguous, since it can be read (as some have read it) to mean that rental properties are now required to comply "in full" with the requirements of the current edition of BS7671 (i.e. as if it were a new build) - hence, in EICR terms, no C3s, let alone C1/C2s.

    It is, in my opinion, not really very satisfactory for the government to enact unclear/ambiguous legislation and then publish a Guideline document explaining what the legislation should have said - or is it just me?

    Kind Regards, John
     
  14. EFLImpudence

    EFLImpudence

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    "There are some disputed areas, like the absence of RCDs on sockets, which an electrician may code as C3 or C2, depending on whether supplementary bonding is correct, an electric shower, or a socket likely to be used for outdoors equipment."

    That looks like two different sentences have got mixed up.
     
  15. ericmark

    ericmark

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    There are a whole pile of regulations which are in some way linked to the electrical installation in a dwelling, and with rental property some one will be working when they visit, be it landlord, his agent, care assist, police so it is a place of work so the electricity at work regulations apply.

    So when we read BS 7671 it has a list of the regulations it has been designed to incorporate, CENELEC harmonization documents for example, although BS 7671 gives a date at which any electrical system designed after that date needs to comply with it, and systems designed before that date don't need to comply, if you read
    Not necessarily unsafe, can also be read as not necessarily safe.

    If we look at cars, with an MOT in the main we can continue to use a car built in 1890 without seat belts, but those built in the 60's had to have them fitted so you could continue to use the car on public roads. But the government went to a lot of work to allow vintage and veteran cars to be used without modifying their design. With cut off dates for things like seat belts and rear guard fog warning. And they published their own boot saying exactly what the limits are.

    This has not happened with the rental housing market, they have used the BS 7671 publication as a easy quick way to introduce regulations without writing their own book, and BS 7671 is not written only for domestic electrical systems, only the supply industry does not use BS 7671.

    The EICR is also not designed for domestic it also covers offices shops and railway premises, electricity at work act, the CENELEC Harmonization Document reference alone lists around 30 documents. My daughter is an archaeologist and at one time was involved with what could be done to listed buildings. There was many a discussion when new disability regulations required things like lifts and stair lifts, but the existing stair case was of special archaeology interest, and she could over rule the council planning departments, but in turn they could say that building is no longer suitable find another building, so some give and take was required. However the point is BS 7671 may not be retrospective, but some of the rules it is based on are.

    The electrical safety council best practice guide 4 issue 4 listed missing label saying no earth to lights as code C2 but with the label in place it was C3, but issue 5 makes no reference to labels informing of missing earths, and to be fair the rules on earth on lighting changed in 1966 and every 10 years you were to get a PIR done (old name for EICR) so the owner will have been told at least 5 times that an upgrade is recommended. BS 7671 first came out in 1992, the
    FIRST EDITION Entitled `Rules and Regulations for the Prevention of Fire Risks Arising from Electric Lighting'. was issued in 1882, but that was not at that time a British standard, the 16th Edition came out in 1991 and in 1992 it was reprinted as BS 7671:1992 so to try and claim an electrical installation designed before 1992 was to British standard does not ring true.

    The electrical safety council issue 5 still shows this picture. fuse-box-1.jpg And my old house still has two of these fuse boxes, DSC_3921.jpg but if you look above them is another box with two RCD's one for each fuse box, and the fuses have been replaced for MCB's, so the only thing is the fire resistance properties of the boxes, and to be frank in a garage with fire resistance ceiling there is not really a problem anyway.

    This thread sums up the problem, as electricians we simply don't know what BS-EN-61439-3 says, we know we want that number written on the consumer unit, but not what the wording is.

    We have seen the authorised document for part P and also seen the actual law, and you wonder if the person writing the authorised document actually read the law, and when it goes wrong as with the cladding on the towers, we are all told how some one did not read or ensure the produce he was using complied. We read again and again about people who have done exactly as we have done for years, the Emma Shaw death was an awaking for many of us, I would have sent my electricians mate to take the readings, he only had to plug it in, press a button, and write down what it said, and had I seen OL instead of 1.23 Ω then I would have gone and inspected myself, but no way would I have even dreamed the mate would fudge up results in the tea hut.

    I still think many are going OTT issuing C2 for items which have been like that without problems for years, however I can also understand why they code it C2, they don't want the fate of the foreman in the Emma Shaw case.

    However it is rapidly becoming a major problem, faced with a £3000 bill for a re-wire, and possibly also with rent arrears due to Covid19 there is a big reason to say forget it, I have had enough, I am selling up, and since the new rules mean the home with a C2 for more than 28 days is considered uninhabitable the owner has an easy way out. It has not come in yet for existing tenants, so as yet we don't know the real effect, but likely we will see more homeless as a result of the new law.

    All I can say, thank god I have retired.
     
  16. eta

    eta

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    yep, i think this is the position, same company has tested for 20+ years while rented, various modifications made, but this is a major rewire
     
  17. ericmark

    ericmark

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    It seems there is now a guidance, this document seems to list the get out clauses, and it seems the original idea is being watered down.

    I would still say if the property complied with any version of BS 7671 then no C2 codes should be issued.
     
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