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Old Style wired fuse box

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by arthurbear, 12 Aug 2021.

  1. arthurbear

    arthurbear

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    Hi

    I am in the process of moving house and the one we are in at the moment we are renting out, I am obviously obtaining an Electrical certificate but just to check . The house does have the old style fuse box with wire. To get the certificate do I need a modern consumer unit ? and if so what would you say the possible price for a mid 2 bed terrace in Nottinghamshire would cost?

    Thanks In Advance
     
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  3. motorbiking

    motorbiking

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    There is some confusion about the new requirements on this. I would say you will find it extremely difficult to get an inspector to pass it without RCD protection. I even had to have my mid 90s consumer unit partially upgraded and that had RCD and MCB protection.

    The vast majority are assessing against the current regulations. The law is not well drafted and did not intend to mandate current standards. However, you are at the mercy of the inspector looking for a job as to if he will allow previously compliant property.

    To be fair it a tough call to say an old fuse wire system is safe.
     
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  4. SUNRAY

    SUNRAY

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    Don't worry about what the rules/law says.

    Just get a sparks in, get them to replace it to do your best to protect your tenant and do the EICR at the same time.
     
  5. oldbutnotdead

    oldbutnotdead

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    Cost depends on the state of the wiring- a straightforward board swap with no testing anomalies to follow up should be around the £500 mark. The testing of the installation should be done before the board is swapped.
     
  6. plugwash

    plugwash

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    The law was badly written but in practice what is needed is a "satisfactory" EICR.

    An EICR will be judged against the current version of BS7671, then for each non-conformance the inspector must decide whether to assign a code and if-so what code to assign, There is "C1 (Danger present)", "C2 (Potentially dangerous)" and "C3 (Improvement recommended)". If the report has any C1 or C2 codes the condition of the installation will be deemed "unsatisfactory".

    The rewirable fuses aren't a problem per-se but they generally indicate a lack of 30ma RCD protection and that is a problem. The current edition of BS7671 requires 30ma RCD protection on nearly all circuits in a domestic installation.

    BS7671 mostly doesn't specify what if-any code should be given to each non-compliance. That is generaly left up to the judgement of the person performing the inspection. One of the few exceptions to this is that BS7671 says that a lack of required RCD protection should get at least a C3.

    There is various guidance out there from professional bodies as to what codes should be given to different non-compliances. One example is https://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/media/2149/bpg4-1.pdf, other guidance may have slight differences but I'm not aware of any that would significantly change the rest of my answer.

    The ESC guidance classifies the following cases of lack of RCD protection (they clarify earlier in the document that when they say RCD protection they mean 30ma RCD protection) as C2

    While they class the following cases of lack of RCD protection as C3.
    In practice unless the property is an upper floor flat then it is likely to have at least some socket outlets that are liable to supply equipment outdoors. So a total lack of 30mA RCD protection is likely to result in a "C2" code and an "unsatisfactory" result.

    You could try to spot-fix the cases that received C2s and leave the C3s alone, but I don't think it's a sensible course of action. You would be left with an installation that still has a bunch of non-compliances albiet less serious ones and that can complicate future modifications. Far more sensible to replace the CU with one that provides modern levels of protection to the whole installation.
     
  7. ericmark

    ericmark

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    Each edition of the regulations gives a date after which DESIGNS must follow it, it is permitted to actually commission a new house to old regulations if the old regulations were in force at the time it was designed.

    The code 4 does not comply with current regulations if designed today was removed from the EICR as it was considered unhelpful. The problem code is code C2 = Potentially dangerous, no one really questions the dangerous C1 code, or improvements recommended, code c3, and the code FI means for some reason no access.

    So the electrical safety council says fuse-box-1.jpg however although the BS7671 is not retrospective, it is tied to CENELEC and HSE rules which may be, however the inspector does not sign to say legal, he signs to say not potentially dangerous, so even if it does not comply with a law he can still give an item a code C3, he is saying if the installation is safe to use, not if it complies.

    However what @motorbiking and @plugwash say is true, the law is poorly written, it says BS7671:2018 should be followed, it says the DNO equipment is NOT part of the inspection where the IET guidelines says it is, and that in-service electrical equipment not designed to be moved is part of the inspection where all the IET stuff says this is done under inspection and testing of in service equipment (PAT testing) completely independent of the installation, the installation is wires, fuses and other overload devices, switches etc., but not anything that uses power, so chandelier is included but not the bulbs.

    There are of course items which span the divide, the fluorescent lamp fitting the whole lamp should come under the PAT testing, but in real terms this would be rather hard, so all electrical items should be tested, and it is normally agreed between electricians that extractor fans, lights, immersion heaters, boilers etc, either are done at same time as the EICR or are under a maintenance contract. Common for boilers, fridges, freezers, vending machines etc. to be under a maintenance contract.

    Remember the EICR is designed for all, not just domestic, so the rules have to be designed to work in commercial premises as well as domestic. And likely the vending machine is hired or rented and the in house electrician has not got keys to be able to open it and test it, so some one is considered as the manager and has to ensure there is paperwork in place for all items.

    The idea of modifying what comes under the test simply does not work, as the same test and inspection also covers commercial property.

    So we do get in the laws a glossary of terms.
    “consumer’s installation” means the electric lines situated upon the consumer’s side of the supply terminals together with any equipment permanently connected or intended to be permanently connected thereto on that side;
    “electrical safety standards” means the standards for electrical installations in the eighteenth edition of the Wiring Regulations, published by the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the British Standards Institution as BS 7671: 2018(3);
    “qualified person” means a person competent to undertake the inspection and testing required under regulation 3(1) and any further investigative or remedial work in accordance with the electrical safety standards;

    The result is the laws to not actually line up with the regulations. And we do have a problem, under the law I should remove the cover from the electrical connections in a boiler and check them, however some covers on boilers are gas sealed, and should only be removed by some one registered as gas safe, one has to assume if the cover which needs to be removed to check electrical connections is sealed it will be clearly marked as so, however I am told this is not always the case, so the electrician could cause danger in his attempts to remove it, so what ever the law says, he really has to carry on as before and leave the boiler where it is gas powered for the gas safe guy.

    In other words do the EICR as instructed when taking the C&G 2391 exam, and take no notice to what the new law says. BS7671:2018 as with every other edition before it gives a date after which designs must follow it, and once we reach that statement we should stop reading if designed before that date, and select the edition in force at the time of design, however this would mean carrying all editions and amendments of the wiring regulations, which we clearly can't do, so in real terms we may give reference to wiring regulations to support what we say, but we are not actually seeing if the installation complies with regulations, we are looking for dangerous and potentially dangerous items.

    @plugwash has given the link, and I would say most use that as a guide, even then some will not agree with what it says, to my mind the inadequate provision for socket-outlets is not really a reason to fail an installation, as that could be rather temporary and not exist 10 minutes after the inspection.

    Personally where the premises are used by more than the owner and his family, so the users of the premises may not be of a mental state to under stand dangers be it children or others may use the premises, then the installation should be designed with that in mind, it is all well and good for me to say neither me or my wife will be in danger as we are not daft enough to play with electrics or go around drilling walls etc, but when my son was 14 years old he passed his RAE exam and it was clear to me he would play electrics, so I wanted to protect him, so I installed RCD protection, Wilex-board-with-RCD.jpg however if the property had been rented that option would not have been open to me, only the landlord could have fitted the RCD's, they were not required in the early 90's when they were fitted, but I felt there was a potentially dangerous situation in that my son may play with 230 volt, so I fitted RCD protection.

    So we return to the phrase "potentially dangerous" and I felt back in 1990's it was potentially dangerous, so how can I hand on heart say today RCD protection is not required. However when moving in here, it took 4 months before I had a all RCBO board fitted, the 28 days allowed is not really long enough to get some potentially dangerous items corrected, I have still not replaced the steps around the outside of my house, which can get moss on them, or snow, and also be potentially dangerous, does it really matter if the danger is slippery steps, non child proof gate, or rickety garden shed, in most situations we assess the risk, and decide if it needs improving and when, with my garden steps I can use the set other side of house with a hand rail, so feel not urgent to correct, that is my personal opinion, the same as the EICR is the inspectors personal opinion, and it does not really matter if he does not highlight some potentially dangerous items or if he highlights potentially dangerous items which most would accept, it has his personal opinion.
     
  8. scousespark

    scousespark

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    Eric has wrongly posted the following:

    In other words do the EICR as instructed when taking the C&G 2391 exam, and take no notice to what the new law says. BS7671:2018 as with every other edition before it gives a date after which designs must follow it, and once we reach that statement we should stop reading if designed before that date, and select the edition in force at the time of design, however this would mean carrying all editions and amendments of the wiring regulations, which we clearly can't do, so in real terms we may give reference to wiring regulations to support what we say, but we are not actually seeing if the installation complies with regulations, we are looking for dangerous and potentially dangerous items.

    Read more: https://www.diynot.com/diy/threads/old-style-wired-fuse-box.575973/#ixzz73PXtb6iO


    When we produce an EICR, we inspect and test the installation to determine whether it complies with the edition of BS761 (effective on that day). If we find something which does not comply we determine whether it warrants a code.

    At this point we decide if the non-compliance is
    immediately dangerous (C1 - e.g a broken socket)
    potentially dangerous (C2 - e.g no earth in lighting circuit with a metal light switch)
    improvement recommended (C3 - e.g no RCD in a lighting circuit)

    If none of the above apply, nothing is recorded on the EICR.

    It is irrelevant that the circuits identified for C2 or C3 may have been compliant with BS7671 when they were installed.

    From an electrician's perspective absolutely nothing changed when the landlord requirements changed. We provide an EICR, in the same way we provide one for any installation
     
  9. ericmark

    ericmark

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    I would agree with that, it would seem I have not made myself clear, the main point you make which I didn't is you only look for C1, C2 or C3 if it does not comply, if it complies even if you think it is potentially dangerous you do not list it, can't really think of a case where one would say it is potentially dangerous but complies with BS7671?
     
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  11. motorbiking

    motorbiking

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    It’s a p** takers charter. The landlord is under a legal obligation to fix the problem, using a qualified person within 28 days of the fault report. Guaranteed business for the inspector who faults the installation. As the landlord has very little time to go elsewhere.

    I wonder how many cars would fail an MOT if the same applied.
     
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  12. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    I feel sure that's what all, or virtually all, of people undertaking EICRs 'properly' would probably say, but ....
    Virtually everything to do with 230V electricity is "potentially dangerous", so it comes down to an individual, subjective and somewhat arbitrary judgement as to where the line is drawn (i.e. what is "significantly potentially dangerous enough' to be regarded as "potentially dangerous") - and that theoretically leaves scope for some people to regard something as potentially dangerous even if it is compliant with the current BS7671.

    To pull one thought out of the air, some people may regard 'unnecessarily earthing/bonding something' (something which would otherwise be electrically 'floating') is "potentially dangerous", since it undeniably theoretically increases the risk of electric shock, but I don't think you'll find anything about doping that which is non-compliant with BS7671.

    I'm not sure what a conscientious EICR inspector is meant to do in a situation in which they personally and sincerely regard something as "potentially dangerous", even though there is no non-compliance with BS7671. In practice, I presume that (as you have said) most would not mention something that was compliant, but it seems a little odd if that goes against their personal judgement and conscience.

    Kind Regards, John
     
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  13. ericmark

    ericmark

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    I agree with @motorbiking and @JohnW2 it is a crazy law. Personally I feel like @JohnW2 earthing is a rather open question, the idea of having diodes in the earth seems wrong, but a standard practice with narrow boats, and having the earth on a contractor so it can be disconnected after the line and neutral should the voltage not be between 207 and 253 also seems wrong, as does the whole idea of a TN-C-S supply where it is used outdoors.

    With the exception of 701.415.2 where it says
    there is no requirement for RCD protection if it was not required when the installation was designed. The testing of the bonding by plumbers has been dropped with the use of plastic pipes, however to isolate with a plastic pipe does need around one foot, use of plastic elbows and joints with copper pipes where the separation is less than ¼ inch is suspect.

    However we have the question about what to do when a manufacturer stipulates the use of a RCD, I said in one post there was no requirement for central heating to have all items supplied from the same circuit, and I was told I was incorrect, and this Worcester Power.jpg Worcester Bosch extract was posted with 3 more to show I was wrong, the poster did not seem to understand the difference between same supply and same circuit, however the next statement was a surprise to me. "Type A RCD's Type A.jpg must be employed where additional protection is required." This clearly refers to where in the 2008 edition of BS7671 "Chapter 41 now requires that for the protective measure of automatic disconnection of supply for an a.c system, additional protection by means of an RCD with a rated residual operating current (I∆n) not exceeding 30 mA and an operating time not exceeding 40 ms at a residual current of 5 I∆n be provided for socket-outlet with a rated current not exceeding 20 A that are for use by ordinary persons and are intended for general use, and for mobile equipment with a current rating not exceeding 32 A for use outdoors."

    The "where additional protection is required" is a good get out, as the inspector/installer is left to decide is additional protection required? However other items also in the manufacturers instructions state RCD protection is required, electric showers for example. Also many items designed to be used outside, back at the turn of the centenary every time you bought a lawn mower or strimmer the shop would try and sell you a plug in RCD at the same time, I know the EN number may not comply, but with a plug in RCD for out side items it is not real difference in risk as built in RCD, and as an inspector to say if fails because the RCD could be removed without the use of key or tool does not really stand up.

    So if there is an amply supply of plug in RCD's then only looking at danger when drilling a wall, and should a tenant drill the wall with a rented property?

    But we do have the question about solar panels and EV charging, this has moved the gaol posts, we are not only looking if RCD protected but also the type, my house in error has all type AC Type AC.jpg no type A Type A.jpg . And as far as type B goes you can't get a single module width RCBO type B. All well and good for a EV charging point to say
    do you really think the packaging will be left for an EICR inspector to read?

    The same applies to auto disconnection if the voltage is not in the 207 to 253 volt limits. I know at work the EV charging points use a TT supply, even when main building is a TN-C-S, but the RCD and all the other protection and metering gear is housed inside the pod, so unless told I could not find out as the Pod is securely locked, so would this be a code FI or code LIM? I can't say I have tested when I haven't.

    Yes I know I am leaving the whole question as to if you can still use an old style wired fuse box, but I am pointing out the inspectors job is not easy, be is wrong either way in some peoples eyes. However big question, if an inspector said to himself, I am not using code C2, it will be either code C1 or code C3 could anyone say he was wrong? upload_2021-8-14_8-8-1.png So if that is given a code C3 instead of the ESC best practice guide recommended Code C2 has the inspector really done anything wrong? He has identified a fault, and he has recommended that it is corrected, all he has not done is used a code which means the owner only has 28 days.

    When I moved to this house I had an old Wylex fuse box, it took me 4 months to swap if for a metal all RCBO consumer unit with SPD. I think that was a reasonable time scale, if the time scale is unreasonable, what is the landlord expected to do, evict the tenants until fixed?
     
  14. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    We've done this one to death in the past. If something was compliant with regs when designed/installed, but not with current regs, then there is no retrospective requirement to update it to comply with those current regs (but opinions vary as to how much one can do to the circuit concerned before invoking the need for the entire circuit to be compliant with current regs). However, as far as an EICR is concerned, something non-compliant with current regs should be reported (and coded) if, in the opinion of the inspector, it warrants at least a C3 coding - and that remains the case regardless of whether or not it was 'compliant when installed'.
    Again, we've done this one to death. The 18th ed. of BS7671 requires only that one should 'take account of' manufacturer's instructions. If one has a convincing argument as to why an RCD is not required (whilst maintaining compliance with BS7671), then one can 'ignore' any 'reuirement' specified in the MIs.

    Kind Regards, John
     
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  15. ericmark

    ericmark

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    I don't think there is any argument in giving lack of RCD code C3, yes in theory would not comply with current regulations if designed today was code 4 which was removed from the coding and we have to add C to show new not old coding system, so technically we should not be coding simply because it does not comply with BS7671 of any edition. But in real terms we have to use some standard.

    So there is little or no argument as when to use code C1, and all other faults etc, can be coded C3, so the question is only about code C2, rather than C3.
     
  16. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    We've been through this, too. Once the inspector has decided that a non-conformity with (current) BS7671 warrants "at least a C3", as things are it is then totally down to his/her judgement as to whether it should be C3, C2 or even C1.

    As you say, if he/she does not consider that it requires C2 or C1 then, if it's a non-conformity, that makes it a C3 (unless the inspector feels that, despite being non-conformant with current regs, it doesn't even warrant 'recommending improvement' (a 'missing label', perhaps?) - in which case there would be no code at all).

    Kind Regards, John
     
  17. SUNRAY

    SUNRAY

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    The troule with that is if something goes wrong the manufacturer has every right to say 'Not installed to our specification' and deny responsibility. Regardless of BS7671 MI's are there for a reason, right or wrong.

    Awaiting winnies 16A FCU pic?
     
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