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Work not to regs? (by NICEIC member)

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by Skyhigh, 29 Sep 2020.

  1. Skyhigh

    Skyhigh

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    Any views would be greatly appreciated on this one!

    We had our garage converted in Nov 2014 to a room to use as a study.
    We used a contractor who arranged everything and all the trades.

    Today, I had an electrician replace some outdoor sockets and a run of SWA that feeds them.
    He wanted to know more about our wiring, so he could test and cert correctly - all good.

    But when I dug out some pictures I took in 2014 of the work on our conversion, he raised some concerns about the work done to move our consumer.

    Consumer in the garage was moved by a NICEIC registered installer, into the corner of the room.

    His concerns were:

    1) Mains tail is over 3m long with no mitigation (e.g. armoured cable, etc).
    It's about 4 to 4.5m long I'd measure it out as.

    2) Cables run along the wall, not in any 'zone'.
    (they ARE parallel to the new consumer, but I have no idea if the consumer itself creates any "zones". I've only seen examples of sockets).

    3) The box used to joint the cables to extend to the new consumer is also out of a 'zone' as it's below 150mm of the "new ceiling" (due to it being studded and boarded so the wall is flat to the ceiling in the image). Although he thought maybe the electric meter would create a qualifying 'zone' above it - as the box sits above the meter box.

    4) Not regs apparently, but it's good to have access to things such as the joint/connection box they've put in.


    I dug out the NICEIC cert the contractor sent us, and I've noticed there's nothing on there that specifically lists moving the consumer and testing. Only adding the sockets and lights. I have no idea if you'd test a consumer after moving though. I'm no electrician!


    As I said, views would be appreciated.

    I trust the guy today - he seemed very thorough, but at the same time, I don't want to cause a fuss with our original contractor IF there's actually no issue against the Regs.


    Cheers :)
     

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  3. winston1

    winston1

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    The safe zones only apply to buried cables that you can’t see.
     
  4. chivers67

    chivers67

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    I'd expect more Test results on that Certificate and more details about what has been connected in terms of Circuit type & conductor sizes. There's no reason to just leave them blank just because they didn't test them - effectively everything that's been reconnected is a new circuit. for peace of mind if that was me doing the board move i'd like at least a ZS (Earth Fault Loop Impedance) measurement of everything I reconnected. What was the main need to move the consumer unit?
     
  5. DetlefSchmitz

    DetlefSchmitz

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    You need to look at the second picture...
     
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  6. Skyhigh

    Skyhigh

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    Mostly visual and convenience.

    Although we use the room as a study, when we sell in the future, someone might want to use it as a play room or another sitting room.

    In the corner of the room is the boiler, which the contractor recommended simply building a small full height cupboard to hide it and provide storage. He recommended we move the consumer into their as it's still easily accessible.

    (Images attached for reference)
     

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  7. Lectrician

    Lectrician

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    The cables look to be behind a stud wall, far deeper than 2 inches, except perhaps around the pillar? Cables deeper than 2 inches do not need to be in prescribed zones.
     
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  8. chivers67

    chivers67

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    True, nice height for a picture hook. Whether someone drilling a hole to put anything up would be hitting the cables would be debatable, they all look quite twisted in those before shots. I'd prefer mechanical protection for that amount of cabling just to be on the safe side - especially for the Tails.
     
  9. sparkwright

    sparkwright

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    The length of tails - usually over 3 metres should warrant a switch fuse unit at the meter position. I think under some circumstances 5 metres can be allowed - but I cannot for the life of me remember why that MAY be the case.

    If the tails and cables are horizontally in line with the consumer unit, then no major issue.

    Cables ok 2 or more inches behind plasterboard.

    Not ideal where the tails go over the pillar, meaning tails are immediately behind plasterboard, but probably acceptable. Lets hope some earthed mechanical protection was fitted here. Of course it wasn't.

    Junction box likely to be more than 2 inches from plasterboard finish, so no major problem.

    Probably screw connections used, but there you go.

    No major concerns here for me, could have been worse, I think new electrician may be a bit critical, nothing wrong with that, but no need to cause a load of fuss in my humble opinion.

    Send a pic of inside meter cupboard.
     
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  11. Skyhigh

    Skyhigh

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    Thanks guys, it's really appreciated!

    I looked over all the photos of the build and did some comparative measuring - I'm pretty sure the plasterboard is only just in front of the pillar/pier - so the cables will be direct under the board (not 2 inches). But as for the rest of the run, they'll be a good 4-6+ inches away from the board.

    (Annoyingly, I don't have a photo of the stud before the plasterboard goes on!)


    I'll grab a photo of the inside of the meter box tomorrow - but I'm pretty sure there's nothing else in there apart from the meter itself.
     
  12. ericmark

    ericmark

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    I will guess I have some thing similar, the garage was converted to a granny flat, and cables change colours on cores so clearly hidden joints. I have not a clue what is behind the plaster board, other than a new build few houses comply with current regulations, but are not potentially dangerous.

    But the problem is to prove that the electrician doing the work was aware of what would be covered up. I was unfortunate enough to hit a horizontal cable in my old house, as shown in your picture there was a pillar, which actually came into the room more than yours, so the cable went around 4 corners, I had expected the cable to have been routed through the ceiling.

    So technically I would say image 1.jpg is not permitted as the pillar means it goes around 4 corners if covered by plaster board, but as shown nothing wrong as visible, I have never really considered who needs to add protection when a bare wall is covered.

    The zones [​IMG] show the socket zone does not follow around the bit jutting into the room, so all cables should have been within 150 mm from ceiling or the plaster board would need to be set so there is no column, but the major two questions are how to correct, and who pays?

    Was the work under LABC? It seems it should have been, and they should have spotted the error, however if not under LABC then there is a problem saying the tradesmen got it wrong when there was no change in use, under contract law your not permitted to contract some one to do some thing illegal, so if I pay some one to shoot my neighbour and he fails to do it, I can't take him to court for not doing it.

    So if the LABC was not informed, your stuck, nothing you can do. But if they were informed then it is not only an error on the electricians and plasterers part, it is also down to LABC inspector to have flagged up the error. Likely the LABC will try to wangle out of it, but in real terms it is up to them to sort it all out, it was their error for not spotting it. That is assuming it has been plastered over.
     
  13. Skyhigh

    Skyhigh

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    As far as I know we did everything by the book, we allowed to the local authority, got an approved building notice and had an inspector come out multiple times to check the work and then finally sign it off. Both the contractor and inspector took photos too.

    The wall was studded and plastered over, it's a normal useable room just like any other now, most people don't realise it used to be a garage.
     
  14. Skyhigh

    Skyhigh

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    Attached!

    For reference, the black cable is an SWA for outdoor sockets that the house already had (the sockets I had replaced).
    The cable just makes use of the hole to enter the property. But if I'd not have done it that way...
     

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  15. ericmark

    ericmark

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    It seems the LABC inspector has made an error, as well as the electrician and plasterer, as to where next not so sure.

    I also did everything by the book with mothers house, and when I came to sell it could not find the paperwork, assuming mother had binned it, I applied to council for a replacement, and was told it would take 4 months and I would have to pay by the hour for them to locate it. OK this was 2004 not 2014 but I thought the whole idea was a traceable record. However I did find my paperwork in the end.

    Where the LABC failed to notice the houses were built 4 foot lower than on the plans in Ruthin it ended up with a huge court case and I never did find out the result where the LABC said the builder had made an error, which clearly he had, but builder said we paid good money for you to inspect, you should have seen our error and alerted us to our mistake when first house built, not when whole estate finished and a blocked culvert caused them all to be flooded. Council clearly did not simply say sorry our fault.

    So what next? I would be going to see citizens advice normally, however not even sure if that is still running with Colvid19 may be easier to contact the scheme provider.

    So to recap as I see it, seems very likely the installation does not comply, and in theory you should claim off the original electricians and they would need to pay to correct the error. But I also realise 6 years after completed that is unlikely to happen, they will likely say LABC passed it, why are you telling us now.

    So for moment wait and see what rest of team thinks, two main questions is am I correct in saying it does not comply, and if I am correct what should you do?
     
  16. AndyPRK

    AndyPRK

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    well that meter cupboard pic isn't good.

    T&E used 10mm? without a switch fuse, connected to what could have a 100A fuse fitted.
    Poorly terminated.
     
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  17. Skyhigh

    Skyhigh

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    Sorry, I'm not clear on this - do you mean that it's badly terminated because due to the position and length of the mains tail, there should be a switch fuse here so there's a mechanical form of protection?
    (Something like the attached, which I just found online as an example, so the MCB is switched)

    Or is it a general comment on the cupboard, unrelated... And another problem...?


    Screenshot_20200930-163107.jpg
     
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