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Discuss LOSING MONEY WHEN WALKING AWAY FROM BAD JOBS in the Electrical Forum area at ElectriciansForums.net

Happychappy

Active EF Member
Hi everyone.

I'm an electrician in Leeds and i'd really appreciate your view on walking away from jobs when the existing install is not right.

For instance I had two days booked in for a CU change and rewiring of some spotlights. I always start a CU change by doing a condition report first on all circuit attached. Within 10 minutes of testing I knew I was going to have a bad day! The kitchen lights were wired to the 32A upstairs socket circuit and no fused spur protecting the smaller cable, I had a neutral to earth fault on the lighting circuit, there were multiple DIY alterations, there were multiple spurs taken off the ring without being fused down and the list went on!!

At this point I advised the customer there were multiple issues and I would be unable to fit the consumer or rewire the spotlights.

I advised the customer that the property needs rewiring, to which I got the standard response of 'well it works so I will just leave it as it is'.

This was yesterday and I am now sat at home today with losing a day and a half's pay with only being able to charge for the condition report.

This for me is happening way too often with not being able to carry out planned works due to the poor existing install.

I would really appreciate knowing how everyone else deals with these situations? Do you do the same as me and walk away meaning you are constantly loosing money or do you just do the work and leave the customer with a dangerous situation report or something to that affect?

Would love to hear you thoughts and opinions on this please.
 
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Electric Magic

Electrician's Arms
With a CU change I usually try and do the pre-work testing/EICR at least a few days before I change the CU, that way if any issues come up and the customer doesn't want to proceed with the necessary remedial work I have time to book some other work in/move jobs about. Also, regardless of whether I think a rewire is the best option, I also provide a detailed written explanation of any C2s and FIs and price up the cost of doing the remedials and present that to the customer as well (its an extra hour of work but it helps build trust with the customer as they are less likely to think I'm just trying to make money).
 

SWD

Gender neutral
Electrician's Arms
Reword the contract to cover all eventualities.

You can do the work and in 99% of the time it will be fine but it's that 1% that can get you 5 years in prison.
 

Happychappy

Active EF Member
With a CU change I usually try and do the pre-work testing/EICR at least a few days before I change the CU, that way if any issues come up and the customer doesn't want to proceed with the necessary remedial work I have time to book some other work in/move jobs about. Also, regardless of whether I think a rewire is the best option, I also provide a detailed written explanation of any C2s and FIs and price up the cost of doing the remedials and present that to the customer as well (its an extra hour of work but it helps build trust with the customer as they are less likely to think I'm just trying to make money).
Thanks for the reply. I think I'm definitely going to start booking in the condition report well before the consumer unit for this reason.

May I ask you what do you do personally in other situations like if you were to install spotlights in a room but you come across a fault on the circuit. Would you do the work and leave a dangerous situation report or would you tell the customer that the work could not be done until the fault is rectified?
 

Happychappy

Active EF Member
Reword the contract to cover all eventualities.

You can do the work and in 99% of the time it will be fine but it's that 1% that can get you 5 years in prison.

Thank you for your response. What do you personally do in these situations? Do you do the work and give a dangerous situation report or do you walk away losing money?
 

SWD

Gender neutral
Electrician's Arms
Thank you for your response. What do you personally do in these situations? Do you do the work and give a dangerous situation report or do you walk away losing money?
I can't answer that question as I left the game many a year ago and went in to IT, I learnt one thing that when you work for yourself always have a contract, contract law trumps everything as it is an agreement between two parties.
 

SWD

Gender neutral
Electrician's Arms
Thank you for your response. What do you personally do in these situations? Do you do the work and give a dangerous situation report or do you walk away losing money?
Also you have your standards, better to lose money then to compromise, the customer will just get a 5WW Eastern European to do the work as he is cheap, when his family dies in a burning house at least your conscience will be clear.
 

peterhyper

Regular EF Member
There are some situations where I have covered my rear and for instance where a 32 amp ring spur is feeding more than one socket I put a 16amp mcb in instead of a 32amp and made the customer aware verbally and via email/in writing what I have done and what it requires to be corrected and a 32amp mcb fitted, so the job still gets done and you get paid and you have left it safe.

I appreciate that this isn't always possible though, and some will disagree but I can live with it
 

Electric Magic

Electrician's Arms
Thanks for the reply. I think I'm definitely going to start booking in the condition report well before the consumer unit for this reason.

May I ask you what do you do personally in other situations like if you were to install spotlights in a room but you come across a fault on the circuit. Would you do the work and leave a dangerous situation report or would you tell the customer that the work could not be done until the fault is rectified?
If it was a fault (rather then say a socket in the same circuit that's in a bathroom or too near a kitchen sink for example) I'd address the fault. If it was easy to determine that it would likely only take a couple of minutes to find I'd find it before raising it with the customer (unless it involved me going into areas of the property the customer wouldn't expect me to be in). If it was something simple that I could sort in a couple of minutes I'd just do it and get on with the job. I then tell the customer after completing the job that I'd found and resolved the aforementioned issue for them and won't be charging them for it - 10 minutes for free is worth a good opinion as people tell other people when they get stuff for free. If it's the sort of fault that often takes longer to find I stop and talk to the customer at that point. My terms and conditions make it clear that my quotes assume the circuits worked on are in suitable condition and any work necessary to make them safe will be at additional cost. I also usually add a line in the quote email reminding them of that but reassuring them they I'll discuss any such work with them before proceeding.
 

peterhyper

Regular EF Member
Thanks for the reply. I think I'm definitely going to start booking in the condition report well before the consumer unit for this reason.

May I ask you what do you do personally in other situations like if you were to install spotlights in a room but you come across a fault on the circuit. Would you do the work and leave a dangerous situation report or would you tell the customer that the work could not be done until the fault is rectified?
Not quite sure of the type of fault you are referring to, but if for instance a customer wants their old 12 volt downlights replaced with mains led downlights I make them aware that if CPCs aren't present on the downlights or some of them I will resolve it if it's straightforward or if not then I will only fit integrated fire rated downlights that don't require a cpc. I bring both types of downlights to the job so I am prepared.

Again some people might not agree with me, but in the above example (if there aren't CPCs), I am fitting fire rated downlights that don't require a CPC, plus most of the old 12 volt downlights aren't fire rated, and usually the connections are in terminal connectors that aren't enclosed, so I correct these.

My view is that I'm not adding to the circuit, just replacing what was there and leaving it safer than when I arrived.
 

Happychappy

Active EF Member
There are some situations where I have covered my rear and for instance where a 32 amp ring spur is feeding more than one socket I put a 16amp mcb in instead of a 32amp and made the customer aware verbally and via email/in writing what I have done and what it requires to be corrected and a 32amp mcb fitted, so the job still gets done and you get paid and you have left it safe.

I appreciate that this isn't always possible though, and some will disagree but I can live with it

If it has
Not quite sure of the type of fault you are referring to, but if for instance a customer wants their old 12 volt downlights replaced with mains led downlights I make them aware that if CPCs aren't present on the downlights or some of them I will resolve it if it's straightforward or if not then I will only fit integrated fire rated downlights that don't require a cpc. I bring both types of downlights to the job so I am prepared.

Again some people might not agree with me, but my view in the above example (if there aren't CPCs), I am fitting fire rated downlights that don't require a CPC, plus most of the old 12 volt downlights aren't fire rated, and usually the connections are in terminal connectors that aren't enclosed, so I correct these.

My view is that I'm not adding to the circuit, just replacing what was there and leaving it safer than when I arrived.
Thank you for your reply.

My question is more, if you can't resolve the fault then and there would you do the work and supply a dangerous situation report or would you just walk away?
 

peterhyper

Regular EF Member
If it has


Thank you for your reply.

My question is more, if you can't resolve the fault then and there would you do the work and supply a dangerous situation report or would you just walk away?
I would walk away and often do.

I probably turn more work down than some sparks would, an example was a customer in a mid terraced house that wanted extra sockets fitted, but she had no RCD protection on any circuits, undersized tails, undersized main earth conductor and no water or gas bond. She was happy to pay for a new consumer unit and the other bits to be sorted, but she had spent a fortune on ceramic floor tiles throughout the ground floor and no way was she having the 10mm water bond run in trunking along the skirting board or clipped to it etc, so I called the NICEIC and explained the situation and that I would be making the existing installation so much safer than it was and I would highlight that the customer refused the water bond to be installed so covering my arse, but the answer was an absolute no it can't be done unless the water was bonded.

I didn't do the job, but I do find it bizarre that I would have made things considerable safer for the customer doing everything but the water bond, but I couldn't do any of it.
 

Happychappy

Active EF Member
I would walk away and often do.

I probably turn more work down than some sparks would, an example was a customer in a mid terraced house that wanted extra sockets fitted, but she had no RCD protection on any circuits, undersized tails, undersized main earth conductor and no water or gas bond. She was happy to pay for a new consumer unit and the other bits to be sorted, but she had spent a fortune on ceramic floor tiles throughout the ground floor and no way was she having the 10mm water bond run in trunking along the skirting board or clipped to it etc, so I called the NICEIC and explained the situation and that I would be making the existing installation so much safer than it was and I would highlight that the customer refused the water bond to be installed so covering my arse, but the answer was an absolute no it can't be done unless the water was bonded.

I didn't do the job, but I do find it bizarre that I would have made things considerable safer for the customer doing everything but the water bond, but I couldn't do any of it.

I couldn't agree with you more. It's so frustrating that you can't install a consumer unit if the existing installation isn't safe or doesn't comply to regs. There is no argument that you would be making it safer than it is by installing RCD protection. I've been in many positions where the customer just can't afford remedial works or a rewire so I can't fit a consumer unit. They are left living with the dangerous installation with no RCD protection on top. I honestly believe this needs to change.
 

Murdoch

Electrician's Arms
I have this on ALL my CU changes and big quotes:

"NB: If problems are detucted during the fuseboard change additional work may be required. Such issues and associated costs will be discussed with you, prior to being implanted"

Never had the clause challenged, nor had any issues when additional work is required.
 

Risteard

Respected Member
I would walk away and often do.

I probably turn more work down than some sparks would, an example was a customer in a mid terraced house that wanted extra sockets fitted, but she had no RCD protection on any circuits, undersized tails, undersized main earth conductor and no water or gas bond. She was happy to pay for a new consumer unit and the other bits to be sorted, but she had spent a fortune on ceramic floor tiles throughout the ground floor and no way was she having the 10mm water bond run in trunking along the skirting board or clipped to it etc, so I called the NICEIC and explained the situation and that I would be making the existing installation so much safer than it was and I would highlight that the customer refused the water bond to be installed so covering my arse, but the answer was an absolute no it can't be done unless the water was bonded.

I didn't do the job, but I do find it bizarre that I would have made things considerable safer for the customer doing everything but the water bond, but I couldn't do any of it.
It's all well and good believing that you are making it safer, but the reality is that Earthing and bonding are critical to the correct and safe operation of any ADS system.
 

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