Currently reading:
No earth at lights, customer won't change?

Discuss No earth at lights, customer won't change? in the UK Electrical Forum area at ElectriciansForums.net

Reaction score
0
Hi guys wondering if you could help?

I have just installed a new fuseboard with rcbos and spd.

During the install I noticed that the lighting circuits have no earth. I have informed the customer but she doesn't want me to change lights to class 2 fittings as she is happy with her current lighting fixtures. What do I do?

Thanks in advanced
 
How does that work. Dear Mrs/Miss/Ms X I have replaced your consumer unit however due to my lack of insight I have now realised somewhat too late that your electrical installation has serious issues that I failed to initially identify. I would now like to email you to cover myself because I totally ****** up and hopefully this may dissipate the consequences of my actions.
Pretty much. The deed has been done so it's time to think of what to do next. Although, @davesparks suggestions are far more professional than my arse covering exercise.
 
Sorry no offense meant to anyone, but I just do not get the not testing before changing a consumer unit or DB. Even some basic tests to prove the essentials are present and correct is better than going in blind. I will always do global IR, R2 at everything I can find and get to with a wander lead including bonding and ring continuity tests before even saying I will change one. These are usually relatively quick to do, ok so it's not going to disclose all problems like borrowed neutrals ect but at least you get a vague idea of what's what before you open a giant can of worms and end up in the OP's situation!
Sy
 
I guess the OP is fairly new to this line of work and maybe only has had experience on new builds or recent installations and so have just had their posterior bitten buy exactly the sort of thing that BPG#1 tries to warn about. The OP's post does not make it clear if the cable has CPCs but they are not end-to-end connected, or if the cable is pre-1966 and has no CPC present.

Just for background information for the OP: the statements about ADS really come from the basic premise in the design of compliant circuits that no single point of failure should cause a risk of electric shock. So with a class II product there are two insulation barriers, so damage to one is not enough to allow contact to a live conductive part. In class I products there is a CPC and so in the event of a L-metal fault then Zs should be sufficiently low (and cable adiabatic limit sufficiently high) that you get Automatic Disconnection of the Supply (ADS) by the OCPD or RCD so no person is not exposed to the risk of a shock for more than an acceptably short period (usually 0.4s here, TN & 230V).

Without a CPC then on the occurrence of a fault you get no disconnection. If you only had OCPD protection (probably the case for the old CU) then you never will disconnect and it is a high risk situation. With working RCD protection you still don't get disconnection on the occurrence of the fault, but should someone get a shock then they have a sporting change of not dying due to the RCD-based disconnection. The might just fall off a ladder of course...

So it is quite likely that you have made the system safer, but not actually as safe as the regulations demand. That is basically the just of the statements above that you can't certify it as it stands as "complaint".

Now I suspect the OP has just has an unpleasant lesson as to why most sparks on here always say to do an EICR first, or at least a few basic checks (e.g. as @Pretty Mouth says in post #7). All of which is usefully stated in BPG#1 and that is also a good point of industry-guidance for any arguments, just as BPG#4 is for EICR coding, but in all cases it comes down to some judgment. But you are already in the position of the CU changed and no CPC, so folks pointing out the error or not checking first is not actually helpful. So what now?

The correct solution is to correct the absence of CPC connectivity. That could be fixing joints (if just stupid installation of T&E), a rewire if pre-1966 cable, or sometimes a separate CPC if a hidden joint/break cannot be otherwise fixed with an acceptable cost in electrician time and/or redecorating.

But the customer might refuse to pay for that extra work, or indeed they might refuse to allow work that causes decoration and/or building structural changes. Again, this is mentioned in BPG#1. If it is just a cost aspect and you think you can fix it without to much of a loss you might be best to just accept the loss was down to your own mistake and keep your reputation by fixing that side for free.

If however, they are not willing to accept the additional work 'for free' due to decoration/disruption/pigheadedness then you really can just make it as safe as possible and state in writing that you cannot complete it to the regulations due to their decision and advise on the use of class II accessories, etc, as described in BPG#1.

Just my 2p work, though I don't do this commercially so listen to others first.
 
Last edited:
Mistakes abound in every profession, just look at our politicians, and people are dying as a result of their reccomendations. I suspect that the client is suspicious of your insistence that she now needs to have further work done and sees it as "...he just wants to get more money..." @Koreelec don't run away, and never mind the "contributions" to your dilemna. It is easy with hindsight to decry the lack or ommission of due care and proper procedures, however that does not help you. I think @pc1966 has gone some way to ameliorating that. Please come back and discuss this and let us see if we can suggest ways to sort it out. My first contribution is, in that same vein as @cireland, what system of wiring is it. In my case, is it T&E? If it is it is often the case the earth is there and if you can pull a bit of cable out you can supply the earth to the fitting. Rather than suggest they need to replace their lights how about suggesting you supply an earth to the lights?
Don't be scared of the paper tigers on this sight. Try to work with suggestions and let's get it right!
 
I guess the OP is fairly new to this line of work and maybe only has had experience on new builds or recent installations and so have just had their posterior bitten buy exactly the sort of thing that BPG#1 tries to warn about. The OP's post does not make it clear if the cable has CPCs but they are not end-to-end connected, or if the cable is pre-1966 and has no CPC present.

Just for background information for the OP: the statements about ADS really come from the basic premise in the design of compliant circuits that no single point of failure should cause a risk of electric shock. So with a class II product there are two insulation barriers, so damage to one is not enough to allow contact to a live conductive part. In class I products there is a CPC and so in the event of a L-metal fault then Zs should be sufficiently low (and cable adiabatic limit sufficiently high) that you get Automatic Disconnection of the Supply (ADS) by the OCPD or RCD so no person is not exposed to the risk of a shock for more than an acceptably short period (usually 0.4s here, TN & 230V).

Without a CPC then on the occurrence of a fault you get no disconnection. If you only had OCPD protection (probably the case for the old CU) then you never will disconnect and it is a high risk situation. With working RCD protection you still don't get disconnection on the occurrence of the fault, but should someone get a shock then they have a sporting change of not dying due to the RCD-based disconnection. The might just fall off a ladder of course...

So it is quite likely that you have made the system safer, but not actually as safe as the regulations demand. That is basically the just of the statements above that you can't certify it as it stands as "complaint".

Now I suspect the OP has just has an unpleasant lesson as to why most sparks on here always say to do an EICR first, or at least a few basic checks (e.g. as @Pretty Mouth says in post #7). All of which is usefully stated in BPG#1 and that is also a good point of industry-guidance for any arguments, just as BPG#4 is for EICR coding, but in all cases it comes down to some judgment. But you are already in the position of the CU changed and no CPC, so folks pointing out the error or not checking first is not actually helpful. So what now?

The correct solution is to correct the absence of CPC connectivity. That could be fixing joints (if just stupid installation of T&E), a rewire if pre-1966 cable, or sometimes a separate CPC if a hidden joint/break cannot be otherwise fixed with an acceptable cost in electrician time and/or redecorating.

But the customer might refuse to pay for that extra work, or indeed they might refuse to allow work that causes decoration and/or building structural changes. Again, this is mentioned in BPG#1. If it is just a cost aspect and you think you can fix it without to much of a loss you might be best to just accept the loss was down to your own mistake and keep your reputation by fixing that side for free.

If however, they are not willing to accept the additional work 'for free' due to decoration/disruption/pigheadedness then you really can just make it as safe as possible and state in writing that you cannot complete it to the regulations due to their decision and advise on the use of class II accessories, etc, as described in BPG#1.

Just my 2p work, though I don't do this commercially so listen to others first.
Best Practice Guides are not industry standards. BS7671 and E&WR 1989 are industry standards.
This is nothing to to with pigheadiness the OP has made a serious error of judgement it is not the clients problem. You cannot employ Class II protection in a dwelling no matter how many times people suggest it.
 
Last edited:
Lots of people perpetually restating that the OP messed up isn’t going to help him much though.
I’m sure lots of us could list various mistakes over the years (the time I managed to do a global IR of a wylex board with the fuses still out still haunts me - that was the start of 3 days of pain!)
Anyway subject to the state of the loft it’s not normally too difficult to solve this problem for upstairs lights as a 4mm earth can be provided from another circuit, or the lights fairly easily rewired. Changing to quinetic switching can make things easier.

Downstairs lights are harder and the quickest method I’ve found is usually to provide a new circuit via a large box with quinetic controllers in.
 
Best Practice Guides are not industry standards. BS7671 and E&WR 1989 are industry standards.
This is nothing to to with pigheadiness the OP has made a serious error of judgement it is not the clients problem. You cannot employ Class II protection in a dwelling no matter how many times people suggest it.
For any new installation or circuit then you are 100% correct, there is absolutely no justification for not having a compliant CPC, etc.

However the 'Best Practice Guides' offer guidance on how to deal with less than perfect situations in terms of coding during an EICR and CU changes and they are signed off by everyone who matters in terms of electrical safety (BSI, IET, NAPIT, SELECT, etc) so to me following that guidance is a reasonable and justifiable way of dealing with problematic situations.

Now it is true that the OP has made a mistake in not checking this point before the CU change, but they are now in this position and it is not too different from the position that any spark could find themselves in when faced with an old house needing work. As BPG#1 points out the ideal solution is to fix the lack of CPC but it also recognises that there may be situations where the client is unwilling or unable to do so, and then it offers a least-worst approach in section 10 for this.

Of course any spark could refuse to perform a CU change if the CPC is not going to be correct, and that is quite understandable as it suggests a troublesome (or impoverished) client and poses some risk. But that is likely leave the installation in a less safe situation due to the reason(s) for needing a CU change (lack of RCD protection, damage exposing live parts, etc) than doing the limited corrective work, and so the prospective client is exposed to greater danger due to inaction, or possibly they get Dodgy Dave from the pub to do it who makes matters far worse.

We have not heard back from the OP for the details of this or what action they are going to take to deal with it. In any case they have to either make it fully compliant, or to carefully and fully follow the BPG#1 guidance if that is refused, including any warning labels and written agreement with the client about any compromises.
 
This thread hasn't been replied to for 14 days, so replying to this one may not get a response. Post a new thread instead.

Reply to No earth at lights, customer won't change? in the UK Electrical Forum area at ElectriciansForums.net

OFFICIAL SPONSORS

Electrical Goods - Electrical Tools - Brand Names Electrician Courses Green Electrical Goods PCB Way Electrical Goods - Electrical Tools - Brand Names Pushfit Wire Connectors Electric Underfloor Heating Electrician Courses
These Official Forum Sponsors May Provide Discounts to Regular Forum Members - If you would like to sponsor us then CLICK HERE and post a thread with who you are, and we'll send you some stats etc
This website was designed, optimised and is hosted by untold.media Operating under the name Untold Media since 2001.
Back
Top
AdBlock Detected

We get it, advertisements are annoying!

Sure, ad-blocking software does a great job at blocking ads, but it also blocks useful features of our website. For the best site experience please disable your AdBlocker.

I've Disabled AdBlock