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Hello folks

I'm after some advice with my domestic property control box. I'm not an electrician, I'd kill myself wiring a plug, so I called in the professionals who on entry to my house stated my control panel was obsolete and wouldn't be safe to keep, (it's 12 years old). Normal looking panel with about 16 switches. Never had a problem with the panel or the electrics, just wanted it testing. They quoted me £500 + VAT for a new control panel. So my question is, does this sound right to you guys? Thanks for any thoughts.
 

ferg

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There are some occasions where changing the fuse board is the best way forward. Especially if you are having significant electrical works done.

If you could give us a bit more info on why they were there in the first place and a couple of pictures of your fuse board.
 

Ian1981

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Posting a picture may help but if it’s really only 12 years old so 2007 (16th edition wiring regulations)then I wouldn’t necessarily say it requires changing at all.
Maybe non compliant to today’s regulations but not unsafe
 
Posting a picture may help but if it’s really only 12 years old then I wouldn’t necessarily say it requires changing at all
I have heard quite a few stories of electricians telling home holders they need a brand new consumer unit simply because their old one is plastic.
Some of these a 17th
Ed dual boards less than 5 years old
 

Ian1981

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I have heard quite a few stories of electricians telling home holders they need a brand new consumer unit simply because their old one is plastic.
Some of these a 17th
Ed dual boards less than 5 years old
Yeah it’s either massive ignorance on their part of the requirements/regulations or they are out to line their pockets?
 

Ian1981

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More information needed by the OP before anyone can say for sure.

What scope of work were you getting done?
 
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  • #9
There are some occasions where changing the fuse board is the best way forward. Especially if you are having significant electrical works done.
Hi, thanks for replying. No significant electrical works being done, I just wanted to ensure my fuse box / control panel was safe as it hadn't been tested for a number of years. Was told very quickly my current box isn't "compliant" and a new one needed. I'll try and get a picture for you guys.
 
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  • #11
Posting a picture may help but if it’s really only 12 years old so 2007 (16th edition wiring regulations)then I wouldn’t necessarily say it requires changing at all.
Maybe non compliant to today’s regulations but not unsafe
Thanks for your thoughts. Trying to get a photo for you guys.
 

plugsandsparks

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It is unlikely to be compliant to the latest regulations as they only came out this year, the good news is that regulations recognise that it would be rude to make all existing installations suddenly dangerous so they do not mandate that all existing installations are upgraded , in fact, us electricians cannot deem an installation un-satisfactory purely based on the fact that it was installed to a previous edition of said regulations. So it comes down to how an upgrade is sold. If yours is to the 16th Edition regs, then i do believe there are some advantages that the latest regulations gives to the safety of the homeowner. My preferred board for todays regs is a metal consumer unit with individual RCBOS (special breakers).
You will need to ask what board you will get for your £500 as there are many ways to meet the latest regs some better than others.
 
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One thing which may be important. Aparently my current unit is a contactum with no RCD.
 

James

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The reg's aka the bible,
are update regularly to incorporate new technologies and techniques to improve safety on new installations.

testing should be just that, make sure the installation is as safe as it was when it was installed.

when you take your 12 year old car in for an mot, do they tell you its unsafe and you should buy a new one?

after all it no longer incorporates all the latest improvements.
you should upgrade it because it hasn't got

ABS
Seatbelt Tensioners
Collision avoidence
206 airbags
automatic coffee maker
child muting system
for that matter, wife muting system!!

NO, they just make sure its safe.

unfortunately many, many people go out regularly to do condition reports, price it cheap for the report and scare the living ---- out of the poor home owner so they feel they must urgently upgrade their UNSAFE ELECTRICS.

shame on them.
 
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  • #16
Not a great pic but hope it helps. The guy seemed really professional and knowledgable, not saying for a second he was misinforming me, just wanted to get a second opinion if possible. Really appreciate all the replies.ConsumerUnit.jpg
 

mattg4321

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Ideally that does want changing in my opinion.

I'd probably be slightly more than £500 with that amount of circuits so price seems ok. As above though this depends on what is and how it's fitted. You won't get all RCBO's for that money I bet.
 
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  • #22
Ideally that does want changing in my opinion.

I'd probably be slightly more than £500 with that amount of circuits so price seems ok. As above though this depends on what is and how it's fitted. You won't get all RCBO's for that money I bet.
Hi, although the property isn't for rental, never say never so I'd like the unit to be fully compatible and safe into the future. What unit would you suggest or advise to cover all bases. How much above £500 do you think? Any particular units in mind? Thanks.
 
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  • #25
Why are the dates blanked out on the label?
The way I cropped the image cut out the year part on the end so I blanked it out to avoid confusion. The dates show the unit should have been tested again back in 2016 which of course it wasn't and the reason I got the electrician to come and quote me for a full test.
 

telectrix

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i would agree with the sparks. if it were me, i'd probably cut it down to a 13 way board. a dual RCD unit would come in around £500.an all RCBO board would be more like £750. so he' does not seem to be overcharging.
the disadvantage with the dual RCD board is that if 1 RCD trips, you lose half the house circuits, whereas with RCBOs only the faulty circuit would be lost.
personally,i'd go the extra mile for RCBOs, but it's your choice. ask the spark to explain in more detail so you can make an informed decision.
 

davesparks

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testing should be just that, make sure the installation is as safe as it was when it was installed.
An EICR should also highlight non-compliances where an improvement can be made for safety reasons.
An EICR is carried out to the current edition of the wiring regulations, not to a previous version.
 
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  • #30
i would agree with the sparks. if it were me, i'd probably cut it down to a 13 way board. a dual RCD unit would come in around £500.an all RCBO board would be more like £750. so he' does not seem to be overcharging.
the disadvantage with the dual RCD board is that if 1 RCD trips, you lose half the house circuits, whereas with RCBOs only the faulty circuit would be lost.
personally,i'd go the extra mile for RCBOs, but it's your choice. ask the spark to explain in more detail so you can make an informed decision.
Thanks, very helpful, will definitely take your advice and hopefully go the extra mile with RCBO's. Sounds perfect, much appreciated.
 

davesparks

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Did you get a quote for having an the testing done and an EICR (electrical installation condition report) completed?

I would suggest having this done as there may be other areas where the installation could be improved which aren't apparent at first glance.
The lack of RCDs for the age of the installation suggests that it may not have been fully compliant when installed, which suggests to me that other areas of the installation may also have not been compliant.
 
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  • #33
Did you get a quote for having an the testing done and an EICR (electrical installation condition report) completed?

I would suggest having this done as there may be other areas where the installation could be improved which aren't apparent at first glance.
The lack of RCDs for the age of the installation suggests that it may not have been fully compliant when installed, which suggests to me that other areas of the installation may also have not been compliant.
I originally asked for a full PAT test, not sure if that was the right thing to do, for which I was quoted £200 + VAT, however, on insepecting my premises and conincidently to your above comment the electrician did say that he wouldn't be surprised to find other issues based on the current setup. I tried to press him but he obviously said he wouldn't know until full inspection or the new board was being installed. He mentioned that if I didn't want to go ahead with a new board, he could fully test the current one but wouldn't give me a test for longer than 12 months and would note all the issues. Fair play.
 
B

Bobster

So to explain some terminology for you.

A PAT test, is portable appliance testing, to test items you would plug into a socket. (There is a newer acronym for this, but as this doesn't ever fall under my scope of work I don't know it)

An EICR, is an electrical inspection and condition report. This involves testing the fixed wiring within the house. This is the inspection you want before a board change to highlight any potential problems. Some older electricians may still refer to this testing as a PIR or periodic testing.

There's a find a local electrician part on this forum, although I'm not sure if it's up and running since the forum upgrade.

Personally I would recommend an EICR, by a competent electrician. (Anyone quoting less than 150quid is not going to be thorough). Then use these results to see if you want to spend on upgrading the CU or if you wish to wait a while.
 
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  • #35
So to explain some terminology for you.
Thanks. It's so embarrassing coming on to a forum like this and being so totally clueless and showing it for all to see. You guys have been very kind and patient, much appreciated. Feel like I'm actually learning something useful for the future. I'll do as you mention and get the EICR completed.
 
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telectrix

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Thanks. It's so embarrassing coming on to a forum like this and being so totally clueless and showing it for all to see. You guys have been very kind and patient, much appreciated. Feel like I'm actually learning something useful for the future. I'll do as you mention and get the EICR completed.
i don't know what your line of work is, (please tell) but it's 100-1 that i would not have a clue about that. each to his own, i say.
 

Midwest

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Full eicr

New all rcbo board

Looking at about a grand in my area
I don’t normally agree with EICR’s before every CU change, but in this case I don’t see there’s any reason not to. With that many final circuits, for seemingly single sockets or lights, I think the wiring might have been hacked about by someone. I think there might be other problems.
 

Spoon

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With a board this old and then fitting a dual RCD board you may have issues with 'borrowed neutrals'. Testing before changing the CU should give the electrician this info.
 
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  • #39
I don’t normally agree with EICR’s before every CU change, but in this case I don’t see there’s any reason not to. With that many final circuits, for seemingly single sockets or lights, I think the wiring might have been hacked about by someone. I think there might be other problems.
Can't deny I'm getting a little concerned as to what other issues may arise.
 

Paignton pete

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Just because your old board isn’t up to current standards does not mean it is not safe for continued use. It does not have to be changed.
However any decent spark would advice you do change this to include the residual current protection most circuits now require in domestic installations.

Remember the spark should advise, not tell you. He should also make it clear you don’t have to get it done.
 

Midwest

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Just because your old board isn’t up to current standards does not mean it is not safe for continued use. It does not have to be changed.
However any decent spark would advice you do change this to include the residual current protection most circuits now require in domestic installations.

Remember the spark should advise, not tell you. He should also make it clear you don’t have to get it done.
More serious note, if this is a potential let property (or any newly purchased property), spark advising to go for new CU with RCD’s, is not bad advice, is it not?
 
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  • #46
Just because your old board isn’t up to current standards does not mean it is not safe for continued use. It does not have to be changed.
However any decent spark would advice you do change this to include the residual current protection most circuits now require in domestic installations.

Hi Pete, just to clarify that if I do get the new board it will be compliant with your above comment?

Wot about some lovely SPD’s and even AFDD’s :)
WHAT!? :)

An EICR should also highlight non-compliances where an improvement can be made for safety reasons. An EICR is carried out to the current edition of the wiring regulations, not to a previous version.
I've definitely decided to go with the EICR then the new CU with individual RCBO's, I think that's the right terminology.
Did you get a quote for having an the testing done and an EICR (electrical installation condition report) completed? I would suggest having this done as there may be other areas where the installation could be improved which aren't apparent at first glance.
The original electrician who visited my property stated he'd text me a quote within 3 days, that was over a week ago and no response so I'm assuming he doesn't want the job. I'm hoping to find an electrician who can quote me for the EICR and to install a new electric hob and cooker hood I've already purchased. Then come back to do the report then install the new CU.

Out of interest, is there any way I should prepare the property before the EICR is carried out, will the electrician need access to every plug socket in every room etc? Is there anything I can do at the property to make the job easier?

Can the forum recommend a wonderfully talented reliable spark in the South Yorkshire area? :) Looking to have these jobs done as soon as possible. Thanks so much for all the help.
 

Spoon

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Can the forum recommend a wonderfully talented reliable spark in the South Yorkshire area? :) Looking to have these jobs done as soon as possible. Thanks so much for all the help.
I was going to suggest you put it in the jobs section of the forum, but I can't seem to find it now.. :laughing:
 

Midwest

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Midwest said:
Wot about some lovely SPD’s and even AFDD’s :)
WHAT!? :)

Your quote was lost amongst the others. My post was a bit tongue in cheek :)

SPD is a surge protection device, and AFDD is an arc fault detection device.

I'm no longer up to speed on the latest wiring regs, so others my well comment on both. But I seem to recall the former is probably some relatively cheap & worthwhile installing. However the latter is hideously expensive in comparisons to other devices in a CU, and has dubious results.

There have been a couple of threads on both devices recently; opinions, requirements, pros & cons etc. Can't seem to find them. If you have time, use the search function on the forum.
 
If you are adding in spds and Afdds you might as tell the customer to take out a second mortgage

Last board I priced up with spd and afdds came out near £800 just on materials
 

Midwest

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If you are adding in spds and Afdds you might as tell the customer to take out a second mortgage

Last board I priced up with spd and afdds came out near £800 just on materials
IMBW, but I thought the SPDs were about 70-100 quid? Tis the AFDD's which bump up the cost, for little gain?
 

Paignton pete

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I supply, fit test inspect certify notify a full RCBO board with serge protection for £650.00. In domestic.

There are some who will do it for a lot less, but you’ve got to question why they are charging so little.
 
I supply, fit test inspect certify notify a full RCBO board with serge protection for £650.00. In domestic.

There are some who will do it for a lot less, but you’ve got to question why they are charging so little.
Any less and it surely has to be a cash job...

A basic split rcd board change anywhere within a 30 min drive of me is ball park £800 notes.
Addition gas/water bonding will add £150-200 on to your bill
 
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  • #53
SPD is a surge protection device, and AFDD is an arc fault detection device.
So if I get the new board, bring down the circuits from 16 to maybe 13, RCBOs each circuit, and now add on SPD as well. Will this be the Crème de la crème of CU's or are there 10 other abbreviations I need to know about :) This property has been good to me so I'll install whatever you guys advise for a really decent upgrade.
 
This is just my opinion if it were my house , I would fit an rcbo board and try to trim down the circuits to around 10 or 11 if possible.
I wouldn’t bother with the spd and certainly not bother with the afdds
 

Paignton pete

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So if I get the new board, bring down the circuits from 16 to maybe 13, RCBOs each circuit, and now add on SPD as well. Will this be the Crème de la crème of CU's or are there 10 other abbreviations I need to know about :) This property has been good to me so I'll install whatever you guys advise for a really decent upgrade.
Don’t worry about the arc fault detection as mentioned earlier. But the surge protection adds about £100 to the cost of Board. Most quotes for board changes will include this as standard. But some don’t.

Definitely RCBO board with surge protection is the best way to meet current regs.
 

Paignton pete

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SPD surge protection device. To fit or not to fit.

Different sparks will give different answers.

I fit them as standard as per I interpret the regs.
Other sparks may interpret regs differently.

Personally I don’t think they add any safety value to a domestic property, but it’s not my call to question the regs so I fit them.
 
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  • #57
SPD surge protection device. To fit or not to fit.

I fit them as standard as per I interpret the regs.
Other sparks may interpret regs differently.

Personally I don’t think they add any safety value to a domestic property, but it’s not my call to question the regs so I fit them.
Thanks. Something I forgot to mention, the electrician did say that as the internet is so important to my work, he could add another plug socket on the wall directly behind where the CU is situated and isolate it from everything else so if a surge or fault did hit the system my internet wouldn't be affected. Maybe this was him talking about SPD's.
 

Paignton pete

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Thanks. Something I forgot to mention, the electrician did say that as the internet is so important to my work, he could add another plug socket on the wall directly behind where the CU is situated and isolate it from everything else so if a surge or fault did hit the system my internet wouldn't be affected. Maybe this was him talking about SPD's.
There are different levels of Surge protection.

I won’t go into details, but having one in the CU as part of CU swap is first layer of protection.
A second layer of surge protection at the sockets is also advisable especially next to vulnerable equipment like computers.this can be in the form of a socket with surge protection built in, or an extension lead with surge protection built in.
Also having the computer socket on a separate circuit is a good idea regardless of surge protection.
 
Thanks. Something I forgot to mention, the electrician did say that as the internet is so important to my work, he could add another plug socket on the wall directly behind where the CU is situated and isolate it from everything else so if a surge or fault did hit the system my internet wouldn't be affected. Maybe this was him talking about SPD's.
Think they are talking about nuisance tripping
 

Midwest

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So if I get the new board, bring down the circuits from 16 to maybe 13, RCBOs each circuit, and now add on SPD as well. Will this be the Crème de la crème of CU's or are there 10 other abbreviations I need to know about :) This property has been good to me so I'll install whatever you guys advise for a really decent upgrade.
As said before, you need to have that CU (and associated wiring EICR'erd) before moving forward. What is the property exactly, how many bedrooms/bedsits etc etc?
 

davesparks

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Out of interest, is there any way I should prepare the property before the EICR is carried out, will the electrician need access to every plug socket in every room etc? Is there anything I can do at the property to make the job easier?
Ideally the electrician will want access to every socket, light, switch or other point of connection. It's not essential but can help to get the most accurate test results if every appliance or other connected load can be isolated.
 

Megawatt

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Ideally that does want changing in my opinion.

I'd probably be slightly more than £500 with that amount of circuits so price seems ok. As above though this depends on what is and how it's fitted. You won't get all RCBO's for that money I bet.
Price is way to low are they qualified electricians
 

Pete999

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Hello folks

I'm after some advice with my domestic property control box. I'm not an electrician, I'd kill myself wiring a plug, so I called in the professionals who on entry to my house stated my control panel was obsolete and wouldn't be safe to keep, (it's 12 years old). Normal looking panel with about 16 switches. Never had a problem with the panel or the electrics, just wanted it testing. They quoted me £500 + VAT for a new control panel. So my question is, does this sound right to you guys? Thanks for any thoughts.
I take it you mean by "control panel" you are talking about the CO (Consumers Unit) Fuse board as known by the uninitiated.
If these "Professionals" just came in and stated that the CU needed changing, without any testing or other checks then I would have smelt a Rat.
There may well be cause to change the CU, does your electrics have RCD protection? is there any Main bonding present? are there any records from the past to scrutinise?
Arrange fo an EICR, (Electrical Installation Condition Report)to be carried out, don't use the Blokes who came and said your control box needed swapping, not sure of prices in your area, or how many circuits you have, at a guess £350:00 should be about right, the Regulations are not retrospective, probably OK at the time of install, but if you are concerned go for the EICR. Missed the picture before I posted, I see no RCD. It may be that all is required is an upfront RCD covering the entire board, this brings with it the problem of nuisance tripping ( one fault and you temporarily lose the whole installation) and bonding if there is none hard to tell from the photo,
 
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