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No EIC for recent Flat conversion

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by frank999, 20 Sep 2020.

  1. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    Maybe. As I said, although one is free to negotiate the scope of an EICR (and that can take into account the requirements of a third party who wants to see the EICR), I think that the great majority of EICRs of domestic installations already involve 100% testing of all circuits (in fact, 100% of 'everything testable') and 100% inspection of everything visble (without any dismantling). As you say, it's the 'dismantling' of switches, sockets, light fittings and JBs etc. which will usually be less than 100%, and you may be right that it might get closer to 100% for a 'first EICR' - although, frankly, I doubt that that aspect of an EICR inspection often reveals anything of major importance.

    Kind Regards, John
     
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  3. ericmark

    ericmark

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    As @JohnW2 says there is nothing which says how much should be tested or any hard an fast rule what is Code C2 and what is code C3, or what is simply outside of the remit and what gets code F1, the EICR is not designed as a legal document.

    So back in 2005 when I had dealings with the LABC they did not simply say we want an EICR but said we want one done by some one on our list of approved testers.

    We said to prevent any argument we wanted a tester higher qualified than myself, so at least level 5, really needed to be level 6, and there was no one on their list over level 3, which meant in real terms if they found anything they did not like, it would result in a court case to decide who was correct, and there was a possibility I would win, and the LABC backed down as it seemed a pointless exercise, as I had already stated I was unlikely to put parents at risk.

    In hind sight it was silly, the LABC inspector should have looked at the completed work, I may have wanted to get rid of my parents, he should have visited at completion and checked on the work.

    But the argument is still valid, for an inspector to decide an installation is potentially dangerous he needs to be able to show his expertise is higher than the expertise of the person he is inspecting the work of. If he can show it does not comply with regulations that does not automatically mean it is dangerous.

    As the electrical engineer for a concrete works, I had to write the requirements, and I would always include "Must comply with current BS7671 unless prior agreement is made and be at least as safe as any previous system." this allowed me to call them back to change things even if not dangerous should they not comply.

    On the one time I tried to use the clause, I was vetoed by the boss, who said we can't afford to upset him, he is the only person we can find with the software and expertise we need. It was over the dumping of 1 cubic meter of concrete on the back of my colleague when the system failed to detect it had over shot the release point. He was not hurt.

    The LABC can insist that the installation is better than the regulations and law require, but it has to be their inspector, not a third party one, so in my case the LABC inspector insisted on an extractor fan even when law did not require one, as the window of the wet room if open would allow visitors to see inside the wet room.

    But at end of day, if the LABC inspector issues a completion certificate then there is very little you can do unless it really goes drastically wrong, even where the LABC inspector failed to notice the houses were built 3 foot too low so they flooded before the water escaped over the road when culvert became blocked, it resulted in a massive court case, one would have thought it was cut and dried, the LABC inspector had clearly failed in his duty, but it still went to court and blame was proportioned between LABC and builder.

    There is a limit to what can be blamed on any one party.
     
  4. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    Indeed - but, as I've said, one can agree on the scope of an EICR with the person undertaking it - and, when it is being done for a third party's eyes (e.g. an LA, in the case of rented property) that agreed scope can reflect what that third party wants to be done.

    However, the recent government Guidance for landlords is vague in the extreme as to what they are expecting. It says ...
    ... and "any defective electrical work" could obviously mean virtually anything!
    I'm far from convinced that that is true in law. I suspect that if one felt inclined to challenge it in a court, it would be ruled that an LABC could not invent 'requirements' that were not required by any law or regulation - since, if they were allowed to do that, there would be no consistency, and no way of knowing what had to be done to satisfy an individual LABC. However, I may be wrong.

    Kind Regards, John
     
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  5. ericmark

    ericmark

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    Statement was "The LABC can insist that the installation is better than the regulations and law require ..."
    To be frank considering what happened with me, I did not want to fit an extractor fan in wet room as I know it would get switched off and never used, and with an opening window it technically did not require one, but the LABC inspector made a valid point wet room on ground floor so any visitor to back door would walk past the open window, and could see inside the bathroom, so he wanted an extractor fan, and I was correct it was never really used.

    I seem to remember my daughter having an EIC for a house built around 2004, but my house built 1978 and dads house built 1954 never did have one. My son was wiring houses around 2002 and I know there was a standard wiring for the houses, and they must have been tested because the beams were changed from ones with ready made hole to ones which needed drilling and the ⅓ rule resulted in more cable being used and it went over the length that would pass, and there was one house which needed altering, the remaining were split side to side with ring main to reduce cable length.

    I think back on those houses and if they failed on the ELI then they must have been well over the volt drop limit, and this has been talked about a few times, even when the 10 years is up, I see no reason why owners should not be able to take builder to court if something is dangerous, but volt drop is hardly dangerous so can't see how they could claim for that? But if there was an EICR done after 5 years while still under guarantee which had it found the volt drop issue they could have called the builder back, but the inspector failed to check, could the house owner claim off the inspector?

    The ring final circuit continuity readings can be used to show if the volt drop was exceeded, seem to remember around 0.6Ω on top of incoming when using an impedance meter, but never really worried about volt drop with an EICR, as there is little you can do about it, and it is not potentially dangerous, so why bother to calculate it? I think I have only twice had a problem with volt drop, it was a shrink wrap machine, worked OK from one socket and not from another due to volt drop on supply. The other was AC units in Algeria being supplied from two phases of a 110 volt supply, which is 190 volt not 220 volt as the electrician who connected them up thought, so kept burning out the overload trip as they repeatedly stalled. This is over 40 years in the trade, and only twice had a problem.
     
  6. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    I know - that is the very statement I quoted :)
    As I said, I'm far from convinced that, in law, there actually is a "but" - i.e. as I said, I rather doubt that (again, 'in law'), LABC can insist on something that is not required by law.

    In fact, the actual law (Part F of the Building Regs) does not explicitly require an extractor fan ever be fitted. It merely requires ...

    upload_2020-9-23_0-47-47.png

    ... so, if one can successfully argue that "an adequate means of ventilation" is provided by some other means, there is never a 'requirement' (per the law) for an extractor fan.
    As we have pointed out to you many times, there is no "voltage drop limit" specified in BS7671. There is ('informative') Guidance as to what degree of VD is deemed to satisfy the regulation, but all that the regulation requires is ...
    ... and I struggle to think of any items for which even a very large VD would "impair their safe functioning"

    Kind Regards, John
     
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  7. ericmark

    ericmark

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    As to the extractor fan, the first approved document required that the fan must be able to be switched on independently to lights where there was a window, and Ban-all-sheds would show the use of a double pole switch, but it seems that is now dropped.

    I have thought of one other time when volt drop caused a problem, on a caravan site, and if it dropped too much I would transmit mains hum, but you state "impair their safe functioning" and it may impair the functioning, but it does not affect safety.

    When a new rule about what we must do comes in, we are all made aware, but when a rules is dropped often we miss it, I found a guide to 14th edition where it gave distance socket to sink, so seems likely there was a rule at one time, be it two phases in same room, or earthing of metal window frames likely it was in some edition. And this is where doing an EICR becomes a problem, some bit may comply with the edition current at time of design, and there is a case to allow it as a result, but if working to 14th edition some things we now allow were not allowed back then.

    So we are stuck with the "potentially dangerous" and we have to decide what is potentially dangerous, we can be guided by others, but at end of day it is up to the inspector to decide.

    I remember taking an air velocity road cleaner for MOT, there was a badly worn hooks joint which was clearly dangerous, but it was not part of the road gear, it drove the fan, so the MOT station could not fail it on that fault, it was of course changed, damage to the road sweeper had it broke was some thing no one wanted, however we had a government book listing all that was to be tested, and if not in the book, they were not allowed to fail it as a result, they could phone police and have them waiting for you and they could have done us for insecure load for example, but the testers hands were tied.

    It seems the reverse with EICR as the inspector can write down anything he likes, if he feels the equipment installed will likely stop a type AC RCD tripping he can code it as potentially dangerous, even when there is nothing in BS 7671 which really supports his view. And the reverse is also true, on my house buyer report the inspector included the electrical installation and missed a whole load of faults, and I am sure the inspector was to degree level, although likely not limited to electrical systems. I have looked at the new laws, and although we know the house buyer report is not what is intended as a condition report, it does not actually say that should not be used. The Explanatory Memorandum to the regulations clearly stated the inspector needs at least 4 years experience, but that does not seem to have been actually put in the regulations.
     
  8. securespark

    securespark

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    It seems to me that there are many myths floating around the electrical industry.

    Sparks seem to believe that fire rated fittings MUST be installed otherwise they don't comply, that the only way to comply with Part F is by having a fan in a bathroom. I have even come across "inspectors" who believed that a plate switch in a toilet is non-compliant; that it must be a pull-cord and one inspector who didn't know there were two different standards of trip times for RCD type devices.
    There is a massive problem when these so-called inspectors get to this level, because they often fail installations for something which is not a failure and in the worst case scenario could potentially miss something that was a problem.
    I have come across and fought several in my time. The most recent was the inspector who came to assess my work and tried failing me because when he asked ”What are the tripping parameters for an RCD" was completely stumped when I asked him which standard the device was built to.
    I think when you are in such a position, you need to have the highest qualifications possible. Unfortunately, there are many in the industry who don't.
     
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  9. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    Yes, but yet again, an Approved Document does not 'require' anything - it is merely guidance as to one way in which the (one sentence of) the law may be satisfied.
    Exactly. What I 'stated' was what BS7671 actually says - and, as we have now both said, it is very hard to think of any situations in which under-voltage would "impair the safe functioning" of anything. Items of equipment might not function satisfactorily, or maybe not at all, if the voltage is too low, but I continue to struggle how it could become 'unsafe'.

    Kind Regards, John
     
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  11. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    Exactly (not to mention the VD matter we are discussing here) - and there are countless other examples, many of which get discussed here.

    Unfortunately, it is largely electricians ('who don't think enough') who originate, disseminate and perpetuate these myths. Sometimes they read 'guidance' and wrongly assume that it represents 'requirements' or regulations. Other times they don't read the regulation carefully enough, and assume that it says something which it doesn't say. (both of those apply to the VD issue). Yet other times, they assume that if the regulations don't explicitly mention something, then it's not allowed (like a 4mm² unfused spur from a ring final feeding multiple sockets).
    Very much so. It's bad enough when electricians in general believe in these myths, but when those undertaking inspections are similarly 'thoughtless', it means that they may well (and sometimes do) 'fail' things which are perfectly compliant with regs.

    I suppose that, in an ideal world, those undertaking such inspections would be in some way 'licensed' so to do, and if it were found that they were failing things on the basis of incorrect myths, their licence could then be revoked!

    Kind Regards, John
     
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  12. ericmark

    ericmark

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    Not only electricians, when I did an exam on the BS 7671 regulations it asked questions from the appendix.
     
  13. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    An exam can have whatever scope/syllabus it wants, and if that included the appendices of BS7671, then it's perfectly legitimate to ask questions about the appendices.

    However, that does not alter the fact that the appendices of BS7671 are NOT 'requirements' or 'regulations'.

    This is not rocket science. Anyone capable of reading and thinking (and prepared to spend time reading and thinking) ought to be able to work out what are, and are not, myths about the actual requirements of the regulations in BS7671.

    Kind Regards, John
     
  14. ericmark

    ericmark

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    The regular question was "and others" being the difference between skilled and competent. The exam was a farce, how it was ever classed as level 3 I really don't know?

    C&G2391 yes, but level 3 is 'A' level standard, there is no compression between maths 'A' level and the C&G2381.
     
  15. DetlefSchmitz

    DetlefSchmitz

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    I was once in the position of having to approve acceptance of an externally designed power supply for a somewhat specialised application. I had to travel down to the south coast to see it working. Everything seemed great, but I asked them to show me what happened when the input voltage dropped. When smoke and flames stared to pour out they hurriedly left the room.
    OK - such a product would hopefully never reach the market, but it has always made me think that nothing is impossible.
     
  16. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    I've never seen, let alone done, one of these exams but, from what I've heard, it coulkd well be true that they are a bit of a farce.

    However, that's nothing to do with the perpetuation of myths. That results from people who cannot (or can't be bothered to) read, think and understand and/or who don't understand the difference between a regulation and guidance.

    Kind Regards, John
     
  17. DetlefSchmitz

    DetlefSchmitz

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    I walked out halfway though my C&G2381 exam allotted time and got 100%. Draw your own conclusions.
     
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