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Discuss Domestic inspection and testing what is required? England-Wales in the Electrical Testing & PAT Testing Forum area at ElectriciansForums.net

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When I bought my house we had it inspected before buying to highlight faults, so the inspection and testing done by RICS Chartered Surveyor and the report made. This clearly covered more than the electrics, but it did refer to the electrical installation so included a type of electrical installation condition report but not very deep, it was to be frank useless, they missed things and got things wrong, and it cost a lot to rectify faults, but that is beside the point, I have a certificate which is more to the point.

So for rental properties we now have an electrical MOT, which is no bad thing, however unlike a car MOT I can't find a book or guide to say what is pass and what is fail, and who can do the testing, words like competent, mean nothing, as a RICS Chartered Surveyor the guy should not do an electrical report unless competent to do it, in fact no one should charge for work done for which they are no competent to do, in theory passing my radio amateurs exam shows a level of competency, but this is the point there is no magic point where an apprentice becomes a tradesman, it use to take 7 years, and slowly it has been reduced.

So as a landlord what would stop me walking around with a cheap plug in tester and checking each socket works and has right polarity, pressing the RCD test button, writing down the results, signing it and claiming that is an EICR.

OK may be should not say me, as I do have a C&G 2391 and a degree in electrical and electronic engineering, but my point is even passing a science 'O' level could be claimed as training.

I think most use forms based on the IET forms, but based on, not exact copies, some with more and some with less things to test, so for example, if a lump of plastic is found shoved into a socket outlet not to BS 1363, then should we recommend the socket is changed due to contacts possibly stained by using non BS 1363 items in them? (were sold on pretence of stopping children) which I would see as OTT. Or ignoring lighting pre-1966 with no earth even when owners have had 54 years to upgrade it. I note the electrical safety council say if labels used to warn and of course it dates from before 1966 it is still not a unsatisfactory result, so we would need to have each copy of wiring regulations to see if things were permitted when installed.

Which is daft, so we note all not complying with current BS 7671 and give a professional opinion as to if satisfactory using the electrical safety council guidance notes as a bench mark, but it is our opinion not cut and dried like a car MOT.

So big question who can do a report, and what is pass or fail? OK exposed live parts are fail, but BS 7671 uses the IP rating, so 1 mm wire at one newton pressure can't remember the length must not penetrate housing from the top, I have seen 100's of fuse boxes where the cables go in from the top which would fail, but fact that there is nothing above the fuse box so nothing could fall in, means in real terms no danger.

So it is not always blind following regulations, but also some common sense, but law is not always common sense, the finding of non compliant and listing easy, deciding what the law will allow is some thing else.
 
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snowhead

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Mentor
Chartered surveyors normally recommend a full electrical inspection by a suitably qualified person they certainly don't do them and issue the appropriate certificate.

They may make make a general observation about the condition.
 

Lister1987

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Trainee
Supporter
Advent Win
The standards and readings that are deemed "to standard" will all be found in a 18th edition copy of BS7671. Currently buildings need only conform to standards that were current at the time of its planning.

The contents of an EICR is a mixture of numeric perimeters and textual detail, again what seems pass/fail is detailed in BS7671, while something can be said for blindly following the regulations ultimately it is down to the inspecting individual to make judgement calls as to whether things get a C1, C2,C3,FI or no code (because nothing is contravened).

NAPIT produced EICR Codebreakers with a view to getting some uniformity on how things get coded bit it is advisory and nothing more.

Best practice would be to get Installations to 18th edition standards but it's not mandatory (standards in force at time of construction).

However it is coded, it would be the inspecting party with thier danglies in a vice if something went wrong and possibly the landlord too for not checking thoroughly that the person was competent enough for the job, obviously there are plenty CPS members put there that, even with CPS membership shouldn't be wiring a plug, let alone a house but that's for another time.
 
It's a common misconception that if you employ the services of a RICS surveyor you'll be getting a 'Grade A' survey. Having bought and sold many properties over the years, the most thorough and accurate survey I ever saw was from a guy that didn't have any certificates to his name.

Similarly, if you have an EICR, EIC or MWC in your hand it means very very little per se. It only really becomes of value if you wish to pursue some sort of legal action... and rule #1 when it comes to the law... is don't get involved with it.

You mention car MOTs... which are of course 'Certificates of Roadworthiness'... although they aren't. As soon as you drive your car out if the MOT station, you can immediately be prosecuted for having an unroadworthy vehicle. It just happens to be law that you have to have one in date.
 
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  • #5
I see your point, it is let the courts decide, but as you say, BS7671 states very early on in the document it is not law, but can be used in a court of law.

So if I also had a home in Germany I could wire the house to German regulations, well at least I could have done until we left the EU, and the German sockets don't comply with British BS7671 regulations, but the do comply with what is required for Part P.

However I have a problem with German regulations, I can't read German, so I have to use knowledge gained years ago when working for a Dutch company and hope I am getting it right, but at that time we did not have RCD protection (1980 - 1982) and I know in Germany the RCD was a requirement well before it was in the UK.

So some times we walk into a house and are met with some thing unusual, and before having an EICR was law we could simply list our findings, and we could recommend, we did not have to write satisfactory, we simply listed what we had found.

The code system was intended to make it easy for Joe public, originally 1 to 4 and we had a code for does not comply with current regulations, this I thought was good, as it showed where update was required before the circuit could be altered, now we have only three the non compliant code has gone.

C1 is great ‘Danger present’. Risk of injury. Immediate remedial action required.
C2 ‘Potentially dangerous’. Urgent remedial action required. to me does not make sense, if urgent remedial action is required then it is dangerous, but it seems absence of a reliable and effective means of earthing for the installation is only potentially dangerous and I can see some reasoning in that.
But absence of a notice warning that lighting circuits have no circuit protective conductor is hardly in the same league.
C3 ‘Improvement recommended’ again not cut and dried, I would always recommend RCD protection and unless a high rise flat any socket could be used for a supply to outside.

However what the home owner needs is advice on items not obvious, caravan supplied with a system that could result in two earths with different potential, EV supplies from at type AC RCD, and "Immersion heater does not comply with BS EN 60335-2-73 (that is, it does not have a built-in cut-out that will operate if the stored water temperature reaches 98 °C if the thermostat fails), and the cold water storage tank is plastic." has a major word missing. "Thermo" with thermoplastic tanks yes there is a problem, but with thermal setting tanks there is not, in fact where solid fuel heating is used, the non resettable cut-out is a problem as the back boiler can cause them to fail when there is nothing wrong with the electrical system.

The picture of the "A potentially overloaded socket-outlet." to my mind is beyond my remit, and the whole idea of a fuse is to stop overload. OK we would tell some one that's not a very good idea, but to write on a report some thing which could be unplugged by time the report is presented, is a bit daft.

But if the law is requiring an EICR then what ever the law says should be included in the report has to be done, but can't see what is included, it seems to be all about who gets a copy, not what is tested and what is considered as dangerous.
 

Lister1987

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Trainee
Supporter
Advent Win
I see your point, it is let the courts decide, but as you say, BS7671 states very early on in the document it is not law, but can be used in a court of law.

But if the law is requiring an EICR then what ever the law says should be included in the report has to be done, but can't see what is included, it seems to be all about who gets a copy, not what is tested and what is considered as dangerous.
It is a non-statutory instrument as you say but we can't forget EAWR as that IS law under HASAWA and the argument to be made is that the client site becomes your 'workplace' the moment you set foot in the door

Forgive me but I'm struggling with your last paragraph, an EICR schedule of testing lists what is tested and BS7671 explains what is acceptable ,what is not and crucial what tests need to be done and results recorded.

There is nothing stopping a spark doing extra testing an adding it onto the EICR as observations, nor is there anything to stop the customer requesting additional testing in the scope of works agreed so I fail to see the validity of the "all about who gets a copy not what is tested and hat is dangerous" What am I missing here?
 
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  • #7
Sorry new rules England and Wales, Scotland has had them for a few years. In Scotland the person doing the testing has to have resent training so one would assume the collages in Scotland are telling testers exactly what needs testing, so not worried about Scotland, but new rules for rented property England and Wales both go quite deep as to who needs copies and how fast one needs to provide them, but nothing about what needs testing.

In a commercial premises, and rented property is commercial, it is common to do testing in sections, and also do different levels, so each morning first job was a walk around inspection or factory, and once a week same with offices, however no one but the three electricians could work on electrical equipment, it was not permitted, so there was no need to remove socket fronts after done once, as we now knew they were OK and if removed there would be a minor works raised. We had a list of all sockets, and the earth loop impedance, so plug in meter, press the button, and if no change in reading then clearly nothing changed, if it had changed looking for spiders or rodent damage.

So assuming the tenant is not permitted to fiddle, there is no need to remove items every 5 years for inspection, in the offices we selected a socket either end of radial or centre of ring and a small sticker marked it as test point, there was a upgrade renewal program and we did have some parts ear marked for work.

I would expect any house rented out to have documents, (photographs) showing the state of the whole house, and once a year some one would inspect and do some minimal testing to ensure no changes, this is hardly a full EICR there is no need once first one done, the test is to detect some thing altered, be it human or animal or plants that have caused the alteration, rust on the CU, to the extent where it is dangerous will be well behind when it becomes unsightly, poor pin contact in a socket will discolour the socket, and likely show lower loop impedance.

The previous EICR is to be shown to an electrician doing the next, only that way can a trend be seen, I can see a problem when a different electrician does the next test, but it is in the owners interest not to change person testing, so tests are reduced.

But there is nothing in the new law to say this can or can't be done, is a walk through inspection where is can be seen no changes and doing a RCD and loop impedance test to record changes enough?
 
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